I sincerely don't have any clue how Erikson't will be able to put everything in only one book! Not only that this book didn't end many plot-lines, it actually brought some new ones. So, the new book will have to conclude characters from both main plot-lines (Malazan/Letherii and Darujhistan). What I know is that it will really be epic!
I'll not reveal any spoilers from this new book, but if haven't read all previous books, don't read this review.
First to say, this is a book for fans. If you don't like this series, this book will not change your opinion. It continues Erikson's style where some 10-20 % of book is philosophical musing about meaning of life, death, beauty and other of his usual topics. I used to have really eclectic taste, but had to concentrate on fantasy-only books because I don't have time (and money) to read everything I would like, so I don't mind these parts of book. And probably is, if you read rest of series, you don't mind it, too. But I understand that it can be turn-down for some. Also, Erikson tends to be much too descriptive and this book is no exception. I presume that, if someone else wrote it, it could be some 100-200 pages shorter. Sometimes it can be hard to read, especially for those whose first language is not English.
But, if you are a fan, you will forgive all this flaws and really, really like this book! First, let's just mention characters: some half a dozen of dragons (depending if Kilmandaros and Draconus(?!?!) have draconic forms), Elder gods, Toc the Younger, Icarus, Mappo, T'lann Imass, un-dead Jaghut, live K'Chain Che'Malle, a Stormrider(!!! or ???) ... And this are not just mentioned characters, this are characters with POV's! There are also revelations of fourth Tiste race and new Thelomen race (at least it was new to me) and involvement of Forkrul Assails and K'Chain Nah'ruks; there are deaths of whole peoples. If this is not enough to bring water to your mouths, then you are not a fan (jokingly)!
There are many funny scenes in book, most so far, I think. Not surprising, considering Tehol is in this book (he's much better than in "Reaper's Gale") and some fifty Malazan soldiers (Kindly and Pores are the new dynamic duo for me). Also, there are many emotional scenes, mostly before death of "main" characters. I was surprised to see who dies in this book. But then, I was surprised with many things in this book. I think that reason I liked Erikson books is because of his slice-of-life scenes. They really help to make better connection to characters and feel their pain and happiness.
Worst chapter for me was when Malazans are traveling down the river. It's not that is badly written or not interesting enough; it is because it left me depressed after reading it. Other that this, there were few chapters at the beginning, where new characters are introduced, that I didn't like much. Other than that, book was perfectly interesting and compelling me to read more.
Finally, this book left me with more answers then questions. I'm not saying that I know answers for why, who, when... But I understand background of story much more. This book filled many holes in tapestry, but left many others to be filled in last book. Which I will wait for impatiently.
To put it short, one of the best books in series, one that you lose sleep for. If you liked previous books, you are bound to like this one. One of reasons why Erikson is one of my three best fantasy writers.
I will take a few weak rest from books, at least my next order arrive, and watch an anime or two.
Yesterday I saw interesting news for fans of "Malazan Book of the Fallen". I looks like two of Tor.com authors will be doing a complete reread of this series, starting from next month. I'm looking forward for it, especially because it will help me sort the things out. Encyclopedia Malazica is a good site if you are looking for specific stuff, but a reread will probably be done in systematic way and explain some things I'm uncertain of. I presume that few more rereads of complete series will be necessary for me to understand it well enough, but that's not a complaint but praise.