Same world as Erikson's, the Malazan empire/world. Esslemont proves with this book that he can keep up with his friend/co-author. In a way he is even better at writing, it's more fluid, better structured, more agreable a read but the counterpart is that it's slightly less deep, complicated and thus surprising.
Here as well the deus ex machina are aplenty, a bit too much even, a bit too easy to solve some situations, oh I'm done with this character here instead of letting him go I'll teleport him at the other side of the world for that big battle here. No point really, the inability to let go is annoying. But the book is a good read, very enjoyable and aside of a few characters whose names are too much alike "coots, cowl, cools, etc..." you really get to like some characters (or dislike some others). However like Erikson's the characters tend to not change course during their adventures. They are Tools. But the malazan books have never been character centered, hero centered maybe but not characters.
I'm actually looking more forward to the next book by Esslemont than by Erikson right now, for some reason I still believe he can surprise the reader even if I don't think he'll be able to reach as deep emotionaly as Erikson already did. I also enjoyed the return to the more gritty warfare of the first books, some répétitions in the battles but overall quite a nice read.
"- I blame the drink, sir.
- You wouldn't have any of it left, would you?
- Used it to poison the enemy, sir
- And a sad waste it was too
- The bottle got a promotion out of it though, sir"