Midnight Tides 'standalone-ish'?

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by horribleman, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. horribleman

    horribleman I can see in the dark

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    Following on from the now locked thread where it was suggested that Midnight Tides was almost standalone, and a good starting point for people that want to give Erikson a chance but get put off by GotM or whatever, I have a couple of questions:

    1) Is this pretty much true? I fancy the idea of this rather than reading GotM again to start giving his stuff a chance.

    2) I read GotM and about half of DG a few years ago. Are any of the 'spoilers' in Midnight Tides for other books?

    Cheers!!
     
  2. Fruitonica

    Fruitonica Registered User

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    I'd say go for it.

    It's a standalone plot set on a completely different continent with a new set of characters. And chronologically I think it takes place earlier than any other book, or maybe parallel with GotM.

    It's my favourite Erikson book and I think that the writing and pacing are better than any of his other books. The plot is also a little more centred and easier to follow than GotM or DHG.



    Having said this I can't rule out the possibility of any spoilers appearing that could hurt some other books, but I can't remember any vital ones.
     
  3. Salsa Dip

    Salsa Dip Hot and Chunky

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    You mean like the main antagonist of the series and his entire plan being set out for you and spoiling books 3 and 4? That kind of spoiler?

    Once you've read book 5, maybe then you should skip to book 7, before stopping in at books 4 and 2, and then go back to the start.

    Or maybe you should just read them in order.
     
  4. horribleman

    horribleman I can see in the dark

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    Ok but how much of a spoiler is it? Massive or just something you find out a bit early?

    No need to get narky, I'm just asking.
     
  5. Arrgh

    Arrgh Registered User

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    People act like GOTM is horrible. It's just a bit confusing at first. You have to read it at some point anyway so why put it off?
     
  6. Ouroboros

    Ouroboros Give me liberty!

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    'Midnight Tides' has the feel of a stand-alone in some senses, but in actual fact I think you'd still need knowledge of Erikson's world which you would have built up from reading the previous books on order to make sense of it.

    Irrespective of the series in question, I think it's almost always best to read them in the published order.
     
  7. Fruitonica

    Fruitonica Registered User

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    haha, yeah. Don't know how that slipped past me.

    But I will say that you definitely don't see his full plan, only the stuff effecting lether. I'm still not sure it would spoil books 3 and 4, you'd just read them with a slightly clearer image of the big picture.
     
  8. Gander

    Gander New Member

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    That's a good point about being acclimated to the series. It's really up to HM. 'Tides' can be read as a standalone if you want. Erikson has said he tries to make every book independent of the others, but that just isn't the case, especially now with final convergences coming into play.

    I think GotM is a fun book. It's certainly not unreadable. And Deadhouse Gates really picks up steam in the last third; I couldn't put it down. I'd say read the series in order, but if you just can't stand the others, go ahead and read MT.

    Midnight Tides isn't a particularly easy read, though. There's a lot going on. I really liked it the first time around, but after a reread I absolutely loved it.
     
  9. Salsa Dip

    Salsa Dip Hot and Chunky

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    Sorry, I don't mean to be narky. It just gets on my tits that people could even contemplate reading a series out of order. It's just wrong!

    I imagine if I was an author of a large and complicated series, I would be pretty pissed off it people read it all out of sequence because of nothing more than them not being arsed to read it in order. All those levels of foreshadow and reveal, ruined, because it was read in the wrong sequence.

    A reading experience changes immensely depending on when you read something, and what you've read before it. This is not just true for Erikson, but for reading in general.
     
  10. molybdenum

    molybdenum Analyze That

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    I think it's a great idea. Midnight Tides is a much better book than Garden of the Moon, and as for spoilers, the main one is you get introduced to the main antagonist earlier than you would otherwise. However, its on a continent all its own, it's chronologically the first book of the series, and it's a good showcase of the kinds of things that Erikson can do. I'd compare it to reading the Magician's Nephew first in the Narnia series.
    (Also, you get to learn about holds before venturing in to the much more confusing warrens. It may give a more gradual look into Erikson's magic system.)
     
  11. horribleman

    horribleman I can see in the dark

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    No worries!

    I noticed that you said the same in another thread (maybe a Sci Fi thread)? the other day.

    :)
     
  12. kater

    kater Filthy Assistants!

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    I'm going to slide into the no category, it's certainly possible and would be entertaining to meet Tehol and Bugg so early _but_ as Ouroboros succinctly pointed out, there is a lot that goes into Erikson's world and without proper context you may become frustrated by not knowing a lot of terms and missing plenty of references. As was mentioned above Gardens of the Moon really isn't that bad, it's a sharp introduction where the reader is thrown in head first for sure but I didn't find it overly difficult. Personally I'd read them through in order once, then pick and choose what you come back to - oddly enough when I did this recently I went straight back to GOTM to see what I could now put together from it and oh boy is it a lot :D
     
  13. Bond

    Bond Registered User

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    The problem with this argument is that Gardens of the Moon is hardly an improvement in this regard. I wouldn't be surprised at all if someone said they felt more like a fish out of water after reading GotM than if they had read Midnight Tides first.

    The best reason to read GotM first is because that is how Erikson intended the series to be read. If one believes, however, that Erikson stretches the need to keep the reader in the dark about a number of things and that it comes across more as gimmick than necessity then I think reading Midnight Tides is fine. A more conventional way of telling the story probably would have started the series with the events of Midnight Tides. In relation to the original poster's situation, it is largely a moot point since he has already read GotM.
     
  14. Michigan

    Michigan Registered User

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    I'm not sure I would have put Midnight Tides as the first book in the series but I think the series as a whole would have benefited if Midnight Tides was book 4 and House Of Chains was 5. Trulls part in House of Chains was so small, and it was the first time we were introduced to him, I ended up glossing over most of his parts. If we had already been introduced to Trull I think his parts in House of Chains would have made alot more sense and I would have paid better attention to them.
     
  15. rockmonkey

    rockmonkey Registered User

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    I can see that. I've been reading the books for the first time back to back and just finished Midnight Tides last week and I've found myself going back and reading those three or four chunks from HoC with Trull in them to put those scenes in better context.

    Even so, I feel they are best read as they are, sure Erikson intended it and all that, but also at the end of HoC you have Trull sitting down to begin telling his tale to the Imass with him waiting to protect the first throne, and then you have Midnight Tides which IS his story so it's almost a story within a story.


    My wife is now reading the series on my recommendation and just finished GotM and I was able to help her to understand things and sutbly point out important bits that might not seem important until later. I was still extremely limited in helping explain things because I don't want to spoil the goodies for her. Such as who Shadowthrone and Cotillion are and a hundred other little reveals.

    I mainly explained ascendants and the deck of dragons and warrens and races (again the abridged version, nothing about K'rull's blood or the Crippled God, etc).
     
  16. Metta

    Metta writer of wrongs

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    I was dreading reading Midnight Tides. It's set earlier in the timeline, and features almost no one we've met before. But I was surprised by how compelling it was. I really had trouble putting it down.

    In terms of plot threads, it's the leanest of the Malazan novels, so there might be an argument to be made that it would work as a solid introduction novel, but I like Gardens of the Moon. I like being dropped into this world with no preamble. And I like that book five takes us away from the main plot, to give us some backstory. If you read Tides first, you'll never catch the meaning of 'Holds' or the tiles that Feather Witch throws. Unless you re-read the book.

    Midnight Tides turned out to be my second favourite Malazan novel. It might be an easier read, or a more gentle intro to the series, but you lose much by tackling it out of order. You lose depth and scope. You lose history.
     
  17. Funnyword

    Funnyword New Member

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    reading Tides first seems like it could be an interesting way of starting the series. The biggest con i see with it though is that you won't meet the characters you read about in that book again until way later in the series. It won't give you any of a connection with characters you're reading about at the start and that might take away from some of them when you go on to read their books without GOTM
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2008
  18. Skywarp

    Skywarp New Member

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    Just finished MT the other day.

    While still a good read, MT is my least liked book so far.

    I did not find the Tiste Edur that interesting or enjoyable to read about compared to the peoples and places of Seven Cities, Genabackis and Quon Tali.

    The main characters apart from Trull, Tehol and Bugg were all rather dull.
    The lightning fast conquering of the kingdom of Lether was a tad anti climactic especially coming after the domino collapse of the Panion Domin previously in the last few chapters of the House of Chains.

    Lastly my biggest niggle :- The book is about 1000 pages, I think without hyperbole a third of those pages contained extensive diatribes on a wide variety of abstract and philosophical topics including society, ethics, morality, economics, sociology, the human condition, civilization, faith, politics, political structures, ideology to name a few...

    Now such musings, dispensed through his characters, are hardly unprecedented in Erikson books. But Midnight Tides was a non stop deluge.
    It was way too much for me and I felt at times Erikson was instead writing a thesis on his personal view of the world and its ails rather than a fantasy novel meant to entertain.
    I am curious if anyone else feels the same about this part in particular. Indeed you may have liked the book even more because of it rather than disliked.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2008
  19. anthonyjohn

    anthonyjohn New Member

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    I read Deadhouse Gates first (discovered the series) then read GotM to find out the various threads, am now reading Midnight Tides and will then go to House of Chains so as to follow two of the threads.
    I find Midnight Tides interesting and in contrast to DHG but find the characters of less depth although I am enjoying the humour with Bugg and Tehol.
    I am looking forward to following the exploits of Korsa Orslong in H of Chains.

    Altogether a very good series so far.
     
  20. PeterWilliam

    PeterWilliam Omnibus Prime

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    Agreed. Erikson's worldview is ubiquitous in his stories. The same is probably the case for all authors, to varying degrees. In some tales, it makes them; in others, it breaks them. While Erikson's are kind of time absorbing (1000p. indeed), I haven't found them overly objectionable. However, I have been turned off by some works due to said phenomenon.