Cool, thanks! Will use this as a companion to my massive listen-through during commutes.
Reading Cormac McCarthy should help to desensitize you to any and all types of violence in literature. I would recommend starting with Blood Meridian, then Child of God. Those two should pretty much do the trick.
Finished the first book. The climax has a pair of big battles with lots of things happening and all that, but in the end the big baddie was easily neutralized (Elric-clone didn’t even fight him, and the whole plan was to tire him out!), and leaves almost all resolution of the things that matter (with the empire, with the gods, with the city) for the following books, so the end felt a bit underwhelming.
A pair of details: the trap/thing/house/azath that trapped the big baddie appeared from nowhere. It didn’t explain what was. I can understand that will be explained in the next books, but at least, it should have said who or what side summoned. It feels deus ex machina otherwise.
It’s curious how different sides are enemies of the Empire, but waste time, lives and effort in fighting between themselves, instead of allying. From memory: the sappers (as they are going to betray the throne and rebel), the Shadowthrone, the Elric-clone with soul-stealing sword and his cronies, the archmages from the city, the Spymaster, and surely I’m forgetting more. Stop quarreling and get together!
When I wrote my comment about the Mary Sue characters I was specifically thinking of Mappo and Icarium, although I’ve seen arguments for other characters, too.
But to be clear, I very much like the series. I enjoy good world building, and I can think of few books that build as well as the Malazan series.
The climaxes get better. In particular, the finale of the “Chain of Dogs” storyline in Book 2 is one of the most heart-wrenching things I’ve ever had to endure in fiction.
There will be one other major DEM moment in the first half of the series; this is a case of simply allowing Erikson to say “There’s stuff about my world you don’t know yet. I haven’t chosen to explain it to you, but it matters right now. You’ll see how this happened soon enough.”
Given the level of detail and planning in the books, I don’t think he ever wrote these deus ex machina moments just to get himself out of a tight corner, plot-wise; I think he knew exactly why each one was happening, and could justify it in-world. But like there’s a lot of characters and terms that you’re expected to just “deal with” without knowing/understanding for a while, sometimes you are just asked to “accept” these moments in the book. It’s part of Erikson’s style, and I won’t say it’s a good thing in this instance. . . but it’s very intentional.
And finally, man, I hope you enjoy trying to follow the twisted paths of loyalties, betrayals, and more that will follow!
Irrelevant because there are no Mary Sue’s in the Malazan world. Unfortunately, the definition of Mary Sue has been stretched beyond meaning in many online discussions at this point.
Yeah, after reading Armando’s description of the term, I then see Carl’s comment was directed at Mappo and Icarium. Ha. To funny. Keep reading, kiddo.
Also - Armando, yeah I did stumble on the re-read and that’s FANTASTIC. I’ve been reading a chapter, then I read the person who has never read the series before (the other guy has spoiled a few things (very minor, but still), I think the presumption is you’ve read it before when you read his take on a chapter). It’s slowing me down some, but it’s very worth it.
Yeah, Malazan doesn’t have any real Mary Sues, unless you’re going to count the entire cast, which isn’t how it works.
There are plenty of really, really powerful characters, but none are going full on Rhonin or anything. The biggest offenders are basically gods and well… they’re gods. And it’s not like the gods are all that amazing in the world when it comes down to brass tacks.
I’m fine without reading murder porn, thank you :-)
‘Mary Sue’ is a valid term, but one that sometimes it’s one that it has been misused. It isn’t enough with being powerful to be a Mary Sue. That’s more a side effect.
The thing with Mary Sue is how they are unrealistically awesome. They are super geniuses in war, almost being able to see the future and win against all the odds with their strategies… but not only that, that would be ok in fact. The problem is that they don’t excel at one thing like smarts, they do too in brawn, they excel in all areas in fact. They happen to know kung fu and are able to beat several assassins even if he doesn’t look like he should be able of doing it. And they strangely have an incredible amount of knowledge in any field. And they are so well liked: men aspire to be like him, women sigh wherever he goes, etc. When they aren’t well liked, it’s because the author thought being an anti-hero is cooler.
‘Self-inserts’ are a variation of Mary Sue, I suppose. For example Bella in Twilight, she is supposed to be very average in looks, just plain looking. That’s definitively an area where the character doesn’t excel, so you could say she isn’t a true Mary Sue, but of course it’s done so the readers can self-insert in her easily, and never mind her looks everyone loves her at first sight.
Question. What books should I read next?
Published order? I think it’s this one
Gardens of the Moon Deadhouse Gates Memories of Ice House of Chains Midnight Tides The Bonehunters Reaper's Gale Toll the Hounds Dust of Dreams The Crippled God
Midnight Tides Gardens of the Moon Deadhouse Gates / Memories of Ice House of Chains The Bonehunters Reaper's Gale Toll the Hounds Dust of Dreams The Crippled God
Should I read too the novels by Ian C. Esslemont? Are they good? If yes, should I mix them in the read order? I also found thissuggested order list:
Gardens of the Moon
Memories of Ice
House of Chains
Night of Knives*
Return of the Crimson Guard**
Toll the Hounds***
Orb Sceptre Throne*****
Dust of Dreams
The Crippled God
Blood and Bone*** ***
And the Tor Rereadhas another mixed order! With GoM, Night of Knives, Deadhouse Gates.
Ian C. Esslemont’s books are pretty awesome, except for the first one, which sucks majorly. They get a bit bogged down in minutia, the same way Eriksons books does.
There is a big reason you should not read Return of the Crimson guard before Eriksons other books - I think your last order is fine, though. I still dont believe Esslemont wrote Return of the Crimson guard - its way better than anything else he has written, and reminiscent of Erikson at his finest.
Eriksons books are fine to be read in released order.
The order suggested on wertzone is the one I am working via, and it’s been very good so far. Publication order would be perfectly appropriate, too.
That’s a pretty shallow dismissal of a writer who has garnered a Pulitzer Prize among other things.
Its a good thing thats not what I did, then.
You called the two recommended books “murder porn” which implies titillation without merit. Pretty dismissive!
No, I was told to read two books who would help " should help to desensitize you to any and all types of violence in literature" - Thats not something I’m in any way interested in. The “Murder porn” I was referring to, was Eriksons in his Forge book, which I was quite fine not being able to read, thank you very much.
As for Cormac - I tried reading “the road” once, and I simply couldnt. The prose, and the layout as well made it impossible for me to progress in the book at all.
Well, there is a difference between “This didn’t work for me” and “This is a work without merit.” Word choice is important in text-based communication!
Mild spoilers for anybody who hasn’t read the first few books.
So is there something that is going to happen in the rest of the series with those characters that hasn’t already happened in the first five and a half books that will make me like them more? Because so far its just a bunch of “lol, I can’t remember anything but I’m just a crazy powerful fighter and like wicked smaht because I made all of these eons old clocks and stuff. And you won’t like me when I’m angry. And I’m green, go figure! You’re my best friend, pal! Oh I’m so anguished and torn because I’m so loyal that I can’t kill you even though it is my one true purpose!” stuff, to simplify and summarize it.
I’m really hoping there is more to the characters than this, but so far that has basically been it. Erikson wrote good characters. Whiskeyjack was a good character, for example. The sisters Paran were decent characters with great skills, and great shortcomings that effected other characters, the world around them, and the story in believable ways with only a minimum of suspension of disbelief (relative to a story about gods and magic holds and warrens and stff). Heck, Karsa Orlong is one of the most powerful characters in the series, but he earned it through his adventures. Even other characters who have been supremely powerful for ages have had their rise to power more or less explained through dialogue or flashbacks at some point in the first half of this series. Mappo and Icarium are Mary Sues, just perhaps not in the definition of the term that Armando gave. Taken from the TV Tropes website, and generally how I think of Mary Sues: "In other words, the term “Mary Sue” is generally slapped on a character who is important in the story, possesses unusual physical traits, and has an irrelevantly over-skilled or over-idealized nature. "
But, again, these characters don’t KILL it for me. It is just a bit much for me to handle without having to take a break from it for a little while. The main thing that gets me past some of the characters (Anomander Rake, I’m looking at you too) is that the stories are based off a D&D campaign Erikson created. Staying true to the characters as they were originally created - presumably by many different people - and trying to tell an interesting story is no small task and I think Erikson pulls it off well.
So you’re arguing that art can be objectively good?