Ammanas

Malazan

Favorite Malazan Book   9 members have voted

  1. 1. Favorite Malazan Book

    • GotM
      0
    • DG
      0
    • MoI
      2
    • HoC
      0
    • MT
      3
    • Bonehunters
      1
    • RG
      1
    • TtH
      2
    • DoD
      0
    • CG
      0
    • FoD
      0
    • FoL
      0
    • KoK
      0
    • RotCG
      0
    • Stonewielser
      0
    • OST
      0
    • BoB
      0
    • Assail
      0
    • Dancers Lament
      0
    • Deadhouse Landing
      0
    • Kellanved's Reach
      0

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724 posts in this topic

Coming this November: another Willful Child sequel or some such science fiction garbage! 

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Posted (edited)

Not really a fan of those Willful Child books, but to be fair they're supposed to be made for Trekies which I've only scene a few episodes and a couple of movies. I was completely underwhelmed by what I read of Rejoice and couldn't make it past the first 50 pages. I hope he can get his career back on track with the Karsa books because right now Erikson is the Fener of the Malazan world and Esslemont is Trake. If the metaphor is to obscure, put another way, Esslemont is ascending and Erikson is descending.

Edited by Ammanas
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Yeah, I'm something of a Trekkie and could not get into the Willful Child. It's Trekkie humor, which means it's been done before and is frankly tiresome. 

He seems to have hit a rut when writing Fall of Light. The process seems to have shaken him, and the sales have devastated him. Pretty much, if this Karsa novel does not do well...

Spoiler

I mean, didn't Karsa kill Fener? :unsure:

 

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Kellanved's Reach is now available for preorder on U.S audible (and most likely other audiobook platforms). I will be going this route to consume it; I think the narrator John Banks is fantastic.

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41 minutes ago, Ammanas said:

Kellanved's Reach is now available for preorder on U.S audible (and most likely other audiobook platforms). I will be going this route to consume it; I think the narrator John Banks is fantastic.

I love John Banks! He did an excellent job with the other ICE books.

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Wow! That was far more detailed than anything I was expecting. He worries about fan response,  but in my experience we just want a occasional update (perhaps twice a year even if its a couple of sentences) and not to be talked down to. This was also the first time I've heard that Esslemont has another early empire trilogy that he will be working on; yeah! I'm excited for his new trilogy and while it may be odd to have the first book if the Karsa trilogy to not have the main character I understand it; especially after his explanation. Honestly I think the fans just want a good story. As long as its also accessible, and I believe thats what got him into trouble with the Kharkanus books, the fans will love it. Thanks for the link!

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Posted (edited)

I mean, in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the actual Lord of the Rings makes maybe one on page appearance, so having Karsa not have an on-page appearance is not odd, even if we call it the Karsa trilogy. 

As far as his nervousness is concerned, it's warranted. The performance of this trilogy is pretty much going to revive his career or knock him down to a has-been. Tempering can expectation like this is an excellent idea to not only prevent disappointment which could lead to disappointing sequel sales, but also keep the fan base excited. 

I will still posit that a major factor in the failure of the Kharkanus trilogy is how long the wait was for the second book coupled with those stupid side projects. Without a general sense of when something comes out, you can't get excited for it. And long writing times are terrible when a feeling point among fans is "he's faster than Martin! "

And I think it's good Malazan fans are talked down to. They have this unearned self-image that they are sophisticated readers when they are pretty much just fan bois. The sooner they realize this, the sooner we can have actual conversations in their domain without the risk of our eyes rolling out of our skulls ;)

Edited by TheOrlionThatComesBefore
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51 minutes ago, TheOrlionThatComesBefore said:

They have this unearned self-image that they are sophisticated readers when they are pretty much just fan bois. The sooner they realize this, the sooner we can have actual conversations in their domain without the risk of our eyes rolling out of our skulls

Did you feel this way based on fans met in real life, the shard, the official page or elsewhere? I got a bit of it myself when I was part of the Malazan Facebook group, but I just figured that Facebook brings out the worst in most people and I just chalked it up to that. One of the many reasons I left that group was when Fall of Light came out and there seemed to be a further malazan clique/faction that was pro-Kharkanus and any criticism of the two books was met with, "you're just too dumb to understand it" These are just outlier examples though. I think most interactions I've had they seem to good, reasonable people.

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18 minutes ago, Ammanas said:

Did you feel this way based on fans met in real life, the shard, the official page or elsewhere? I got a bit of it myself when I was part of the Malazan Facebook group, but I just figured that Facebook brings out the worst in most people and I just chalked it up to that. One of the many reasons I left that group was when Fall of Light came out and there seemed to be a further malazan clique/faction that was pro-Kharkanus and any criticism of the two books was met with, "you're just too dumb to understand it" These are just outlier examples though. I think most interactions I've had they seem to good, reasonable people.

Forum too, though it has been years since I've entered THAT place. 

All fandoms have what I'm talking about: this false idea that the books they love are objectively THE BEST EVAR!!!1! I rank that quality as being problematic based on how prevalent that feeling is and the age of the fandom. Some examples: 

1) You see that quality in this forum, and though I'm annoyed by it (I am a curmudgeon, after all) I don't think it's a problem because the age group is predominantly young. Young readers get excited when they find that one thing that finally helps them define and recognize what they like, and so far when reading recommendations threads, they are developing their reading habits along those lines. It's a foundation they are generally building on, and that's a good thing. 

2) You see the opposite in a sizable portion of the Harry Potter community, where that series is the best. These are grown adults that have not found anything new in decades because they think there cannot possibly be anything better. They are stagnant. 

3) In the case of Malazan, a sizable chunk think that because they read a series that is slightly more challenging than others, they are smart readers (think about that meme about Rick and Morty fans). 

4) From my old fandom, there are really, really old folks that think the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant are the sacred texts that have answers to the profundity of life. It's limiting the mind and is where members of the other fandoms (particularly Harry Potter) are heading towards. 

I don't see that particular problem with folks in this thread, so I post here instead of other forums or Facebook. :)

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@TheOrlionThatComesBefore I totally see what you're saying, and it truly is a massive eye roll, ESPECIALLY when anyone dares to bring up or mention another series like the Wheel of Time. I lurk on the Malazan Facebook group and occasionally share pictures of Silchas Kitty.

Speaking of which...

 

20190316_184008.jpg

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I added a poll question for fun. Its showing up on every page of the thread for me; i know its long so if its too big of a annoyance for people to scroll past every time I will remove it if enough people speak up. 

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On 2/24/2019 at 1:27 PM, Ammanas said:

@hoiditthroughthegrapevine Are you still working on Blood and Bone? Interested in what you think because I loved the first 4/5th but thought he really dropped the ball with the ending. I loved the jungle setting and the Heart of Darkness vibe. I wish there were more fantasy books with a jungle setting.

So, I got the 2nd collected volume of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, and stalled for a bit on all things Malazan after reading Crack'd Pot Trail. I love Erickson's writing in the Book of the Fallen series (though he can get a bit preachy and his digressions have digressions). I loved the first 3 B and KB novellas (though the Lees of Laughter was pushing the boundaries of good taste, it was still enjoyable). But Crack'd Pot Trail exposes the thing that I have the hardest time with in Erickson's writing (spoilered below because it's a bit of an adult conversation):

Spoiler

Erickson sometimes strikes me as a sensitive intellectual, and one who is using his poetic gift to try and score with the silk sheet / Wiccan / Skull Candelabra crowd. He has lengthy digressions along very libertine lines, preaches an extreme moral relativism, and frankly has graphic depictions of knowing people in the biblical sense that are voyeuristic at best and are downright chauvinistic fantasies at worst. I am an adult and I can screen this kind of thing out, just like a lot of artists take art classes so they can draw from nude models, a lot of poets study their arts to coat their tongues with honey to seduce the ladies/gents. Such is life. But Crack'd pot trail goes too far and also Erickson is trying way too hard to prove how brilliant he is. The problem I have with that particular story is the graphic depiction of cannibalism and moral paucity of any of the characters involved. It's quite frankly a cynical screed, a long haranguing diatribe against the type of writers that Erickson isn't (injured pride that they are successful and he isn't as successful), with some saucy bits thrown in because why not, you describe vomit inducing details of the specifics of cannabalism, what's to stop you from getting a bit randy as well. I for one am kind of glad that Kharkanus blew up on him, because I think that a dose of humility and a shift in focus to what is actually amazing about the world of Malazan is good for Erickson. Don't get me wrong, he is a brilliant writer, but his gifts were becoming untethered from a point, and his ego was taking over.

I LOVED Blood and Bone, and I am finally getting a sense for what kind of writer ICE is. He is great at creating environment, his exposition is clear, and the uncertainty of his writing makes the world building stronger and more realistic. At first I just wanted him to pick, instead of saying something is like 2 opposite things or wildly different things conjoined with an or (like all of the weird monsters in Jackuruku are described as Divers, Soletaken or something else (this is eventually cleared up nicely by some 'Triss exposition, so it's really sketching out the boundaries of a mystery)). This is a writing tick that he has, that once you get used to it, it's actually kind of endearing and adds a dimension of immersivity to his writing. He is a very visual writer and is really good at describing action in a compelling, streamlined manner. The jungle setting was incredibly well realized, and as I was reading this book I kept instinctively wanting to grab a spray can of Off!

The rest of my comments on BaB are going into a spoiler tag:

Spoiler

PROS:
Hard to say which Novel of the Malazan Empire book I like better, Stonewielder or Blood and Bone. Both were amazing. The ending for SW is better (at least it makes sense), but other than the fizzling out ending, there really aren't any dull segments of Blood and Bone. Hemitan is an amazing construct, the Children of Ardata were incredibly well done, the oppressive assault on all of the characters by the jungle was incredibly well done, and the parallels and interwoven threads between all of the parties journeying through Jackuruku were really well done. I loved getting to see the Disavowed steal the shard of the Crippled God from the Sky Tower and the fight with the Stormriders. The journey of the Avowed up the river in the Serpent as they slowly slip into catatonic states while everything rots around them was great. Skinner and the Disavowed were really good, I especially liked the splintering off from Golan's invasion force to look for shards of the Crippled god. Murk and Sour were great characters, as well fleshed out and as fun to read about as a lot of the Bridgeburners. The retrieval of the shard from the Dolmen Tians was great (really nice description of how the shard was lashed (and how the Crippled God was chained in general). Also loved it that Spite got trapped in Dolmens. Finding out more about Kallor was great too, and the reveal about the Thamaturg ritual being an attempt to destroy Kallor was great and well played out. Overall, I liked this book an awful lot, I would say it's nearly as good as one of the weaker Malazan Book of the Fallen books, and I am really excited to read the Path to Ascendancy books (because Esselmont seems to growing as writer in all the right ways). I really like the Queen of Dreams in this too, one of the best scenes in any book is the description of her being drawn forth from the pool of quicksilver by her Talian priestess, the descriptions of the light reflecting off of the roof and columns of the temple and how she was being drawn out of the pool were superb. Also, I think that Esselmont does a better job of mixing in interesting philosophical digressions in this book (old man moon was very well done, his moving tattos, his little grass shrine hut, etc, Murk and Celeste's relationship, Gothos and Osseric's conversations, etc.).

 

CONS:
Skinner's death. So disappointing. One of the coolest sub-villains in any series goes out by being eaten by a bunch of spiders?? Really?
The Adwami invasion of Thaumaturg lands. I love that Kallor was the warleader, but this was a dumb plan. At no point during this invasion did I think that the Adwami had any real idea of what they were doing. All they did was take out some yakshaka, the Shaduwam priests took out most of the Thaumaturgs and the defenders. Without Kallor's secret deal the invasion would have been a bloodbath for the Adwami. Also, I didn't like the love story between Jatal and princess Andanii, I didn't buy that she was always true to Jatal. Seemed a bit much, her character seemed to be driven by ambition, and it rang as false to me that she wasn't willing to turn a blind eye to the moral ambiguity of Kallor's ambition.

Once Saeng entered the temple of the Light, I have no real clue what happened and what the significance of all of the corsucating light, the shafts of brilliant light and the domes of night spilling out really is. I get that the ritual was interrupted, I get that Osseric helped somehow, I get that the Ardata was repulsed, but the how of all of this seemed to be left out. Big gouts of brilliant lights, mages pass out, lots of the jungle get burned, the ritual is stopped, kallor is cooked like a goose, Ardata is repulsed, and Osseric did something that made him pass out so that L'oric and Spite can come and dump him in Kurald Thryllan, for what reason again?

I hate parasites of all kinds, and the scene where the Thaumaturg army soldier has parasites crawling around under his skin almost made me pass out, I'm getting a little faint just typing this. Yuck, that's some good imaginative work, but I still wish I'd never read that.

 

All of that said, I really liked this book, and this book more than any of the other Novels of the Malazan Empire has gotten me excited about doing a reread of the Book of the Fallen (after I finish Assail of course).

So, I do still have some questions, and am hoping that you guys could help me make sense of some of the threads that still seem loose to me.

  • What exactly did Osseric do? It seemed to me that he might have appeared and cut of the head of the 1st Thaumaturg, but I was reading the Malazan wiki for BaB and it said that Hanu did that, after I read that I have been scratching my head trying to figure out what Osseric actually did.
  • Is the secret of the Vow explained in Assail? There were some pretty big hints about the nature of the Vow in this book, and they kept dancing around it, but never got the reveal...
  • At the end, during the confusing denouement, Shimmer was talking about how she had seen someone when she was a child, or knew them from her childhood. Was this Lek? Or was this the Queen of Dreams? Or was this Celeste, the piece of the Crippled God? Or does this get cleared up in Assail too?
  • Can any of you explain what happened after the ritual was interrupted? How did Triss best Ardata (was it by shaming her about her daughter and then...??). What exactly happened to Ardata (it was mentioned that her physical form was retired from the world, but what does this mean and how did this happen?)

@Ammanas and @TheOrlionThatComesBefore, I thought the Erickson/Fener and Esselmont/Trake analogy and debate were great, but I think that Erickson is by far the better writer, and I hope that he gets back on track with the Witness trilogy.

I have a long drive up to Portland and back tomorrow, and an Audible credit to grab Assail with. Life is good my friends, life is good.

I voted in the poll too, Toll of the Hounds all the way!

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Posted (edited)

So this is somewhat embarrassing, but I just realized I don't know what Midnight Tides refers to nor what the cover art (see image below) is depicting. The only idea that I can think that Midnight Tides refers to is that the image invokes a sense of dread of a dark overwhelming force; which would be the Edur and the birth of their empire. Any thoughts from fellow veterans? And yes I consider anyone that has read 1-10 of Erikson books veterans and hopefully any real veterans realize that I am being a little tongue in cheek about the word.

Btw @hoiditthroughthegrapevine cant remember if you have read the Kharkanus book or not? If you haven't you may disagree with me and think Erikson hasn't missed a beat. There is a group of fans, albeit small, that even believe that Kharkanus is even better than his main series. I think that @AngelEy3 has said he enjoyed them as much as the regular series and @officiumdefunctorum is high on them as well.

I agree that Erikson will always be the more skilled writer, but sometimes writers can be too intelligent and avant-garde for their own good and forget what makes a good story. At the moment I believe Esslemont has a firmer grasp on that than Erikson but am really excited for the Karsa books.

71fe6voPrUL.jpg

Edited by Ammanas
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2 hours ago, Ammanas said:

So this is somewhat embarrassing, but I just realized I don't know what Midnight Tides refers to nor what the cover art (see image below) is depicting. The only idea that I can think that Midnight Tides refers to is that the image invokes a sense of dread of a dark overwhelming force; which would be the Edur and the birth of their empire. Any thoughts from fellow veterans? And yes I consider anyone that has read 1-10 of Erikson books veterans and hopefully any real veterans realize that I am being a little tongue in cheek about the word.

Btw @hoiditthroughthegrapevine cant remember if you have read the Kharkanus book or not? If you haven't you may disagree with me and think Erikson hasn't missed a beat. There is a group of fans, albeit small, that even believe that Kharkanus is even better than his main series. I think that @AngelEy3 has said he enjoyed them as much as the regular series and @officiumdefunctorum is high on them as well.

I agree that Erikson will always be the more skilled writer, but sometimes writers can be too intelligent and avant-garde for their own good and forget what makes a good story. At the moment I believe Esslemont has a firmer grasp on that than Erikson but am really excited for the Karsa books.

71fe6voPrUL.jpg

Re: Kharkanus. Overall I enjoyed the books, especially for the insight on Draconus, the Tiste... diaspora?, the Jaghut, and the Azathenai. However, there were parts I totally zoned through because it was your typical Erikson pontificating. Agreed on his occasional lapses into philosophical maundering.

As for  Midnight Tides... wasn't there a quote in there somewhere? I know there is, I just can't for the life of me remember when or where. I think the big stone thing may be a representation of the god pillar at the bottom of the ocean that Brys Beddict touched.

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Both Erikson and Esslemont are "meh" writers... like the vast majority of SFF authors writing these days. Not entirely their fault, the commercial demands of the genre value "story" more than being able to turn a phrase. That's one reason why it will, for the most part, never be as high-brow as "literary fiction."

What makes Esslemont better right now is that his products scratch the itch that Malazan fans have. They want lore, world and history exploration! Esslemont provides that, and aside from being somewhat reticent (a requirement to write Malazan books) he's not pretentious about it. 

I do not think Erikson is capable of not being pretentious, and it rubs his readers the wrong way. This in particular with the Kharkanus books, which may or may not offer any definitive lore because post-modernism! History doesn't exist in an objective sense, it's just interpretations of history or whatever the artist wants to create! 

And then there's the pretentiousness attending some of his sci-fi novels. Which no one wanted. 

I have high hopes for the Karsa trilogy. So long as he puts a lid on his post modernist "the interpretation is the reality" bull r u s t, he should be fine.

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4 hours ago, TheOrlionThatComesBefore said:

Both Erikson and Esslemont are "meh" writers... like the vast majority of SFF authors writing these days. Not entirely their fault, the commercial demands of the genre value "story" more than being able to turn a phrase. That's one reason why it will, for the most part, never be as high-brow as "literary fiction."

What makes Esslemont better right now is that his products scratch the itch that Malazan fans have. They want lore, world and history exploration! Esslemont provides that, and aside from being somewhat reticent (a requirement to write Malazan books) he's not pretentious about it. 

I do not think Erikson is capable of not being pretentious, and it rubs his readers the wrong way. This in particular with the Kharkanus books, which may or may not offer any definitive lore because post-modernism! History doesn't exist in an objective sense, it's just interpretations of history or whatever the artist wants to create! 

And then there's the pretentiousness attending some of his sci-fi novels. Which no one wanted. 

I have high hopes for the Karsa trilogy. So long as he puts a lid on his post modernist "the interpretation is the reality" bull r u s t, he should be fine.

Agreed on the hopes for Karsa. His "I do what I want" with regard to hard facts and lore just... Doesn't mesh with my obsessive need to know things.

As for the height of the Malazan brow... I don't mind if it reads mostly like popular fiction. The style of most literary fiction often strikes me as just... disingenuous. It certainly sounds cool, but it leaves me feeling outside of the story, which is really what I'm here for. I did enjoy it really just depends on what you love most about reading.

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Posted (edited)

I'm rereading Memories of Ice and during the section where they come across the Tiste Edur bodies, there is mention of Midnight Tides and the ruler who has died a hundred deaths, or something like that.  I'll try to remember to pull the book out later when I get home.

Edited by Who Sharded?
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yes I remember it in MoI for sure. I think it’s a Fisher chapter heading story? Without a doubt in MoI though.

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Posted (edited)

10 hours ago, Who Sharded? said:

I'm rereading Memories of Ice and during the section where they come across the Tiste Edur bodies, there is mention of Midnight Tides and the ruler who has died a hundred deaths, or something like that.  I'll try to remember to pull the book out later when I get home.

Its in chapter 23.  He calls him "the new Emperor of the Edur, this Tyrant of Pain, this Deliverer of Midnight Tides" 

It doesn't go into details about what Midnight Tides actually is though.

Edited by Ammanas
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Fisher or is it in the actual chapter?

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Its on the actual chapter. I need to reread the book, bc I cant remember the scene well but, judging from the few sentences around the quote, it looks like the throne of shadow itself was talking to Paran. Someone with a fresher memory than mine might want to correct that though.

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Yeah and hell its close to 2 yrs since I was on it last well a 1& change anyway.

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