Monday, August 13, 2012

A dance with density

Yeah, deeply entrenched in Forge of Darkness, still. It's dense - but not book of the fallen dense, I just started Book Two today, and while the scenes are pretty easy to follow (easier than Book of the Fallen anyway), there are many characters and, in typical Erikson-style, they are not that easy to keep apart on a first read. But I have learned to pay attention to the man's writings over the course of the last fourteen Malazan books as well as the novellas. Very intriguing, this process of learning to read these books. There are many characters, and POV changes occur often within a section, and so I admit to some confusion between some of the jumps. Today I jumped into a scene featuring a Kellaras and I was like huh? have I met this guy before? Maybe it's my attention span, maybe it's the fact that these characters aren't as defined by outward characteristics. I mean, I remember a time when Ice and Fire had so overwhelmingly many characters and names, but at least you could pick out many of them quickly - the dwarf, the Hound, the lady, the tomboy, the lord, the swashbuckler etc. Not so with Erikson, at least not visibly so; here we have a number of characters - many belonging to the same in-setting species (Tiste Andii) and their differences lie more in their personalities and how environment has affected them than anything else. It requires more attention but as I've said before it pays off.

Meanwhile, GRRM has gone all thankful over on his blog for the success of A Dance with Dragons, even mentioning the trolls (RrraaAWWR!). Personally I believe the (somewhat belated) success is mostly due to fans spreading the word and, more importantly, the sheer quality of the first three novels in the saga - who in their right minds would stop reading this story after A Storm of Swords? That's right, almost no one. This, coupled with the TV series, makes ADWD's success; and it also explains why it is the least liked book of the saga (three stars at Amazon.com) yet is so massively successful. 

Mr. Martin also manages to add a little salt in the wound / tease (whatever you find most appropriate) by saying that "the best is yet to come". That means, unless he is talking about Wild Cards 323, that he's got a story planned that will be better than A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords, if taking his comment literally. Which I won't do because, you know...I'll believe it I when I read it. Kind of a dangerous comment to make really, "the best is yet to come". Call me a pessimist. 

All right, better get back to reading, now that the summer holiday is over, playtime is once more severely reduced. Sadly. Will be reading another A Storm of Swords chapter soon, though. It's such a great book. And only about nine months until a new season from HBO, that's like a pregnancy, just a short time really when you consider the age of the universe. 


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