Review of Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson

June 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Deadhouse GatesDeadhouse Gates (Malazen Book of the Fallen #2)
By Steven Erikson; Performed by Ralph Lister
34 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Themes: / epic fantasy / magic / desert / empire /

Publisher summary:

In the vast dominion of Seven Cities, in the Holy Desert Raraku, the seer Sha’ik and her followers prepare for the long-prophesied uprising known as the Whirlwind. Unprecedented in size and savagery, this maelstrom of fanaticism and bloodlust will embroil the Malazan Empire in one of the bloodiest conflicts it has ever known, shaping destinies and giving birth to legends…. Set in a brilliantly realized world ravaged by dark, uncontrollable magic, this thrilling novel of war, intrigue, and betrayal confirms Steven Erikson as a storyteller of breathtaking skill, imagination, and originality — a new master of epic fantasy.

This book was pretty amazing.  I want to say that right off the bat.  This book is something special.  Steven Erikson has a wonderful way of writing about things that we know nothing about as readers but by the end of the book you look back and have a whole new appreciation for everything you read previously.  His foreshadowing is so subtle and wonderfully done that you don’t even realize that you realize that it’s coming, until in comes.

The characters are all very cool, including a few characters who return from Gardens of the Moon.  Kalam is a real favorite of mine; I really like his progression in this book as he is originally from Seven Cities and it affects him on an emotional level.  I also absolutely love Mappo and Icarium.  Those two were by far in my opinion the most interesting characters, and their relationship is memorable.

We get to see a whole new continent in this book in Seven Cities, with a middle eastern, desert feel.  The Whirlwind is an interesting concept; there is no doubt that this is another world that is extremely dangerous and volatile.  There is no safety anywhere and almost every decision made is one of life or death.

This book ends in a truly epic fashion and I think that anyone who enjoyed Gardens of the Moon will undoubtedly love Deadhouse Gates.  It has awesome magic, epic sword fights, political intrigue, and some truly horrifying monsters.  This book in my opinion surpasses Gardens of the Moon and sets the stage for a truly epic series that I can’t wait to finish.  This is only the second book of ten and I just can’t wait to see where this story is going to go.  I cannot recommend this book enough.

This book is read by Ralph Lister who really brings these characters to life in a way that is truly believable.  It’s as if there are a whole cast of people reading this book.  He does such a wonderful job.  I look forward to listening to Memories of Ice.

Posted by Scott Russell

Review of The Road to Dune by Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson

September 4, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

The Road to Dune by Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. AndersonThe Road to Dune
By Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson; Read by Scott Brick
12 CD’s – 14 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audio Renaissance
Published: JUST RELEASED – September 2005
ISBN: 159397776X
Themes: / Science Fiction / Dune / Desert / Religion / Commentary / Journal / Short Fiction /

In a sentence, The Road to Dune is an intriguing collection of Dune “extras” that should please any fan of Frank Herbert. Including myself.

A quick background on me as far as Dune goes – I read the first novel once, then listened to George Guidall’s unabridged narration of the same book. I also heard The Butlerian Jihad, which was written by Brian Herbert (Frank Herbert’s son) and Kevin J. Anderson. I mention all this so that you can know my level of Dune knowledge – I am by no means an expert. With that said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, as you may know, have continued Frank Herbert’s Dune series by adding two trilogies of prequels to Herbert’s existing books. They’ve consulted notes that Frank Herbert left behind, and the opening of this book explains that to some degree. Bill Ransom, who collaborated with Frank Herbert on a few books, also weighs in, describing his writing life with Frank.

Next up is a short novel called Spice Planet which represents the first version of Dune, or what Dune could have been. The novel is certainly better, but Dune World was also engaging and interesting from the perspective of a person who has read the novel (what’s different, what’s the same) and as a very good story in its own right.

Also included are deleted scenes and alternate endings from Dune and Dune, Messiah, letters and notes from Frank Herbert during the time he was trying to get Dune published. Especially interesting are some letters to and from John W. Campbell, Jr., the editor of Analog Science Fiction Magazine, which serialized the first Dune novel, but declined the second one.

Four short stories by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson are here, too. The first, “Whisper of Caladan Seas” was originally published in Amazing Science Fiction and takes place during the first Dune novel. The other three, “Hunting Harkonnens”, “Whipping Mek”, and “Faces of a Martyr” are set in the prequel times that Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson write about in their trilogies. They are very good stories, all.

Scott Brick narrated, and I am reminded why I enjoy him so much. His narration is energetic, dramatic, and powerful, but never over the top. I never tire of his rich voice and the believable, living characters he performs.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book on several levels. For a person writing a thick tome of a science fiction novel, this glimpse into Herbert’s process is very educational. For a fan of Dune, this look into what could have been is very entertaining. For a fan interested in the history science fiction, the correspondence between Campbell and Herbert and the story of the novel’s purchase and publication by Chilton are pure gold. And for a fan of good stories, there’s plenty here to enjoy.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson