Esslemont's Return of the Crimson Guard (Spoilers)

Koopa

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I jusr read the book (it takes a while for it to come out in paperback in belgium). I enjoyed it. Overall plot, settings, battles and so on.
I do have a few critiques though:
1) I miss erikson's humour.

2)The disruption that basically ended the battle between the Crimson Guard and the Malazans was a bit farfetched, nor did it make much sense. (the ship with the mages)

3) I disliked how he seemed to go out of his way to find death/removal of the Old guard at the end. What 'galled' me most was how tayschren was suddenly drawn in, and the way Laseen died. She deserved better. No doubt this misguided daughter has some skill, and no doubt Laseen was a bit tired fighting those avowed, but come on this is Laseen we are talking about. I just don't see her beeing caught off guard as easily as that. It felt like a rip off. (And in hindsight she really got a bad treatment from her former companions betraying her like that for no good reason at all).

4) The Tayliin sole remaining descendant, we get pages and pages from her viewpoint, and all she does is run and seduce Choss. What was the point of it all?

your thoughts? oh, why did ereko have to die though. So Kallor made that vow, nothing come off it really in the end.
 

nj1

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I read it a while back and really enjoyed it, I think everyone agrees that Esslemont isn't up to Erikson's standard but he's getting better.
Although the 'marine' humour was missing, the recruits made a good show of it and the 'old guard' were good with a nice insight into Daseem's sword and betrayal.
I too thought the Laseen ending was a bit weak, but there's more to that story IMO, it's possibly a set-up like what happened to Dassem or Kellenved etc and she'll maybe pop up somewhere. Over on the Malazan Empire fan site there was talk that maybe she's ascended and will become Queen of High House Shadow (imagine her and Shadowthrone working together )
Same for Tayschren, I doubt we've seen the last of a mage who can hold his own against Anomander Rake.

I too got bored quickly with the Tayliin story line, I bet she'll be in the next book (I may be wrong but I think it'll be about the StormWall)

I think the Ereko death was more to do with showing how good Dassem is as a swordsman. Not many could take down Kallor easily.

Anyway, if you're looking for more disscussions on Erikson/Esslemont work, try Malazan Empire
 

adaephon

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hmmm lot of food for thought there lads, i agree woth some of the feelings but not necessarily the points made, it was a while back i read it and its late now (4am) but i thought that ice surpassed s.e in some ways not all though id stil rate s.e top of my current list of authors, ANYWAY TO THE MEAT!


i think lasseen was caught of gaurd, absolutely drained, u must remember these were the creme de la creme that she had been fighting, and she had been doing it a lot more than just the fights that we seen, she had been stalking and taking out units for a while, the battle was just the climax, i have no doubt that this is NOT the end of her, but i think that having felt the relief of topper appearing and taking on her assailant, cowl ( who was equal only to herself.. perhaps and cotillion) she let her gaurd down, and hadnt the reaction to deal with the shock of wwho next assailed her, a second is an eternity when dealing with agents of their ilk my friends
 

nixie

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Finished this yesterday... I also missed Erikson's humour but there is still humour there, but not the laugh out loud tears streaming down cheeks like Erikson.Nice to see more of Laseen pity she was killed off, I was getting to like her. Mallick Rell as the new emperor doesn't sit well with me.
 

emburmak

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Nice to see more of Laseen pity she was killed off, I was getting to like her. Mallick Rell as the new emperor doesn't sit well with me.
It was a good read, but Laseen's death and the Mage battle looked too contrived to me. More like the author wanted to finish it too quickly. Also Mallick Rell becoming emperro smacked of the same thing. When in such empires does a politician win over a soldier who has a military power base?? In modern times yes, but in those far off times?? I don't think so!
 

Lenny

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Here's a warning for possible spoilers if you've not read all of Erikson's books (barring Dust of Dreams).

It's been a while since I last delved into Malazan, but I can remember there being quite a bit before the events in RotCG that set Mallick up for Emperor - since DG, he's been quite a high-up official and although he spent some time in the bad books after DG, he became more and more involved in the running of the Empire, until such a point that he was ordering people around and making some of the big decisions (which I think was in RotCG).

The conspiracy theories are that Lasseen had everything planned (and even that it's all part of Kellanved's original plans) - Korbolo Dom (sp?) becoming an outlaw and joining the Desert Goddesses army, the Wiccan genocide, the uprising of Malaz City (was it Malaz?) and the eventual "outlawing" of the Bonehunters, the trouble with Mallick Rell and even her own death. It certainly puts a new light on everything, and really does make you wonder - with such a focus on Ascension in Erikson's series, it makes sense for Lasseen to plan her death as Kellanved and Dancer did. Even if she didn't ascend and instead went to Hood's Realm, she can still do things worth dying for - Hood is gone, the armies of the Dead have risen and Anomander Rake's sword has been destroyed.

Whilst Esslemont may have taken over Lasseen's story arc (and most of the Empire, I think), I wouldn't be surprised to see a number of threads tied up in Erikson's final book of his series.

Just my thoughts.
 

nixie

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Whilst Esslemont may have taken over Lasseen's story arc (and most of the Empire, I think), I wouldn't be surprised to see a number of threads tied up in Erikson's final book of his series.

Just my thoughts.

You been reading my mind, Lenny?:eek:
 

Lenny

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You know what they say about great minds... well, we can dream. ;)

Lasseen is one of the key characters in the series. She was with Kellanved and Dancer from the start (or near enough), took over from them on the Night of the Knives and seems to have everything planned. If it was revealed that on the night K&D ascended, the three of them made long-term plans to control the warrens, it wouldn't come as a shock. Considering all that is happening in the Realm of Shadow (the three chained dragons, Dancer's enquiries of Edgewalker), and indeed everything that has happening in the other Realms (particularly Hoods, though whether that was simply on behalf of Rake is to be seen)... well, if my local bookies took bets on plot points for upcoming books, I'd happily put a fiver on the three of them taking control of at least two Realms.

It's assumed that with the outlawing of the Bonehunters, Lasseen put another plan in motion (can't remember what, but I do remember Tavore musing about it. She's still the Adjunct, after all). We also know that Shadow has taken an interest in that general continent (Lether, Bluerose, Kolanse - don't think it's got a name, has it?), as have a few other noteworthy powers.

That's my reasoning (don't know how similar to yours it is). So although Erikson has moved away from the 'traditional' continents of the Empire (Genabackis, Quon Tali, and the one that Seven Cities is part of), I can see the big players, even though they are usually resident in what is now Esslemont's territory, making cameo appearances in The Crippled God, if not being part of the final conclusion.

I fear I've hijacked this thread... fancy taking it to another thread, nix, in which we can discuss our thoughts on what will be in the final book without fear of retribution?
 

El Dirko

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I disliked Knight of the Knives so much, that I did not even buy this one.

Has he really improved? I thought his style was more suited to a non-fiction book than a fiction one, as it just didn't flow. Also, I missed the humour.

Best wishes,
Dirk
 

Lenny

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He has improved, yes - it's a much longer book and the action is spread over a far longer period of time and a larger area. There's not much humour, but you will find some.

NoK is a strange one, in terms of Malazan - we're all used to hefty tomes that follow about a hundred characters hundreds of miles over a period of months. I enjoyed it, but I can see why the handful of characters in the evening the is NoK might put some people off.

I'd recommend reading RotCG (maybe not buying it - get it from the library if you're not totally sure about Esslemont) simply because if you don't, you'll miss out not only on the backstory and Universe, but because you miss out on arguably one of the biggest events in the overall story so far.

Give Esslemont a chance - 300 pages isn't much for anyone to show off on their debut, and when it's their first in such a hard Universe (covering a pivotal event, too), you shouldn't really expect fantastic things. Saying that, I did enjoy it immensely. :p

The long and short of it - read RotCG, or you'll be missing out. Malazan isn't a one-horse story, but rather a Universe imagined by two minds, so by shunning one of the writers you'll effectively miss out on half the story (and with the Esslemont's draw of the straws, it's not something you'll want to do - the night of Kellanved and Dancer's Ascension, the Crimson Guard, Koreli, Darujhistan, something else and, finally, Assail!).
 

Valko

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I gave up on this book. No where near a good as Night of Knives. I won't be purchasing any more of Esslemont's installments.
There's absolutely no flow to his writing & the book jumps around all over the place
 

Clansman

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I just finished this book, and I am not as harsh in my criticism as Valko is. I think Esslemont's big problem is the one that confronted Erikson: the characters change from book to book, and the reader is starting from scratch (Midnight Tides is a perfect example of this issue). This has plagued, in my view, Erikson's work, and it is hitting Esselmont with this one, though we do get to see some of the characters from Night of Knives.

Also, Esselmont's structure in RotCG is strange: great big giant chapters of 70 pages or more that deal with all the different characters. His reason for this seems clear, in that he is maintaining a timeline with all of the disparate characters that this book uses to tell its story. Each chapter pulls all of the characters along, separating their storylines only by typing " * * *" to break the flow.

I think that Esselmont could have made this book more intelligible by making a lot more shorter chapters, or doing what are called chapter sets. A chapter set is where the author writes one large chapter, followed by a few shorter "a, b and c" chapters. It is a very effective means of keeping the timelines flowing for the different characters without smushing them all together the way that Esselmont has. Janny Wurts uses the chapter set method with a great deal of success.

As for the content, it is a compelling story, especially in the last half of the book, which is really a running battle for several hundred pages.

The entire Malazan concept is one deserving of greater structure, and that has always been my complaint since I read GotM. Don't get me wrong, I really like this series, but the execution of this brilliant idea was somewhat lacking on both the part of Erikson and Esselmont.
 
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