Malazan book of the Fallen
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Has anyone read this series? I am currently on Midnight Tides and Memories of Ice was one of my favorite books. I was wondering what i can expect from the remainder of the series?
Hey, Mark! Are you following along with the Tor.com reread? I've read the first four books three times, am currently reading the fifth for a third time via the reread, I've read the sixth book twice, and the rest once. My favorite is Deadhouse Gates by a country mile, but Memories of Ice is right up there too.
Midnight Tides takes some getting used to the first time through, but is integral to the rest of the series. If you're concerned that the series is moving away from the first 3 books or so, well, it kind of is. A lot of fans see the first 3-4 books as setup, while the fifth introduces the final ingredient for the full-series arc, and the sixth ties them all together before beginning the final stretch. While I (personally) prefer the earlier books by themselves, the rest of the series is still definitely worth reading.
If you haven't heard about Ian C. Esslemont's companion series, you should definitely check it out, as his books fill in some of the gaps in Erikson's series. Here's a full list of all the Malazan stories in publication order, which is generally held to be the recommended reading order.
If you have questions about the series, there's the Tor.com reread I linked above, a Malazan group here on LT (pretty inactive, though, I think), and the official Malazan forums.
I might be curious about this series, but I have to know one thing first: does it have any halfway sympathetic female characters in it, to provide a counterbalance to the Evil Empress?
I actually hadn't seen the re-read but thanks for letting me know, I will have to check it out!
I was reading the erickson QA from house of chains and I had to stop as I felt the questions were leading in to spoilers for the remainder of the series. But i do appreciate that I finally know how to pronounce the names of the races correctly.
#4 - It's not really an "evil empire" sort of series. The empress's motives aren't always clear, considering she's mostly an offscreen presence for most of the series, but as the pieces fall together to fill in details of her rise to power, the picture has a lot more layers than it at first seems. In the grand scope of things, the Malazans are as often painted as the *good guys* as not.
Regarding other female characters, the cast is absolutely massive. The number of major female players varies from book to book (and I do think there are probably more male viewpoint character than female), but there are plenty of them, and they're just as much of a mixed bag of sympathetic & not as the men.
There are very few clearly 'evil' folks in the series, at least so far. I'm only up through Memories of Ice though. And as Niko says, so many layers we don't know about what is REALLY going on, it is hard to figure out why many things are happening, and who is really pulling the strings.
>10 "we don't know about what is REALLY going on, it is hard to figure out why many things are happening" ... That's a telling point, and the one I sort of worry about. I've every intention of giving this series a second chance and reading all ten volumes this time, but wow, something like three thousand pages into it and you're still not sure what's up? That's kind of intimidating.
On the other hand - I'm currently reading Glen Cook's The Black Company where it seems like the protagonists are never really sure what's happening and whether they're the "good guys" or the "bad guys", and I'm enjoying that.
#11 yes, the Malazans, esp the Bridgeburners, are very much like the Black Company. They're never sure why or how they are being used, so the only choice they have is to be true and honest to themselves.
What with the religious element in Malazan, it's what really messes things up. The 'gods' or those raised to near godhood, or tossed out of godhood have influence and you never know!
@ 11: It's not like you can't usually follow what's going on. Most books feature 2-3 major plotlines that are largely straightforward, plotwise. Yes, there are forces at work in the background whose plans you won't be able to figure out, yes there are powerful/important characters whose motivations are inscrutable, and yes, there will be large chunks of the world's history and its workings that are complete mysteries. But that just mirrors real life. Not knowing Empress Laseen's plans, for instance, doesn't take away from enjoying Coltaine's march in Deadhouse Gates, y'know?
Ah, that's okay then. A good fantasy book/series needs some mystery to it. I thought it was meant more in the sense of how it feels reading GotM, which really plunks you into the middle of things and explains nothing. Last time I quit before DHG. I would hope that by the end of the third book when I try again, I won't feel the same degree of lost.
Yeah, by the end of the third book you should have a pretty solid grasp of most of the key elements of the series, though you'll never get a full understanding of most of them. But Erikson does like to keep you on your toes, so expect later books (or parts of them) to give you the same fish-out-of-water experience that GotM did before slowly revealing how they relate to the rest of the series as a whole.
The two mantras to live by are "Trust in SE" and "The timeline is not important". :)
Finished my second read of Gardens of the Moon and I feel like I'm pretty much on top of things. It was a lot clearer this time, thanks to reading more slowly and not just breezing though it. While the language isn't difficult, the sheer density of the plot and action requires care. Definitely continuing to the next book, and probably the rest of the series. Not sure whether I'll get into the Esslemont books or not since they don't sound essential, just nice add-ons.
Erikson's 10-book series really does stand on its own, without requiring Esslemont's series or Erikson's own forthcoming "prequel" and "sequel" trilogies to fully enjoy it.
Without spoiling anything, I'll say that after the first 3-4 books or so, the focus of The Book of the Fallen shifts away from the Malazan Empire proper (while still focusing heavily on Malazans) leaving Esslemont's series to deal with, among other things, a lot of the "meanwhile, back in the Empire" stuff.
If you fall in love with the Malazan world, you'll want to read Esslemont's books anyway just to get more of it, but there's no rush.
I'm reading Gardens of the Moon for the first time. I'm not quite 200 pages in and find it frustrating so far. Just when I really get interested in the characters and what's going on the section ends and I start all over again with new characters and a seemingly unrelated plot. Gah!! :) I know (hope) it will tie together and I just need to keep reading.
I will admit it was a little intimidating to have that large cast of characters listed right at the beginning of the book.
Darujhistan introduces a slew of new faces, but that's the last "big" deluge. Soon after that, it starts increasingly focussing on action that's moving thick and fast with the characters you already know. That said, while the flow decreases, new ones will never entirely stop being introduced and you can't afford to ignore any of the seeming "aside" mentions of anyplace, anyone or anything.
On my first read, towards the end I thought a few things were coming out of no where and the ending was just too much of one thing trumping another - so if you wind up with that impression, I'll know where you're coming from.
On my second read, remembering a little of what was coming, I caught all (maybe I should cover myself and say most) of the foreshadowing and casual mentions that later turned into things of significance. All of the markers are there for what's coming, but they're very easy to miss. Unless you're looking for them, and then they appear obvious and you wonder how you missed them before. It's kinda weird that way.
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