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Malazan: High House Shadow edition

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3 hours ago, scortius the charioteer said:

Haven't looked at Fall of Light yet. I thought Dancer's Lament was Esslemont's best book since Stonewielder, which I think is his apex.

Can't wait til the next book in the series, loved Dancer's Lament. Favorite by Essslemont, hands down.

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I didn't love Dancer's Lament as much as most people (OST and RotCG are my favorites) but it was still pretty enjoyable.

Still putting off Fall of Light until I'm in the mood for it.  Never done that with a Malazan book before.

Edited by End of Disc One

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17 minutes ago, scortius the charioteer said:

Blood and Bone was a slog, as was Assail, which I finally gave up on halfway into it.  Worth finishing?

I don't know, those were the only two I struggled with as well.  I can't say Assail gets any better in the second half.  My main problem with those two books was that there was no sense of escalation.  They start out pretty good, but they pretty much remain at the same level of intensity throughout.

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I also know Deadhouse Gates is most people's favorite, but by the time I read it, I had become absolutely sick of the Horrible Desert Crossing trope.  Given it happens several times throughout the series it's a miracle I stayed with it all the way through.

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I wasn't too big on Deadhouse Gates either.  I definitely liked Gardens better.  Midnight Tides is by far my favorite--Erikson initially talked of the Kharkanas books as being a lot more "traditional" in structure than the main sequence, but actually I think that description better applies to Midnight Tides.  That book more than the others tells a complete story for me, while balancing a range of nicely developed characters with a strong sense of place in the various environments. 

Fall of Light, on the other, felt like a latter half volume of the main sequence, except with less action and even more of his trademark italicized introspection. 

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17 hours ago, scortius the charioteer said:

I also know Deadhouse Gates is most people's favorite, but by the time I read it, I had become absolutely sick of the Horrible Desert Crossing trope.  Given it happens several times throughout the series it's a miracle I stayed with it all the way through.

I didn't mind it in Deadhouse Gates but by the end of the series I was getting tired of the Horrible Desert Crossing, especially since none of those plotlines were as good as in DHG.

While I wouldn't say Blood and Bone was one of the top-tier Malazan books, at least it did have a little bit of variety by having a Horrible Jungle Crossing instead.

 

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22 hours ago, scortius the charioteer said:

I also know Deadhouse Gates is most people's favorite, but by the time I read it, I had become absolutely sick of the Horrible Desert Crossing trope.  Given it happens several times throughout the series it's a miracle I stayed with it all the way through.

The Chain of Dogs is what makes Deadhouse Gates for me. Not my favorite entry in the MBOTF, but my favorite sequence in the series. The only crossing or traveling that annoyed me was the Snake and the mopey, younger Tiste Andii.

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On 9/13/2016 at 8:50 AM, End of Disc One said:

I didn't love Dancer's Lament as much as most people (OST and RotCG are my favorites) but it was still pretty enjoyable.

Still putting off Fall of Light until I'm in the mood for it.  Never done that with a Malazan book before.

So, I'm 3/4 through Dancer's Lament. I really don't enjoy it. I like some of the origin stuffs with Wu and Dancer, but, the plot is super strange. The sword dancers have no reason to be here, Silk the mage has more character development then Dancer, and the writing is way off.

I don't remember disliking a Esslemont novel so much.

Dancer is sort of becoming an actual character, but for so much of the first half, the novel reads like a smarmy narrator talking about how cool they are. Perhaps Esslemont was going for "smarmy character gets some development in the real world" approach, but it doesn't work for me [*].

I'm just burning through several pages at a time, skipping paragraphs to even out the story finally.

 

Is Dancer's Lament comparable (worse, better?) to Night of Knives? I've wanted to pick up Night of Knives for the early-Malazan empire plot, but not if its similar in writing and pacing to Dancer's Lament.

 

[*] Dancer/Darin seems to be confused about poverty, and abuse, even though he supposedly grew up in this environment. He has odd "honor" moments about not harming "innocents", then kills a bunch of city guards.

Doesn't have the stoic/sadness I came to love from the Malazan series (in the brief time Dancer ever appeared).

Wu's character has been great, however.

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I doubt you'll like Knives if you don't like Dancer's Lament.  Been a while since I read the former, though.

DL was my favorite Malazan since Midnight Tides.  The smaller scale of the story was something I've been wanting to see in the series for years.  I thought it did a lot to aid the characterization and the development of a stronger sense of place in the setting.  I agree that Silk stood out--definitely picked up on some subtle poignancy regarding his relationship with Shalmanat.  All in all the less is more approach really worked for me, especially after Fall of Light.     

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I'm almost done with Fall of Light and I'm still not sure who some of these characters are. o.O

 

Edit: Also. everyone in this book talks like Khan from Trek 2. No one can just say "I have to shit" it's all "The fires of my bowels demand a cleansing!" etc.

I like it though, but my god if Erikson isn't your thing this is not a good series to start with.

Edited by Darth Richard II

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Yeah, the dialogue could be a bit on the exhausting side, but like I said before despite finding the book a difficult read in some respects, in others I thought it was some of Erikson's best writing.  Wreneck's journey was amazing, anything Rake made me wish we had a whole book focusing on him, and FOL had tons of powerful imagery throughout.

 

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Here is the interview with ICE on Tor.com in the Malazan re-read forum.

http://www.tor.com/2016/06/15/on-prequels-and-the-origins-of-malazan-an-interview-with-ian-cameron-esslemont/

Given re-reader feedback like the following, I am looking forward to getting a copy of Dancer's Lament.

" In Dancer’s Lament, the story flowed. The characters were entertaining. Things happened. Useless dialog was largely absent. The endless preaching of the Kharkanas Trilogy was gone, and the continuing introduction of thousands of minor characters that are largely irrelevant was joyful in it’s absence.  "

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I always found most of ICE's stuff rather hit and miss, nowhere near Erikson 's caliber. Dancer's Lament is the first time I would say I enjoyed ICE more than SE (Fall of Light). 

FoL had its moments and might be Erikson's most accomplished novel in terms of prose, but there were a lot of sections that were a slog to get through. The one that really irritated me was the finale 

Spoiler

The battle between the Andii and Liosan is glossed over in favour of Wreneck's POV. 

 

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So Mr Erikson have been in Belgrade the past couple of days and tomorrow he will do book signing. It was such a pleasure listening to him and hearing his views on contemporary art. "Fantasy must be in conversation with reality" - highlight of my evening. Such an extraordinary man. 

Mr Martin, I hope you will be the next to visit our city :D

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