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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
    Saturn Comes Back Around Evil Agent's Avatar
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    All I can say, Chris777, is it gets a LOT more complicated! Way more complicated than WOT. Trying to keep posting at this detailed level of analysis is a pretty ambitious task. The Malazan forums contain hundreds of threads, discussing thousands of plot elements.

    I'd suggest not worrying too much about every little detail, because frankly the Malazan universe is a bit of a mess. A giant, epic, awesome mess. You'll probably have a dozen questions for every chapter you read. The series also takes place across 3 continents, and you won't even meet some of the characters you named (e.g. Icarium, Dassem, etc.) for a long, long time.

    Unfortunately, I also find it quite flawed (just finished Book 8, and really disliked it). But the first 5 or 6 books are some of the most epic novels I've ever read. I kind of love/hate this series. Enjoy!
    Last edited by Evil Agent; May 21st, 2011 at 08:13 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by chris777 View Post
    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?
    No, not much like WOT. Much bigger and much more complicated. Some people might complain about having to keep track of characters in WOT or ASOIAF, not me, piece of cake, because I have read Malazan and those two can't touch Malazan in that aspect.

    And yes there is a Malazan Wiki page out there.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Michigan View Post
    No, not much like WOT. Much bigger and much more complicated. Some people might complain about having to keep track of characters in WOT or ASOIAF, not me, piece of cake, because I have read Malazan and those two can't touch Malazan in that aspect.

    And yes there is a Malazan Wiki page out there.
    Wiki always contains spoilers. That WoT page shows each person, contained in each book, and what we know about them up to that point. No spoilers unless you go to the next book and look at the same character. I felt so much more safe reading with that handy. I know I'm going to run into a million characters I would love to be able to look up and see what info I may(or should) know about them up to that point.

  10. #10
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    You will see and find out alot more about Sorry in book 1. You'll get a few more questions answered about the Claw. You'll probably see them alot more in action in book 2. The same goes for Icarium.

    The story behind Surly's rise kind of slowly unravels with little bits added to the story every now and again. ICE's novels also lend more of an insight into her character. You should check out Night of Knives if you want to find out more about her rise to power. Sometimes it creates more questions though.

  11. #11
    I'm sure this will be answered eventually too. But does it spoil anything to answer it now?

    When "Sorry" was taken by this man. He said something like "Feel honored to be used as a tool of a god". Now Laseen is saying this girl is being used by a god. Was that guy that sent those hounds a god? Are we speaking of some other god? Does he only believe he is a god? I'm a bit confused on the definition of "god" in these contexts.

  12. #12
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    The two guys that are together when they release the hounds are both Gods

  13. #13
    Really you just need to put some of these questions in the back of your mind until you finish the whole book, some things aren't explained for a reason

  14. #14
    Alright. Maybe I will just finish the book and give my thoughts at the end. Stay tuned!

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by chris777 View Post
    I'm sure this will be answered eventually too. But does it spoil anything to answer it now?

    When "Sorry" was taken by this man. He said something like "Feel honored to be used as a tool of a god". Now Laseen is saying this girl is being used by a god. Was that guy that sent those hounds a god? Are we speaking of some other god? Does he only believe he is a god? I'm a bit confused on the definition of "god" in these contexts.
    Like I mentioned before, i'm almost done with book 9 and i'm still confused about the definition of "god" in these books.

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