Second time around

HareBrain

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A few years ago, I read the first three books of the Malazan series. I quite liked Gardens of the Moon, found Deadhouse Gates long, repetitive and overly grim, and Memories of Ice seemed a confusing mess that didn't know where its climax was. Since MOI had been often called the best in the series, I didn't think it worth reading any more.

A couple of months ago, I had a hankering to revisit GOTM, and I enjoyed it so much that I carried on with the other two books. I've now just finished MOI again. I couldn't believe the difference compared with the first time I'd read them. I think I must not have been paying much attention the first time: the stuff with Trell and Icarium, and Togg and Fanderay, almost completely passed me by. This time round, with a little effort, I was able to keep track of everything, and the story unfolded into one of the greatest fantasies I've ever read, quite possibly the greatest. The books aren't without their faults, but the scope and vision on display was incredible, and I enjoyed having to work a little to keep up with what was happening -- the impression that the author didn't care how many readers fell by the wayside gave a sense not only of accomplishment that I stuck with it, but made the world seem more real, existing on its own terms rather than through the devices of an author keen to keep me along for the ride.

I'm now wondering what will happen when I read the fourth book, House of Chains, for the first time: whether it'll be like my first readings of the others, or whether I'll have enough momentum and understanding now to carry me through.
 

EJ Heijnis

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A couple of months ago, I had a hankering to revisit GOTM, and I enjoyed it so much that I carried on with the other two books. I've now just finished MOI again. I couldn't believe the difference compared with the first time I'd read them. I think I must not have been paying much attention the first time: the stuff with Trell and Icarium, and Togg and Fanderay, almost completely passed me by.
My introduction to the Malazan world was very similar. I bought Deadhouse Gates on a whim, and because I liked the cover. Up until then, my only experience with epic fantasy was Lord of the Rings, and it became clear very quickly that this was something completely different. I put it down after 50 pages because I couldn't get into it. Nine months later, I picked it up again - I still don't know why - stuck by it, and ended up reading my favorite book to this date. The conclusion left me exhausted. Then I found out there would be another eight books, and I felt like a kid discovering his favorite cartoon.

This time round, with a little effort, I was able to keep track of everything, and the story unfolded into one of the greatest fantasies I've ever read, quite possibly the greatest. The books aren't without their faults, but the scope and vision on display was incredible, and I enjoyed having to work a little to keep up with what was happening -- the impression that the author didn't care how many readers fell by the wayside gave a sense not only of accomplishment that I stuck with it, but made the world seem more real, existing on its own terms rather than through the devices of an author keen to keep me along for the ride.
It does feel like a real, living world, where everyone has their own motivations and everyone's the star of their own story. To me, this aspect of the series only gets better as you progress.

I'm now wondering what will happen when I read the fourth book, House of Chains, for the first time: whether it'll be like my first readings of the others, or whether I'll have enough momentum and understanding now to carry me through.
Judging by your other thread, you've managed to get into it. My biggest hurdle was Midnight Tides, which is very good, but takes place on a different continent and introduces a whole new cast of characters. Some people consider it their favorite, so your experience may differ. With The Bonehunters, things start to come together a bit and you can see where the story is going... sort of. In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole series, and I hope you will, too! :D
 

HareBrain

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Judging by your other thread, you've managed to get into it. My biggest hurdle was Midnight Tides, which is very good, but takes place on a different continent and introduces a whole new cast of characters.
I did enjoy House of Chains, but (as I said in the November reading thread) I faltered at the start of Midnight Tides, for the reason you mentioned. I've decided to put it down for a while, but I do want to finish the series, and I'm keen to return to it before all the "who and what" knowledge that I've carefully built up during the first four book starts to leak out of my brain!
 

EJ Heijnis

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I did enjoy House of Chains, but (as I said in the November reading thread) I faltered at the start of Midnight Tides, for the reason you mentioned. I've decided to put it down for a while, but I do want to finish the series, and I'm keen to return to it before all the "who and what" knowledge that I've carefully built up during the first four book starts to leak out of my brain!
Well, setting it down worked the first time. :D For my part, what bothered me about Midnight Tides was I just couldn't see how these events were related to what I'd already read. And they're not, for the most part, but the setting and characters he introduces are very important to the story. I ended up reading it on its own merits and waiting patiently for The Bonehunters to come out so I could be reunited with the characters I knew from before. I'll spoiler this next part in case you don't want to know when the two stories (Malaz/Lether) come together:

Book 7, Reaper's Gale, brings them together in an awesome way. It's my third favorite, behind Deadhouse Gates and Memories of Ice. :cool:
 

HareBrain

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Thanks EJ. I did already have a good idea, actually, as I read a few not-too-spoilery reviews of the later books to get some idea of whether to carry on. I don't expect my break to be a long one.
 
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I picked up Gardens of the Moon when it first came out after reading a review, and it took me two tries to get through it. I stalled out very early on, but a few months later it just clicked for me. I then read them as they came out, up to The Bonehunters.

Unfortunately, I found it difficult to continue book-to-book because I would read a bunch of other stuff waiting for the next novel to be published, and then I wouldn't be able to remember half of what I needed to fully understand what was happening. So I stopped at The Bonehunters and waited for the rest of the series to be published.

Now, I've been doing a back-to-back read-through of the series. I'm up to The Bonehunters now and it's going great. Reading them so close together has been wonderful - I get so much more out of the stories that I missed the first time through. Even though I'm mostly through The Bonehunters now, and well into areas that I hadn't read before, I'm finding it easy now to keep going and understand all the different threads that are woven through this series.
 

BAYLOR

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I picked up Gardens of the Moon when it first came out after reading a review, and it took me two tries to get through it. I stalled out very early on, but a few months later it just clicked for me. I then read them as they came out, up to The Bonehunters.

Unfortunately, I found it difficult to continue book-to-book because I would read a bunch of other stuff waiting for the next novel to be published, and then I wouldn't be able to remember half of what I needed to fully understand what was happening. So I stopped at The Bonehunters and waited for the rest of the series to be published.

Now, I've been doing a back-to-back read-through of the series. I'm up to The Bonehunters now and it's going great. Reading them so close together has been wonderful - I get so much more out of the stories that I missed the first time through. Even though I'm mostly through The Bonehunters now, and well into areas that I hadn't read before, I'm finding it easy now to keep going and understand all the different threads that are woven through this series.
Easily one of the the top series .(y)
 

HareBrain

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In the end I finished Reaper's Gale (book 7) and set the series aside, and haven't been tempted back. With hindsight, I think it was a mistake for me to try to read them back to back. I realised when I felt nothing at the death of one of my favourite characters that I'd just had too much at once and got bored of the series, though there was a lot I still wanted to find out. I hope the same doesn't happen to you.
 
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In the end I finished Reaper's Gale (book 7) and set the series aside, and haven't been tempted back. With hindsight, I think it was a mistake for me to try to read them back to back. I realised when I felt nothing at the death of one of my favourite characters that I'd just had too much at once and got bored of the series, though there was a lot I still wanted to find out. I hope the same doesn't happen to you.
I'm also reading other fantasy books to my son (currently reading the Dragonriders of Pern series) so I think that may help reduce the chance of burn-out. At least, I hope so. (y)
 

Mackattak

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A few years ago, I read the first three books of the Malazan series. I quite liked Gardens of the Moon, found Deadhouse Gates long, repetitive and overly grim, and Memories of Ice seemed a confusing mess that didn't know where its climax was. Since MOI had been often called the best in the series, I didn't think it worth reading any more.

A couple of months ago, I had a hankering to revisit GOTM, and I enjoyed it so much that I carried on with the other two books. I've now just finished MOI again. I couldn't believe the difference compared with the first time I'd read them. I think I must not have been paying much attention the first time: the stuff with Trell and Icarium, and Togg and Fanderay, almost completely passed me by. This time round, with a little effort, I was able to keep track of everything, and the story unfolded into one of the greatest fantasies I've ever read, quite possibly the greatest. The books aren't without their faults, but the scope and vision on display was incredible, and I enjoyed having to work a little to keep up with what was happening -- the impression that the author didn't care how many readers fell by the wayside gave a sense not only of accomplishment that I stuck with it, but made the world seem more real, existing on its own terms rather than through the devices of an author keen to keep me along for the ride.

I'm now wondering what will happen when I read the fourth book, House of Chains, for the first time: whether it'll be like my first readings of the others, or whether I'll have enough momentum and understanding now to carry me through.
Couldn't agree more, if there was ever a series that needs a second read through it's this one as the amount of characters and backstory can be confusing and overwhelming.
 

Paul_C

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This is why I rarely read a book once if it's one that I mostly liked - there's something about having a vague idea where it's going that seems to free me up to notice a lot more of the non-essential bits.

I've read LOTR a number of times from when I was 12 or so through to my 40s (I'm probably due another read through soon) and every time it felt different.

One I sometimes feel I ought to try again is Catcher In The Rye, I read it once in my 20s and thought it fairly inconsequential, maybe in my 50s I'll find something I missed.
 

HareBrain

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One I sometimes feel I ought to try again is Catcher In The Rye, I read it once in my 20s and thought it fairly inconsequential, maybe in my 50s I'll find something I missed.
I'm not sure you'll get much out of it at 50 that you didn't at 20, to be honest.

I'd be interested to know how your perception of LOTR has changed over the years. Does it vary a lot, or is there a trend?
 

nixie

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Now nostalgia is kicking and I feel a re-read is required. I have had an occasional Malazan fix by reading Esslemont but I miss Fiddler , Kalam, Quickben, Bugg, Kruppe and all the other great characters.
 

EJ Heijnis

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Now nostalgia is kicking and I feel a re-read is required. I have had an occasional Malazan fix by reading Esslemont but I miss Fiddler , Kalam, Quickben, Bugg, Kruppe and all the other great characters.
I'm starting to feel that itch myself. It's been a couple of years since I last read the whole series... :cautious:
 

Gzarback

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I started reading the Malazan series 15 years ago. For me it was an amazingly fresh take on fantasy scifi. Every time a new book would roll out, I would re-read the previous books; something I never did before. I enjoyed this depth of writing so much that Erikson pretty much ruined my enjoyment of other authors in the same genre. Over the past few years I've been on a space opera fantasy kick, enjoying Banks, Hamilton, Reynolds, etc.
About a year ago I tried out audible, and am now completely hooked...it's an amazing way to make the hours fly when doing menial chores & such. I've been picking up some of the Malazan books on audible as they have sales / specials, and once I have enough books I'm planning on a final re-read / listen.
Really looking forward to it. Such amazing characters and stories.
 

L.L.Lotte

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I probably wouldn't read it again. But I don't really read anything multiple times -- I get bored because I can remember the story of most anything I enjoy reading, even years later.

But while I enjoyed the series when I was reading it, the final book really disappointed me. Not saying it was bad, but there were so many plots, so many characters, all forced into an ending that I felt didn't do them justice. He must have had his reasons for ending the series, but I felt there was more story to tell.
 

elvet

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I have started my reread of all the books (including the Esslemont offshoots), just having finished the Path to Ascendency trilogy. For some of the earlier books, like Gardens of the Moon and Deadhouse Gates, this will be the 4th read, since I reread what had been published as the later books came out.
Gardens of the Moon almost feels like a different story now . The first time I read it, I almost gave up, just like many others who experience the confusion of being dropped into the middle of an ongoing story. What kept me going was the world building, the uniqueness of the magic, the characters and intrigue, and the curiosity of where the heck this was going.
Now that I have a solid background, and I don’t have all those questions (who, what, why?) buzzing in my head, I can sit back and enjoy the fine details of what is going on and make connections I never new existed before. So many layers are here, sometimes just a sentence, sometimes a long disappeared character. No wonder these books consistently make the ’best of’ lists all the time.
 

biodroid

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It's like you spoke directly to me coz I felt the same, I liked GOTM and thought DHG had good moments, but I was still in the mindset of thinking Raymond E. Feist was the greatest and was reading David Gemmell and Harry Potter in the mid 2000s. I think I should try them again as I am now more openminded than those days.

Thx harebrain
 
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