Malazan Empire: Abyss JUST FINISHED IT and needs a cold one now... - Malazan Empire

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Abyss JUST FINISHED IT and needs a cold one now... ...all the SPOILERS, twice the alcohol... Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 07:17 AM

I've seen the various threads from others who have already read the book and i'll throw my views in elsewhere (and as an aside i'll point out it seems a LOT of us jumped right in this time which was a nice switch from NoK and RCG...), but i literally, minutes ago, just finished the book and want to share so SPOILERS
SPOILERS COMPLETE AND UTTER SPOILERS
SPOILERS FOR STONEWEILDER
I MEAN STONEWIELDER
FUCK HOW MANY SPOILERS TIMES AM I GOING TO MISSPELL THAT
SPOILERS
SPOILERS ICY FROSTY COLD COLD SPOILERS
WILL GIVE YOU
SPOILERS FROSTBITE OF THE
SPOILERS BRAINZ SW SPOILERS AND ALL ALL YES
ALL PREVIOUS BOOKS SPOILERS
HERE SPOILERS
BLOODY SPOILERS.

That should do it...

I liked this book. I enjoyed the entire read, it moved, it didn't stall, it's a solid addition to the series and ICE's work. ICE really improved as a writer with this. His writing is tighter, cleaner and generally more coherent. The pacing was also solid. The book moved very nicely towards a series of Big Finish action pieces that overlapped without directly tieing together and when all was said and done I was totally satisfied. SW isn't displacing MoI or DG at the top of my Malaz faves, and I'm still on the fence over whether, overall, i enjooyed this more or less than RCG, but at whatever middle level of the series it comes to rest it was better than piles of other fantasy lit out there and worth my pre-order from the UK dollars without a doubt.

I'll try not to compare too much to RCG, but a few things i think are worth mentioning... while some elements of the finale of RCG felt forced, in some cases just to get all the various characters into one place, SWhad a more organzed feeling. Events took place in the same continent, and affected each other, without having to rely on the convenience of emergency warren travel to get multiple storylines to the same place. Not that i didn't love the big finishes in RCG, but this felt less like plot manipulation and more like storytelling.

In some ways this book was less massive than RCG - there we were watching the battle for the fate of nothing less than the Malazan Empire itself. Here we were watching the battle for Fist but that's never been much more than a name on a map to us before this book, so initially i found i was less invested. But ICE did such a perfectly excellent job of introducing the continent, its regions, its history, its connection to the bigger picture, and by the end i did care what happened.

BEST OLD FRIEND IT WAS AWESOME TO SEE AGAIN: Leoman. Hands down Jheval was the Leoman we knew and loved before he had to take over the Whirlwind army and become all bitter. I was grinning stupid when the QoD introduced him to Kiska.

BEST NEW CHARACTER: Suth, And i may be in the minority with this because in some ways he's 'just another malazan soldier', but i enjoyed his perspective and his steady improvement. Honourable mention goes to Bakune but his storyline never quite went as far as i wanted to see it go. Oh, who am i kidding, Manask takes this hands down... the big dude practically chewed up the scenery every time he was 'on screen', entertaining and intriguing new character (i know, i know, but we never saw him before so he's 'new').

BEST POV: For no specific reason I can put my finger on, i enjoyed Rillish's segments, tho Suth is a close second.

BEST REVELATION: The Lady as stray chunks of the CG. It made perfect sense - i even wondered once or twice if he was involved - but at the end I was still caught by surprise. I would have liked to have found out exactly why the Riders were 'after' the CG chunks in the first place, but even so it was a nice revelation. Relatedly, the Stormwall as a massive altar designed so that the defenders' sacrifice, not their fighting, that keeps it going... nice hideous touch. revealing it to Hiam at the end was suitably vicious.

BEST BATTLE: I'm split on this. The Malaz and Blue Moranth vs the Mare blockade was awesome and the best sea battles we've yet seen in the series, but i really really enjoyed the Black Queen's tactics against the Joulians. ICE raised his game nicely in terms of describing casts of thousands hurling themselves at each other with sharp objects in this book. The fights against the Riders at the wall were nicely done too, in a brutal cold and wet way.

BEST BADDY: I enjoyed Ussu's segments. Here is an utter bastard and traitor who does human sacrifice because he's not quite willing to give himself over to the Lady even if he's serving her anyways...

BEST NEW MYSTERY: Just what did Ussu see inside Bars at the end?

THE WILLIAM SHATNER OVERACTING AWARD GOES TO: Iron Bars for "SKINNNEEEEEERRRRRRRRRR!!!". But wow did Bars get put through the wringer this time. I did say, way back in the RCG forums, that this will make him even harder for an eventual confrontation with Skinner, and i'm sticking by that. Also, poor Corlo.

BEST REASON FOR VISITING KORELRI ON VACATION: So basically the entire Malazan campaign was to get Greymane into place to take down the Wall? Hmmm... not quite. Mallick did send the army in the rein in the traitorous 6th - Nok and Greymane say as much and even back in HoC Kalam tells Dom that Malazans always repay treachery. That said I suspect might have sent Greymane in anyways if he had been told 'Hey, when i get there, i'm taking out the wall, is that cool?' (pun intended).

YOU'RE A MEAN ONE, MISTER REL: Y'know what's really funny to me? Despite not even appearing in this book, Emperor Mallick seems to be doing a fine job.

SHELL BE COMING ROUND THE STORMWALL WHEN SHE COMES: As pov characters and Avowed go, Shell wasn't all that interesting. Stereotypical badass lady warrior was about it. There wasn't much to make her stand out other than that she was there to give us an outside perspective on Blues and co. Shimmer was more interesting.

BEST ONE LINER: "I seem to have built up a tolerance." Blues re being smacked around by gods. I look forward to eventually seeing where ICE is going with this.

BEST EXCHANGE: Gosh and Carfin...
"What was it like?"
"What was what like?"
"Your warren. Rashan. Darkness."
"I don't know. It was dark."

THE CLIFFHANGER, IT HANGS: I don't know how i feel about Kiska's storyline just yet. I can accept a placeholder ending to a multi-book storyline whe it actually reaches a logical pause point, but despite how much i enjoyed Kiska's storyline to that point, the end felt... unfinished...

BEST CHARACTER POWER UP: Kiska has a sort of pet Hound of Light. Neat.

STOP WHINING AND KILL SOMETHING: I liked Ivanr's plotline more than i liked the character himself - i can teach peple to kill, i can lead them to kill, i can encourage them to kill, but i won't kill... umm dude... your god Dessembrae's on the phone and he wants to tell you to oh wait no he doesn't HE'S TOO BUSY KILLING!

THE OH CMON ICE YOU'RE NOT EVEN TRYING AWARDS: Shul and Shool. Seriously? Wasn't Rel, Rill and Rillish bad enough? Also, we saw Azalan demons back in HoC ... remember... arboreal gorilla shadow demons? with two penii and flaming pee? How does anyone forget two penii that shoot flaming pee??? and they were nothing like the tall stick demon fisherman things Kiska and Leoman met... I know Azalan demons and these, sir, were not Azalan demons.

NICE NOD TO GOTM: Soldier to Devaleth at the last landing assault... "Always an even exchange.".

IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT... So, the ending. Greymane cuts the Wall. It breaks. The Stormriders come rushing in, possibly with some Mael mojo behind them. The Synod cuts the chain at Ring, dropping one CG chunk into the water, and the Riders attack. Manask pitches the squads' chunk into the water and the Riders take that one. And the Disavowed rescue the last chunk for the CG. Greymane ends up in cold storage, Ivanr starts a battle monk religion and everyone else goes home except for Kiska and Leoman who are stuck somewhere. That seem about right?

BITS AND PIECES: I liked Kyle in this book and i got a laugh out of Nok's reaction to Greymane revealing he's from Assail. I liked Devaleth. Greymane leading the assault on the bridge was awesome. The freelance Claw was totally Faro. Pyke deserved what he got. I was glad Rillish lived and wow did his apparent death anger me at the time.

Anyhow, more to come but those are my thoughts at 2am having JUST FINISHED IT.

- Abyss, ...also craving a snow cone now...
CHASE: Paw Patrol is ready for action Mr Pust sir!
PUST: *pauses ranting* What does that mean?
ZUMA: It means let's dive in, dude!
PUST: What? What is a dude? WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?????
-The Malazan Book of the Paw Patrol
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#2 User is online   Alternative Goose 

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 08:43 AM

You know, your talk of Ivanr and the Army of Reform reminded me of something. I couldn't put my finger on it, but now I got it.

The reason why the Ivanr chapters annoyed me so much (besides the fact that it was just another random clash of armies in a series filled with that stuff) was that they did not feel right. The first parts of the Ivanr chapters, cement that Ivanr is against killing and so is all the pilgrims. they are willing being lead back to their death rather than struggle. Then comes the Army of Reform and suddenly Ivanr is the only pacifist left? What? I know they slightly touch on it during their strategy talks, but this does not feel right. I would have been more impressed if somehow Ivanr had convinced them all that fighting to stop fighting proved nothing and instead they all put down their weapons and were slaughtered by the Jourilians, creating some kind of sacrificial effect that showed the Korelians the horror of their own arrogant butchering of the unbelievers. Or something like that.

In the end, I guess the Ivanr pieces were typical of the Malazan world, in that the peace lovers became the murderers, but we've seen this before in the series, I would have liked something a bit more profound and tragic.

I did like that the kid Ivanr left behind came back to fuck him up, that was a beautiful piece of writing.

This post has been edited by Jenisapt Rul: 11 December 2010 - 08:44 AM

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 01:02 PM

I firmly believe that the Ivanr story line has more to it....

Yes, Dessembrae is his god, but since TTH and his run in with Rake etc, perhaps he know sees the same as Ivanr... i.e the death and fighting solves nothing.... hence the comment from the priestess that Ivanr is far down the correct path.
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Posted 11 December 2010 - 01:31 PM

A pacifist Dassem. Now that would be a thing behold. He could be king of High House Peace, the answer to the rise of the House of War.

But the Cult of Dessembrae does not seem to bother much with what Dassem desires or hates, tragedy does not go along well with peace or pacifism.
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Posted 11 December 2010 - 02:15 PM

 Abyss, on 11 December 2010 - 07:17 AM, said:

BEST BATTLE: I'm split on this. The Malaz and Blue Moranth vs the Mare blockade was awesome and the best sea battles we've yet seen in the series, but i really really enjoyed the Black Queen's tactics against the Joulians. ICE raised his game nicely in terms of describing casts of thousands hurling themselves at each other with sharp objects in this book. The fights against the Riders at the wall were nicely done too, in a brutal cold and wet way.


Isn't this pretty much the only major naval battle we've seen?

You can't really include the Bonehunters vs. the Letheri Imperial Navy (let's call it that...) since the ships never actually engaged...
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#6 User is offline   D'rek 

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 03:49 PM

MOST UNFORGIVABLE LITTLE MISTAKE FROM SE'S SERIES: Leoman burned the Malazan 7th army at Y'Ghatan? When did that happen?

MOST UNFORGIVABLE LITTLE MISTAKE FROM YOUR OWN SERIES: The priestess who was on an Edur ship, spoke Edur and was referred to as Edur, has travelled north to spread the ways of Dessembrae which include turning people human!

BEST THANK GOD THIS KID GROWS UP AT A NORMAL RATE: Rillish's kids. I half expected when he got home for his kids to be 10 years old just so they can have wacky adventures.

View Postworrywort, on 14 September 2012 - 08:07 PM, said:

I kinda love it when D'rek unleashes her nerd wrath, as I knew she would here. Sorry innocent bystanders, but someone's gotta be the kindling.
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#7 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 06:30 PM

 Jenisapt Rul, on 11 December 2010 - 08:43 AM, said:

...In the end, I guess the Ivanr pieces were typical of the Malazan world, in that the peace lovers became the murderers, but we've seen this before in the series, I would have liked something a bit more profound and tragic.


To be fair, Ivanr mostly kept from killing. it was everyone else who wasn't buying it. What I wasn't buying was his ongoing anti-killing rants.

Quote

I did like that the kid Ivanr left behind came back to fuck him up, that was a beautiful piece of writing.


Agreed it was a really nice touch how that played out, from the initial rescue to the end.

 Jenisapt Rul, on 11 December 2010 - 01:31 PM, said:

...But the Cult of Dessembrae does not seem to bother much with what Dassem desires or hates, tragedy does not go along well with peace or pacifism.


And that goes back to the whole 'gods and followers don't always agree on who's in charge' thing, but even so the Cult was right there chanting when Das' showed up in D'stan to chop Hood's head off...

 KingTeholBeddict, on 11 December 2010 - 02:15 PM, said:

 Abyss, on 11 December 2010 - 07:17 AM, said:

BEST BATTLE: I'm split on this. The Malaz and Blue Moranth vs the Mare blockade was awesome and the best sea battles we've yet seen in the series, but i really really enjoyed the Black Queen's tactics against the Joulians. ICE raised his game nicely in terms of describing casts of thousands hurling themselves at each other with sharp objects in this book. The fights against the Riders at the wall were nicely done too, in a brutal cold and wet way.


Isn't this pretty much the only major naval battle we've seen?

You can't really include the Bonehunters vs. the Letheri Imperial Navy (let's call it that...) since the ships never actually engaged...


True, tho I was thinking of the naval engagements generally - Kalam's plotline in DG, the Malazan fleet confronting the Edur in TB... still on an overall level, while i don't put the Mare blockade on the same level as Vathar Crossing or Capustan, that was some great action writing even so.


 D, on 11 December 2010 - 03:49 PM, said:

MOST UNFORGIVABLE LITTLE MISTAKE FROM SE'S SERIES: Leoman burned the Malazan 7th army at Y'Ghatan? When did that happen?


Are you taking issue with the typo in the army number or the reference to Leoman frying an army entirely? Because one is a typo and the other you're wrong.

Quote

MOST UNFORGIVABLE LITTLE MISTAKE FROM YOUR OWN SERIES: The priestess who was on an Edur ship, spoke Edur and was referred to as Edur, has travelled north to spread the ways of Dessembrae which include turning people human!


Y'know, I totally didn't connect the Edur girl from RCG with the Priestess, but if you consider that as an Edur witch even before aspecting to Dessembrae she could have easily altered her appearance, i actually really like this possibility and i'm glad you mentioned it.
CHASE: Paw Patrol is ready for action Mr Pust sir!
PUST: *pauses ranting* What does that mean?
ZUMA: It means let's dive in, dude!
PUST: What? What is a dude? WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?????
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#8 User is offline   D'rek 

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 10:00 PM

 Abyss, on 11 December 2010 - 06:30 PM, said:

 D, on 11 December 2010 - 03:49 PM, said:

MOST UNFORGIVABLE LITTLE MISTAKE FROM SE'S SERIES: Leoman burned the Malazan 7th army at Y'Ghatan? When did that happen?


Are you taking issue with the typo in the army number or the reference to Leoman frying an army entirely? Because one is a typo and the other you're wrong.


The typo, it should've been the Malaz 14th. It's one thing to get wrong a random historical reference from the events of the First Empire or whatever, it's quite another to get wrong a major event that happened 4 books ago!

 Abyss, on 11 December 2010 - 06:30 PM, said:

 D, on 11 December 2010 - 03:49 PM, said:

MOST UNFORGIVABLE LITTLE MISTAKE FROM YOUR OWN SERIES: The priestess who was on an Edur ship, spoke Edur and was referred to as Edur, has travelled north to spread the ways of Dessembrae which include turning people human!


Y'know, I totally didn't connect the Edur girl from RCG with the Priestess, but if you consider that as an Edur witch even before aspecting to Dessembrae she could have easily altered her appearance, i actually really like this possibility and i'm glad you mentioned it.


"she could have easily altered her appearance" - I don't buy it. IMO, if she were capable of that either The Lady would have smited her or she would have been capable of not getting captured/beheaded. I don't think she's really that kind of witch, more of a seer-type then a warren type. Either way though, if ICE truly inteded for the Priestesses to be the same and for her to be illusorily human in this one, there should at least have been some comment on it somewhere, like turning grey after she's beheaded or something.

View Postworrywort, on 14 September 2012 - 08:07 PM, said:

I kinda love it when D'rek unleashes her nerd wrath, as I knew she would here. Sorry innocent bystanders, but someone's gotta be the kindling.
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#9 User is offline   percival 

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 05:45 PM

think abyss has summed it up pretty well.

i also like the fact that we had a "godly" priest of shadow who took time out to have some fun as kiska travelled through his realm!
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Posted 12 December 2010 - 06:13 PM

 percival, on 12 December 2010 - 05:45 PM, said:

think abyss has summed it up pretty well.

i also like the fact that we had a "godly" priest of shadow who took time out to have some fun as kiska travelled through his realm!


Was that Shadowthrone, I got the feeling it was but I couldn't really figure out if it was him or not...

And if it was Shadowthrone was it then Cotillion in the end talking to him about how he's wasting his time?
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Posted 12 December 2010 - 06:26 PM

Shadowthrone and Cotillion, yes.
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Posted 13 December 2010 - 03:07 PM

I went through the entire Kiska subplot thinking that Warran was Edgewalker.
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Posted 13 December 2010 - 03:17 PM

As soon as strange laughing is mentioned my mind always jumps to Shadow
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#14 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 03:33 PM

 D, on 11 December 2010 - 10:00 PM, said:

..."she could have easily altered her appearance" - I don't buy it. IMO, if she were capable of that either The Lady would have smited her or she would have been capable of not getting captured/beheaded. I don't think she's really that kind of witch, more of a seer-type then a warren type. Either way though, if ICE truly inteded for the Priestesses to be the same and for her to be illusorily human in this one, there should at least have been some comment on it somewhere, like turning grey after she's beheaded or something.


Which leaves it open either way really, and not all that important.Are you dissappointed that ICE didn't establish that it was the edur girl or that it wasn't?

 jitsukerr, on 13 December 2010 - 03:07 PM, said:

I went through the entire Kiska subplot thinking that Warran was Edgewalker.



Heh... once the fish thing was done with and he started tralleing around with them i figured it was ST looking into what was going on in his warren.

I did like how without even appearing in the story Edgewalker's influence still came up.

One nitpick with the Kiska story - did she have a warren or not? because i could have sworn that early in the story someone referes to her as a mage, but then she never uses a warren in the rest of the book.
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PUST: *pauses ranting* What does that mean?
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#15 User is offline   Gothos 

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 03:36 PM

The ending did seem rushed.
In any case, my biggest issue with this book is some deliberate pact made by the two writers to hint something with one sentence and sadistically making us wait for any further info.
I was totally infurated by the lack of information about the Stormriders.
There were also places where I really wanted to punch the writer's grinning trollface:
1. When Greymane told Nok that Kyle is from Assail
2. When Ussu 'discovered' what's behind the Vow
3. When Kyle was on the boat coming towards home and just passingly mentioned Lost Boys and Assail
4. When the book ended without any climatic showdown of any sort with the Lady. She/it just seemed extremely passive when things started to go badly.

Many good parts about the book though. Jheval in general, Manask and Ipshank, Suth and squad, Kyle growing up, the Stormwall itself, Ussu's ways of accessing power, the naval battle, more Moranth screentime.

As for Mallick Rel, I must say that despite his villany in previous books, he seems a competent emperor. The takeover seems a lot like the previous one. He's a devious snake, but now he's at the steering wheel... and he's a Malazan snake now. I'm looking forward to reading more about him now.
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Posted 13 December 2010 - 04:01 PM

 Gothos, on 13 December 2010 - 03:36 PM, said:

...places where I really wanted to punch the writer's grinning trollface:
1. When Greymane told Nok that Kyle is from Assail
2. When Ussu 'discovered' what's behind the Vow
3. When Kyle was on the boat coming towards home and just passingly mentioned Lost Boys and Assail


You can't really fault authors for building suspense, and they are doing a great job of it.

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4. When the book ended without any climatic showdown of any sort with the Lady. She/it just seemed extremely passive when things started to go badly.


Yes and no... the Synod and Rillish's squads confronted the Lady's people directly and secured the boxes so the Stormriders could take him/her/it down, which, at least in theory, was way cooler than Yana or whoever stacking the things with munitions and running for it. And ultimately the Stormwall and the religion and everything were the Lady (CG chunk's) way of protecting herself because she was vulnerable. Put another way, a smal part of the CG co-opted an entire continent to protect itself. When the Malazans invaded, it took over their entire army and made them turn traitor.

we know from elsewhere that the CG isn't really able to at directly. He acts thru manipulation and plot - the Pannion Domin, the Letherii Edur, etc etc. this was another such instance and it took, in various ways, the Malazan Empire, the QoD, Dessembrae and someone acting for D'riss (Greymane's sword and Kyle's Thel Akai necklace), all acting indirectly together, to displace the Lady.

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As for Mallick Rel, I must say that despite his villany in previous books, he seems a competent emperor. The takeover seems a lot like the previous one. He's a devious snake, but now he's at the steering wheel... and he's a Malazan snake now. I'm looking forward to reading more about him now.


It's just nuts how with only a few lines ICE changed so much about our view of Mallick. I despise him, yet i'm oddly encouraged to see he's doing at least a few clever things for the Empire... of course it could all go horribly wrong, and yet it's nice that ICE didn't send him directly into Evil Overlord mode.
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PUST: *pauses ranting* What does that mean?
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Posted 13 December 2010 - 04:25 PM

 Abyss, on 13 December 2010 - 04:01 PM, said:

You can't really fault authors for building suspense, and they are doing a great job of it.


I wouldn't call it building suspense. It's like if Dragnipur was only mentioned in passing across seven books in lines like
"... then there's the matter of his sword."
"Aye. Well, as for the other matter at hand..."
Now, the various short mentions about the bog of a campaign that Korel turned out to be, about Mare, about the Stormwall, now these I loved - every time these were present in conversation, it seemed like the people involved just didn't know any better to give more information. I like how the mechanics behind warrens are gradually being explained across the books, how we get more and more glimpses of the Founding Races - first the Imass, then Jaghut, then K'chain, and soon to come Forkrul Assail.
With Assail, it's always a deliberate 'no' from the author in terms of any information, and it's extremely frustrating. It's like mentioning anything beyond the name and that the place is filled with badassery will end the world. We even had characters that come from there, but we have nothing. It's infuriating, and to me just resembles some sort of a marketing strategy more than building suspense.

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Yes and no... the Synod and Rillish's squads confronted the Lady's people directly and secured the boxes so the Stormriders could take him/her/it down, which, at least in theory, was way cooler than Yana or whoever stacking the things with munitions and running for it. And ultimately the Stormwall and the religion and everything were the Lady (CG chunk's) way of protecting herself because she was vulnerable. Put another way, a smal part of the CG co-opted an entire continent to protect itself. When the Malazans invaded, it took over their entire army and made them turn traitor.

we know from elsewhere that the CG isn't really able to at directly. He acts thru manipulation and plot - the Pannion Domin, the Letherii Edur, etc etc. this was another such instance and it took, in various ways, the Malazan Empire, the QoD, Dessembrae and someone acting for D'riss (Greymane's sword and Kyle's Thel Akai necklace), all acting indirectly together, to displace the Lady.


We don't even know it's the CG in person or a figurehead. We've had a showdown with Pannion, we've had a showdown with Rhulad. We've had a showdown with Poliel. The lack of any sort of confrontation, even in just words, between Greymane and the Lady, or even an exchange of words between Greymane and the Stormriders, doesn't sit well with my expectations.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
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#18 User is offline   D'rek 

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 06:39 PM

 Abyss, on 13 December 2010 - 03:33 PM, said:

 D, on 11 December 2010 - 10:00 PM, said:

..."she could have easily altered her appearance" - I don't buy it. IMO, if she were capable of that either The Lady would have smited her or she would have been capable of not getting captured/beheaded. I don't think she's really that kind of witch, more of a seer-type then a warren type. Either way though, if ICE truly inteded for the Priestesses to be the same and for her to be illusorily human in this one, there should at least have been some comment on it somewhere, like turning grey after she's beheaded or something.


Which leaves it open either way really, and not all that important.Are you dissappointed that ICE didn't establish that it was the edur girl or that it wasn't?


Yes. The Jourilan Army of Reform plot is almost completely irrelevent to the rest of SW, while Traveller fighting the Edur on the Stratem coast was pretty much just a random event. Tying the former to the latter would give both of them more of a reason to have taken place at all. On the other hand, if they weren't even supposed to be tied together, then there are some really obvious possible connections that would imply that they are tied together, in which case some effort should have been made to disconnect them.

View Postworrywort, on 14 September 2012 - 08:07 PM, said:

I kinda love it when D'rek unleashes her nerd wrath, as I knew she would here. Sorry innocent bystanders, but someone's gotta be the kindling.
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Posted 14 December 2010 - 03:42 PM

To not be a complete copycat (hah!)... here's my 2 cents.

Worldbuilding: wow, he hit the nail bang on. Korel really came alive and by incorporating a peasant revolution, the rogue Sixth, a magister's struggle, a mage renegade and the Stormwall people both chained and unchained, ICE painted it all.

Writing style: far more consistent. He is getting better technically, and doing so at a good pace, too.

Actual content: Most of the book's storyline was sadly a deja-vu, both in the great and the small. The highs and lows were pretty muted to me and some changes went way too fast. As a writer, ICE showed his growth as the book was very consistent, far more so than RoTCG. However, as a reading experience, I enjoyed RotCG and Night Knives much more.

Now, before you bring out the torture equipment, allow me to explain:

OK, hand me some tissues....moment: ehm, no real heartrending, gutwrenching moment in the entire book. There were high hopes with the Bakune storyline, which fizzled although I enjoyed his entirely accidental rise to power, the Ivanr storyline which was decent but sadly enough ended a bit too Ghandi for my tastes, and poor old Iron Bars going slowly mad, but none got even close to a Rake/Coltaine/Itkovian moment.

Gimme a bucket, quick! moment: Iron Bars getting his heart squeezed out made me stop munching crisps for a few seconds, but that was it.

Semper Fi moment: well, not quite. The soldiers introduced/returning weren't all that special, imho, I mean, abandoning your mission because one guy was a bastard who dodged doing his work and then proved to be a coward.... that's not very Malazan marine-like. But maybe that was ICEs point to begin with.It was a nice change from the regular but it wasn't heroic, and I would have vastly appreciated some good old true do-or-die charge of the last brigade madness.
Rillish didn't get enough screen time to prove what he was struggling with to be more than angst from his side, and seeing someone so cool in RotCG get reduced to this was slightly contrary to the Rillish we knew.
I feel ICE might just as easily have created a new Fist from scratch and thrust him into the Rillish position.

I liked the Claw, Faro, most. I mean, smoking while shooting someone - he's the midget version of Dirty Harry.

So, no real high rises, some good stuff though.

The main storylines:

Kiska and Leoman: until their escape from the fricking Liosan (ok, the fact they show up, with Jorrude) was awesome) I did not recognize anything Leoman-ish in Leoman: not the awesome warrior-leader-bodyguard, not the cynical faithless bastard, that Leoman was absent. Instead, he was a guy with two flails and a moustache.
Personal deja vu when reading about him and Dunsparrow's break-up: don't go on holiday to a god's lovenest. It ended badly for Kalam and Minala, too. See, deja vu. ST was a nice touch (although he is far more devious and edgy when SE writes him), but you see... the MBotF is already rife with quests involving an outcast warrior, a young(er) up and coming neophyte and optional comic relief.

Corlo and Iron Bars: I liked the set-up, but there simply was not enough depth to the scenes to it to really act out the despair in their relationship.

Bakune: well, the second part of it was much better than the first.

Ipshank and Manask: MOAR!!

The Stormguard: I liked them. The two old campaigners, one the politician, the other the warrior, but both utterly dedicated. The revelation at the end made for a nice twist of the dagger. However, the screen time they got was too short to really show the pickle they were in manpower wise... now it was just so because they said it to one another continuously.

Ivanr and the army of Reform: now this was to me the very best storyline of them all, disconnected as it was. The Black Queen, Ivanr himself, Beneth... quite dramatic characters, and this storyline packed some drama as well as mass-scenes. Whether Ivanr is a cliché or not was to me irrelevant when I read the book.

Shell, Fingers, Blues and Lazar: when I came upon the four of them, first thign I wondered was: and where did your squads run of to, boys? Blues especially was tied to a rather awesome squad that could have aided tremendously, but maybe they were afraid of the cold?
In the end, it was just Crimson Guard goes Hulk-smash... but I liked Shell's exchanges with the pregnant fisher girl.

Greymane: actually, not that much of a surprise to me. He was cool in RotCG with barely a PoV or a mention, he was cool now when he went at things solo, and with his mission going the way of the first time he landed in Korel, the despair, distrust and sullen mood of Greymane as general was just how it should be.... although it did little to explain his popularity with the men.

Torturing mage and Moranth commander: that was awesome. If anything, that story tells you to not become an auxiliary commander/scapegoat... poor Borun.

All in all: Return of the Crimson Guard delivered it more than Stonewielder did. Maybe because it was the big names we have come to love, the relatively simple plot (fight for dominance, zomg!!!), but it was simply more fun to read. It is probably not a better book... RotCG had everything it should have had and ICE squeezed that entire storyline for every bit of juice in it and I as fanboi loved him for it.

What ICE tried to do here was several levels of complexity above RotCG. I feel it should have been a trilogy, not a single volume, and then I'd be salivating, I guess.
As for the Storm Riders plot... well, it raises just as many questions as it answers, which is a MBotF thing :(

This post has been edited by Tapper: 14 December 2010 - 03:58 PM

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#20 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 04:41 PM

 Tapper, on 14 December 2010 - 03:42 PM, said:

...OK, hand me some tissues....moment: ..., but none got even close to a Rake/Coltaine/Itkovian moment.


I might put Greymane's finale into that category, albeit not on the level of those three, but still cool/memorable.

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Gimme a bucket, quick! moment: Iron Bars getting his heart squeezed out made me stop munching crisps for a few seconds, but that was it.



Actually i'm glad you raised that prompting me to mention that Bars crushing Ussu's head while Ussu was cruching he heart was awesome. Sick, but awesome. And reiterates the point that no matter how fucked up the situation, Bars will. not. stop.

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Semper Fi moment: ...abandoning your mission because one guy was a bastard who dodged doing his work and then proved to be a coward.... that's not very Malazan marine-like. But maybe that was ICEs point to begin with.It was a nice change from the regular but it wasn't heroic, and I would have vastly appreciated some good old true do-or-die charge of the last brigade madness.


I had the same reaction and i put it off to the mission was so fucked by that point that Suth figured revenge on Pyke was more likely to succeed than finding the box with no sapper on hand to blow it up. Not that that stopped faro from going after it.

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Rillish didn't get enough screen time to prove what he was struggling with to be more than angst from his side, and seeing someone so cool in RotCG get reduced to this was slightly contrary to the Rillish we knew.
I feel ICE might just as easily have created a new Fist from scratch and thrust him into the Rillish position.


I, on the other hand, thought this built nicely on Rillish from RCG. The leader trying to do what's right even when it conflicts with his official duties was just like we saw in RCG, as was his willingnes to jump in and lead from the front. Rillish's lead during the sea battle ("They have a nicer ship so we're going to take it from them!" and "How would you like a second ship?") was pure awesome malazan military goodness.

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Kiska and Leoman: until their escape from the fricking Liosan (ok, the fact they show up, with Jorrude) was awesome) I did not recognize anything Leoman-ish in Leoman: not the awesome warrior-leader-bodyguard, not the cynical faithless bastard, that Leoman was absent. Instead, he was a guy with two flails and a moustache. ...


I thought this was Leoman like we saw him when he was less obsessed with leadership and more hanging out with Karsa or Corabb back in HoC and DG. More relaxed but still him.

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Corlo and Iron Bars: I liked the set-up, but there simply was not enough depth to the scenes to it to really act out the despair in their relationship.


I dunno, i thought Corlo's angst over convincing Bars to stay alive was well played. the part about lying to him about the squad was all kinds of tragic.

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Bakune: well, the second part of it was much better than the first.


That's funny - i'm the exact opposite. i liked when he was searching for the killers despite being told to back off much more than when he became middle-management.

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Ipshank and Manask: MOAR!!


YES

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The Stormguard: I liked them. The two old campaigners, one the politician, the other the warrior, but both utterly dedicated. The revelation at the end made for a nice twist of the dagger. However, the screen time they got was to o short to really show the pickle they were in manpower wise... now it was just so because they said it to one another continuously.


I thought it was enough, and sort of tragic in the sense that here they think they are nobly serving their goddess when instead they are dying for a pretender.

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Shell, Fingers, Blues and Lazar: when I came upon the four of them, first thign I wondered was: and where did your squads run of to, boys? Blues especially was tied to a rather awesome squad ...


Not really. back in GotM we saw him with Fingers and Cowl but we now know Cowl runs his own show and Fingers was with Blues in RCG.

Was anyone else perplexed by Lazar, who seemed intermittently to be huge, short, a leader and a barely communicative brawler? And back in NoK weren't we told, tho briefly, that he was big on full faceless armour or am i mis-remembering?

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Greymane: actually, not that much of a surprise to me. He was cool in RotCG with barely a PoV or a mention, he was cool now when he went at things solo, and with his mission going the way of the first time he landed in Korel, the despair, distrust and sullen mood of Greymane as general was just how it should be.... although it did little to explain his popularity with the men.


I thought it was pretty clear - the campaign was going just fine until they stalled at the bridge and when they broke through it was Greymane leading the assault himself.

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Torturing mage and Moranth commander: that was awesome. If anything, that story tells you to not become an auxiliary commander/scapegoat... poor Borun.


I really enjoyed these two's interactions. It gave a level of complexity to Ussu who was essentially buds with Borun, and Borun's loyalty to Yeull, tho misplaced, was very Moranth. His distress when Yeull betrayed the Black Monranth was a nice touch.

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...As for the Storm Riders plot... well, it raises just as many questions as it answers, which is a MBotF thing :thumbsup:


Yep. Would have liked more but i can (mostly) accept it on that basis.
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PUST: *pauses ranting* What does that mean?
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