Get your fill of sci-fi, science, and mockery of stupid people
* FAQ    * Search   * Register   * Login 
Want to support this site? Click

Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)


All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: The Malazon series PostPosted: 2011-01-27 11:23pm
Offline
Jedi Knight
User avatar

Joined: 2007-10-17 12:18am
Posts: 674
Question: does this series get better as it goes on, or does it get worse?

So far I've read two of the books (Memories of Ice and House of Chains) and I'm currently reading Gardens of the Moon. Impressions so far...

Gardens: the best of those three so far, IMO. Annoyingly it takes several hundred pages to really get moving, but when it does it moves - lots of intrigue and action.

Memories: the worst by far, mostly because Erickson HUGELY overplays the gore card. I know, cannibalistic death cults and all, and I have a fairly high tolerance for such things; but some things are more effective when left to the reader's imagination. The way he did it, the reader just gets numb to it. Also, the plot felt a bit too convoluted; and Kruppe, who is fantastic in Gardens, has somehow become an annoying windbag.

House: main problem here is that Karsa Orlong is really, really unsympathetic. I would have liked to see more Heboric and less Karsa. And while the bit about Heboric's buried jade giant was very interesting, the whole thing with the Nascent and the Tiste Edur and Tiste Liosen felt like it was tacked on. Though the Liosen were kind of funny (yay genocidal elves!).

Of course I am reading these out of order... But I'm wondering if, given my current impressions, whether it's worth it to keep going, or whether the later books will fail for me as entertainment.

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: The Malazon series PostPosted: 2011-01-28 02:55am
Offline
Cowardly Codfish
User avatar

Joined: 2002-07-07 12:01am
Posts: 8590
Location: Beneath the Deepest Sea
A couple of thoughts:

  • I've read the first 200 pages of Gardens of the Moon. It really did not draw me in at all, and the whole world seemed "mile-wide, inch-deep" in world-building.

  • I got about 350 pages into Deadhouse Gates. The first 250 pages were really great, but after that I steadily lost interest and never finished it.

  • Memories of Ice, on the other hand, was a very entertaining read, and is the book that (temporarily) drew me into the Malazan Series.

  • I have the same problem you do with House of Chains: Karsa Orlong is such an asshole, although he does get an extremely awesome revenge killing at the end of that book against
    [Reveal] Spoiler: "Malazan"
    the guy who was mutilating young women who were in Felisin's big group
    .

  • Midnight Tides is the book that more or less broke my willingness to go on. I've tried to read through it twice, and both times fell away about 300-400 pages into it.

  • I haven't read the other books, but from what I've heard, Reaper's Gale was good, Toll the Hounds very divisive (most of the fans I've spoken to who have read it either really liked it or really hated it), and Dust of Dreams being heavily flawed but also very good in many ways.



"You can't hammer tin into iron, no matter how hard you beat it, but that doesn't mean that tin is worthless."
-Jon Snow, A Game of Thrones

"I prefer my history dead. The dead sort is written in ink, the living in blood."
-Rodrik Greyjoy, A Song of Ice and Fire

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: The Malazon series PostPosted: 2011-01-28 03:11am
Offline
Emperor's Hand
User avatar

Joined: 2005-06-01 01:44am
Posts: 10086
Location: A different time-space Continuum
Malazan!
Not Malazon :P

And personally, i love it up until The Bonehunters. After that it's a matter of taste.



Photography
Genius is always allowed some leeway, once the hammer has been pried from its hands and the blood has been cleaned up.
To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: The Malazon series PostPosted: 2011-01-28 03:45am
Offline
Padawan Learner
User avatar

Joined: 2009-12-10 04:35am
Posts: 330
This is convenient. I was going to post my own thread on this but now I don't need to. I read up through House of Chains, and though the series has had its high points, I find myself mostly confounded by the high praise it has received (I assure you, reviwer-that-I-don't-know, MBotF is no Chronicles of the Black Company and no Lord of the Rings).

The Good: Deadhouse Gates and Memories of Ice. Specifically, the Chain of Dogs plotline. Too be honest, I didn't really care about the Icarium/Mappo and Fiddler story lines, since the didn't really seem to be going anywhere. Luckily, Coltaine and company were awesome enough that I could overlook the issue. I have a harder time picking out specific things I really liked from Memories of Ice (aside from Gruntle and Onos Toolan), but it was of much higher overall quality compared to the other books I read. I actually had the exact opposite reaction to Kruppe in MoI--he managed to remain entertaining without becoming annoying, and he managed to come off as genuinely clever rather than merely cryptic.

The Bad: Gardens of the Moon. The first book in the series and indicative of the problems I have had with the series as a whole. As mentioned, the world-building is rather shallow, and I think the author fails to develop locations even when the action remains in one place for extended periods of time. The plot is also incredibly obscure, and generally fails to interest throughout, ending with a deus ex machina. GotM also hints at one of the core problems with Erikson as a writer: there may appear to be dozens of characters in Malazan books, but don't be deceived. There are really only about five: Malazan Soldier, Corrupt Aristocrat/Cleric, Angst-ridden and Aloof Immortal, and Scheming Spy/Assassin.

The Ugly: House of Chains. Starting off with an excruciating aside about a character we don't know (well, we do, but he was bit part in DhG), and continuing on with deus ex machina after dull plot point after hanging story thread, Erikson fucks it up by the numbers. First, Karsa Orlong is boring and unsympathetic. He starts out a prick without a single redeeming feature, but by the end of the story through cunning character development and hard-won epiphany he has become... oh wait, no he's still a fucking asshole without anything interesting or sympathetic about him. Karsa is a textbook example of how to fail at making a badass. He struggles for none of his accomplishments, his villainy does nothing more than taint him for the reader, and by the time he is called to account for his crimes I hope and pray that the Malazans just off the fucker. I find it especially ironic that Erikson so utterly failed at making a badass out of Karsa when he succeeded so brilliantly with Coltaine in Deadhouse Gates. The lesson here is that asskicking does not make a character cool. Second, Erikson seems peculiarly fond of having the resolution for his stories come right the fuck out of nowhere. The Army of Hood may have been foreshadowed, but not very well. That whole plot element served to completely undermine the Reconquest plot thread. If the Malazan series is more of the same after this, I think I'll pass.



In the event that the content of the above post is factually or logically flawed, I was Trolling All Along.

"Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful." - George Box

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: The Malazon series PostPosted: 2011-01-28 04:48am
Offline
Emperor's Hand
User avatar

Joined: 2005-05-16 04:08am
Posts: 8254
Location: The real number domain
I heard good things about the Malazan series, but I found Gardens of the Moon just plain excruciating to get through. It has some neat idea here and there, like the ice age stuff, but at the end of the day it's very bland, generic, medieval Europe styled fantasy. It's better than A Game of Thrones, however, which may possibly be the most uninspired book I have ever read.



What is Project Zohar?

Here's to a certain mostly harmless nutcase.

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: The Malazon series PostPosted: 2011-01-28 11:47am
Offline
Jedi Knight
User avatar

Joined: 2007-10-17 12:18am
Posts: 674
Hmm, interesting opinions I'm getting.

Kingmaker wrote:
GotM also hints at one of the core problems with Erikson as a writer: there may appear to be dozens of characters in Malazan books, but don't be deceived. There are really only about five: Malazan Soldier, Corrupt Aristocrat/Cleric, Angst-ridden and Aloof Immortal, and Scheming Spy/Assassin.


:lol: Yeah, I have gotten that. The Bridgeburners do hold one's interest (kind of like Case holds the reader's interest in Neuromancer) but none of the characters feel that unique. Crokus is kind of annoying, Kruppe seems to have a bit of a character shield, and Anomander Rake feels... wankish? Though he at least acknowledges that Kruppe is smarter than him.

Which brings me into the other thing I kind of dislike in GotM, the power levels. ZOMG continent-shattering magic! Wizards more powerful than gods! Omtose Phellack! Kurald Gallain! Fap fap fap! I'm starting to wonder if Erickson was a Dragonball Z fan.

(Also, you'd think travel by warren would be a lot more popular, considering the number and power of the mages. Fuck, even Kruppe can play around with a guy's memory like it's nothing.)

So yeah, "mile wide, inch deep" might be a good way of describing it. Erickson's world does feel like it doesn't quite fit together, with the magic side of things being too powerful.

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: The Malazon series PostPosted: 2011-01-28 01:53pm
Offline
Cowardly Codfish
User avatar

Joined: 2002-07-07 12:01am
Posts: 8590
Location: Beneath the Deepest Sea
Malazan is kind of odd in that you could basically skip to Memories of Ice (the third book), and not miss that much. I certainly didn't.

Ford Prefect wrote:
It's better than A Game of Thrones, however, which may possibly be the most uninspired book I have ever read.


That's an unusual opinion, but I guess Martin's not for everyone (although in fairness, the series gets better with A Clash of Kings and Storm of Swords).



"You can't hammer tin into iron, no matter how hard you beat it, but that doesn't mean that tin is worthless."
-Jon Snow, A Game of Thrones

"I prefer my history dead. The dead sort is written in ink, the living in blood."
-Rodrik Greyjoy, A Song of Ice and Fire

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: The Malazon series PostPosted: 2011-01-28 06:38pm
Offline
Emperor's Hand
User avatar

Joined: 2005-05-16 04:08am
Posts: 8254
Location: The real number domain
Guardsman Bass wrote:
That's an unusual opinion, but I guess Martin's not for everyone (although in fairness, the series gets better with A Clash of Kings and Storm of Swords).


It'd have to get a lot better, because at this point I actually cannot think of a book that I read that was this boring on every level. I appreciate, for instance, that its emphasis on magical elements is actually pretty light: there aren't any wizards around, magical relics seem few and far between. It's not that I don't like those elements, it's just that they're a very conventional part of Western fantasy so it's nice to see them missing every so often. It's just too bad that everything else is unrelentingly conventional. I cannot actually name a story which screams 'medieval European fantasy' harder than A Song of Ice and Fire. There's no artistry to it; it's just bland. Combined with its Dullsville characters it's a chore to read through: you'd think Jamie Lannister killing Bran Stark would be kind of gripping, but the pace is just outrrrrrrrrageously slow.



What is Project Zohar?

Here's to a certain mostly harmless nutcase.

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: The Malazon series PostPosted: 2011-01-28 07:59pm
Offline
Jedi Knight
User avatar

Joined: 2007-10-17 12:18am
Posts: 674
Okay, on GotM...

The good: Lorn being kind of sympathetic all the way to the end.

The bad... Where to start?

- Kruppe sitting in the dining hall all smug and satisfied, after the Tyrant possesses a guy and cuts down dozens of people... Eww. I thought this guy was supposed to care?

- The Azath house. What the fuck? Where did this thing come from? And how did the Tyrant's attack teleport Paran into exactly the right place to take on the Finnest? This doesn't make sense.

- Paran's Hound blood transfusion. Why do the effects only show up in MoI when he needs them? This has the potential to be a major source of conflict... Instead it's used for deus ex machina. To my admittedly untrained eye, that's bad writing.

- Kalam figuring out about the gas. No really? That was a bit late, wasn't it?

And Rake. Oh God. Anomander Rake needs his own list.

Fooling around at mask balls while his mages get their immortal asses kicked by the Tyrant, and yet everyone still thinks he's the shit. Being 30,000+ years old and talking like a punk in motorcycle leathers. Having black skin and silver hair and iridescent eyes and a dragon form. Fucking anime superhero fight scenes with his Dragnipurwank sword... Come on, I'm not expecting Hamlet, but this is a bit fucking much! :wtf:

Top
 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: The Malazon series PostPosted: 2011-01-29 10:20am
Offline
The Doctor
User avatar

Joined: 2004-12-12 11:55pm
Posts: 8058
Location: In a 1960s police telephone box somewhere in Australia
The Malazan is one I tried to get into, but I find it hard. I appreciate Erikson and his buddy Ian Esselmont put a lot of effort into creating this world and there is a lot of world building which combines elements which don't usually go in fantasy. For example technological based lizards who battle elder gods. Then to be weaken by civil war then overthrown by invading elves Tiste Andii and Edur. I would like to get that D20 sourcebook or the encyclopaedia they are rumoured to have planned.

Generally I found book one only so so, book 2 started nicely but then petered out, book 3 was ok. This is despite me anticipating it to be good since they were going to go up against the Pannion Domin. I can't remember if I read book 4, but I liked book 5. It was strangely engrossing the struggles of the Tiste Edur from being nearly conquered to becoming the conquerors.

I think the Malazan series is one where I just read the synopsis of wiki. It just isn't one I could pick up and struggle to put back down.



Best scene ever.

My Avatar
Never apologise for being a geek, because they won't apologise to you for being an arsehole. John Barrowman - 22 June 2014 Perth Supernova.

Top
 Profile  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Zor and 5 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group