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“Midnight Tides” by Steven Erikson Book Review

Book: Midnight Tides

Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen #5

Author: Steven Erikson

960 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 2004

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As sung in a famous song to an even more famous movie – “One World Is Not Enough”. And Steven Erickson proved it to me as only he can.
After four volumes of history, magic, intrigue and battles – oh, what battles – it’s now the turn of Midnight Tides.
The fifth story sent me far away from the now familiar climes of the Malazan Empire, to say the least. The familiar heroes, gods and demons. Very far away. A different land and a different empire – the First Empire. And I was just about to gain the certainty that I was sailing in waters that were already well known to me. What naivety.

This is not exactly a review of “Midnight Tides”
Rather a guide to help you along the thousands of paths in this epic, because there is nothing to review – 10 volumes is 10 volumes + the additional novels. A complete madhouse! I hope it’s helpful 😉 I’ll comment without giving anything substantial away so there are no spoilers.

And now for the death and rebirth of a new realm here…

The story takes place broadly in Letherii, an empire ruled by the human race (in this world, the Letherii), and north of it in lands I’ll call “The North” for simplicity’s sake, as well as a few islands. The North is ruled by the Tiste Edur, a people (of a different race) who came from another settlement long ago in search of new land and settled permanently…

The Letheriies are an established people. They rule and control their land with extreme arrogance and a sense of predestination. Gold and power above all else. The tip of the iceberg, as they say. But the Edurs also have their own view of things. One would logically assume that two strong nations, two strong rulers (emperors) on each side would destroy any hope of peaceful coexistence, and after all, there is only one throne.

The structure of the book should already be familiar to anyone who have gotten this far. Most books up to this point follow at least a similar principle. The narrative is divided into four main parts (books within the book).

In the first part

“Frozen Blood” we are introduced to the different camps and of course the characters we follow. There aren’t that many, so cheer up 🙂
On the Edur side, we follow the four brothers of the influential Sengar family (Trull Sengar should be familiar to you by now ;)) who have been sent on a quest by the King Mage of their tribe to find a sword waiting for them in the desolate and icy lands of the North. The success of the mission will decide the fate of their people.
In Letherii, however, we meet three other orphaned brothers. The Beddict brothers, all dedicated to their goals and visions of honor and justice.
Tehol Beddict – the genius of the clan and absolute master of financial fraud and intrigue – now sleeps under the same roof.
Brice Beddict – who remains true to his nickname of “Royal Protector” and tries to maneuver between his family’s “bad” reputation and his duties to the Crown.
And Hull Beddict – determined to betray nation, country and blood in the name of revenge. He stays mainly in the Edur camp.

In Letherii, we also follow the demise of a particular tower/fortress. The Azath loses its power and purpose, which is to guard the creatures held captive there.

In the second part

“Prows of the Day” we follow the journey and mission of each of our characters in this book. Traditionally, the plans go headlong awry. The path gets lost, the mission takes on a different destination. Abe, everything gets turned upside down. It doesn’t and how not when we have the interference of gods, demons and lots and lots of magic.

In part three

“All That Lies Unseen” we already see the emergence of new directions, new allies, enemies and the beginning of the end of an empire. Where this world is heading and what will follow is rarely revealed in an Erikson book, but at least it is clear what is to come.
The Edurs make their way to Letherii to take their place, which they believe is rightfully theirs.
There are members of the Crimson Guard around here somewhere, and I understand there’s a whole separate novel about them. Cruel! We also hear from them the familiar phrase we miss so much: “Ghoul’s Breath”.

And of course part four

“Midnight Tides”, which traditionally, like almost every last part of the previous books, leaves you no time for an ounce of rest, eating, sleeping or breathing. Battles, twists, betrayals, unraveling intrigues and secrets that the author keeps for us for dessert. Of all the epic battles in epic fantasy – the most epic 🙂 haha I hate that word already, and I don’t think it can really capture in its meaning everything that makes an epic Malazan book.


Although Midnight Tides separated me from my favorite and most familiar Malazan characters, it is in no way inferior to the other books in terms of level and content. In fact, I dare say it was more than good. And of course, it’s not a completely stand-alone story. The storylines that emerge and unfold here will clearly soon find their place in the world and realm of Malazan. The fallen will not be forgotten, and the survivors … we will surely see again.

Trull Sengar was one of the main characters whose point of view we followed, but of particular interest to me was the youngest brother, Rhulad . His portrayal is particularly vivid, controversial and definitely the one who suffers the most from adversity. His fate even managed to arouse sympathy in me. Something I almost can’t allow myself to do with Erickson’s books. You can guess why (I’m still heartbroken after Memories of Ice).
Fear Sengar also has potential in my opinion, but seems to be in the shadows at the moment.

Tehol Beddict. God, how I laughed at him and his “minion” Bugg. Unique, funny, memorable.

The female presence in the book was weaker, but it still existed in the form of Seren Pedak, Shurk (the undead thief), Uruth Sengar, the feathered witch, and a few other infamous “ladies” in Letherii. It can’t just be testosterone them.

Finally, albeit briefly, we’re introduced to a character I’ve been waiting to see appear. Not for anything else – I was wrong 🙂 The gentleman’s name is Silchas Ruin and I’ll leave it to you to figure out who and what he’s 😉.

Well, I’m glad there’s much, much more to read in Erickson’s world/worlds. Come to think of it, that’s not even the middle, considering all the books that are connected to the story.
There is no other epic like this that can absolutely satisfy a fantasy fan’s hunger.

“Gardens of the Moon” by Steven Erikson Book #1

“Deadhouse Gates” by Steven Erikson Book #2

“Memories of Ice” by Steven Erikson Book #3

“House of Chains” by Steven Erikson Book #4

“The Bonehunters” by Steven Erikson Book #6

After decades of warfare, the five tribes of the Tiste Edur are united under the implacable rule of the Warlock King of the Hiroth. But the price of peace is a pact with a hidden power whose motives may be deadly. To the south, the expansionist kingdom of Lether has devoured all lesser neighbors – except the Tiste Edur.


Hello, my name is Todora, but now also known as Dochka or Docheto. I have two wonderful dragons at home (boys ages 5 and 7) that I am trying to raise in the love of books. I was quite a chatterbox as a kid when I had required reading in school, and now I am trying to make up for it. I love reading fantasy, sweet endings are not my "thing". I love it when there are struggles, intrigue, and surprises in a book that shake you to your core. If I fell into paranoia that all the characters were traitors, my rating would be 5 stars. In short, I love to read and if one day I find a way to make this my sole occupation and get paid for it :D, I will have stumbled into heaven.

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