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  1. #1

    Blood and Bone - By Ian Cameron Esslemont

    So I have never commented much on ICE's Malazan books. They seemed a simpler version of Steven Erikson's books. They were fine for what they were, I have liked some and loved others. But I'm reading Blood and Bone and I can't help but thinking ICE is now trying his hardest to write like SE. He is trying to cause confusion when there should not be any. And in this book he's also trying to develop the world a little more through the actions and thoughts of Osseric. But I just find some of the things he does not know to be aggravating. There are simple things that even I think I have a good guess at, and he is acting clueless. Yet is the god of the Tiste Liosan, and the son of Father Light. An Ancient Elient rivaled by only Anomander himself. Yet he being portrayed as clueless for the sake of the reader to learn more about the world.
    I am probably over reacting?

    Anyways, my main complaint and reason for this thread, is that I feel with every book ICE is trying more and more to write like SE. ICE was always a refreshing break from SE's heavy style, something lighter to read in the same exact world and timelines..and even sometimes plot lines. But now...it's just the poor man's SE.

    Am I alone?

  2. #2
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    Yes and no?

    Sorry if that seems a cop-out. I guess I have had somewhat similar thoughts, but not to the extent that you do. I think that SE hit the Malazan ground running as a HIGHLY polished writer, but that ICE is still tweaking a few things and working on his style. It has to be pretty tough if you think about it. Those that didn't like SE's style will probably never follow through to ICE's books since the series starts of with SE..... those that loved Malazan and SE's style are going to look for more of the same from ALL Malazan books (maybe a bit of a generalization, but I think you see my point)..... so by and large.... the vast majority of those reading ICE's books got there because they were SE fans simply because of the timeline. I won't say that ICE's writing is simplistic by any means, but it is much more straightforward than SE's plotlines. Like you... I have found ICE's more straightforward plots funtimes in the Malazan world and a WELL deserved break from SE's plots (not complaining.... love his work.... but I will say that my re-read of MBOTF was all ten books over a 6 week timeframe..... I took a while off from reading altogether to decompress after that....LOL). Anyway, I too found Blood and Bone a little more convoluted than Night of Knives and RotCG, but all in all, I found it a worthwhile read. Have you read Stonewielder yet? I enjoyed that book quite a bit and I am looking forward to Assail.

    Cheers

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    I'll go even farther than kempster...SE was also not that polished in his first book...he got better faster than ICE but he still made a lot of steps to the writer he is now. Therefore i do not think that it is fair to say that ICE tries to be an SE. He is finding his own voice in his own time.
    I do agree, though, that Blood and Bone was a bad book. I also really felt let down by it. But for me, it was not that ICE was perceivably worse in his writting it was just that the story had no...real punch and direction. Also, the setting for this novel left me cold...really cold. I could not connect with that weird island and the protagonists set on it.

    I still think (as kemper does) that ICE is successful in transporting the Malazan vibe. For me, that is the most important part. At the beginning i was afraid that "this new guy" would not be able to do that...but i was satisfied with his offerings so far. B&B is a disappointment though. It surely is the weakest of all the Malazan books so far.
    Last edited by Anglachel; January 25th, 2014 at 12:26 PM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by kempster View Post
    (not complaining.... love his work.... but I will say that my re-read of MBOTF was all ten books over a 6 week timeframe..... I took a while off from reading altogether to decompress after that....LOL). Anyway, I too found Blood and Bone a little more convoluted than Night of Knives and RotCG, but all in all, I found it a worthwhile read. Have you read Stonewielder yet? I enjoyed that book quite a bit and I am looking forward to Assail.

    Cheers
    I have been considering a re-read, and also debating if I do, if I'm just going to read SE's books. I've yet to re-read any series, ever. So also debating if this is the one!

    Yes I have read Stonewidler, and all of ICE's books. I've liked them all! OST was awesome with the whole Seguleh and Dassem plot lines.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglachel View Post
    I do agree, though, that Blood and Bone was a bad book. I also really felt let down by it. But for me, it was not that ICE was perceivably worse in his writting it was just that the story had no...real punch and direction. Also, the setting for this novel left me cold...really cold. I could not connect with that weird island and the protagonists set on it.
    ...B&B is a disappointment though. It surely is the weakest of all the Malazan books so far.
    I didn't mean to imply I thought it was a bad book. At all. I was just implying that I felt he was trying too hard to be mysterious like SE is by default. I like the book. Though I do agree that it is probably the weakest so far.(im not finished yet, few more chapters) And like you, I'm not that interested in Jacuruku. I'd rather just have some Seguleh face off against Crimson Gaurds and throw in some Malazan Regulars.

  5. #5
    Finally decided to start GOTM after putting it off for so long and am absolute loving it, been trying to decide weather or not to fit ICE novels in as I go through the series, what you guys think? I am sure there will be a reading order out there somewhere.

    Also found a really great re-read blog type thing on tor.com where a few people discuss the books chapter by chapter which is really helping me get my head around everything that's happening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andor View Post
    Finally decided to start GOTM after putting it off for so long and am absolute loving it, been trying to decide weather or not to fit ICE novels in as I go through the series, what you guys think? I am sure there will be a reading order out there somewhere.

    Also found a really great re-read blog type thing on tor.com where a few people discuss the books chapter by chapter which is really helping me get my head around everything that's happening.
    I read the SE books first and then a few of the ICE books while waiting for the last couple of MBotF to come out. It really depends on the reader as to when or if you incorporate the ICE books. Although there are many fine threads on Malazan here at SFFWORLD.... if you want to see what the true Malazan geeks think (not using geeks in a disparaging manner as I am also a member of that site), I would check out malazanempire.com. Those dudes and dudettes live and breath malazan. You mentioned the tor re-read. I have just finished catching up on that and thought that it was a really good read. I especially enjoyed Amanda Rutter's notes as she is a first time reader through the series. Bill's notes are very good as well, but for him it was a re-read of the series. I don't really see how you can go wrong with the TOR read for that series.... just be ware that many of Amanda's posts have many questions (first time reader).... and while Bill does a very good job of keeping things as spoiler free as possible....he is re-reading the series.

    My 2 favorite books from ICE are Stonewielder and Return of the Crimson Guard..... Oh yeah..... Orb Scepter Throne is really good as well. I liked all his books, but some are used to SE's style.... which is not Esselmont's and it can be a bit jarring to go from one to the other. ICE's books are typically more straightforward in plot-line than Erickson's. To each there own I suppose....... The TOR read goes in what, I believe, is the most commonly held reading order by Malazan fanatics.

    Hope that helps some.

    Cheers!

    Kempster

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Andor View Post
    Finally decided to start GOTM after putting it off for so long and am absolute loving it, been trying to decide weather or not to fit ICE novels in as I go through the series, what you guys think? I am sure there will be a reading order out there somewhere.

    Also found a really great re-read blog type thing on tor.com where a few people discuss the books chapter by chapter which is really helping me get my head around everything that's happening.
    I would strongly urge you to read ICE in the correct order. Use this as your bible for reading order...listen to nobody else! http://thewertzone.blogspot.com/2012...r-and-map.html - My complaints with ICE have only been about this last book, Blood and Bone, which technically happens AFTER the final Malazan book. B&B is happening at the same time, it's not essential to the Malazan story. SE writes pretty much the whole Malazan world. ICE writes focused on only a few groups. Mainly Seguleh and Crimson Gaurd with some Greymane and crew thrown in.

    The Tor Re-read is awesome. And like kempster said, I really enjoyed the girls POV. I used the re-read for the first 3books before I passed them up. I can't stress how helpful it was getting different POV from first time readers. I would suggest reading her thoughts after each chapter(s) and skimming the rest.

  8. #8
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    Just one nitpick: I'd read RotCG before TTH, not before RG. One poster mentioned that on Wert's blog as well.

    I don't think Night of Knives is necessary at all. It's a fun read, but it is not that essential for understanding SE's books (even if it depicts a pretty...important event. Unfortunately, only indirectly).

  9. #9
    Blood and Bone by far the weakest book in Malazan that I've read. And it didn't end well either.

    I have a few questions that may be spoilerish, so please only read if you've already read Blood and Bone...or don't care.
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    Some of these questions may be because I am forgetting details in the MBOTF...i tried refreshing myself with the wiki quite a bit during this, but it didn't help these questions...

    1. Why did Murk and Sour hide the CG shard from Spite? Didn't they enter the jungle WITH Spite, in order to get it for her? Then she accidentally got chained and everyone hid it. And even T'riss mentioned Spite was stalking them. It wasn't just Murk's decision, so his relationship with Celeste wasn't the sole reason. This felt misplaced.
    2. What in the world was the point of Golan's whole plot line. It did NOTHING for the story, was a complete waste of time and served 0 purpose. And...it was the last thing in the Epilogue, like it had some meaning we were supposed to take away from it. I'm baffled.
    3. Lek, Ardata's daughter I take it?, mentioned that Shimmer is someone she has seen in her dreams or something. And Shimmer said she had been seeing her all throughout her life. I am confused by this, as it was never explained. Was this something I missed in one of the previous ICE books?
    4. There were too many unexplained things. What did Kalor do at the end? He tried to kill himself with some blast of magic that he knew would occur there? They didn't quite explained why he ran so fast and killed several horses to get where he was. And what was his point of forming the attack on the Thurmatag city? Because they disliked him? But I thought they were trying to call down "The Visitor" again, shouldn't his priority have been to stop that? But then...he states that he has wanted to die to end the curse...so why would he care? The actions don't seem to add up.
    5. Speaking of "The Visitor". Who is that? What is that? Is that the same "visitor", or Jade Giant that Heboric Light Touch came in contact with, that sort of poisoned him? Wasn't he having dreams, or something, about being up there and all these souls were inside the giant trying to get to the Crippled God or something, their god that was taken away from them. Am I remembering this correctly?
    6. Osseric. What did he take upon himself? Which blast? I assume it had something to do with what Saeng was channeling, but this was also not explained. And what were those things that took him into the Warren at the end? If he closed it, how were they able to open it.
    7. Lastly, how Aradata took her armor back from Skinner.
      She turned back to Skinner. ‘If you must go, then I must take back my gift.
      Now Skinner frowned, even more wary. ‘You told me yourself,’ he answered, speaking very carefully, ‘that no one in the world would be able to do that. Not even you, should you wish it.’
      ‘That is true. No one can take my gift from you,’ she agreed. ‘However … I can ask that it return to me.’
      What is the difference?! That is almost the definition of taking something back. Ok, so they say Skinner was betrayed. Then why the mincing of words? Why not just have Ardata say.."Oh that? Yeah, that's not exactly true. Did you really think I wouldn't be able to take my own gift back?" Would have made much more sense.

    OK
    /END RANT

  10. #10
    Saturn Comes Back Around Evil Agent's Avatar
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    I read NoK and RotCG, and liked them both, but wasn't really planning on continuing with ICE...

    ...but if Stonewielder and O,S,T are pretty good, I might give them a try some day.

    I was glad I read RotCG because it was pretty important to the story, and it answered a lot of questions (about Laseen, the Old Guard, etc.). However, I remember thinking the writing got really sloppy towards the end, and it kind of fell apart.
    Last edited by Evil Agent; March 5th, 2014 at 12:52 AM.

  11. #11
    All of my rants above I think you can attribute to ICE trying to be mysterious, like SE, and failing miserably. It was def the weakest book and didn't really add much to the plot. I do recommend reading OST for sure. SW is good too, but OST was my fav ICE book. Probably because I love Dassem and the Seguleh story lines. Something he completely went away from in B&B.

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