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Relic

Malazan Re-read Order

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Re-reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen. Skipping Gardens of the Moon. Just finished Deadhouse Gates and I have this weird desire to jump right into House of Chains and go back to Memories of Ice after. 

Can someone tell me why this is a BAD idea?

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Why would you skip Gardens of the Moon? It's a fun book.

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2 minutes ago, Ran said:

Why would you skip Gardens of the Moon? It's a fun book.

I don't know...i found it to be pretty poorly written when i first read it, and never felt the need to re-read. Is my memory incorrect? 

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Relic said:

Is my memory incorrect? 

IMO, yes. Yes, a lot of people bounced off the in media res opening of it, but it really set the tone for the first trilogy of books, and was (again) fun in a way which I think later books largely lost in preference to the epic and philosophical. But that's me, the guy who quit the series after Midnight Tides.

And, in that vein, your query, re: House of Chains before Memories of Ice... like, Karsa Fucking Orlong was the first nail in the coffin for me, while Toc, T'ool, Lady Envy and her gaggle of Seguleh, and so on were... well, fun. But I suspect you feel differently!

Edited by Ran

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1 minute ago, Ran said:

But that's me, the guy who quit the series after Midnight Tides.

And, in that vein, your query, re: House of Chains before Memories of Ice... like, Karsa Fucking Orlong was the first nail in the coffin for me. But I suspect you feel differently!

Haha, i actually remember you hating on Karsa back in the day. Funny how much random shit my memories retains. I like his origin story, actually, but he does get rather annoying in later books. 

I really enjoyed Midnight Tides (second fav book in the series), but unlike most people i don't find Memories of Ice to be all that great. 

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Posted (edited)

Since there were (and still are) huge intervals between the releases of the German editions, I had to reread the books almost every time another one was published, because I had always forgotten too much. Thus I read Gardens of the Moon like five times, and I still like it, as I like all of the earlier books a lot. At some point the story (maybe around the 4th or 5th book) became a bit repetitive to me, but I continued (and there were still a lot of great parts), but right now the only reason why I will wait for the release of the last book is that I have invested so much time now that I want to know how it ends. The level of brutality in general and the violence towards women (and to a lesser degree also men) piss me off more and more, and while there are still humorous elements, I skip entire conversations between Malazan sodiers because they have been talking the same shit for four damn books and I don't care about it anymore. It feels I have already read any interior monologue at least two times somewhere else. So right know I am under the impression the series is too long by at least two books, but maybe I am going to change my opinion after reading the end. Sorry for highjacking the thread, just saw the title and since I finished Dust of Dreams a week ago, I felt triggered.

Edited by The Wondering Wolf

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No worries, talk about it all you want. The violence IS really over the top sometimes, and i feel the same way as you do about the violence towards women. The hobbling or whatever in one of the books was so fucking disgusting i couldnt read it for a week. I get what Erikson is doing, and why, but it can be hard to take at times, for sure. 

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Posted (edited)

I mean on a re-read no particular reason not to. The ending of HoC does bring in characters from the MT strand and does some spoiling I guess, but you'll already know all that, and it's not carrying massive plot detail between the two.

 

 

eta: the Hobbling was awful. By far Erikson's biggest mistake. It's not just horrible to read, it doesn't make sense for the reasons SE claims he did it for, because he was trying to avoid the stereotype of 'noble savage' but he decided to do that in a way that completely erased all established cultural traits of the Barghast and ignored everything we know about Hetan as a person. It's grim as fuck.

Edited by polishgenius

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Posted (edited)

Hobbling is one of the most disgusting things I have ever read about. But Dust of Dreams is so full with all kinds of violence that I think Erikson went too far with his 'You need to see what humans are capable of doing to each other' attitude. No I don't have to, I read this for entertainment. If I want to read about stuff like this, I look for some reports on the Holocaust or some genocide. Doesn't mean there must be no violence in these books, but in my opinion the style changed at some point. There were really cruel parts in the Chain of Dogs as well, but it was more balanced (and sometimes less is more, Duiker's rather distant view on the things had a huge impact on me), now it's way too much.

Edited by The Wondering Wolf

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2 hours ago, Relic said:

Re-reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen. Skipping Gardens of the Moon. Just finished Deadhouse Gates and I have this weird desire to jump right into House of Chains and go back to Memories of Ice after. 

Can someone tell me why this is a BAD idea?

On a reread I don't think it is a bad idea. On a first read-through it has some spoiler potential (Dujek's Host showing up at the end of HoC, having last appeared in MoI), but if you've read the series before, no problem.

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16 hours ago, JEORDHl said:

The opening to Erikson's new Malazan series drops in July, iirc. 

@Ranwill love it.

Amazon says late november, and Erikson says Karsa isn't in the first book.

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Posted (edited)

Amazon dot ca shows it for a July 1 auto download for me. 
 

Karsa is a lowercase god now, I think, so I didn’t expect him to play a direct role anyway. 
 

Kind of hoping for a return to form [for Erikson] guess we’ll see.

 

Edited by JEORDHl

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21 minutes ago, JEORDHl said:

Amazon dot ca shows it for a July 1 auto download for me. 
 

Karsa is a lowercase god now, I think, so I didn’t expect him to play a direct role anyway. 
 

Kind of hoping for a return to form [for Erikson] guess we’ll see.

 

Ah yes, I remember CA/UK always getting the Malazan books way before us here in the colonies.

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Posted (edited)

I have my review copy. It's 1 July in the UK/Commonwealth, because they're Erikson's primary publishers. Tor are publishing later because they don't have room in the schedule before than and they no longer consider Erikson a top priority due to declining sales.

It's a fun book, though a bit oddball. It's Erikson's shortest Malazan novel to date (473 pages) and the story is focused almost entirely on two concentrated plot threads taking place a constrained geographical area. It does feel like Erikson has tried to go accessible for this one, at least by his previous standards.

Rereading Book One of House of Chains may be a good idea, because although Karsa doesn't show up, a lot of the other characters and locations from that arc do.

Edited by Werthead

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Witness #1: The God is Not Willing

More than a decade of peace has passed since the fall of the Crippled God. The Malazan Empire, once an ever-expanding nation, has secured its borders and set about bringing stability and order to its holdings. One of the furthest-flung of its outposts is Silver Lake, an isolated town in the far north of Genabackis, still reeling from the events of many years earlier, when three Teblor descended from the mountains and brought chaos with them.

The 2nd Company of the Malazan XIVth Legion - reduced to just three squads and eighteen soldiers - is bound for Silver Lake to reinforce the garrison there. To augment its strength, it has hired the very mercenary company they were recently fighting against, a practical measure that neither side likes very much. With redoubtable allies, the Malazans have to hold Silver Lake against an implacable foe. For the Teblor of the mountains, tiring of waiting for their Shattered God - Karsa Orlong - to return to them and motivated by a growing threat to the north, have made a decision to migrate south to seek out their reluctant deity. What else are a people to do, when their god is not willing?

Well, this was a surprise. Steven Erikson's work has been called many things but "concise" and "focused" are not among them. All of Erikson's twelve previous novels in the Malazan universe are sprawling, brick-thick volumes you could use to stun a yak. The God is Not Willing, at a relatively breezy 473 pages, is easily his shortest fantasy novel to date. Erikson's work has also been called (sometimes fairly, often not) "obtuse" and "confusing." The in media res opening to the first book in the setting, Gardens of the Moon, remains fiercely debated on Reddit and fantasy message boards to this day. The God is Not Willing is instead pretty streamlined and comprehensible. The word - whisper it - "accessible" may be applicable.

But if those terms are applicable, don't go thinking this is Erikson with the training wheels on, or restrained, or (grimace) going commercial. The God is Not Willing is packed with the philosophical musings and rich worldbuilding of his prior work, it is just paced here with discipline and vigor, and an undercurrent of Erikson's distinctly underrated humour. With the exception of the late, great Terry Pratchett and maybe Abercrombie in his more whimsical moments, Erikson may be one of the funniest writers in modern secondary world fantasy, something he usually keeps under check but here lets loose a little more. This is still a dramatic and sometimes tragic story, but it's also one balanced by the kind of comedic banter between soldiers-under-duress that we've seen before in earlier novels, but here taken up a notch.

The God is Not Willing is set ten years after the events of The Crippled God, in north Genabackis. The events of the opening of House of Chains have left an ugly scar on the town of Silver Lake, with ex-slaves and ex-slavers having to find new roles after the Malazan Empire outlawed slavery. Rast, the half-Teblor son of Karsa Orlong, has been exiled from his home by his mother. The town's depleted garrison is reinforced by the Malazan XIVth Legion's 2nd Company, with the slight problem that the company has been almost destroyed in an engagement with a mercenary company, with heavy losses on both sides. Fighting the mercenaries to a standstill, Captain Gruff hits on the splendid - or barking mad - idea of hiring the mercenaries to augment his depleted forces, which is slightly undercut by the two sides disliking one another. Elsewhere, the Teblor tribes of the mountains have discovered that the fading of Jaghut sorcery from the world is about to have cataclysmic consequences, spurring a mass migration into the lands of the south, and a potential showdown with their reluctant deity Karsa Orlong, also known as Sir Not-Appearing-in-this-Novel.

And that's kind of it. The novel rotates between these three storylines with a laser-like focus, with Rast's growth from a confused and terrified youth into a character of moral courage, using his Kara-like, single-minded and utterly unbendable determination as a force for good (or what passes for it) getting a lot of focus. So too do the Malazan marines holding Silver Lake. There's only eighteen of them left after the clash with Balk's mercenary company (who also get some attention, though it's more of a subplot), allowing Erikson to explore most of their characters in a lot of detail. It's the splendidly-written Stillwater who emerges as the best character in the novel, a lethal assassin-mage who has been trying to effectively trademark the idea (and ignoring the various assassin-mage organisations we've already seen in the previous novels, not least the Claw) and whose facility with the warren of Shadow is slightly complicated by her relationship with the Hounds of Shadow. Stillwater entertains because of her determined lack of interest in the normal ongoings of the Malazan world, and her metacommentary on what is happening is the source of much of the book's humour.

The book is relatively small in scale for most of its length, being concerned with very small groups of characters, until Erikson shifts things up a gear in the last hundred pages or so, when we suddenly pull back to a widescreen view of events and discover that things are about to go south very, very fast. Entire cultures and nations are caught up as Erikson finally delivers when he nearly did in The Bonehunters - a fantasy disaster novel! - and does so with spades.

I was very surprised at this book. A dozen novels, half a dozen novellas and thirty years into writing this series (and almost forty since he and Ian Esslemont created it for gaming purposes in 1982), with the previous two-published books being commercial disappointments, you could have forgiven Erikson for writing a crowd-pleasing war story or a thousand-page recap of Malazan's greatest hits. Instead, he delivers a determined, focused, well-paced and immensely rich novel of war, peace, hubris, consequence, sorcery and compassion. He even finds time to right some wrongs from earlier in the series: the somewhat brushed-over consequences of Karsa's odyssey of destruction in House of Chains are here laid bare in full, and the logical (if long-in-unfolding) consequences of events in the main series which were outside the scope of that story are explored in depth by one of Erikson's finest casts of characters yet.

The God is Not Willing (*****) is Steven Erikson bringing his A-game, turned up to 11, and delivering what is comfortably one of his three or four best novels to date. The book will be published in the UK on 1 July and on 9 November in the United States.

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Wow, that is terrific to hear.  I am one of the few readers for whom The Crippled God seemed like a suitable capstone to the series, but I won't say no to another visit to Erikson's world.

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Hmm, I wonder what Tor thinks of as their top priority these days. Looking at the schedule I don't see anything really huge, but my tastes probably don't match up.

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Doing a chronological re-read - was a first-time read of Fall of Light (big meh) and the Dancer novels.

So far, I’ve read the Kharkanas novels, the Dancer trilogy (weird timeline shenanigans with Malazan dating), the necromancer novellas set before Memories of Ice, and currently reading Midnight Tides. Next will be book1 of House of Chains, and then Gardens of the Moon.

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