Steven Erikson (The 3.5 million word journey?)

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Wilshire

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« on: October 15, 2014, 04:56:59 pm »
Update: Finished in 09/2016. Took me nearly 2 years, but was well worth it.

Yeah I know we already have a few topics on him, but I want to make a new one :P.

Figured I'd write some stuff down, thoughts etc., as I slowly plod through the epic that is Malazan book of the Fallen. I'll try to keep out spoilers I suppose.

Gardens of the Moon (GotM)
08/2014 - Really thought this was a great opening book. Plenty of things going on to keep me interested and wanting more. Once I began getting the hand of the world, magic, and characters, it started to open up for me. Maybe this is why I thought the latter half of the book was better than the first. Either way, a great read.

Deadhouse Gates (DG)
Better and worse than GotM. Could have been because I took too long to read this, but I felt disconnected from many of the characters by the time the end rolled around. Too many to keep track of I think. hat said, I think the character development was better, and I was rather invested in many of them at the end. Similar to GotM, I think the second half was better than the first, and the ending was quite amazing. I was hoping for a greater expansion of sorcery that never came.

Memories of Ice (MoI)
12/19/2014. What a phenomenal book. Easily my favorite so far. Around page 600 I thought to myself "that would have been a great place to end it", but holy hell I'm glad it went on. The rest of the book went by so fast, I couldn't put it down. And what an ending! All the things...

More of the same from above though. The first half was a bit slow, though better than the first two, like climbing that initial hill on a rollercoaster. Oh so worth it on the way down though.
I was considering reading a few other books before I started House of Chains, but I don't know if I can do that now. The story is so enticing now, and I'm so glad that I finally got some background on the characters.... If the books keep getting better, I'm going to be sorely pressed to pick a favorite author.

House of Chains (HoC)
Looking for a copy to match the set I've got (Tor hardcover, BCE)
Well, I got a copy, but it doesn't match :(. Its the large edition HC rather than small (didn't know that was even an option).
This one has started out rather different than the others, but its pretty entertaining so far (4 chapters in).
After finishing, I'd have to say this is, by far, my least favorite of the lot. Finished 04/20/15.

Midnight Tides (MT)
Just finished Midnight Tides last night (08/26/2015). Overall I think it was a pretty great book. I loved Tehol and Bugg's interactions, had me laughing pretty hard more than once, and really made the book flow. Granted, this may have been more difficult had I not been looking forward to Bonehunters, where allegedly storylines start to converge, but I can't say that for sure. Regardless, MT was a lot of fun to read

Bonehunters (BH?)
Finished 9/12/15. Really liked this one. It flowed a bit better than MT, and  it was nice having all the old faces back. Maybe that't why I liked it so much, storylines converging is always a favorite of mine. Unfortunately I feel like I'm missing a lot, forgetting things, forgetting characters that show back up, and it makes me sad. This seems like a series that would be great to read each book more than once, but I just don't think I'll have the time. Maybe someday. Still an amazing series so far though.

Reaper's Gale (RG)
Finished Reapers Gale 9/23/2015 (had some downtime at work this week...). I really enjoyed this book, probably contending for 2nd with GotM and DG. Without spoiling anything, geez, this one has all the feels. I was almost moved to tears once or twice. With all the storylines converging, it was nonstop fun the whole way, while still maintaining that feeling of mystery happening behind the scenes.

Toll the Hounds (TTH)
11/2015. Another great book, though since I didn't write my reaction when I finished the book, I don't have much to say. I've given up picking a favorite in the series, too many great ones, this included. As someone mentions upthread, the end of this book is particularly salient and satisfying. Loved it

Dust of Dreams (DoD)
06/01/2016. I was pretty underwhelmed with this one. I felt that there were too many side-plots explored. All build up with not nearly as much crescendo as the preceding books.  Had to slog through it.

The Crippled God
09/2016 - Crippled God was a great book. All climax the whole way. There isn't much of anything that can be said about it without spoilers... so I'll just say there are emotional moments everywhere. I probably had tears a half dozen times or more, both happy and sad.

Not everything clicked for me, and I think some things were tied up almost too neatly, but generally speaking, a good end to a good series. I'm 100% glad that I read it and finished it. The biggest shortfalls, for me, were HoC and DoD, but the other books heavily outweigh those books.

I can see why Erikson is a successful fantasy writer, and I'm glad he is. While Bakker remains, to me, at the top of the pile, Erikson's story is a great one that ends with a bang. His is an easy world to get lost in, and imo his popularity makes room for a better fantasy genre as a whole.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2017, 04:31:07 pm by Wilshire »
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Kellais

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« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2014, 05:12:48 pm »
Cool stuff, Wilshire. I will be following this.

And that feeling of "wow, the second half of the book was f..... amazing!!!" ... get used to it. That how he rolls...first half is putting the pieces into place...second half is a glamorous rollercoaster of action and emotions.

I also loved GotM...but i also needed some 100 to 200 pages to really get into. But i think that is how it is supposed to be. Erikson is the embodiment of "show, don't tell" ... he just let's you "fight through" without too much guidance and explanations...the pay off comes over time (at least for those who do not give up).

Memories is my favorite book still. Sure, the final two are also quite a ride (as we get a lot of conclusions) but MoI is the one that stayed with me the longest.

Bakker and Erikson are the two authors that are, for me, at the top of the fantasy genre. You can't really compare the two...but if i had to chose only one to be Nr. 1, for me it would be Erikson (his scope and worldbuilding is just unparalleled [ok, Tolkien is still the King of Worldbuilding...but that will most probably remain so because he was more a worldbuilder than an author, in the end]).
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Wilshire

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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2014, 05:23:47 pm »
I fixed the title so you won't have to stare at the incorrect name :P.

After getting the same feeling for the first 2 books, I figured that this would be kind of the deal. Fine by me. Packs all the amazing into a denser space.

I think I'll get a lot more out of the books if I read them more quickly. I did this for GotM but not so much for DG, and something got lost in the proceeding months.

For MoI I'm going to attempt to block out a space of time for it and see how it goes. It might slow down the reading as I'm currently "busy" with other leisurely activities, but I think it will be worth it.

Bakker and Erikson don't seem terribly different, at least not big-picture. But I'm thinking extremely generally, big histories, slow drip information, lots of set up, etc. etc. Complaints I've heard for Erikson are similar to Bakker, like pacing and complexity, neither of which I subscribe to. For me, TDTCB and GOTM had a similar feel, and so did TWP and DG.
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Kellais

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« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2014, 05:44:57 pm »
I fixed the title so you won't have to stare at the incorrect name :P.

Thanks ;D

Quote
I think I'll get a lot more out of the books if I read them more quickly. I did this for GotM but not so much for DG, and something got lost in the proceeding months.

I think that is a wise decision. I also had to read Erikson in longer session in a short time-span. Otherwise just too many hints and details get lost and the experience is just not the same. So if you can, do it that way, it's the one i'd recommend to everyone.

And yeah, as is said, i can't really pick one of those two over the other...only if i absolutely had to (like "gun to my head"-question ;) ;D). Both have their points where they top the other one but both also have some clear weak-points. But i'd agree that pacing and complexity is not it.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2014, 04:35:02 pm by Kellais »
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Bolivar

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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2014, 03:29:36 am »
I'm not too far ahead of you, Wilshire, I'm past Memories of Ice. I also read the first Bauchelain & Korbal Broach story since I wanna do everything in chronological release order.

I like that I'm more inside the heads of Bakker's characters, Erikson's are always holding something back to build the mystery. Erikson is more Epic in scope, which is quite a feat, but the PoN Trilogy was much more powerful than anything else. I'm more along for the incredible ride with Malazan but TSA just haunts me with that gnawing desperation to know what happens next. Hard to say which I enjoy more, really, although Erikson covers a broader range of emotions, something that's much needed after slogging through Earwa. I will say that reading the lengthier fantasies makes me appreciate that Bakker doesn't need 1,000 pages to get his point across. I wouldn't mind seeing what a longer novel of his would be like, though, should they keep TUC as one volume.

Wilshire

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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2014, 07:48:03 pm »
Half way through MoI now. I'm not sure if there is less going on, or I'm acclimating to the world, but I'm more easily submerged in the story. So far, MoI is my favorite of the series.

I'm hesitant to start the bakker vs. erikson comparisons yet, but maybe I'll say a word or two. I'm not really sure were all the words go in Erikson's works. Of the hundreds of thousands of pages, and millions of words, I thought I would feel bogged down in the shear volume. But really, they read so well and flow very nicely. This seems somewhat strange considering when I read Bakker I somewhat get that feeling, like there is a lot going on and I'm missing it.

I don't know what makes Erikson "easier" to read, but I will say that it is wonderful. Bakker's still #1 (though at this point I have so much invested into TSA that its not really fair to compare). I'm excited to get through to the end.

btw, I don't plan on reading any of the non-main series books, mainly because I've got other things on my list :P. I imagine the  Bauchelain & Korbal Broach books would have been interesting to read pre-MoI though. I just feel like I won't ever get anywhere if I read the other stories.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2014, 03:56:41 pm by Wilshire »
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Raizen

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« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2014, 02:45:27 pm »
If anyone is interested, there's a site that does a chapter by chapter reread of the series.  It's very useful to go back through and find things you didn't notice or there wasn't enough information on.  Basically it's a short summary of the chapter, then a gentleman and lady's commentary on that portion. 

http://www.tor.com/features/series/malazan-reread-of-the-fallen
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Wilshire

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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2014, 02:49:14 pm »
That's pretty awesome.

Tor is the publisher of my set, so I'll trust them :P
I'm sure that was pretty useful when people had to wait a year between books. Heck, its even useful now, since I read so slowly.
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Wilshire

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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2014, 04:02:24 pm »
Finished Memories of Ice. What a phenomenal book. Easily my favorite so far. Around page 600 I thought to myself "that would have been a great place to end it", but holy hell I'm glad it went on. The rest of the book went by so fast, I couldn't put it down. And what an ending! All the things...

I was considering reading a few other books before I started House of Chains, but I don't know if I can do that now. The story is so enticing now, and I'm so glad that I finally got some background on the characters.... I must find out what is next.  Both the DG storyline and GotM/MoI stories are great, so I don't really care where the next one goes. Actually, if its another entire new set of plotlines, I might be a bit irritated.

If the books keep getting better, I'm going to be sorely pressed to pick a favorite author.
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Kellais

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« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2014, 11:23:35 am »
Quote
If the books keep getting better, I'm going to be sorely pressed to pick a favorite author.

Glad to hear that, Wil ;)

For myself, i still count MoI as the best book of the series. Erikson still develops as a writer in the later books, but MoI had just so much in it ... and the cast was very to my liking.

And just in case: yes, book 4 will be with a new set of plotlines ;) BUT there will also be some familiar faces. It is set on the same continent as book 1 and 3.
I'm trapped in Darkness
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"GoT is TSA's less talented but far more successful step-brother" - Wilshire

Wilshire

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« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2014, 03:49:33 pm »
ARRGGHHHHHH. Does every books start like that? :/
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« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2014, 05:42:34 pm »
You're beginning to feel it, Wilshire.  Only time will tell if you can stick with it.   ;)
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« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2014, 06:36:27 pm »
You're beginning to feel it, Wilshire.  Only time will tell if you can stick with it.   ;)

Lol yeap. You must live it to understand the trial.
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Kellais

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« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2014, 11:06:50 am »
Well, technically, not every book. IIRC the last book that introduces a new plotline and new locations is Midnight Tides (book 5), after that you start visiting the old locations and characters and it starts to come together...Erikson begins in book 6 (Bonehunters) to weave all the threads into one big fucking epic thread ;)
But to be honest, it is one of the things i really like about the Malazan books...they are different than all other fantasy books i read in that they paint a picture and do not have a linearly developing story. I found that to be genius. It's a puzzle instead of the classical storyline-thread.
I'm trapped in Darkness
Still I reach out for the Stars

"GoT is TSA's less talented but far more successful step-brother" - Wilshire

Wilshire

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« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2014, 08:39:23 pm »
Well, technically, not every book. IIRC the last book that introduces a new plotline and new locations is Midnight Tides (book 5), after that you start visiting the old locations and characters and it starts to come together...Erikson begins in book 6 (Bonehunters) to weave all the threads into one big fucking epic thread ;)
I probably would have gone with "tapestry" there :P

But to be honest, it is one of the things i really like about the Malazan books...they are different than all other fantasy books i read in that they paint a picture and do not have a linearly developing story. I found that to be genius. It's a puzzle instead of the classical storyline-thread.
I can dig it.
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