As usual getting in an Erikson's book is hard for me, the first 300-400 pages I don't get what happens exactly or who is who. I recognise some characters of course just not all of them. Thank god the book is 1200 pages long so I still have time to enjoy it. I have to say that this one is one of my favorite. Not for the story which is maybe a bit less good and has many slow/useless moments (really the Trygalle guild and Gruntle's story is useless and most of Nimander's journey looks like a filler or a side quest in an rpg) but mostly for the characters who this time have much more substance. Not all of them still and most will keep their line of conduct but there are enough shaddy characters for things to be satisfying. Also the authour finally touches a bit more at the philosophy of life, the uselessness of things which is good in such an epic book with events that touches so many at the same time.
The least good however for me was the "lyrical" attempts, the moment when the author tries to address the reader ("let's leave them at that shall we") or provides a short overview of several persons in a short burst that looks artificial. There was no need to make it look like an eye flying over the city, it's not attached to any character and look very cheesy. On the other hand I won't complain about the Deus ex machina principle that is used and overused (smartly) by Erikson, it could as well be the central axis of the book, the gods meddling. But it's still maybe too manichean, even if everyone does things for himself and has an hidden agenda in the end you find two sides and one winner. Now the good thing is that we never know the cost to reach that point and that's was an enjoyable read.
"When it is all one can do to simply hold on, then to suffer is to weather a deluge no god can ease"