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  1. #1

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

    I would like to document, for my sake and possibly others if you are so amused, my thoughts and journey through the reading of Malazan. To look back at my own thoughts books later, and get some guidance as well if necessary.

    Just started Gardens of the Moon.

    I'm only one Chapter 2. =)

    Laseen, the current Empress was called Surly before. She conspired to take the throne? By force while the Emperor was gone? They haven't really said how she is now Empress.

    This girl, "Sorry", or did they ever actually say her name? Fish girl. Rigga some weird witch/sorceress seemed to create some bond with her, and when she died she became part of her. Then that Sorcerer who summoned ?demon hounds? to destroy an army regiment, took over the girls body, who was also the old lady? I'm pretty sure this girl is going to be pretty damn powerful once things are said and done.

    What exactly is "The Claws". Is that just like an expert fighting group? Or do they have some special powers? Do I get a better explanation later?

    I'll post more later..(though the world is supposed to end tomorrow, let's hope not cause I want to read this series!)

  2. #2
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Good luck with this Chris! It is sure to be an interesting journey, to say the least. I'm sure you've seen all the Malazan threads here, but I'd like to try to keep this one as active as possible for new readers like yourself. (Or me when I eventually get to Toll the Hounds)

    Tor.com is running a Malazan re-read if you care to drop in as you read a long. I found the WOT re-read really good as I've gone through my own re-read of the series

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob B View Post
    Good luck with this Chris! It is sure to be an interesting journey, to say the least. I'm sure you've seen all the Malazan threads here, but I'd like to try to keep this one as active as possible for new readers like yourself. (Or me when I eventually get to Toll the Hounds)

    Tor.com is running a Malazan re-read if you care to drop in as you read a long. I found the WOT re-read really good as I've gone through my own re-read of the series
    Nice I like that re-read. I did this same kind of "Journey" on the main WOT forums. But I think I started at book 6. Wished I would have earlier, which is why I'm starting NOW for Malazan.

    Few things I know(or think I know) about Malazan. Someone tell me how much of a spoiler it is knowing this.

    Icarium. Insane rage can level a city. Quite possibly the strongest character in the book, or in any book.

    QuickBen. Master of all the different types of Sorcery. Again, possibly the strongest mage-type character in the books.

    Dassem Ultor is NOT dead. He can see moves in advance, which is why he's is the First Sword.

    Necromancy and Resurrection. Nobody is dead until proven. I just heard this somewhere. If someone dies, don't expect them to stay dead.

    Many of the characters don't stay in focus. Someone who was the protagonist in book1 may never be heard from again.

  4. #4
    Dazed Rambler Winter's Avatar
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    Icarium is one of the stronger characters in the series, but there is no such thing as "strongest" in this series.

    Quick Ben is not a master of all the different types of Warrens. He does know several though.

    I don't think he can see moves in advance. He's first sword because he's just that good with a sword. He was chosen as High House Death's Mortal Sword, which probably did come with some benefits though. When we do see him fight later on, he does not seem to be able to see any moves in advance, but by then he has long ago abandoned his position as Mortal Sword.

    As for necromancy and resurrection, that is not quite true. Plenty of people die and stay dead, there are only a few special cases where people come back to life. Coming back in a different form is another matter, but that does not happen as often as people make out either.

    I don't think the last one is quite true either. I'm not sure there are any central characters that show up for one book, survive, and then are never seen again. There are certainly cases where we see very little of these characters in later books though.

  5. #5
    I recommend not worrying too much about all the questions you have. You will have many, some will be answered, some wont. Some you might think are answered and then two books later you realize they were wrong. Clarification would be nice but it's not something Erikson apparently believes in. I'm almost finished with book 9 and I still stop and look things up on occasion. Mostly characters since he introduces new ones out of nowhere and i'm left wondering if I already saw this character 6 books ago.

    btw, Claws=secret service

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Michigan View Post
    I recommend not worrying too much about all the questions you have. You will have many, some will be answered, some wont. Some you might think are answered and then two books later you realize they were wrong. Clarification would be nice but it's not something Erikson apparently believes in. I'm almost finished with book 9 and I still stop and look things up on occasion. Mostly characters since he introduces new ones out of nowhere and i'm left wondering if I already saw this character 6 books ago.

    btw, Claws=secret service
    Sounds much like WoT. Is there anything close to this: http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~karlh/cgi-bin/wot.cgi
    out there for Malazan. Is it necessary like it is for WoT?

  7. #7
    I feel that I should warn you about Malazan if you're trying to get into it. As far as mega-series goes, it is pretty good, but has some major flaws. The biggest of these flaws is the lack of overall direction of the series. After a few books, he(Erikson) starts changing some of the things in the series around, making some character of more importance, then others of less, and even goes so far as to completely change ideas presented earlier. One of the biggest things I found irritating is what some might think of as foreshadowing, but I thought of as his lack of direction. He would introduce something as if it was important, then wouldn't come back to it for several books, and then it would hardly be of significance. I do have to give him a thumbs up on the last book in the series though, because he did try his hardest to tie it all together so that it made sense, even if it didn't completely work.

    Overall, if reading Malazan for the first time, try not to focus too much on the facts, and instead try to enjoy the characters he presents.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by BookJunky View Post
    I feel that I should warn you about Malazan if you're trying to get into it. As far as mega-series goes, it is pretty good, but has some major flaws. The biggest of these flaws is the lack of overall direction of the series. After a few books, he(Erikson) starts changing some of the things in the series around, making some character of more importance, then others of less, and even goes so far as to completely change ideas presented earlier. One of the biggest things I found irritating is what some might think of as foreshadowing, but I thought of as his lack of direction. He would introduce something as if it was important, then wouldn't come back to it for several books, and then it would hardly be of significance. I do have to give him a thumbs up on the last book in the series though, because he did try his hardest to tie it all together so that it made sense, even if it didn't completely work.

    Overall, if reading Malazan for the first time, try not to focus too much on the facts, and instead try to enjoy the characters he presents.
    Well if ever you critique a book too much it takes some of the enjoyment out of reading it. But I would have to disagree w/some of your assessments. I think SE has quite a few of these side plots thought out and tries very hard to be mysterious and confusing. But at the same time he drops hints, or foreshadowing, as to where he's going. You have to remember, in Malazan you are always in the POV of the character. And not every character has the same understanding of the mechanics, or the same beliefs. You could say that sentence coupled with the whole confusion aspect of these books just a method to cover up plot holes. How can you point out a plot hole when you don't really know what you are looking at anyways? If that is the intended case, then it's still very cleverly done. If it is not intended, then it's still incredibly clever. Either way...it's fun to read.

  9. #9
    Reader Moderator NickeeCoco's Avatar
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    Finished Gardens of the Moon last night. It was fun. I'm waiting for Tattersail to explode onto the party.

  10. #10
    I'm having so much trouble getting through Dust of Dreams. I'm just not a fan of these numerous "tribes" that are taking up the majority of the book, as well as characters I've never even heard of before this book.

    I think that's one of my biggest issues with this series. Too many POVs that half the time I feel like I'm reading vastly different books. He ends up tying them all together by the end of the book, but for the first 800 pages or it's tough reading, IMO.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by NickeeCoco View Post
    Finished Gardens of the Moon last night. It was fun. I'm waiting for Tattersail to explode onto the party.
    I'm not sure what you mean by that? I won't explain what I know for obvious reasons, but what do you mean exactly? =)

    Quote Originally Posted by INeedAUserName View Post
    I'm having so much trouble getting through Dust of Dreams. I'm just not a fan of these numerous "tribes" that are taking up the majority of the book, as well as characters I've never even heard of before this book.

    I think that's one of my biggest issues with this series. Too many POVs that half the time I feel like I'm reading vastly different books. He ends up tying them all together by the end of the book, but for the first 800 pages or it's tough reading, IMO.
    AGREED. NEW characters in DoD? What the...I was told the later books stopped with the new characters and focused on the ones we already know. I'm disappointed before I even begin.


    OK So I just started The Bone Hunters. I have some questions about warrens. I am now at the part where the 12 Nameless Ones preform a ritual in which they invoke certain Warrens.
    Here is what I thought I knew. (I don't want to go researching this, as I am afraid of spoilers)

    Warrens:
    • Kurald Thyrllan - Light
    • Kurald Galain - Dark
    • Kurald Emurlahn - Shadow(broken)
    • Starvald Demelain - Dragon(first)
    • Omtose Phellack - Ice(Jaghut)
    • Tellann - Fire(Imass)
    • Kaschan - K'Chain Che'Malle(?)
    • Hood - Death

    Paths: I always assumed paths and warrens were related, but one is an actual realm you can enter, while the other is simply a form of "magic"
    • Aral Gamelon - Demons - is this a warren?
    • Denu - Healing - a warren
    • D'riss - Stone - a warren
    • Meanas - Shadow -a warren
    • Rashan - Dark - ?
    • Thyr - Light - ?

    So these Nameless ones Invoked Mockra, Telas, Denu, D'riss, and Meanas as warrens. They invoked Rashan as a "power"...he didn't say WARREN.

    What's going on here? Are those warrens too? Is Rashan? Why two shadow and two dark? What aspect is Mockra and Telas...is it a spoiler to know? Also what ascept is Starvald Demelain and Kaschan?
    Last edited by chris777; January 4th, 2012 at 02:20 PM.

  12. #12
    Just did a re-read of Gardens of the Moon. I really enjoyed it the first time, but it was incredible the second time around. While I love all the books (reading TtH now), this is one of my favorites.

    For those who struggle with Erikson, I suggest taking it slow and referring to the dramatis personae often and just try and enjoy the ride and not worry that you might not understand it all. It's worth the effort - if it clicks there is nothing better IMO.

  13. #13
    Just started GoTM. Kindle says I'm 60% through it. Good read so far, this part just really hit me hard visually. Best fantasy bit I've read in awhile.

    During Quick Ben and Kalam's little ambush on the rooftops, and Quick Ben unleashes a demon to fight for them:

    Spoiler:

    The demon lifted its gaze. Above them glowing figures descended, five in the first wave, one in the second. This last one radiated such power that Quick Ben shrank back, his blood chilled. The figure had something long and narrow strapped to its back.

    'Ben Adaephon Delat,' Pearl said plaintively, 'see the last who comes. You send me to my death.'

    'I know,' Quick Ben whispered.

    'Flee, then. I will hold them enough to ensure your escape, no more.'

    Quick Ben sank down past the roof.

    Before he passed from sight Pearl spoke again. 'Ben Adaephon Delat, do you pity me?'

    'Yes,' he replied softly, then pivoted and dropped down into darkness.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by GoodEyeSniper View Post
    Just started GoTM. Kindle says I'm 60% through it. Good read so far, this part just really hit me hard visually. Best fantasy bit I've read in awhile.

    During Quick Ben and Kalam's little ambush on the rooftops, and Quick Ben unleashes a demon to fight for them:

    Spoiler:

    The demon lifted its gaze. Above them glowing figures descended, five in the first wave, one in the second. This last one radiated such power that Quick Ben shrank back, his blood chilled. The figure had something long and narrow strapped to its back.

    'Ben Adaephon Delat,' Pearl said plaintively, 'see the last who comes. You send me to my death.'

    'I know,' Quick Ben whispered.

    'Flee, then. I will hold them enough to ensure your escape, no more.'

    Quick Ben sank down past the roof.

    Before he passed from sight Pearl spoke again. 'Ben Adaephon Delat, do you pity me?'

    'Yes,' he replied softly, then pivoted and dropped down into darkness.
    OH YEAH. Rake is nothing short of BAD ASS. You are like me, you like moments like that where some guy just comes in and wrecks these people who thought they were tough. Just wait for Karsa and Icarium. Rake is not any less than those two, but you will have these moments a lot with them as well. This was the reason House of Chains was one of my favorite books so far. It introduces Karsa, who also gets face time later he's not a one book and not heard from again character like some. I won't really say anymore, but those three are by far by favorite characters.

    And P.S.
    Don't read many of my earlier posts past what book you've read. I didn't spoiler a lot as it was just me talking about my journey.

  15. #15
    So I plan on doing some sort of "Malazan Cage Match", when I'm done reading the books. I think I'll make a quick simple website and put links so people can vote on here and the malazan forum.

    I am almost done with Reapers Gale. Here is my list of characters. With the caveat that I do not know if I will have 1 2 or 3 different brackets and how they will be split up. Will probably combine the mages and warrior types. But keep the gods separate? Add Icarium to the god section? Or put them all together and just remove K'rul? If any god could be considered the God of gods, it would be K'rul at this point.

    So if I am missing anyone please let me know. But remember I am only through RG at this point. So please no spoilers as to why I'm missing someone, or some spoiler as to why someone should be listed or not listed...

    Preliminary Sections

    WARRIORS-

    Anomander Rake
    Caladan Brood
    Cotillion
    Silchas Ruin
    Scabandari Bloodeye
    Karsa
    Kalor
    Dassem Ultor
    Raest
    Seguleh? -Rell -#1,#2
    Aspalar
    Kallam
    Skinner
    Topper
    Surly
    Trull Sengar
    Iron Bars
    Itkovian
    Tool
    Redmask
    The Hounds
    Mappo
    Heboric Ghost hands
    Gruntle
    Rhulad Sengar
    Brys Beddict

    MAGES-

    Quickben
    Tayscheren
    Cowl
    Iskral Pust
    Sinn
    L'oric
    Bauchelain
    Korbal Broach
    Silverfox
    Paran
    Krupe



    GODS-

    Icarium?
    Gothos?
    Mael
    Kilmandaros
    Nightchill
    K'rul
    Hood
    Shadowthrone
    Cripple God
    Osseric
    Trake
    Draconus
    Edgewalker
    Eres'al
    Errant
    Fener
    Burn
    Last edited by chris777; April 3rd, 2012 at 03:32 PM.

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