I’m now on the last 100 pages of “This River Awakens” and my impression from the first pages was confirmed and reinforced: it’s a masterpiece. I’m wondering if the new version coming in January could be any better or if the changes aren’t modifying stuff that I loved (my suspicion is about removing a 1st person PoV, which I believe works great in the way it was handled). But obviously Erikson should follow his own mind whether or not I “approve”.

But what I wanted to say is about the choice of what book to read. This one specifically is a kind of book that wouldn’t normally have any hope of getting my attention. Within the fantasy genre, being a genre, things are organized and somewhat easier to parse. Only an handful of big debuts during the year, and another handful of blogs and forums where you can easily form an idea of the “scene”, and what book or author deserves your attention.

Outside the “genre” it’s really hard to FIND your book. I always imagine that there are THOUSANDS of books out there that I would absolutely love, but I have no chance of “reaching” them. It’s not a problem of not being immortal and not having enough time, it’s just that you don’t have ways to make your choices. You sample here and there at random, then stick to your genre like a funnel.

“This River Awakens” is specifically one kind of book that I would have no hope to read, if it wasn’t because its fantasy author wrote my favorite fantasy series and SO got that much attention from me to push me to get one of his books outside that specific area of interest. I had no hope to meet Steve Lundin, the author of “This River Awakens”, and it saddens me to realize that this book can’t find its way out on its own. A book like this too easily gets lost in that undistinguished ocean of “mainstream” literature. How can you get your bearings there? It’s impossible.

I guess I’ll try to write a review, but I obviously won’t accomplish anything with it (maybe I’ll trigger the opposite reaction if I end up praising it too much). I’d hope that at least Erikson’s fans will get this book, because it’s GREAT, and in no way a minor, negligible work compared to the masterwork that is the Malazan series. In fact if you ask me right now I’d tell you that it’s THIS book everyone should read, Malazan is optional. But what are the hopes for this book to reach its public? In a genre, the genre itself makes that shared “hook” that leads you to the most interesting works, but outside it, and without the ruthlessness of, say, Bakker (where his ideas can give it its power and unique space), a masterpiece like this is simply doomed to be overlooked and forgotten. Even if a reader like me points it out in forums and blogs and begs people to read it. It’s one of those stories that wants to be listened, but there’s no one around to receive them. Oh, it pains me so much.

If you are a Malazan fan then read this book because you’re going to love it. If instead you are among those who tried to begin reading Malazan because someone recommended it to you and you still didn’t like it at all, stop right there, don’t force your way through and READ THIS BOOK first. “This River Awakens” will tell you whether or not to spend another precious minute reading the Malazan series.

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