Reaper’s Gale

If you’re wondering where I’ve been all this time, it’s a fair question. I mean, I’ve been wondering too, and this is speaking as someone who knows! But to answer you, no, I don’t have an incredible backlog of stuff that I need to get out in a rush, before I forget every little remaining detail of all those books. This is because, quite simply, I don’t have any backlog at all. I’ve been behind this one Malazan book the entire time. And after all this time, the better part of a month, I don’t have a lot I can really say. Reaper’s Gale is the seventh book of a ten book series, and it’s not just that I’d be worried about spoilers (although I would), it’s that it’s really no longer possible to describe the plot in meaningful terms to people who aren’t fellow readers, and I know there are not very many yet.

What I can talk about is the gamut of emotions each new book brings.[1] First of all, there’s the vividness of it all. I can cackle at one scene, cringe at the next, and feel terrible at the (almost never overblown) pathos of the random vagaries of life in a third. I can watch a genocidal war prosecuted and not really hate any of the characters involved in it even while feeling the horror, not just at the fact of it but at the separate fact that the characters know what they’re doing. It’s not just that almost every character is likeable in his or her own way, it’s that the entire series is most heavily concerned with redemption, and it’s available to everyone who really wants it. Happiness is often fleeting and never guaranteed, victory is as changeable as the sands of the desert, and justice, well, it turns out that justice is out there, but since I would link it with redemption, that just makes sense.

At the end of each of these books, I am torn between wanting to dive ahead and knowing that I have to move on to something else, and frankly wanting that pretty badly too. But sometime in the next few years after I’ve finished the series and let it settle, I’m going to have to go back and read the whole thing in a row, even though it will take me half a year or better. Not because I don’t remember what happened, but because I want to see how things look in development when I know how they will end. If you had asked me, I think I would not have predicted being this attached to a doorstop fantasy series that defines itself by who has died.

[1] Or at least what this one brings; after all, it’s been a while since I read any of the others.

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