Tag Archives: malaz

Book Review – Stonewielder by Ian C. Esslemont

This is the third book in the Malazan world. The previous ones by Ian are Night of Knives and The Return of the Crimson Guard.

Beware, this post will/may contain spoilers.

I’m now roughly 41% through the book (reading it on my Kindle) and I must say that the writing style is fairly similar to the Stephen Erikson books. OK, there’s a bit of change in how the chapters are ordered with the books.

The plots centers around the continent of Fist (also called Korel).Supposedly they would all come together in the end as there aren’t any additional books planned after that would initially appear to be in the same series, but here’s where we might be mistaken. As this book is not directly after The Return of the Crimson Guard (supposedly a few year after, but not directly, there are some gaps). Some of the important characters are common between the books.

http://the-void.co.uk/book/interview-damn-contrarian-steven-erikson-conversation-094/ if you want to know what’s happening after the Malazan Empire, apparently there’s going to be books about the huge Toblakai Karsa Orlong!

Back to the Stonewielder. The Mael priest is now the Emperor and has managed to persuade some highly influential (and old) folks to join the cause to do something about the black stain on the Malazan empire: Korel. It appears that they’ve pretended to be Malaz but have in fact been running their own little empire. Not happy.

There’s also the famous Stormwall, which has been mentioned quite often previously in the books but not too much has been written about the setups and what happens there. I believe Traveller hung out there for a while but he escaped. One side-plot surrounds a few Crimson Guard survivors that are prisoners/defenders on the wall, there are also a few of the Crimson Guard that have been crossing an ice wasteland and later they all meet up for some nasty fighting. Good times.

Kyle with the “normal” name, (he was not a Malazan empire recruit) is quite funny. I mean a guy named Kyle kicking some ass just feels odd after dudes like Greymane, Paran, or Whiskeyjack.

I almost like this book more than the Steven Erikson books, but that I think is because they are different. There’s not as much poetry in them for one, but maybe also because the Crimson Guard are bad ass!

After this one I decided to give Erikson’s Crack Pot Trail a go, but this is one weird book. There is a narrator who is very present. At least in the beginning. This is one odd duck, but I suppose after so many books in normal ‘Malazan’ style this ought to be refreshing.

 

Fantasy Book Review – Steven Erikson – The Crippled God – Part 4

From about 2/3 to the end:
And as usual –  there’s lots of spoilers below. If you haven’t read the book yet, I’d advise you not to read the below.

Part1
Part2
Part3 

There is actually quite a lot going on about the First Shore.
The malazans found the kids, they’re running out of water. How are they going to cross this thing? It needs to be magical!
There the Tiste comes back (Nimander).
The queen goes crazy. But as with the High Mage of Shadow (where is he by the way? Still in Darujistan?) there are some lucid comments that tell quite a bit.
Where is Silchas Ruin going? Well we have the Draconus and then the Kilmandros stuff, maybe he’s going there for a visit.

The battle is like a vinyl slowly turning into a majestic battle – soon getting out of proportions I wager. OK, we got dragons. We got some army slowly crossing the deadly desert. When are the gods entering? =)

Tehol for the King! Oh wait. Anyway, He’s funny.

I immensely enjoy the short scenes in this book staring some of the notorious characters from previous books but those that don’t have a major part of the story (yet). I also enjoy that there’s no need to describe who they are. I mean of course when they first are introduced you may not remember who they are until they’ve been around for a while, and maybe still you don’t but at least the name rings a bell right?

I’m already at 70% and this is now chapter 22. Is this book not going to be 24 chapters?? My world is shattering!

*** Reached the end:

Turned out that there was indeed 24 chapters + two epilogues including the world’s longest poem. I like that the God wrote a book.
I’m not so sure I liked the few random happy endings at the end of the book. But it sure didn’t go through all of the characters which leaves lots of openings for more stories afterwards.

Now I can finally put this series to rest :)

Fantasy Book Review – Steven Erikson – The Crippled God – Part 3

Part 3 Review

Part 2
Part 1

I think this book is easier to read than the previous ones. For some reason I kind of like all the thinking, pondering and analyzing that the characters do. They grow on you?
I wonder if it’s just the book or maybe the Kindle assists me in reading;  I’ve been reading quite swiftly (in comparison to how fast I read one of the previous Malazan ‘real’ books).

Of course after 33% there’s a lot of stuff about the bonehunters. They’re walking through the Glass Desert. Hellian is sober and thinks they’re going to Y’Ghatan. They’re not.

Fiddler is quite depressing, most of them are but there’s a good amount of stubborn exceptions that cling on to life like super glue. Urb for example, the under dog. I hope he gets her.

Mappo starts walking through the desert, he meets a D’Ivers (all the butter flies that the Snake met explained) and he is saved by Badalle. Maybe Mappo will find his meaning when he meets these kids. First I thought maybe the kids would meet with the Bonehunters, maybe they still will. But supposedly Mappo is going to find Icarium. But where is he? It’s a bit disorienting – people are going along/across the desert but there’s not any good maps (there is even a world map online if you search for it).

*Update – Aha – it is the Bonehunters who meet the kids first (or at least that’s how I interpreted  the end of the last chapter I read).

The Shake’s fighting down at the breach is also a pretty cool part. Quite a few times in the books there have been a small amount of people holding off another force trying to get through a small opening. This sword-type Husk – there hasn’t been much about these in the previous books now has there?
Take your average fantasy book and then there’s this type of sword that slices through dragons like butter – how often would that be a pretty major chunk of the story? Like how the fabled Heroes go battle some Mountain Troll and get the sword back to it’s rightful heir? About all of them. Not in this book though!
Here the wielder finds it on the b(r)each where the big fight will be :)

Why

One personal reason why I’m writing these review posts as I read the book is because my memory sucks and I don’t feel like rereading the series again sometime soon :) 10000 pages is a lot.

Artwork

There’s some pretty awesome artwork for the Malazan books on deviantart – do check them out!

Kindle

Two more things that are awesome about the kindle: a) it is better in direct sunlight than in the shadow and b) there’s a built-in dictionary that works even offline.

Fantasy Book Review – Steven Erikson – The Crippled God – Part 2

Read about 1/3 of the book now. Here is part 1.

The Review

There’s a lot more ‘Books’ in this one compared to the other one. I’m already at the fourth one. This also means that there is a lot more jumping between sub-stories in this book than all the other ones. It’s really tangible this time: that there’s this huge ‘meeting’ (ok I forgot the word used by Steven Erikson, it’s a big one that starts with co-) of the forces.
Some groups are mentioned maybe once per book, some are not mentioned at all but ‘between’ the lines in some of the other sub-stories’ paths. As usual in the beginning of the Malaz books there is a lot of introspection – not so much action – but instead focus is on building the characters.

This is important but it’s a slow and steady progress which always gets me a bit bored. But then again, a whole book of just action takes the fun out of it, especially with so many characters that it’s hard to keep them separated. I need to have some kind of connection with a character before the action gets interesting. I mean in the end it boils down to some sword/magic fights right? And in earnest just a lot of that sword-hacking is just not for me.

Another thing I enjoy is that it’s not about the same guys in each book! OK, there are some guys that keep on coming back and take quite a central role in the story line(s) – but the actual story is not primarily done through introspection/thoughts by the same characters. This gives the reader the opportunity to get to know some of the other people, surrounding the Bridgeburners & Bonehunters..  they’ve been in basically all books so really – you don’t want another 1000 pages about the same Bridgeburner – it’s just fine with a chapter or snippet here and there – to keep the intrigue up. Also I think there’s a plausible maximum amount of thinking a character can do – or maybe there are these kind of people out there but I guess you never know – this is what’s good with books I guess :)

There’s an abundance of ‘good’ guys in this book. I mean the only really bad folks aren’t really bad (if you discount gods then), they just have a not-so-nice plan to scour the planet of humans. There are evidence/happenings earlier in the series where humans have caught gods unawares (Feather Witch’s stealing of the eye for example) and had  them suffering.

The Kindle

As how’s it going with the Kindle I must say I really enjoy it, except when doing a review like this. It’s just not even close to as handy to jump back a random amount of pages to see what went on there – as it is in a book. But the Kindle wins when it comes to reading while you’re doing other stuff  –  like at lunch – then it’s very handy to just put it on the table and keep on eating and reading at the same time. Just a brief pause every now and then to click to the next page.

Fantasy Book Review – Steven Erikson – The Crippled God – Part 1

Warning: this post contains spoilers if you haven’t read Dust of Dreams or the previous books in the series Malazan Book of the Fallen.

This post is part of a series, I will create additional one throughout the book (basically I’m just testing which is best: use one post and make updates or create new one every now and then? What do you think?)

End of Dust of Dreams: I didn’t particularly enjoy the K’Chain Che’Malle early in the book (read: before the last three-four chapters). But then I kind of started to like them. Why are they so uncomplicated? There’s a lot of unknowns at the end of this book – which is nice. Some folks haven’t even been clashing yet – Draconus/Ublala – Torrent/Mappo/Setoc – Silchas Ruin. Which proves that the next(last) book is going to be very very exciting. What happened to the Bonehunters? How crazy was Yil’s shadow dance? Is Quick Ben really dead? Was this the meaning? Is Icarium the Azath? Or did he close the gate that the Sky Keeps came from?

When Sinn/Grub arrived at the end and with fire stopped some Sky Keeps, before that there was another poem heard about Held/Rutt and Badalle where she spoke with Icarium. They are connected somehow?

So much unknown going on here. Maybe it will all make sense in the last book? At least some of it I hope will be explained :)

Crippled God

Cover

The Crippled God

Read the end of Dust of Dreams on the Kindle – liked it a lot. Especially when sometimes there is a word I don’t understand I can just point to it and then get a definition. I will read this book completely on the Kindle – what better way to get a good feel for the e-book reader than to give a behemoth like this a go?

 

 

 

 
There are a few tricky words in Erikson’s books.
Off the top of my head I am fond of this word but rarely get the use for it:
susurration (low continuous whispering sound)
altruism (opposite of selfishness)

At this point I feel happy that I’m reaching the end of this series. Will there be more books related to this world by Erikson? The co-creator Ian C Esslemont should come out with three more books (six in total).

Fantasy Book Review – Steven Erikson – Dust of Dreams

Dust of Dreams

Dust of Dreams

Grabbed this book a week or two ago and have been steadily pulling myself through it. Not done yet, some 300 pages left. I have crappy memory so if I write down what’s going on right now, maybe that will help me remember the book later :)

It is the 9th book in the series (there are other novellas before, in between these if you look at things chronologically) and it’s happening at the same time as Toll the Hounds and it’s in a ‘pair’ with The Crippled God – the fabled last book of the series.

Beware – this post contains spoilers. If you haven’t read the previous works in this series you probably shouldn’t keep on reading.

I like that whenever people see me reading an Erikson book they always say wow it’s so big and then their jaws drop when I say it’s the 9th in the series :p
Some of the books do feel longer than others, it all depends what is happening, perhaps if there are long stretches in the book about characters that I don’t like or feel a ‘connection’ to, the book will feel longer.

Moving on – closer to topic:

The Akrynnai vs. Barghast war in this book I don’t feel much for and I’m kind of relieved now when it appears to be coming to a conclusion (some 300 pages left). Maybe that’s because I hope the Malazans will do something. Or maybe this will start making more sense in the 2nd book.

There was a lot about the Bonehunters in the beginning of the book but pretty soon they set out on a march – and there’s not much about the march – as there’s been quite a lot about that in the previous books I can understand why there’s less of it, not that I particularly like it. Things like scorpion matches/bets and the dark humor might be what I like best, majestic battles do get a bit boring/repetitive? Or maybe have I also turned into one of the veterans in the Bonehunters? Been there, done that, “just get on with it for feck sake”.

The other groups I do actually enjoy – the Taxilian/Ghost investigation inside that huge mechanism – the snake of children walking in the desert (I actually read longer poems here, which I must admit I usually don’t when they are in the beginning of each chapter, although if I paid more attention that would probably give me more clues as to what is happening). Do you read the poems? Do you ever read poems? Any ideas / tips for how to get my interest up a bit? Please comment or drop me an e-mail :)