The Crippled God

Oh, look, a book I read nearly a year ago but for some reason never published my article about. Huh.


It’s finally over. The Malazan Book of the Fallen. All ten 1000+ page novels, with intricately interweaving casts and plots, it’s done. (Except for those new books coming out, shh!)

And now the dust has cleared, the cards are on the table, and I have to say… this was probably the weakest book in the whole franchise.

Now, I get the first book was somewhat intended as a standalone, developed originally as a feature film script based off Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont’s GURPS campaign. Combine that with the decade between it and the second novel, Deadhouse Gates, and you have a great recipe for things not lining up at all by the end. (Didn’t Fener already die in Memories of Ice?) I accept that, it’s natural in a long-ass story like this. But the resolution to this novel, and by extension the entire series, is not anything close to what I expected and I’m frankly a little bewildered by it. The ending is boring and ultimately it doesn’t really ring true to me.

The Crippled God himself is a God from another universe altogether, dragged into the Malazan one several millenia earlier and chained because of dumb reasons. In doing so, he was mutilated and became a bitter force of suffering, hating everyone and just wanting to see everyone dead. He’s been kind of floating about since the early books mostly as a concept but actively fucking with things about halfway through. This is a great concept, I’ve thought it really awesome since I first read it. There had been very little indication the series would lead towards doing something about him, however, and it seemed to be actively painting several other threats as the real issue facing the world. So it came out of left field for me that not only was everything bending towards neutralizing him but the good guys, the Bonehunters, were actually going to help him go home and be friendly!

Is it good or is it ain’t?

It’s good enough. I mean, you won’t be reading this without having read the previous nine books, right? So by this point, it could be a picture book in the style of Richard Scarry and we’d probably all be choking it down. Could you pick this up without any background or context and go “yeah, this is a rockin’ story!”? Hell no. I wouldn’t go so far as to say this was even a great ending to the series, because it abruptly changes gears from Endless War to, well, not necessarily something happy, considering all the lovely characters who bite it, but it doesn’t end how you’d expect. It feels off, like Erikson just wanted it done with and chose the path of least resistance.

That being said, if you got past Midnight Tides, you’re probably in this for the long haul and have no choice but to read this book. So who cares what I think?


~ by Tim H on June 13, 2013.

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