August 12th, 2008, 05:50 AM
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.
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