Following "Malazan Reread of the Fallen" on Tor.com is having one side-effect I haven't counted on. I felt like I have read this book only couple of months ago, so reading it again didn't have the same potency as usual. Thankfully, I am almost on the point of outrunning the Tor-reread, which is now somewhere after the beginning of second half of "Deadhouse Gates". I don't feel like doing a complete review of 12 years old book; there are countless good reviews out there. I will just note a few of my comments and opinions.
This is the first book in the series and it was written almost 10 years before it was published, and it that time Erikson couldn't be sure this would be accepted as series. Nevertheless, book doesn't have the feel of being a stand-alone novel (contrary example: "Wizard's First Rule"; transition to its sequel doesn't feel natural at all and is very abrupt). Instead, thank to Erikson style, it give a feel of being plunged in the middle of long-running series. Erikson doesn't explain many things in the first run; he throws a bunch of information at readers, and then explains it layer by layer (and by layer and by layer).
This book, as whole series, is very complex, multi-layered and overwhelming book. It introduces few dozens of characters (I mean the important ones...), three continents, several human and non-human races, one of the most complex magic systems ever, real-life-like politics. But as I said, this if only the first book in series. Later books only get more complex and full. And the content of it: you name, you got it. Demons: checked. Sorcery and wizards: checked. Fighting and armies: checked. Gods and religion: checked. Mystery: double and triple checked...
I actually can't find anything bad to say about it. Only objection one could name about it, is that it can be too complicated for some readers. Not everybody likes their books this complex. But for those who like multiple plots and POVs, epic, gray-morality, etc. will be thrilled by this book. If you don't like it, don't even try its sequels; if anything, they are even more Malazan!