Help me read these books!

Conor

Time for beer
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Hi Lenny and Bugg!

I wouldn't say that I am not enjoying the books, just having trouble with the feeling like I am the only (or one of the only) guys in the room who doesn't get what's going on, or I could say "Doesn't get the joke" but they certainly are no jokes.
I do take much of the responsibility too as I work 6 days most of the time and with a health condition plus a house to deal with I admit I am quite tired often...

I did actually look for MoI at the used bookstore I normally get my books from but it wasn't there :(
After some encouragement from you blokes, I will definitely pick it up when I do find it.

I do love rereads, I did reread Game of Thrones, and as I mentioned earlier the Rigante series and five of the Drenai series and a few others from David Gemmell.
I look at it like seeing Lord of the Rings or Batman (the recent three of course) movies multiple times and catching things you missed previously.

Unlike North, I like the Malazns best, I look at them like commandoes and wish they were in the books even more.

But like Bugg said, if we all liked the same things it's be a boring world.:D

PS when is the best time to try and read the Esslemont books? Timeline wise?:p
 

Bugg

A Lerxst in Wonderland
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Hi Lenny and Bugg!

I wouldn't say that I am not enjoying the books, just having trouble with the feeling like I am the only (or one of the only) guys in the room who doesn't get what's going on, or I could say "Doesn't get the joke" but they certainly are no jokes.
I do take much of the responsibility too as I work 6 days most of the time and with a health condition plus a house to deal with I admit I am quite tired often...
It's not in any way your fault, Conor - I know a lot of people have the same issues with Malazan. Erikson himself acknowledges this (I'm guessing you've read his foreword to Gardens of the Moon?). I think, with this series, it's a case of the author not wanting the reader to understand everything straight away, or some things maybe not at all. There's an interesting quote from him somewhere about it, I'll see if I can remember where I read it.

I totally get why others may not like - or even hate - that about these books. He wants you to work for it. Things are revealed gradually over the course of the series and personally I found the rewards huge as a result. I'm not saying the series is perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. At times I wanted to throw the books across the room, but I found them so compelling I could never actually bring myself to do it :)

Re the jokes - if you ever read Midnight Tides and onwards, I guarantee Tehol and Bugg will have you in stitches :D


I do love rereads, I did reread Game of Thrones, and as I mentioned earlier the Rigante series and five of the Drenai series and a few others from David Gemmell.
Hehe, I'm a big Gemmell fan, too. Loved the Rigante series :)


PS when is the best time to try and read the Esslemont books? Timeline wise?:p
I don't think you need to worry about Esslemont until/unless you get to Midnight Tides. This is the recommended reading order from the Malazan forums, and it's the one I'm going to use for my re-read:

Gardens of the Moon
Deadhouse Gates
Memories of Ice
House of Chains
Midnight Tides
Night of Knives (Esslemont)
The Bone Hunters
Reaper's Gale
Return of the Crimson Guard (Esslemont)
Toll the Hounds
Stonewielder (Esslemont)
Dust of Dreams
The Crippled God
Orb Sceptre Throne (Esslemont)
Blood & Bone (Esslemont)
 

Bugg

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Here's that quote I mentioned:

We are all [at Fantasy Book Review] enthusiastic readers of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series but not one of us can claim to fully understand everything that has happened in the series so far. Should we beat ourselves up for not concentrating hard enough or is it simply that much is yet to be explained?

Honestly, don’t beat yourself up over it. One of the things both Cam and I were agreed on regarding this series, was to write in a style that conveyed a sense of vastness, with a strong flavour of realism where not all answers are forthcoming, not all truths survive their utterance, and sometimes mystery abides no matter how desperate we all are for an end to the questions. That said, there will be plenty of resolutions, but the world will not be wrapped up with a pretty bow.

As for the events that have been recounted in the books, well, things are always open to interpretation, and I am also rather pleased to learn from readers that the books fair well in re-reads. I am a writer obsessed with layering my narrative, so there’s plenty to find for the reader even after the raw events of the story are well-known.
Steven Erikson interview (September 2009)
 

Lenny

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I don't think you need to worry about Esslemont until/unless you get to Midnight Tides. This is the recommended reading order from the Malazan forums, and it's the one I'm going to use for my re-read:

Gardens of the Moon
Deadhouse Gates
Memories of Ice
House of Chains
Midnight Tides
Night of Knives (Esslemont)
The Bone Hunters
Reaper's Gale
Return of the Crimson Guard (Esslemont)
Toll the Hounds
Stonewielder (Esslemont)
Dust of Dreams
The Crippled God
Orb Sceptre Throne (Esslemont)
Blood & Bone (Esslemont)
Personally, I'd move Orb Sceptre Throne to before Dust of Dreams (it's a direct sequel to TtH and carries on a subplot from SW. I think there are also things that happen in OST that occur before the conclusion of DoD and TCG), and read Return of the Crimson Guard before Reaper's Gale (as RotcG picks up not long after TBH, and RG tells us that a year has passed since TBH).

I'm also um'ing and ah'ing about Blood & Bone, as it happens simultaneously with The Crippled God... though it does continue past the ending of TCG, so it's probably good where it is.

I think I'm going to wait for ICE's last couple of books to be released before I do a full re-read - I want to do a completely chronological one, which will mean darting between chapters in different books, just to get the complete picture. I'm going to need a lot of bookmarks!

EDIT: I'm going to have to splash out and get Erikson's novellas, too. Haven't read those yet.
 

Bugg

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Personally, I'd move Orb Sceptre Throne to before Dust of Dreams (it's a direct sequel to TtH and carries on a subplot from SW. I think there are also things that happen in OST that occur before the conclusion of DoD and TCG), and read Return of the Crimson Guard before Reaper's Gale (as RotcG picks up not long after TBH, and RG tells us that a year has passed since TBH).
Yeah, I've seen that reading order as well (from Chronicles' very own Werthead). But then the folks on Malazan Empire think a bit differently about it, largely due to spoilers (not that spoilers are an issue for me, but they might be for first-time readers like Conor). I'll see how I feel after I get to The Bone Hunters, I think :)


EDIT: I'm going to have to splash out and get Erikson's novellas, too. Haven't read those yet.
They're fun, a bit hit and miss, but I've enjoyed them for the most part. I enjoyed The Wurms of Blearmouth the most - found it very amusing. But then I read it soon after reading Forge of Darkness, which I really struggled with, so it was like a breath of fresh air :)
 

Conor

Time for beer
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Wow, hey fellas you guys are great.
I will definitely plug away at Memories of Ice (I love the title too) when I can find it but maybe one or two other books in between.

I know where some good info is thanks to the heroes on the forum here!
 
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But what about the lack of character development? Don't you think that the characters lack depth? They skip around so frequently even a lengthy series like this doesn't have the space to really get to know them. Do you not feel they are a little trite? For example whiskey jack. He was one of the main characters through three books and they never developed him. The just described a couple traits and then he acte that way. When they introduced a love interest they didn't describe why they fell in love, it was literally, "do you want to be lovers?"

What about the overly depressing nature? Do you not lose hope after one horrible thing after another happens? Don't you lose hope and get a little numb?
 

Lenny

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If I want character development in a fantasy series, I'll go and read something that intimately follows only a few characters over multiple books - some Robin Hobb, say, or Jennifer Fallon. I read the Malazan books for the word building, and the sheer scale of the stage that the stories take place on. The characters may be cardboard cutouts, but I'd rather see a cast of four thousand cardboard cutouts spread over massive continents trying to combat problems of astronomical proportions, than a cast of four.

As for things being depressing, and the possibility of losing hope and going a little bit numb, aside from this being a work of fiction that doesn't affect me at all, I guess I'm just a stone-hearted cynic who sees the world as a place where bad stuff happens and doesn't get surprised by such things.
 

Bugg

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I don't think you're going to sway us fans, Northoceanbeach :)

Some of my favourite characters of all are in the Malazan series (Kalam, Mappo, Icarium, Trull, Tehol, Bugg - of course - among others), so I have to disagree. I've never felt such an emotional engagement with any other series I've read. For example, the characters in WoT were so bland they drove me to distraction (I ended up wanting to kill most of them), but that never happened with this.

I also have to disagree about the 'overly depressing nature'. Other series are far more guilty of this, imo (ASoI&F for starters). Erikson's sense of humour has always been one of my favourite aspects of the series. I found there was plenty of light to off-set the darkness. So no, I didn't lose hope, feel numb, or any of that - I'd hardly be excited about another re-read if that were the case.
 

Null_Zone

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Personally I found it a bit like being a party and someone insists on telling you about their D&D games, except I wasn't really paying that much attention at the start of the conversation. Now it's just a list of names and places with ideas I've only got a vague idea about and whilst it sounds really great I'm not sure it's worth the effort. Not when there are so many other people in the world to talk to.

I mentioned this to a friend with whome I share almost identical tastes and his reply was "Yeah and that's why I love them". So it's a very fine line between bored and greatest thing ever.
 

Conor

Time for beer
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What about the overly depressing nature? Do you not lose hope after one horrible thing after another happens? Don't you lose hope and get a little numb?
You make some good points in your earlier paragraph, but as far as losing hope and all, I read all 5 game of Thrones and that's where one would lose hope!:eek:
 

Bugg

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I mentioned this to a friend with whome I share almost identical tastes and his reply was "Yeah and that's why I love them". So it's a very fine line between bored and greatest thing ever.
You should get your friend to come on here, lol. :D
 

Conor

Time for beer
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I read the Malazan books for the word building, and the sheer scale of the stage that the stories take place on. The characters may be cardboard cutouts, but I'd rather see a cast of four thousand cardboard cutouts spread over massive continents trying to combat problems of astronomical proportions, than a cast of four.
That is one of the greatest things I like about the books, the sheer scale of the story. 30,000 refugees fleeing across country with Coltaines army that is far outnumbered as their only hope of getting to Aren alive, the battle scenes with thousands on each side.

I agree a few characters are a bit two dimensional, but so many are not, Mappo and Icarium, plus Duiker the historian ( I hope he's in more of the books?)
Better get back, just 100 pages left in DHG.
 
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Spoiler

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No see that's the problem. You like duiker. We all do. Than he ******* dies horribly.

I think the Coltaine march is a good example of why I almost liked the series. The march really brought me in. I was pulling for them. Abandoned by the empire, an epic struggle. Ericsson did a good job of conveying the hardship they went through. He really did. I got the impression that they literally marched about the distance as across America. At least north to south. Months and months. Lots of the characters died. The shamans mostly died. Can't they have had Coltaine and duiker make it? It's a book. I want someone to make it. There's no hope. And they die in the most horrible ways possible.

I found martins books to be more realistic or neutral really. Yes. Alot of the good guys die, but so do alot of the bad, and its not so sadistic. Ned just slam bam beheaded. Not a detailed crucifixion.

What do I read for? I wait for one bad thing to happen after another? After three I had I give up. There's noone to cheer for. No hero who struggles but hopefully at the end he makes it. Honestly the books really bothered me. I can't imagine wheel of time spendin the last pages with rand battling the dark one and then the dark one in detail dissembowels him and feeds him to Matt over a week and them feeds Matt to Perrin and then rules the world forever. Wouldn't you be left feeling sick? A satisfying conclusions is not 5 minor characters buying a failing tavern.

You can spoil me. Do they get better? Does Icarium and mappo win? Rake? I like him, does anything g
 

Conor

Time for beer
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Thanks, this is what I saw when I opened my e-mail.:mad:

"No see that's the problem. You like duiker. We all do. Than he ******* dies horribly."

I have about 90 pages left.....

I was also wondering about how far the Coltaine march had gone.

I agree with your other points but I felt a lot more hopeless in the Game of Thrones books than in the Malazan books (so far) thing is there are really very few "good guys" in the Martin books at all.

A friend told me about the Jordan books and I have no interest.
 
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Sorry. I tried to put spoiler at the top. I even put some periods in there hoping your eyes wouldn't see unless you scrolled down.
 

Conor

Time for beer
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Sorry. I tried to put spoiler at the top. I even put some periods in there hoping your eyes wouldn't see unless you scrolled down.
No problem, its just that when I get the notification via e-mail it just shows the whole thing.....
Maybe I'll be able to find a copy of Memories of Ice this weekend..
 

col_porridge

TimingIsEverything
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For me the malazan tales were like a wave. It built to a huge crest then crashed and had a small rise to finish it off. It got better and better then became forced and crashed. but finished in a satisfying and dynamic way. If you can't finish it that's ok but book five was some of the cleverist writing I've ever seen so at least try to get there.....after that you'll probably finish it.
 

Conor

Time for beer
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For me the malazan tales were like a wave. It built to a huge crest then crashed and had a small rise to finish it off. It got better and better then became forced and crashed. but finished in a satisfying and dynamic way. If you can't finish it that's ok but book five was some of the cleverist writing I've ever seen so at least try to get there.....after that you'll probably finish it.
I am halfway thru Memories of Ice or book #3 and am very glad I kept plugging away. It's awesome!
 
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