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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

Many years have passed since three Teblor warriors brought carnage and chaos to the small lakeside settlement of Silver Lake. While the town has recovered, the legacy of that past horror remains, even if the Teblor tribes of the north no longer venture into the southlands. One of those three, Karsa Orlong, is now deemed to be a god, albeit an indifferent one. In truth, many new cults and religions have emerged across the Malazan world, including those who worship Coltaine, the Black-Winged God, and - popular among the Empire's soldiery - followers of the cult of Iskar Jarak, Guardian of the Dead.

A legion of Malazan marines is on the march towards Silver Lake, responding to intelligence that indicates the tribes beyond the border are stirring. The marines aren't quite sure what they're going to be facing, but, while the Malazan military has evolved and these are not the marines of old, one thing hasn't changed: they'll handle whatever comes at them. Or die trying.

Meanwhile, in the high mountains, where dwell the tribes of the Teblor, a new warleader has risen. Scarred by the deeds of Karsa Orlong, he intends to confront his god, even if he has to cut a bloody path through the Malazan Empire to do it. Higher in the mountains, a new threat has emerged, and now the Teblor are running out of time.

The long feared invasion is about to begin. And this time it won't be three simple warriors. This time thousands are poised to flood the lands of the south. And in their way, a single legion of Malazan marines....

It seems the past is about to revisit Silver Lake, and that is never a good thing....

©2021 Steven Erikson (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"A master of lost and forgotten epochs, a weaver of ancient epics." (salon.com)

"Erikson is an extraordinary writer...treat yourself." (Stephen R. Donaldson)

What listeners say about The God Is Not Willing

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Return to form...

This feels like a return to form for Erikson. I loved books 1 to 6 of the Malazan Book of the Fallen but found the slow pacing of the final four books to be very off putting. I unfortunately felt that this characterised his subsequent works as well.
This book is absolutely bang on in terms of balancing philosophical musing, comic relief (I'm looking at you Stillwater!) and action.
The character development was good and, what I particularly liked, was that the characters are similar to the previous books in general tone but each had their own personality. This was most obvious with the Marines - they have the same kind of comic banter but about different topics than the MBotF and it felt different in tone.
The narration was really very very good. There was good differentiation between the voices of different characters, great emotional emphasis in keeping with the plot content. My only niggle was in her pronunciation of the word Malazan. I always said it with a short second "a" but the narrator pronounced it as "Malaazan". But that really was quite a small thing when considering the overall performance.

3 people found this helpful

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superb

I loved it. Being a huge fan of all things Malazan, especially the heavies, sappers and marines, this book was a delight. So much better than The Forge of Darkness series. The narration was amazing. She has a 1000 voices, each one distinct and brings each character to life especially Stillwater (who is my new favourite). So give it a go.

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eardrum splitting at times

narrator was an issue for me unfortunately
had too keep turning it down and up🤦

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Maybe better than the MBotF

As per other reviews, a return in form by Erikson. After the crippled god I lost interest in other Malazan titles but this is brilliant with plenty of good references to the original series. Narration was the best I’ve heard to the point I’ve started looking for other titles read by Emma Gregory especially for a British listener due to the accent choices for certain characters. Can’t wait for the next instalment.

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Malazan is back

Steven Erikson never disappoints.
A different set of characters in a very familiar world. In typical Erikson fashion a slow bubbling build up with an explosive ending. I Will definitely keep investing in this series.

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Exceptional story, narration

Once again Master Erikson has woven an exceptionally good story and I eagerly await the next installment, the narration by Emma Gregory matches the brilliance of the story with a rich rendition of characters

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Highs and Lows

A welcome return to the Malazan empire. At times the tale seems rushed with too many scenes packed into the pages. May not be on par with any of the books of the fallen but overall an enjoyable read.

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Outstanding. The Performance and the Writing

A masterwork. Intricatly woven, fantastically planned out and such an ending. Rarely, does an author deliver so much. My greatest thanks, Steven Erikson

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  • Av
  • 14-09-21

Witness!

another hit from Erikson, was worried about the new narrator, but she was excellent also. This was exactly what I needed after finishing BOTF last year

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Keeping it together, Bree?

Mad props to Emma for the accents and Erikson is on another level compared to pretty much all other fantasy writers. Simply put, a brilliant book, brilliantly read.

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  • Mark
  • 03-08-21

Brilliant!

Steven Erikson is the master of this genre. Narration right up there with the best.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Leni
  • 25-10-21

I Am Not Willing...

... to read any more Tales of Witness after having finished this one.

I've read all 10 Malazan Book of the Fallen, but haven't enjoyed the Kharkanas ones nor Esslemonts spin-offs. I was hoping that Erikson, with "The God Is Not Willing", would make a return to a smaller scale, focus more on the soldiers and their interactions (which I feel is when Erikson is at its best).

The premise is fucking fantastic, which is why I was stoked going into this. Malazan marines hire a mercenary company that whopped them since, after said whopping, they're low on strength- and in the wild lands, savage tribes and peoples are forced into an invasion of the Malazan empire as the tundras melt.

That promises a lot of fascinating conflict and backstabbery, doesn't it?

Book strengths:
+ Fantastic narrator. Best part of the experience.
+ Sometimes, the inter-malazan chatter and the colorful cast reaches peak Erikson
+ The core story beats are compelling in theory

Book weaknesses:
- No tension or suspense
- Endlessly droll monologues and philosophizing are common
- 90% of all problems encountered are solved within a page with no effort
- Overly blunt messages, delivered without finesse or style
- Weirdly timed and specific sexual fixation

This book feels like a 23h long grandstanding monologue for Erikson to talk about how stupid humans are, how bad dumb people are, how we shouldn't ignore global warming and that thinking today will be the same tomorrow just because it always was so is a folly. The message isn't *wrong*, it's just delivered in such an inelegant manner that I couldn't help but roll my eyes whenever I felt the next "Man humans are so stupid because they willingly blind themselves to bad stuff" lesson was incoming.

That wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact it's all the book got. There's no sense of threat or emergency in this book. Every sticky situation, every potential danger or opponent is immediately eliminated by the SuperHuman Malazan Marines who apparently are godlike mages, godlike sappers, godlike empathic humans and generally are so perfect in all ways that I genuinely hoped some would die just so I could feel like the book had any stakes.


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  • Chris Purington
  • 12-08-21

another great Malazan epic

The narrator elevated this already great story into a 5.5 star work. High quality voices really breathed a lot of life into every moment. And as always Erikson delivers on top notch writing.

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  • andrew brown
  • 14-07-21

incredible

Fantastic book and narrator. I really loved Michael Page's narration of books 4-10 but I found myself really enjoying Emma Gregory's performance as well.

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  • Hjalmar
  • 06-07-21

I wish it was better,

Re-read the book of the fallen series instead.
Some of the dialog from the soldiers reach the good Eriksson peak, but everything else is just eh.

1 person found this helpful

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  • joff
  • 28-04-22

excellent narration

I don't review books but when a narrator is as good as Emma Gregory then it is always worth mentioning. fantastic narration hopefully she'll continue in future Malazan books!!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-01-22

Well worth the wait

I have been waiting for this for a long time. so worth it. Good to be back home with some Bridgeburners. Can't wait for the next one!!

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  • James Herndon
  • 01-12-21

An amazing continuation with an amazing narrator

This is probably as good a continuation of the Malazan world as one could hope for. I'm not here to talk about the book as much as the narrator. Emma Gregory is hands down the most talented audiobook narrator I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. Her unique voices are unmatched, and her emotional inflection is humbling. I'd be severely disappointed if the rest of the trilogy was not narrated by her. I finished this book some time ago and still think about what a stellar job Emma did.

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  • Private
  • 01-11-21

Amazing

A return to the deep character driven story weaving fans learned to love in the Book of the Fallen.