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Werthead

The Malazan Book of the Fallen Thread

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Hannibal, I did the same thing as you man. I read about 120 pages and was bored out of my skull. I then read that it takes till the mid 200's to actually get going. Soooo I ended up reading the rest of the book and it turned out pretty good.

 

I took a break from the books about a week and a half ago. Not because I wasnt enjoying them but because I wanted to read a few books that werent 1000+ pages :).

 

The next 2 books of the series Deadhouse Gates and Memories of Ice rank right up there with Martins AsOiAf and Jordans WoT series, for myself atleast.

 

I'll be starting A house of chains sometime this weekend and i'm sure it's going to be just as good.

 

Ne ways thats just my 2 cents

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Just finished Book 1.

 

Well, what can I say? It's a good book. True there's a little confusion in the start, but after that it gets better and in the end it was not a major problem.

 

I disliked A LOT the lots of super powered chars. Damn, that sucked. I don't mind some mages casting lightining strikes, fireballs here or there, killing some people and etc. But there's a limit and SE traspassed it..

 

Bout the chars, spoilers here watch out:

 

The moment Kruppe was introduce I thought 'I bet he is a extremely important and powerful man who is hiding under this aura of idiocy'... What a cliche! But an interesting char, anyway.

 

I liked Rake too, despite the fact of his super powers. A really tough god, isnt he? Hard as rock in delivering justice, but can show compassion when needed. Well, he was another cliche, but the type every good book must have.

 

From those Darujhistan guys I liked Nom and Murillio. The drunk noble and Crokus where really superficial, hope they never appear again. Nom I guess has yet a major role in the plot, and I'm looking forward to see what happens next with him.

 

From the Bridgeburners I liked Kalam and Quick Ben. I was not able to like Whiskeyjack. Dont know what, but something about him is really really boring. Maybe is his stupidity. 'Ah, they sent us to dig a tunnel under tons of snow and planned triggering a major magical battle just above our heads. But that doesnt mean they 're trying to get us killed'

 

Oh, c'mon! That was really stupid and made me hate Whiskeyjack!

 

Phew, that's it. Now I'll wait for my Deadhouse Gates to arrive. I ordered it with GotM and MoI at Amazon. The others two arrived together in the beggining of the month. But they keep postponing the delivery date of Deadhouse Gates. With some luck it will be delivered by the end of the year. :lol:

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The problem I had was that there was a huge gap between when I read GotM and DG, so all the little societies were swirled togther in my memory. I didn't enjoy DG as much as I could have--but luckily by book three, firm ground was beneath me once again.

 

and, mahn! good times were a comin'!

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Glad you liked it!

 

I disliked A LOT the lots of super powered chars. Damn, that sucked. I don't mind some mages casting lightining strikes, fireballs here or there, killing some people and etc. But there's a limit and SE traspassed it..

 

SE has been called on this. He says there's a complex power-balancing mechanism in his world which you see as the books progress. The whole Ascendence-thing is related to keeping a balance of power in the world between various character. Whilst lots of characters are super-powered, they are usually opposed by other super-powered characters which prevents the story becoming unbalanced (a bit like WoT in that respect).

 

I liked Rake too, despite the fact of his super powers. A really tough god, isnt he? Hard as rock in delivering justice, but can show compassion when needed. Well, he was another cliche, but the type every good book must have.

 

Everyone likes Rake. He is this series' version of Jack Bauer/Colonel Tigh/Chuck Norris. An absolute badass who has an interesting ethical stance. You learn much more about him in Book 3. He's not in every book though.

 

The drunk noble and Crokus where really superficial, hope they never appear again.

 

I feel you are in for disappointment :wink:

 

Nom I guess has yet a major role in the plot, and I'm looking forward to see what happens next with him.

 

No comment.

 

From the Bridgeburners I liked Kalam and Quick Ben. I was not able to like Whiskeyjack. Dont know what, but something about him is really really boring. Maybe is his stupidity. 'Ah, they sent us to dig a tunnel under tons of snow and planned triggering a major magical battle just above our heads. But that doesnt mean they 're trying to get us killed'

 

Liking Kalam and Quick Ben is kind of essential to liking the series, so that's good. The whole Siege of Pale thing is a lot more complex than it appears and is revisited in later books. Even as late as Book 6 we are still learning stuff that transpired there behind the scenes.

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I live in America and just finished Midnight Tides.

I am finding it near impossible to find a copy of The Bonehunters. I have been buying this series in the trade paperback binding, so Im looking for either that or a hardcover copy. Any suggestions on where to look online, or elswhere?

Any help would be appreciated.

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Bless you Werthead.

 

I'd been pondering picking up this series for some time, but finally did so in part because of your ringing endorsement. It is truly engrossing. Plans within plans within plans, some of which I got right, and others I missed ... with still others that the jury is out on ... exactly what I like. And everyone has a reason for behaving the way they do ... another big plus.

 

In short, I love it. Good call.

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I live in America and just finished Midnight Tides.

I am finding it near impossible to find a copy of The Bonehunters. I have been buying this series in the trade paperback binding' date=' so Im looking for either that or a hardcover copy. Any suggestions on where to look online, or elswhere?

Any help would be appreciated.[/quote']

 

The Bonehunters is not available yet in the USA. It will be published by Tor Books on 18 September 2007 with a spectacularly bad cover.

 

You can pick up the UK editions of both The Bonehunters and Reaper's Gale (not to mention Esslemont's first Malazan novel, Night of Knives) from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca, but these may not match your existing books if you've been buying the US editions so far.

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Well, I'm still reading the series. I did not quit. And Werthead, I must say that was a fair good advice you gave. The Malazan Book of the Fallen is really good stuff. I'm just finishing Deadhouse Gates (had some problems with mail delivery, it took 2 months more then predicted to receive my book lol). Anyway, it's much simpler to read then the first (because we are now familiar with the world, its functioning and the story lines), it has some major revelations, that Shadowthrone's stuff is pretty unpredictable, and it explores a lot more some nice characters. The bad part is that we don't have Rake in this book.

 

So, if you are struggling with book one, as we all did, keep going. Book 2 gets a lot better and people say that they keep getting better.

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Look forward to Book 3 then, as it's probably the best in the series and Rake's back. Unfortunately, he doesn't appear again in the present until Book 8, although he does appear in some flashbacks.

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Looks like 2008 with be the Year of Malaz.

 

The first volume in the series, Gardens of the Moon, will be re-released at the bargain price of £3.99 in March with a new foreword by the author. Gardens of the Moon will also appear in two new forms some time in the year, including a fully-illustrated limited edition (from Subterrenean Press, IIRC) and as a comic book adaption by Dabel Brothers (although the latter may slip into 2009).

 

Reaper's Gale (Book 7 in the series) also gets its first mass-market paperback release in April.

 

Book 8 in the series, Toll the Hounds, has had its former June release date restored. The book will be published in hardcover with a trade paperback release six months later, as opposed to the simultaneous hardback/tradeback release of the previous volumes. Steven Erikson will visit the UK to conduct interviews and do some book signings.

 

Meanwhile, Ian Cameron Esslemont's second Malazan novel, Return of the Crimson Guard, is published initially by PS Publishing as a limited edition in the spring, followed by a wider hardcover/tradeback release by Bantam in the UK in August.

 

Erikson is already a couple of months into writing the ninth and penultimate volume, Dust of Dreams, and may even be finished by the time Book 8 comes out.

 

Thanks to Pat's Fantasy Hotlist for the info!

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Erikson is already a couple of months into writing the ninth and penultimate volume, Dust of Dreams, and may even be finished by the time Book 8 comes out.

 

Stop the presses .... Dust of Dreams is the last one?  I though he was going for 10 volumes ....

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Erikson is already a couple of months into writing the ninth and penultimate volume, Dust of Dreams, and may even be finished by the time Book 8 comes out.
Stop the presses .... Dust of Dreams is the last one?  I though he was going for 10 volumes ....
Dust of Dreams is the penultimate book - penultimate meaning last but one. You can kick yourself now, Robert.

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I should probably preface my post by saying that I am not exactly new to the fantasy genre.  I have read the most obvious of authors, JRR, GRRM, Jordan, R.Scott, Erikson, Weis and Hickman, and others.  Saying that, I would have to say that Memories of Iceis one of the best books that I have read.

 

This book reminds me of why I was drawn into the fantasy genre.  Erikson writes in a way that inevitably draws the reader into the lives of the characters, and without you realizing it, developing an emotional relationship with those people.  I found the pacing of the book to be really well handled, along with the action sequences.  The last 200 pages were really something of a wonder, and the events that took place are something that will stay with me for some time to come.  In my mind, never has the price of war been shown to be so high as in those last scenes in Coral.

 

For anyone that might be thinking of reading this series, I highly recommend it.  Erikson takes you on a ride that never lets up.  And that is a very good thing. 

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I second that. I'm about 250-300 pages into Memories of Ice and it's fantastic so far. There's still a lot to be confused about, and a lot you don't know, but to me, it seems like the confusion has moved from "This is so confusing that I don't even care. This is boring", like it was to me at the beginning of Gardens of the Moon, to "It's still confusing, but in a good way". I now know enough about the series that I'm making predictions and guesses about what's happening and enjoying the mysteries as they come, as opposed to before.

 

The only problem with the book so far is that I CAN'T STOP READING. I've lost a lot of sleep the last couple of nights because of this book. Then again, that's what good books are supposed to do, so I'm not complaining... just tired. Hahaha.

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Erikson's UK touring schedule is now up:

 

Date Author Event Venue Time Contact No.

 

01/07/2008 Steven Erikson Talk and Signing at Waterstones York Waterstones (York), 28-29 Ousegate York 18:30 01904 628 740

 

02/07/2008 Steven Erikson Signing Waterstones (Nottingham), 1-5 Bridlesmith Gate Nottingham 00:30 0115 948 4499

 

02/07/2008 Steven Erikson Waterstones (Milton Keynes), 72 Midsummer Place Milton Keynes 18:30 01908 395384

 

05/07/2008 Steven Erikson Forbidden Planet Signing Forbidden Planet (Shaftesbury Ave), 179 Shaftesbury Avenue London 19:00 020 7620 0200

 

10/07/2008 Steven Erikson Heffers (Grafton Centre), 28B The Grafton Centre Cambridge CB1 1PS 18:30 01223 568573

 

I should be at the London signing and maybe the Cambridge one as well.

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I just picked up Gardens of the Moon a few days ago, and when reading the preface that the author had put in it (a recent preface, added sometime last year) he stated that he disliked the traditional concept of a slow buildup, but instead prefer's to just hit the ground running, and if you can stay on your feet, awesome, you'll see the series through. Apparently with his series, most of the quitter's don't make it past the first 1/3rd of Gardens. Thats the make or break point.

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My favorite book of the series so far was book 7 Reaper's Gale and it was just friggin' awesome. Quick Ben kicks some major butt, as always. Fiddler and his crew of Sappers make a lot of mincemeat out of all who dare get in their way, and Karsa Orlong is his loveable brutish, barbaric self, mutilating savagely with his massive stone sword all who oppose him.

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I just started Garden's of the Moon on the advice of people in this thread. Good stuff and I'm not even at that 200 page mark yet. Can't see why people would think it boring, you kind of get dropped into the story but it's not that bad. Though being from Canada my book came with a Prologue, not sure if others have one or not. It seems to imply in the book's preface that it's new. Another plus was that the books are dirt cheap, $6.99 CD, half the price of other similar books.

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The prologue with Paran and Whiskeyjack on the walls of Mock's Hold has always been there. The only bit that's new is the actual preface, where Erikson discusses his inspiration for the series.

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Found Gardens of the Moon in a corner shop in a small town in Lanzarote and loved it, im just finished deadhouse gates now. wow. most striking fantasy book ive read since i started WOT. I actually just used it as part of an argument on The scribes thread about the relevance of Fantasy to the modern world. Its just an incredible book. gotta save my monies so i can buy the rest...

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Just wait until you hit Book 5. The whole thing is an indictment of American economic policy.

 

My review of Book 8 is up, but be warned that since 8 follows on from 1 and 3, the review does discuss some spoilers from those books.

 

The non-spoilery bit:

 

Toll the Hounds takes us back to where the series began in Gardens of the Moon nine years ago, Darujhistan of the blue fires, and it is with a tremendous sense of nostalgia that reader is reunited with many favourite characters from that novel and Memories of Ice, not to mention a few more familiar faces as well (some of whom get spectacular entrances). This time around the novel is not as packed with dizzying revelations and huge battles as the previous three volumes in the series, but rather than take this opportunity to shave off a few hundred pages from the book, Erikson instead takes advantage of this to paint the city of Darujhistan in much greater depth and detail than any other city in the series, moving between numerous 'lesser' POVs among the common folk of the city and events both huge and mundane in their lives. As a result Toll the Hounds is much slower-paced than any other book in the series. To a certain extent this may invite the reader to groan, but Erikson compensates for the lack of incident with deeper characterisation and motivation than ever before.

 

Toll the Hounds is also the Malazan series' most thematically-developed and tightest novel, with notions of family, responsibility and the role of desire all coming in for examination. Unfortunately, Erikson hasn't lost or scaled back on his tendency to have ordinary commoners spouting out philosophical arguments like Proust, but this late in the day the average reader of this series will be prepared for it. To make up for this Toll the Hounds is the funniest book in the series by some margin and, oddly given his much greater presence in the prose style (Kruppe is recounting the narrative to two other characters, and most chapters in the book open and close with Kruppe's short commentary on the events), the divisive character of Kruppe is kept to the background and only comes to the fore in a few short, memorable scenes.

 

As usual, events build to a huge finale and whilst the scale of those events is not in the line of the vast battles in Reaper's Gale or Memories of Ice, the significance of these events is much greater, and the stakes are definitely raised higher as the final two volumes of the series approach. Excellent humour and some major deaths and some huge revelations make Toll the Hounds essential reading for fans of the series, and if Erikson fails to overcome his standard faults, at least he doesn't exasperate them or introduce new ones with one notable exception: the timeline, which has been very problematic on occasion, is completely shot to hell in this book with several characters appearing who are much older than they should be.

 

Toll the Hounds (****) is available now in the UK from Bantam Books. Tor will publish the US edition in September. Ian Cameron Esslemont's second Malazan novel, Return of the Crimson Guard, is published in August in the UK (no US date set as yet), and a review is forthcoming. The ninth novel in the series, Dust of Dreams, should be published in approximately one year's time.

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A couple of thoughts on Toll the Hounds. Firstly, Wert is right about the better characterisation in this volume. However, something to remember about this volume is that an awful lot of the plotlines have no real resolution or go anywhere. There is an obvious reason for this, though, when you learn that Esslemont plans a return to Darujhistan as his fourth book, after August's Return of the Crimson Guard and the forthcoming Stonewielder (due whenever he finishes it). So anyone frustrated at the lack of resolutions to those plotlines, rejoice! Much of this books is set up for a completely different author to finish in several years! It's not realy a major problem with the book (it will probably work better when the series' are complete) and I'd say it makes more sense to show what's going on with those characters whose stories go nowhere in this book as set up, rather than having to waste a lot of time in ICE's later book, or have fans wondering what's going on with favourite Darjhistan character X and asking why he/she/they was/were absent from TtH. Hopefully this should reduce the frustrations of those previously unaware of ICE's foray onto Genabackis who are disappointed at the incomplete nature of some storylines here.

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Just a note to let UK-based boarders (or those unable to wait and who want to order from Amazon.co.uk or The Book Depository) that Ian Cameron Esslemont's Return of the Crimson Guard is now available in the UK. Unlike his previous book, Night of Knives, which was a bonus side-story, RotCG is an integeral part of the whole Malazan saga, telling the story of what happened within the Malazan Empire following the events of The Bonehunters. Cool stuff.

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My take on the new Malazan book, Return of the Crimson Guard.

 

2008 is proving to be something of a bumper year for fans of the Malazan universe. Steven Erikson's eighth novel in the setting, Toll the Hounds, was published back in June and the first novel in the series, Gardens of the Moon, has seen two reprintings this year. The first was as a new, wallet-friendly budget edition from Bantam designed to entice new readers to the series, whilst Subterranean Press are about to release a new, limited edition beautifully illustrated by the mighty Michael Kormack. And to top it all off, Ian Cameron Esslemont, the co-creator of the Malazan world, has had his second novel published.

 

Return of the Crimson Guard starts shortly after the events of Erikson's sixth book, The Bonehunters. The Malazan Empire is in trouble. Whilst the Genabackan campaign has ended in peaceful negotiations with Anomander Rake's Tiste Andii and the remaining free cities, the Seven Cities theatre has turned into a bloodbath. The rebellion known as the Whirlwind has been crushed only at a truly staggering cost, whilst the subcontinent has been devastated by plague. The two most disgraced officers of that campaign, Mallick Rel and Korbolo Dom, have somehow come up smelling of roses and risen to high office within the Empire. They have turned the blame for that campaign on the Wickans, and now Malazan settlers desperate for new land are embarking on a pogrom of the Wickan homelands. Elsewhere, the near-annihilation of the elite imperial assassin-mages, the Claw, in the battle for Malaz City has seen Empress Laseen's position weakened and long-quiescent nationalist movements across Quon Tali, the Empire's heartland, have awoken with a passion. The 'old guard' who believe that Laseen betrayed the first Emperor, Kellenvad, have joined forces with the Talian League on a mission to pull Laseen down.

 

Whilst the Malazan Empire braces itself for its first major civil war, its enemies prepare to move against it. A century ago, when the Malazans overran the Duchy of Avore, its leader, K'azz D'avore, swore a vow not to rest, not even to die, until the Empire was destroyed. Thus was born the Crimson Guard, the most elite fighting force in the world who have opposed the Malazans on multiple fronts. Now the Guard are regrouping in Stratem with one goal: to strike at the Empire in its moment of weakness and utterly destroy it.

 

Whilst Erikson's novels have concentrated mostly on the Empire's foreign theatres and events in distant lands, Esslemont has clearly made it his job to examine the Empire itself. Night of Knives was the story of a tumultuous single night in the history of the Empire, whilst Return of the Crimson Guard shows the consequences of some of the events in Erikson's books on the Empire's heartland. Whilst Night of Knives was a bonus or add-on story, Return of the Crimson Guards is a much more important, integral part of the overall Malazan story. Characters only briefly seen or alluded to in Erikson's books are on centre stage here. Major, earth-shattering events take place which will have a major fall-out on future Malazan books. There's even a running gag from Erikson's books (involving a bunch of arrogant Tiste Liosan) which gets revisited here.

 

Quality-wise, Return is a major improvement over Knives. The events are much bigger, with multiple storylines, each quite complex on its own, building to a huge convergence on the Seti Plains for the conclusion which doesn't disappoint: the biggest battle in the entire series to date, which considering the likes of the Chain of Dogs or the Siege of Capustan in Memories of Ice, is really saying something. The story is told by a large number of POV characters, including a young Crimson Guard recruit, the unwilling figurehead of the Talian League and multiple League and Malazan soldiers and mages. Shockingly, a lot of these characters talk like people actually would talk, rather than engaging in Proust-style discourses on the metaphysical nature of truth or something at random moments (one of Erikson's key flaws). Esslemont also has a much clearer writing style that Erikson and doesn't get bogged down as much in pointless naval-gazing semantics (as a result the book is easily 300 pages shorter than if Erikson had written it), although on the flipside his writing doesn't quite reach the heights of Erikson when he is on-form. Esslemont also has a great sense of humour going on here, with the increasingly bad luck of the Chief Factor of Cawn and the Untan citizenry's reaction to the news they are being 'liberated' being notable comic high points. The traditional Malazan problem of enigmatic figures turning up, making dire pronouncements and then vanish, only to be explained three books down the line, continues to irritate, however.

 

Return of the Crimson Guard (****) is a breathlessly enjoyable novel, featuring a relentless, driving pace the Malazan series has not enjoyed since Memories of Ice. It is certainly not flawless, but I found it to be the best overall Malazan novel since Midnight Tides. The book is available in hardcover and trade paperback in the UK. It does not have a US publisher at the moment, but is available from The Book Depository with free international shipping, or as an import via Amazon.com. A two-volume limited edition is also available from PS Publishing.

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