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Title: Orb Sceptre Throne
Series: Malazan Empire #4
Author: Ian Esslemont
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital edition
A golden mask is uncovered in the plains outside of Darujhistan. It belongs to the spirit that raises Tyrants up again and again. This time it calls the Segulah into its service. They and the Moranth, ancient enemies, duke it out until the Segulah are freed from the Golden Mask’s domination, then they go back to their little Island Nation.
Kiska and Leoman of the Flails are in limbo, looking for Tayschrenn. They find him, restore his memories to him and they all return to do whatever hidden thingamajig Tayschrenn wants to do.
Also deals with various characters attempting to loot the fallen Moonspawn, all hoping to find the Throne of Night.
Plus about 6 other smaller threads dealing with such characters as Coll, Kalam, Baruk, Kruppe and others that we were introduced to way back in Gardens of the Moon.
When I initially read this back in 2012, I was not impressed at all. I still hadn’t gotten that Erikson and Esslemont created bigger than life mythos for their characters, whether individuals or as a people, just so they could tear them down. So my thoughts regarding the Segulah were that they were the Pristine Warrior Culture; those thoughts were not only dashed, they were trampled into the dust on my first read and my rating and review reflected that.
This time around, what a difference. I didn’t have those misconceptions about the Segulah and so their story didn’t bother me. The only thing that really bothered me was the fact that there were just so many story threads going on. Some of those threads had nothing whatsoever to do with this book, ie, Kiska, Leoman and Tayschrenn but simply pushed an overarching story forward. I don’t care for that. Other than that, I was pleased as punch.
It was sad to see characters from Gardens of the Moon becoming old or giving up in spirit. Coll turning into an old, wine addicted, fat counselor was especially sad. Baruk’s subsumption by a demon seemed very cruel, considering how much he’d sacrificed for his city. And yet that is what happens to old heroes. They fail and a new generation must step up.
While I complained about the multiplicity of threads, they were tightly woven together and even the thread about Tayschrenn didn’t detract from overall affect. It really was one story being told even if it took awhile for them all to get tied together.
This book is why I like to re-read things. My mind was completely changed from last time and I went from almost hating this book to really loving it. Most of that change was on my end and my perspective and expectations. 17 years of reviewing and I still marvel at how our expectations can shape how we react to a book. I was semi-dreading this re-read but it turned into a jewel instead.
Pretty satisfied this time around.
- Orb Sceptre Throne (2012 Review)
- Stonewielder (Book 3)
- Return of the Crimson Guard (Book 2)
- Night of Knives (Book 1)