Forge of the High Mage

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Forge of the High Mage

Forge of the High Mage

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The Path to Ascendancy novels are shorter, being more concise and focused, than the sweeping epics of the two main series. By the time of a March 2022 interview, the writing was completed and the manuscript was in the hands of his editors. Well paced, more lore for the foundation of the Malazan Empire and the future conflicts its drawn into. The finest Esslemont novel so far, and a superb Malazan novel in its own right' - DRYING INK You may also be interested in.

ICE has written a couple book's that were serious misses for me, but I've been enjoying the Path to Ascendancy Series for the most part. Esslemont continues his early empire Path to Ascendancy sequence impressively with the fourth instalment, Forge of the High Mage. I've eagerly awaited more books in this series, and there was a bit of confusion at first whether this was a sequel to the main series or another volume in the Path to Ascendancy prequel series. This book, and the ones that follow, look at "different paths and different characters' routes and story arcs". As ever, the excellent magic system (through the use of warrens) is finely showcased here and, for the most part, I found my reading experience to be extremely rewarding; leading me to score Forge of the High Mage an 8/10 rating.While I love maps and often scoured the map at the beginning as to where PoVs are are are referring to I laughed when I found the much more detailed map at the end of the book. Some observers noted that cover artist Steve Stone's work appeared at least partially as if created by an AI art-generator. It shows him coming into his power as he pushes himself beyond what he thought was his limits, only to discover an almost limitless supply of power on the other side of his mental barricades. I had slightly higher hopes for the exploration of Falar, for actually going into the dark underbelly of the Jhistal cult and in that respect, this book didn’t quite hit the mark. Awaiting them in or approaching their destination are a powerful religious faction that worships the elder god, Mael, the tribes of the Jhek that includes soletaken wolf and bear warriors, formidable Crimson Guard mercenaries, and something mysterious and ancient that, if left unchecked, could cause devastating damage to the surrounding environment and those within the vicinity.

This must be an interesting consideration for an author when creating drama for particular scenes in prequels to a popular series. It just seemed like it didn't fit as I've never seen the word used (before or after, timeline wise) in Malazan world.We get the story, mostly, but how the cult came to dominate an otherwise peaceable (from what you can infer) people and twist things, that would have been interesting to see a little more of. He'll never reach the heights of Steven Erikson but not all Malazan books have to be 1000-page tomes full of philosophy. So many characters who'd later go on to have massive roles in Malazan BotF + ME books were featured and none of them felt like fan service. I did laugh at the very end of the book, where a cheeky Kellanved pats Tay on the back and says he’s lived up to the potential Kellanved saw in him.

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