First-time Reader's Journey - Malazan Book of the Fallen

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by chris777, May 20, 2011.

  1. Seli

    Seli Registered User

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    I do like all the loose ends, and the slice-of-life experience of the books. But there are many people that would have liked to see all ends tied up to some extent. One of the points/issues with the series is that we only get a truth and not the truth (aside from author inconsistencies that also seem to be present), even the explanations we have can be incorrect interpretations by the characters.

    from your finishing post, and always my interpretation:
    The theory I like is that the connection between the Fallen God and the physical world has to be broken, and replaced with the re-instated bond with the worshippers from his place of origin, hence the stabbing.
    The change in character, I think, is partly a result of the two-way interaction between gods and followers. The crazy, violent followers were killed of during the series, while more friendly varieties flowered. One example is the cult of Felesin younger, that (I believe) took a positive attitude to the hurt and maimed, without trying to create more. This could have had a calming influence on the Crippled god as well.
    I don't remember Poliel featuring in the end, D'rek is a different god completely as far as I am aware. A god that killed their followers because their influence was forcing it in an unwanted direction, a god partial to rebirth and the cycle of nature for whom the departure of the disruptive Crippled God would have been a nice selfish goal.

    The timeline is a complete mess of course.
    , although it does seem that Karsa in OST was still waiting for his action in TCG, and Kruppe being busy in TCG probably links back to OST as well. I am not convinced myself that T'ren was Tay merging with K'rul. Thinking about it now it is a distinct possibility he linked to the Mhybe instead (although she was buried elsewhere). I'll have to reread some bits.
     
  2. chris777

    chris777 Registered User

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    Yeah and a lot your explanation is my issues. We don't know. So everything is a guess. How can there be many blatant plot holes when we just make up reasons why this and that make sense.
     
  3. Seli

    Seli Registered User

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    For me it fits the whole feel of the series, a bit of history highlighted from some viewpoints. So I personally am fine with those holes, but I understand why not everyone shares that opinion.
     
  4. Lordwalker

    Lordwalker Registered User

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    I have a question for you folks that have read this series. I realize this series has its fans, it's haters and those that have just struggled to make it through the first novel. I fall in the last category. I am fairly intelligent, well-read and enjoy a wide range of fictional subject matter, fantasy being my favorite genre. However, I haven't been able to make it through the first quarter of Gardens of the Moon even though "on paper" it looks like something I should enjoy. I'm not even sure how to describe what keeps me from engaging. It has been released as an audiobook recently. My question is: Should I give it a try in that format? And if so, do the books get more readable once you get past the first novel?
     
  5. chris777

    chris777 Registered User

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    Yes it definitely gets better. The while series is very good. There are annoying things of course. My main issue was not nessesarily how it ended but what they left out at the end. Too many loose ends. But its worth a shot. Each book got better for me until book 4. HoC. Was awesome.
     
  6. pat5150

    pat5150 Staff

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    Malazan fans might be interested to know that the new 2014 Transworld catalogue features a blurb for Ian Cameron Esslemont's Assail. You can read it here.

    Cheers,

    Patrick
     
  7. cohelian

    cohelian Registered User

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    I think we all feel this let down for every series of books we like. Erikson introduced us to a lot of characters we never heard from again.
    I recently finished the final book in the Wheel of Time and felt the same.
    Not unlike life I suppose - you meet someone new, like them and suddenly they're gone and you never know why or where.
     
  8. chris777

    chris777 Registered User

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    I think in hindsight the first few days after finishing Malazan I was upset about this. But now, I feel it's one of the best epic fantasies ever written. It's just a massive scope that would be impossible to please everyone.
     
  9. Evil Agent

    Evil Agent Saturn Comes Back Around

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    Yeah, I've had many ups and downs with this series (my low point was Book 8). But for me, taking breaks in between the books always helped. I recently finished Dust of Dreams and loved it, and I'm currently on The Crippled God (still to early to tell, with this one, but am just excited to be nearing the end).
     
  10. chris777

    chris777 Registered User

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    Yeah, I'd love to be able to re-read this book with a group of people. This is the first book I've ever wanted to re-read. I will eventually, but again it's massive undertaking to do once, let alone twice.
     
  11. StoneBurner

    StoneBurner Registered User

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    ASSAIL is finally coming? God I hope ICE does it justice. Assail has been hyped as the convergence of all convergences.

    My theory? The Tyrant is Gandalf.
     
  12. kempster

    kempster Registered User

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    I can see your point. I would say that I was not at all let down by MBOTF. Sad that it was over..... yes. Frustrated that I still had some unanswered questions..... yes. Let down... not in the least. I can't speak to your WOT reference because I never finished it. I started it in 1991 and after 10 years of reading that series gave it up.

    I can say that there are very few books that have caused me to develop an emotional attachment to the characters the way that MOBTF did. Even the dogs. There were a couple of times I almost lost it during my reads of that series. guess I am at heart just an old softy. When the Barghast kids were giving toys to the Children of the snake..... and the children of the snake didn't really know what to do with them? Almost lost it. Bent and Roach.... guarding certain bodies..... almost lost it. Fiddler playing for Whiskeyjack and Korlat... almost lost it. My favorite character was Helian.... didn't want to go back and read the fine details to see if she survived the battle....

    Anyway.... disappointed... no. Somewhat melancholy.... yes.

    Cheers all.
     
  13. Danogzilla

    Danogzilla Couch Commander

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    Apropos of very little, my favorite Helian line was, "Yer under arrest!"
     
  14. kempster

    kempster Registered User

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    One of my favorite scenes in the entire series was in TBH....... when Helian catches up to a certain someone that she had been seeking for a while and stops a claw assassin from killing that individual.........


    "A scream sounded from down the avenue.

    As Banaschar was pulled around he saw- on the face of the man opposite him- a look of shock, then consternation-

    A woman had grasped the man's forearm- an arm at the end of was a gleaming, stained knife- and as Banaschar stared, still not quite comprehending, he saw her drive the heel of a palm into the elbow joint of that arm, snapping it clean. The knife, sprung loose, spun away to clatter on the cobbles, even as the woman, snarling something under her breath, tugged the broken arm down and drove her knee into the man's face.

    A savage cracking sound, blood spraying as the head rocked back, eyes wide, and the woman twisted the arm round, forcing the man face-first onto the cobbles. She descended onto him, grasped him by the hair with both hands and began systematically pounding his skull into the street.

    And, between each cracking impact, words grated from her:

    NO-

    crunch

    YOU-

    crunch

    DON'T-

    crunch

    THIS ONE'S-

    crunch

    MINE!!!!

    Appalled, Banaschar reached down, grabbed the terrible apparition by her sodden jerkin, and dragged her back. "For Hood's sake, woman! You've shattered his skull! It's all pulp! Stop! Stop!"

    She twisted free, turned on him, and with smooth precision, set the tip of a knife just beneath his right eye. Her pocked, blood-smeared, filthy face shifted into a sneer, as she snarled.... "YOU! Finally! You're under arrest!"


    And someone screamed from down the avenue. Again.


    That's my Helian..... I laughed so hard during this.
     
  15. Gandalf

    Gandalf Registered User

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    I am not a fan of this series. I found it boring and confusing and I feel as though I wasted a lot of time sticking with this series for very little payoff. I felt like a chore was over when I finished the books. I kept reading because I had heard so many good things but it just never won me over. I think book one may be one of the least enjoyable books I ever read but I continued because I hoped things would improve but they just never did for me. Did anyone else feel this way?
     
  16. chris777

    chris777 Registered User

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    So you read all 10 giant books of this series and didn't enjoy any of them? Why would you do that? Not every series is for everyone! =) I always recommend, with Malazan, read the first 2 books. If you still aren't into it...stop. Sure it gets better, but not enough to probably offset you already preconceived notions that you don't like it.
     
  17. kempster

    kempster Registered User

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    I am sure that some felt the way you do and stopped a few books in. I think Corporal Blues on here read 9 of the books before stopping, but he ( I hate to put words into his mouth and I am going from memory here) I think he liked the first 5 or so books and then faded from there. You may be the only person I have seen that didn't like any of the books, but read them all.

    But to each there own. I lasted 10 years into the World Of Time before putting them down....... but I really liked the first 4-5 books. After that the whole braid tugging, "what would men do without us women guiding them" stuff got really old for me; but then I stopped. I couldn't imagine reading that series as far as I did if I hadn't enjoyed any of the early books in that series.

    So I guess the answer to your question is both yes and no. I don't think anybody that didn't like any of the books read all ten.... but yes that some may have read a few more books in the series than they otherwise would have if there weren't so many people calling the series a must read.

    Hope that makes sense.

    Cheers
     
  18. Gandalf

    Gandalf Registered User

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    The only reason I stayed with the books was because I kept hearing there is a huge payoff in the end which just never happened for me. I admit I did have a bad taste in my mouth after reading Gardens because it was just so bad but I kept going due to the fact that so many people give these books great reviews. Chris in retrospect I wish I would of stopped after book one.

    I was not a big fan of Wheel of Time either but I at least found them readable and to me Sanderson taking over was an improvement.
     
  19. kempster

    kempster Registered User

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    Actually Sanderson finishing it is the only reason that I have even considered revisiting the WOT series, but after this much time, I would have to reread the whole thing....... and I just can't muster that right now. Too many books in the last 3rd of the series that never advanced anything plotwise.... or at least.... very minimally...... especially for an 800-1000 page book..... after book.....after book.

    For the faults that Malazan has...... (although this is my favorite series.... there are faults) you could actually see the varied plotlines coming together. Sometimes slowly, but always inexorably the plots started to converge. You didn't know what exactly would happen, but everything started to come together.

    I will say this though. I can understand the confusion aspect....especially if it there were large time lags between readings of the books... but boredom.... maybe during some parts of some of the various plots..... felisin traveling through the desert.... well I hated her character.... but what culminates for that part of the plot is spectacular. The Chain of Dogs.... the 2 sisters fighting eachother.... the one not knowing she was fighting her sister.... The Children of the ribby snake trekking through yet another desert.... and when found.... they had no concept of toys? Truly heartbreaking ****. Bent and Roach... two nasty gnarly dogs..... living through the chain of dogs and helping to influence the world-changing events at the end of the series..... and howling and crying over the bodies of their friends ...... Tool and Hetan ...... Whiskeyjack and Korlat..... and Fiddler playing for them. All the dead Bridgeburners......still fighting? Ganoes meeting back up with Tavore..... Tavore speaking about being unwitnessed. The Army paying homage to the Marines and then later the Marines paying homage to the Heavies...... the Crippled God being so evil in actions at the beginning of the books, but being slightly misunderstood and then the ending with Cottilion? Crokus/Cutter finally finding again Sorry/Apsalar?

    This is but a tiny taste of the story..... confusing..... maybe. Boring? NO.

    I can't see boring. Ever.

    I have read a lot of great books. I have read a lot of average books......and a ton of shitty ones. The Malazan books are not for everyone. There is never a book for everyone. People obviously have different tastes.... but with so much going on in the books..... the transitions of the character stories..... and several heartrending climaxes....Trull? Kettle? Icarium? The tyrant from MOI and his sister? The last Matron of the K'chain? Toc the Younger?

    Boring?

    I am an old, disgruntled, sarcastic, pessimistic, half-glass empty bastard.

    It has been a LONG LONG time since I have read anything that got me choked up and teary-eyed. Watership Down when I read it in the 70's as a youngster..... Oh..... Magicians End simply because I spent 30 years reading about Pug/Milamber and Tomas and kind of felt an almost familial relationship to the characters of Pug and Tomas over the years. There were several scenes that I damn near cried over in the MBoTF series.

    So when you state "boring and confused", I really don't get it. Probably none of the other Malazan fans do either.

    Anyway, glad you gave them a shot. i think everyone that likes fantasy should try it. If the first 2-3 books don't hook you though..... you should probably put the last 7000 pages down and move on.

    Cheers Gandalf!

    Kempster
     
  20. Danogzilla

    Danogzilla Couch Commander

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    After reading your post, Kempster, I suddenly miss the books and the world like they are old friends I've been away from. Spent a lot of time with those gnarly bastards. It's a bit upsetting I won't be reading about them any more. A re-read of the series is inevitable, but a long long way off.