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  1. #1
    Nashville Reader
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    Malazan: Are the Esslemont Books Required?

    I know that sounds like a weird question, so let me explain. I've been reading the Malazan books for what seems like 2 years now (while mixing in other things). I am nearing the end of Reaper's Gale, and had planned on jumping to Return of the Crimson Guard per Wert's recommended reading order. However, I'm getting a little burned out by the length of each book and the fact I've spent 2 years on them so far. And I am trying to read the WoT books to be ready for the final book in January 2013.

    So, I am wondering how much I will miss if I stick to just the Erickson books for now and skip the Esslemont books? I own ICE's books, and will continue to buy them when released. But I would really like to "wrap up" my Malazan reading soon. And the best way to do that would be read all 10 Erikson books, and come back in a year or two and read ICE's books. While I know there is more to the story than those 10 Erikson books, I would still feel like I accomplished (COMPLETED) something if I could get through his part of the series.

    For those of you who have read all the Malazan books: how much would I miss by reading only the Erikson novels for now, and revisiting the ICE books at a later time?

  2. #2
    Well, I'm not finished yet, reading DoD now, but there is a major plot event in RotCG that I think can't be missed. Not sure about Stonewielder as I have not read it yet.

    I had the same feeling reading Malazan during the first 2 books - every book is so long and there are so many, you tend to rush them and dread them. But, then I realized how much better they are than most fantasy novels and decided to take my time and enjoy them and it has helped tremendously.

  3. #3
    Reek rhymes with geek
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    Quote Originally Posted by bossfan2000 View Post
    For those of you who have read all the Malazan books: how much would I miss by reading only the Erikson novels for now, and revisiting the ICE books at a later time?
    If you focus on the main 10 novels by Erikson, you won't "miss" anything from the Esselmont books.

    ICE provides some good background into things, dropping more elements of the overall worldbuilding mystery, but nothing that would reveal secrets in the MBotF. While they might happen chronologically in an overlapping timeline, the events are very much independent. Rumor of faraway events mentioned by SE in one book are described in detail by ICE.

    But definitely come back - the books are all good reads.

  4. #4
    Reek rhymes with geek
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    Quote Originally Posted by T77 View Post
    Well, I'm not finished yet, reading DoD now, but there is a major plot event in RotCG that I think can't be missed. Not sure about Stonewielder as I have not read it yet.
    Really? Maybe I'm misremembering because I didn't read them close together. Aside from the shared characters, what was the event? (put in spoiler text if need be)

  5. #5
    Nobody in Particular kcf's Avatar
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    I would say the answer is both yes and no. Erikson's series does stand on its own and ICE's books ar not necessary. So it can be done.

    However, ICE's books do provide a lot of info for the fans, they do expand on plot threads that are introduced, hinted at or otherwise left behind in the main series. And the plan for ICE's books taken together is to provide something of an epilogue to the main series. (I'm still not entirely confident that ICE can pull it off to my satisfaction)

  6. #6
    Nashville Reader
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    thanks everyone...I think I'll either skip all the Esslemont books (again, just for now), or read just RotCG and wait on the rest. Reading these Malazan books takes me like 3-4 weeks each, so I am getting super backlogged in my reading. But I want to feel a sense of completing them sometime soon, so sticking with the Erikson books is the best way to make that happen.

  7. #7
    If you're only reading the series for completion sake then no they are not necessary to understand what's going on in Eriksons books. But if you actually care about the Malazan Empire and related characters then yes RotCG is a major chapter in that story

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Malthar View Post
    Really? Maybe I'm misremembering because I didn't read them close together. Aside from the shared characters, what was the event? (put in spoiler text if need be)
    Maybe this is covered in another book and RotCG is not necessary. Don't know as I have not finished the series. But, it seems like a major event to me.


    Sorry, don't know how to add a spoiler.
    Last edited by T77; April 19th, 2012 at 09:02 AM.

  9. #9
    Illustrious Gambler saintjon's Avatar
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    you just do this without spaces

    [ spoiler ] I read the Bible and he dies at the end... [/ spoiler ]

  10. #10
    homicidalbookworm
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    Orb, Scepter, Throne

    The 4th Esselmont novel is well worth reading as it takes us back to Darujistan. In my own opinion its the best of the books by Esselmont though the others and too bad. this might be 'cos the 4th book focused on what I think of as Erikson characters and not new ones that Esselmont has introduced us to.

    [possible spoiler - The one problem I have with it is just a bit more info on who the Tyrant actually is]

  11. #11
    Thanks saintjon. The RotCG important plot thread is...

    Spoiler:
    Laseen is killed.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by End Of Disc One View Post
    If you're only reading the series for completion sake then no they are not necessary to understand what's going on in Eriksons books. But if you actually care about the Malazan Empire and related characters then yes RotCG is a major chapter in that story
    This isn't true, as lots of information is revealed that completes the storyline- as in, characters who have faded in and out come back and what not. So yes, if you want the 'whole' story for Erikson's novels then you have to read ICE.

    BUT! And for me this is a big but :| ICE is not as good as Erikson. He doesn't write as well. His characters have been done and dusted. The story is quite predictable. I think that you can cut your losses and just read Erikson and have most of the plot summed up for you, with loose ends.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Claireness View Post
    This isn't true, as lots of information is revealed that completes the storyline- as in, characters who have faded in and out come back and what not. So yes, if you want the 'whole' story for Erikson's novels then you have to read ICE.
    What I meant was for the remaining Erikson books after The Bonehunters. You don't have to read any Esselmont books to understand Erikson's 7-10.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by End Of Disc One View Post
    What I meant was for the remaining Erikson books after The Bonehunters. You don't have to read any Esselmont books to understand Erikson's 7-10.
    Maybe, I'd have to reread them all to check and that's a lot of reading. I wonder whether they'll be any future tie-ins though. He is meant to publish another book this year (Erikson that is)

  15. #15
    I've only read NoK and RotCG and I agree, from those two books, ICE is no Erikson. However, I do think he is better than most other fantasy authors and I did enjoy NoK and RotCG, more so NoK.

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