Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson (A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 5)

10/10 Never have I been left in such awe by an author's imagination. advises printing and using the following pages for reference when reading Midnight Tides. The dramatis personae and glossary are featured at the beginning and end of the book respectively and are very helpful.

Midnight Tides - GLOSSARY

After decades of internecine warfare, the tribes of the Tiste Edur have at last united under the Warlock King. There is peace – but it has been exacted at a terrible price: a pact made with a hidden power whose motives are at best suspect, at worst deadly.

To the south, the rapacious kingdom of Lether, eager to fulfil its long-prophesied role as an empire reborn, has enslaved its less-civilised neighbours. All, that is, save the Tiste Edur. Destiny has decreed that they too must fall. And yet the impending struggle between these two peoples is but a pale reflection of a more primal conflict. Ancient forces are gathering, and with them rides the still-raw wound of an old betrayal and a craving for revenge…

The main threads that sustains a link throughout almost a thousand pages is the lives of the three brothers Beddict and the lives of the three brothers Sengar, siblings from different races whose destinies will be unearthed in the war that awaits them all. Midnight Tides tells us the history of these two races, the Tiste Edur and the Letherii. The Tiste Edur has made appearances in the earlier books but the Letherii are new to the story. The story itself covers the months leading to Edur/Letherii war and Erikson seems to be getting more linear as the series goes along – Midnight Tides switching between only two, sometimes three, storylines. The narrative is still intricate and often complicated but, once again, Erikson weaves an epic tale of gods, mortals, swords and sorcery in his own unique style. At heart Erikson’s book’s are founded on solid fantasy structure; a multitude of characters, many divergent races, magical artefacts, quests for magical artefacts… but he has taken the genre to a another level with his rich and multifarious narrative and an imagination that reaches farther and encompasses more intricate concepts than any other living fantasy writer.

The Drownings were more than public spectacle; they were the primary event amongst a host of activities upon which fortunes were gambled every day in Letheras. Since few criminals ever managed to make it across the canal with their burden, distance and number of strokes provided the measure for wagering bets. As did Risings, Flailings, Flounderings and Vanishings.

From: Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson

The characters and the races are superlative, one of the main reasons that Erikson’s work reads so fresh is that he hasn’t taken humans, orcs, dwarves and elves and simply re-written Tolkien as many have, he has created his own world with races that are completely original. The Tiste Andii are my personal favourite race, noble and haunted. Tehol and Bugg are magnificent characters, they breathe a massive amount of humour into the book and are loveable at the same time. The quality of the cast of characters is uniformly excellent as they all described in minute and vibrant detail.

Once again written in the third person, Erikson uses this narrative to allow the reader to experience his epic tale from multiple perspectives. The steaming metropolis that is Lether and the isolated villages of the Edur are still fresh in my memory and this is where Erikson’s main strength shows forth - detail, and attention to it – not since Stephen Donaldson gave us the Land has a setting been described with so much care and love.

The wave struck. First the killing field, and the ground seemed to explode, churning, as if a multitude of miner’s picks had struck the earth, deep, tearing loose huge chunks that were flung high into the air. Dust and flames, the clash of split bones ripping the flat expanse, a sound like hail on sheets of iron. Onward, onto the slopes of the ramparts.

From: Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson

Midnight Tides has been the most enjoyable read for me so far in the series. This is probably not due to it being better written or more exciting but because I am now firmly under the Erikson spell, I have the history laid down in the first four books still fresh in my mind and have become accustomed to the Erikson style of narrative. Midnight Tides is a wonderful book, they all are, never have I been left in such awe by an author's imagination.

Review by

6 positive reader review(s) for Midnight Tides

158 positive reader review(s) in total for the A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series

Our interview with Steven Erikson

Steven Erikson's ongoing fantasy series, the Malazan Book of the Fallen has brought new life and originality into the fantasy genre. Steven Erikson kindly spoke to Fantasy Book Review in September 2009, shortly after the [...]

Read interview


Steven Erikson's A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series

Gardens Of The Moon

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 1

Deadhouse Gates

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 2

Memories of Ice

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 3

House Of Chains

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 4

Midnight Tides

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 5

The Bonehunters

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 6

Reaper's Gale

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 7

Toll the Hounds

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 8

Dust of Dreams

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 9

The Crippled God

A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Book 10

Midnight Tides reader reviews

from UK

Brilliant. Great setting, decent characters, great humour and a breathtaking ending. This book has everything I expect from a fantasy book.

from India

One of my favourite Malazan books. It's a welcome break from the usual military stuff that Malazan stresses heavily on, not to mention it's the most focused book in the series with only 6 or 7 main povs. It's somewhat less action packed than the other books in the series, but both the Edur and Letherii cultures were so immersive that the lack of action hardly bothered me.

from France

After 4 books spent in the incredible Malazanverse, Erikson is still trying new things. And again... succeeding in somehow unexpected ways. This book tells a slower, more level-headed story of an unfolding imperialism and the imprending clash of cultures and wills that will come out of it. Brilliant pensive viewpoint characters again (Udinaas and Trull, Tehol and Brys... and the wonderful Seren Pedac!), great humor like nothing we had previously in the MBOTF, plus an exquisitely formed plot (relying heavily on suggestion and the reader's ability to connect the dots, thanks for your trust, Steven!), and surprises, twists and heart-breaking moments... what else could we want?

from Croatia

Just finished reading book..... only I can say is AMAZING!!! Best book so far in the series...

from UK

Favourite author ever. The books just keep getting better and better! The characters are believable, tragic and funny. Amazing!

from Utah

Veering away from the rest of the world of the Malazan Empire for a bit, Midnight Tides is a refreshing break from the mainstream military fantasy of the other books. It tells the story of one of the minor characters from the previous book and is one of the most engaging reads I've had in a long time. Also, this novel features some of my favorite characters yet, especially Tehol and Bugg and their interesting master to servant relationship. Overall, one of the best books I've ever read.

9.9/10 from 7 reviews

Write a reader review

Your rating out of 10

More reviews of Steven Erikson books

Books you may also enjoy

Boy's Life

Robert McCammon

Age of Empyre

Michael J Sullivan

The Stone Sky

NK Jemisin

The Kingdom Of Gods

NK Jemisin

The Shadow of the Gods

John Gwynne

Gideon the Ninth

Tamsyn Muir

Duncton Wood

William Horwood

A Game Of Thrones

George RR Martin

Following reviews

Mister Monday

Garth Nix

American Gods

Neil Gaiman


Neil Gaiman

Grim Tuesday

Garth Nix

Drowned Wednesday

Garth Nix

Night Child

Jes Battis

Artemis Fowl

Eoin Colfer

Sir Thursday

Garth Nix