What is a long fantasy novel that is also good?

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Answered by: Mitchell, An Expert in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books Category
The trouble with finding a good fantasy novel is that there are so many out there that finding a good one is an exercise in frustration. Of course there are the ones that everybody knows. Lord of the Rings, and the Belgariad are almost required reading, however soon the fantasy fan wants to move on to a new world to explore.

I present to you a rare beast, Malazan: Book of the Fallen, one of the best series of novels that I have ever read. Arguably deeper than the Wheel of Time, it explores a background and history that is staggering in its immensity.

Malazan resonates strongly with such novels as ‘Chronicles of the Black Company’ in that it is not a story of darkest black fighting against purest white. It is a story about shades of grey, and its beautiful to behold.

Steven Erikson’s writing style is unique, and the prose took my breath away, all the while he put his knowledge of archeology and anthropology to work in creating a world that is both fantastic, and at the same time believable.

Malazan’s plot swings wildly from topic to topic, from two rebellions against empires, revenge, the acquisition of power and the more, and yet Erikson has managed to weave all the strands together into his overarching plot without trouble.

That said Malazan might not be for every fantasy fan. While the prose is beautiful, it can sometimes confuse some. However the biggest issue that the series has, to some at least, is the world building. Erikson’s education plays a huge role hear as hundreds of thousands of years of the rise and fall of empire are woven together, and we are not spoon fed information about the rise and fall of nations, or even the deeper mechanics for the intriguing magic system that Erikson has devised here.

However if readers can pass beyond the somewhat high barrier for entry, and study the clues in the righting, the rich history of the Malazan Empire and its wars, and more the fallen empires that came before, is like no other book I have read in the last decade.

Malazan: Book of the fallen, stretches over ten books, starting with ‘Gardens of the Moon’ and concluding with the tenth and last in the main storyline, ‘The Crippled God.’ There are however a number of other novels that have been written in this world, both from Steven Erikson himself, as well as his friend and co-creator of this world Ian Cameron Esslemont.

Malazan has been my default answer to the question from friends asking for long fantasy novels since I discovered it in late 2002, and even a decade later it still holds that magic that drew me in all those years ago. The combination of characters, tragedy, and heroism always manages to bring a smile to my face when I sit down to read.

If you’re looking for a long fantasy novel that will draw you in for months at a time, look no further than Malazan: Book of the fallen.

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