Friday, November 7, 2014

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen Wrap Up

During my re-reads of A Song of Ice and Fire, I came upon Steven Erikson's The Malazan Book of the Fallen series. Gradually, book by book if you will, I became more fascinated with the series - but it wasn't until I discovered's re-read that I really began to understand just how deep and profound these books are, and just how great it would be to re-read this particular series - even more rewarding than Ice & Fire in the sense that there's even more details, even more foreshadowing, even more subtle clues to discover and re-discover.

From time to time I have gushed about the author and the series inbetween re-read posts. I haven't found the time to do a proper re-read of the series yet, except Gardens of the Moon, the first novel, which I bought a hardcover anniversary edition of that Steven was kind enough to sign, and it was amazing how well the book read on that re-read (especially considering the fact that it took me three attempts to finish the first time around; it really demands a little patience from the reader). A while ago I bought Deadhouse Gates as an ebook and started re-reading it, but I stopped so as to finish other books I was busy with. And now I have started it again because I wanted to be back in the world of Malaz again.

Now, Amanda and Bill (from fantasyliterature) have finished re-reading the mammoth series and there's a wrap-up over at their re-read corner (minor spoilers). Here, they think back on the long road (they've been at it for a long time) and the way they describe the series is just so spot-on it makes me want to delve right back in and consume the entire story one more time (but it's such a commitment!). Seriously, if you are considering this series, or have tried and not gotten past Gardens of the Moon...I'll quote a few snippets from what Amanda (who read the story for the first time during this project) has written below, because she so eloquently states exactly what I think about the brilliant Steven Erikson's work:

Anyway, partway through Gardens of the Moon, something changed for me. I wasn’t understanding it much better, but I was learning patience and trust. And that is the first point I want to make in terms of what I have taken out of this series: I now have a lot more patience when reading novels. I allow a story to unfold. I enjoy language for the sake of it. I appreciate the building blocks of story. Erikson gave me that.

I cried at a book for the first time in a long time. I recognised the sublime storytelling, that was building in layers. 

Over the years I’ve been reading Malazan, I have been to a number of conventions and been a panellist a few times, and it seems that, no matter the subject, I have been able to bore at a world class level on exactly how the Malazan novels achieve what other fantasy novels don’t touch on. I’m on a panel about how classic myths can be utilised in fantasy? Malazan. I’m on a panel about how sex is portrayed in fantasy? Malazan (with the added extra that rape is not used as a gratuitous method of punishment, but is considered, and the consequences are represented). On a panel about magic systems in fantasy, and how there never seems to be anything new? Malazan.

When on panels about the quality of writing, and choice of words, and challenges in reading - I hold up Malazan.

Worldbuilding. Writing technique. How history can be presented in fantasy novels. Subverting tropes. Grimdark AND nostalgic fantasy in one series? All of this happens with this stunning series of books.

Bill Caposere has a lot of good things to say about the books as well, and states it perhaps even better, but Amanda was a first-time reader and to see how the books impacted is nice. 

Steven Erikson has a new novel out (came out three days ago), Willful Child, which I suspect is very funny. A Star Trek - parody actually, written by a Star Trek-fan. I'm doing that one once I finish Prince of Fools (Mark Lawrence). I'm kind of struggling with that one right now, at about 60% done; the story took a turn I'm not sure yet that I like. Will jump back into it tonight. Though my brain really wants to revisit Deadhouse Gates today.

And, as is only proper, a shoutout to Joe Abercrombie for once again giving his readers a nice blog post where he updates his fans on his current writing projects. 

In other news, I wasted an hour or so watching Plinkett's review of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and boy is it spot on. Rest of the time: Wasted on Star Wars message boards. No writing done, no gaming done, no nothing. Man!

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