Sure. Malazan is a series of books that follows the downfall of the titular Malazan empire. I’ve been sitting here for a few minutes on how to describe it further. It is mostly told via the point of view of soldiers of the empire, but is always told through both sides of the same conflict. And this is where it can be hard to recommend, the book does contain multiple points of view per book, the first book has over 20, and while chapters only tend to have a few characters, there is no announcement of who’s pov you are following, just a line break. Secondly, its one of the most In Media Res book I’ve read, it drops you into the world with near no explanation. This is a world with characters who have histories longer than 300,000 years, and Erikson, the author, is an archaeologist and anthropologist, and it shows in the world itself. Finally, and probably most importantly, Heavy content warning for everything. The series has been called grimdark, and is often violent. Many bad things happen on screen.
That being all said its one of my favorite series of all time. It is fundamentally a call for compassion and empathy even in times of strife and war. Erikson is also a great writer with great prose, although his writing quality increases dramatically from book 1 to book 2. He is constantly challenging fantasy genre tropes and plays with them masterfully. Here’s where I just steal the themes section from wikipedia:
Erikson has stated that apart from examining the “human condition”, all his literary work share “compassion” as a theme, or main driving force. Furthermore, when envisioning the Malazan world, both Esslemont(co-creater) and he agreed to create societies and cultures that never knew sexism and gender based hierarchies of power.
Other themes include social inequality, egalitarianism, death, life, history, historical accuracy .
I fully recommend them with the warnings above.
Edit: after listening to the kingdom hearts podcast, one of my favorite things about this series is how it plays against the traditional light good/dark bad trope, and how great the representation is.