Malazan Empire: OST is a stupid and boring book. - Malazan Empire

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OST is a stupid and boring book. There, I said it.

#41 User is offline   UmbraPhoenix 

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 05:04 PM

I fail to see why a repeated formula takes away from the enjoyment of a series. I have read hundreds of fantasy novels, and as a rule fantasy is a genre that over the years has mostly repeated formula's. This is not bad, wrong, or an example of lack of imagination or skill. The point of fantasy is to create new worlds, to push the bounds of imagination farther than ever. This series, and every book in it, has done that. No other fantasy series has ever created a world so vast and complex while also deviating from the traditional linear fantasy setup and terms.
This series birthed a new take on magic, technology, and a unique way of looking at Empires and civilizations. The characters they created are numerous, interesting, and they have a deep emotional draw. Yet at this juncture in the series people complain that the writing style is to similar to the last book. Good grief, where is your appreciation for what has been accomplished to this point. On the subject of unfinished story threads, I believe they will be addressed. Have you forgotten that this series is only a decade or so old? Erickson is already going to write two separate trilogies in the series, and who knows what IE will do after he finishes his last two novels.
Something i want to remind people of is that IE's series is about the Malazan Empire. Many of you missed the most important aspects of OST. Mallick Rel is still on the Imperial throne, but now Tayschrenn is back and Dassem Ultor is the Segulah first. I believe that those two things are the most important results of this book. Everything you need to know about the Tyrant is in the book. Truthfully, the same goes for Stonewielder. The origins of the Stormriders are not important to the story. ROTCG and SW both keep us up to date with events in the empire, and OST is no different. As for the post about Malazan troops weeping on seeing the Segulah blown to pieces by the Moranth, what is so hard to understand about that? Nobody who is human could stand there and watch a group of people, even enemies, get blown to pieces and not be affected by it.
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#42 User is offline   Harvester 

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 01:22 AM

You're making it sound like everyone who uttered criticism in the various OST threads has been giving ICE and SE written wedgies for , I don't know, probably as long as they have been on this forum. Clearly you must have read through all of our posts to justify such an accusation. Posted Image

View PostUmbraPhoenix, on 11 March 2012 - 05:04 PM, said:

Many of you missed the most important aspects of OST. Mallick Rel is still on the Imperial throne, but now Tayschrenn is back and Dassem Ultor is the Segulah first.


These are the most important aspects? Really? By the way, don't forget that Tay's now a god and, not unlike Shadowthrone, no longer part of the empire. Dassem's story line is probably done.

View PostUmbraPhoenix, on 11 March 2012 - 05:04 PM, said:

Everything you need to know about the Tyrant is in the book.


Such as?

View PostUmbraPhoenix, on 11 March 2012 - 05:04 PM, said:

Truthfully, the same goes for Stonewielder. The origins of the Stormriders are not important to the story.


So it is not important to know about their motivations? At all? Okay.

View PostUmbraPhoenix, on 11 March 2012 - 05:04 PM, said:

As for the post about Malazan troops weeping on seeing the Segulah blown to pieces by the Moranth, what is so hard to understand about that?


Did you see the Malazans crying when they blew the Letheri army to bloody bits and pieces or when Hedge bombed the sleeping Tenescowri? I didn't. That's beside the point, though. This scene could have worked, but it was simply terribly written.
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#43 User is offline   Ulrik 

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:09 AM

View PostUmbraPhoenix, on 11 March 2012 - 05:04 PM, said:

Something i want to remind people of is that IE's series is about the Malazan Empire. Many of you missed the most important aspects of OST. Mallick Rel is still on the Imperial throne, but now Tayschrenn is back and Dassem Ultor is the Segulah first. I believe that those two things are the most important results of this book.


Yup, thats reason, why it is useful wiki entry. But it has nothing to do with qualities of writing. For me, most important thing in book is its writing. Style. Hey, I can have absurdn amount of fun in story about solving completely nothing for whole malazan world... I just need it to be well written. I honestly dont care that Dassem is 1st Seguleh... and its pretty pitiful, whey I realize how much fanboy of Seguleh and fan of Dassem I am... IMO, you are looking rather for encyclopaedia... (dont take my post to harshly, Im just a little bit pissed of by making a lot of "our" criticism into "hey, you missed that there actually something happend, you blind fools!") 

This post has been edited by Ulrik: 13 March 2012 - 10:10 AM

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#44 User is offline   Orlion 

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 06:41 PM

I don't see it. I could not put the novel down, it was exciting, revelatory, humourous, insightful.... I just don't understand most of the criticisms of this book. It's gotten to the point where I have to shrug my shoulders and think: "to each his/her own...."

K'rul as a crone is a little confusing as all *bleep* though. I wonder if.... nah, maybe when people are more ready!
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#45 User is offline   Sinisdar Toste 

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 02:58 AM

View PostOrlion, on 13 March 2012 - 06:41 PM, said:

I don't see it. I could not put the novel down, it was exciting, revelatory, humourous, insightful.... I just don't understand most of the criticisms of this book. It's gotten to the point where I have to shrug my shoulders and think: "to each his/her own...."

K'rul as a crone is a little confusing as all *bleep* though. I wonder if.... nah, maybe when people are more ready!


tell me about it. read it in just a few days. thought the little quest group on the spawns was entertaining, funny, gruesome and fascinating. the fact that there are now a bunch of crazed mages (including Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, no less) running around Kurald Galain is certainly something i could see bearing on the kharkanas trilogy.

i also felt that there was nothing else that needed to be said about the tyrant, and his 'circle'. the circle is obviously a symbol for the endless cycle of tyrants, rising and falling, rising and falling. kruppe keeps the circle broken by keeping d'stan free of tyrants. who was the tyrant? does it even matter? at this point he probably doesn't even remember himself. what matters is that he found a way to become somewhat immortal - though it seems that he only lives in ebbin's head now.

finally, i really don't get how people don't understand the malazan's reaction to the bombardment. have you really thought about what they witnessed? the bare, living facts of it as they would feel to those soldiers? within a space of maybe thirty seconds, hundreds of people were blown to pieces. sure they were the enemy, and sure it was one of those us or them scenarios, but they were shredded, obliterated. with no chance to defend themselves. nobody could watch that and not feel themselves being torn apart. the inhumanity of the act cannot help but touch you. why do you think so many american soldiers have killed themselves over the past decade? the cold reduction of human beings into targets to be eliminated is unnatural and traumatic.

moranth munitions, for all that we love when they go 'splodey and kill our favourite characters enemies, are horrible, horrible weapons. it is a crime against humanity to use them at all, let alone in the manner depicted in this book.

edit: to say, how is what the moranth did to the seguleh any different from what the nah'ruk did to the khundryl? both tragic, both horrific, both equally worthy of grief.

This post has been edited by Sinisdar Toste: 16 March 2012 - 03:23 AM

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#46 User is offline   D'rek 

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 04:46 AM

I both agree and disagree with Apt.

I disagree that there was anything missing from this novel. In my opinion, this novel not only fit perfectly into everything Malazan, but I also felt it to be complete. I didn't feel that any of the plot threads were missing anything, or that any of the characters or cultures required more development. (The sole exception being that I thought Tayscrhenn's plot was far too irrelevent and would actually have gone better in TCG similar to Draconus' turning away than it did in OST. That being said, I realize this is a part of ICE's long-term plot and so hope that it proves to be very relevant for later novels.) It seems to me that people were expecting an amount of cultural development uncharacteristic of a Malazan novel, forgetting how little we ever learned of Wickans, Barghast, Bluerose and other cultures even when we finally got a glimpse of them. Maybe that is a product of the hype for this book, but I'm not sure where in the hype those ideas of seeing so much Seguleh and Moranth society came from so I'm not willing to blame the author. I also wonder if the 60-page preview may have impacted this, too, since the most revealing part for the Seguleh culture was in that preview and read in many cases months ago.

Anyways, I really liked how OST kicked things off quickly and kept a pretty quick pace throughout which is definitely one of ICE's strongpoints and was a welcome change from the draggier parts of TtH, DoD and TCG. I really think that ICE did a great job of integrating with TMBotF with this one - the short cameos of all the Darujhistan cast that weren't part of the story like Stonny and Tiserra were well-handled and quic, but really show that ICE is doing his homework better than before. The only discrepency I really noticed in any of it was the Rhivi being a cavalry force, but I guess there was never any point directly saying they weren't prior.

On the other hand, I do agree with Apt that this book did not ratchet it up to 11. I have no problems with Seguleh geting diced by moranth munitions, because really any other manner of beating them would seem like a lessening of the Seguleh. But yes, there were perhaps too many ascendants and powerful characters aligned against the Tyrant for it to ever seem like he had a chance of winning. There are lots of little things that could've been done here to add tension such as having more revolt in Darujhistan to make the Seguleh get bloodier, or have Baruk and Aman do more head-smashing than wall-building. Overall, though, I think the biggest thing needed was that the Tyrant needed a better end-goal. Control of central Genebackis was too vague and unimpressive of a goal for him and doesn't really have a terrible impact even if he succeeds - sooner or later the Malazans or someone else will push back his borders or something. Having the Tyrant be trying to rebuild Dragnipur, or sacrifice all of Genebackis in Kallor-esque power-up while the Gods were busy with Kolanse, upping the stakes like that would have built the tension quite nicely and it doesn't matter if the end covergence was about the same - bombing Darujhistan, charging Seguleh and Kruppe's trickery is plenty and the confinedness of it offsets TCG well.

A bit rambly, but yeah that's my opinion: overall it was all good but a bit more Tyrant end-game would have made it truly great (my personal choice: Tyrant wants to usurp K'rul while (s)he is busy with Kolanse/Korabas - fights his way into K'rul's belfry at the end instead of the Jacuruku automaton and Tayschrenn shows up at the last second, whoops his ass, gives the mask to Kruppe and walks into K'rul's basement himself).

 worrywort, 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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#47 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 04:51 AM

re: ST

Also, while it's made a big deal that the Seguleh no longer know what the Moranth are capable of, this specific weapon they use on the Seguleh at this moment was novel for everyone involved including the Malazans, it was basically their equivalent of the A-bomb (at least in terms of brutality and novelty). Plus the Seguleh aren't just any enemy. It's like suddenly being attacked by a herd of unicorns, and then seeing them get obliterated within seconds (though some are still alive but maimed). It's unprecedented and not really comprehensible even as you go through it.

This post has been edited by worrywort: 16 March 2012 - 04:51 AM

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#48 User is offline   HoosierDaddy 

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 04:54 AM

View Postworrywort, on 16 March 2012 - 04:51 AM, said:

re: ST

Also, while it's made a big deal that the Seguleh no longer know what the Moranth are capable of, this specific weapon they use on the Seguleh at this moment was novel for everyone involved including the Malazans, it was basically their equivalent of the A-bomb (at least in terms of brutality and novelty). Plus the Seguleh aren't just any enemy. It's like suddenly being attacked by a herd of unicorns, and then seeing them get obliterated within seconds (though some are still alive but maimed). It's unprecedented and not really comprehensible even as you go through it.


I thought they were just dropping cussers like they normally do? Why are these different? I don't remember.
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#49 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:20 AM

I thought they were like super cussers, but maybe it was just bundles of regular cussers, my mistake. In terms of the megatonnage I'm pretty sure it's unprecedented, and in terms of the ability to do it (allies far enough away from all enemies) it certainly was novel. Something special they had planned for the Seguleh alone. Even what they did at Pale or Coral was nothing compared to this...the only thing similar we've seen were the giant waves of sorcery used on Lether in Reaper's Gale, and I think the horror was palpable then too.
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#50 User is offline   HoosierDaddy 

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:25 AM

View Postworrywort, on 16 March 2012 - 08:20 AM, said:

I thought they were like super cussers, but maybe it was just bundles of regular cussers, my mistake. In terms of the megatonnage I'm pretty sure it's unprecedented, and in terms of the ability to do it (allies far enough away from all enemies) it certainly was novel. Something special they had planned for the Seguleh alone. Even what they did at Pale or Coral was nothing compared to this...the only thing similar we've seen were the giant waves of sorcery used on Lether in Reaper's Gale, and I think the horror was palpable then too.


ICE's Moranth seem to be more practical outside of the Li Heng shit. Drop boms from up high, let God sort them out.

At Pale they went in as marching divisions and massacred the population. Think the choices are different.
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#51 User is offline   D'rek 

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 01:42 PM

View PostH.D., on 16 March 2012 - 08:25 AM, said:

View Postworrywort, on 16 March 2012 - 08:20 AM, said:

I thought they were like super cussers, but maybe it was just bundles of regular cussers, my mistake. In terms of the megatonnage I'm pretty sure it's unprecedented, and in terms of the ability to do it (allies far enough away from all enemies) it certainly was novel. Something special they had planned for the Seguleh alone. Even what they did at Pale or Coral was nothing compared to this...the only thing similar we've seen were the giant waves of sorcery used on Lether in Reaper's Gale, and I think the horror was palpable then too.


ICE's Moranth seem to be more practical outside of the Li Heng shit. Drop boms from up high, let God sort them out.

At Pale they went in as marching divisions and massacred the population. Think the choices are different.


At Pale, though, they precisely massacred the exact number of population to match the number of Moranth dead from their feud. Not necessarily the same tactics, but under both authors the Moranth have shown to have a cold, calculating style.

(Not to say that they don't also have empathy and emotions, too, as you can see from Twist or Tourmaline)

 worrywort, 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 16 March 2012 - 03:52 PM

Exactly.
Pale was a punitive waltz thru a city that was already captured. Not the same as a bombing run on a hostile army.
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#53 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:23 PM

Dunno if you're disagreeing with me or just commenting further, but that was part of my point. This faceless wholesale slaughter is a regular occurrence to anyone who lived during the 20th Century of course, especially from the air, but it's genuinely new to this world. Even the Moranth had never done it before, but as Galene suggests, given the enemy they are short on "patience." I don't think it's a matter of ICE vs SE, I think it's purely a Moranth vs Seguleh enmity thing. And I think many of the Malazan soldiers, rightly so, were taken aback by the event. It wasn't combat, it was a massacre of an essentially fabled people. They would have preferred the fight to what they witnessed.
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#54 User is offline   HoosierDaddy 

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:34 PM

I guess the slaughter of innocent civilians seems worse to me than dropping cusser-clusters at walking one-man(woman) armies. No matter the reason.
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#55 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:34 PM

Well, I'm pretty sure the Malazans showed a strong level of horror at that as well...not necessarily weeping fits, but they didn't witness it first hand and then have to go put down the maimed like injured horses afterward either. The Moranth are just barely less mythical than the Seguleh still, to the average soldier, and while they're still reeling from being attacked by a Seguleh army (after the narrative spreading about Mok and the other two vs. Pannion army, as ostensible allies in that fight) the Moranth come along and obliterate them in one fell swoop. It's not warfare like any of these people have seen. You can't apply old patterns or expectations on something so new, surprising, sudden, and horrific IMO.
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#56 User is offline   UmbraPhoenix 

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 02:56 PM

I think the effect the bombing of the Segulah had on the Malazans comes more from how the Segulah reacted to it. Any other force would break when faced with such destructive power, but the Segulah continued forward in the face of annihilation.
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#57 User is offline   tiam 

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 08:46 PM

Theres a quote from either Paran or Pickerin MOI when they ambush that 400 strong column of Pannions using sharpers and burners to collapse trees onto the column and Picker or someone says that there is a place in hell for those Moranth that invented these....and us I suppose for using them. That was an understandable reaction from a pragmatic and professional Malazan soldier in reagrds to killing another professional soldier.

The crying about a former ally killing an enemy that was tearing limbs from you and your friends still strikes me as contrived.
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#58 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:02 PM

I don't think it was necessarily written perfectly, but I also don't think -- situationally -- it was particularly implausible. The Seguleh were barely an enemy, they came basically out of nowhere, and the Malazans were basically confronted with a fairy tale come to life. I compared it in another thread to this scene:



and I also think there's a brothers-in-arms moment that viscerally rejects the faceless, cold method the Moranth employed. Hopefully I'm not just repeating myself, though I fear I am. Not sure anyone is convincing anybody else on this particular issue.
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#59 User is offline   tiam 

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:53 PM

Yes I remember you referencing the last Samurai in another thread.

Heres why its different.

As it is the Malazans are fighting an opponent who have a reputation for being a warrior culture without equal. This reputation stems from some outside dealings, possibly from One Eye Cat, but most likely from reputation from either intelligence agencies or native recruits. Even these are only legends and these legends tell of butchers with inhuman endurance according to the Rhivi. The majority of these soldiers are either veterans, largely from 7c or before according to GOTM/MOI, and some newer recruits from Genabackis. We see that the Genabackans hold the Seguleh as a distant memory, the Malazans even less than that. They are facing a deadly warrior culture. Both sets of identities have no ties with this isolationist warrior society, they are not professional soldiers, working classes doing the wealthy nobles bidding etc. If the Tyrant had press ganged D'stanii citizenry and these had been blown up then the reaction may have made sense.

As it was they are facing a warrior society they have no tie with other than a reputation for butchery that they have already seen when they ambushed the Rhivi. They then completely fulfil both reputation and expectation by disfiguring and dissecting almost half of the malazan army. There former allies then use the munitions that the Malazans themselves have used to great affect. In fact the majority of the army that fought the Seguleh have probably had more exposure to Moranth munitions than any Malazan army in the past given theyve been stationed on Genabackis and have only recently broken alliance with the Moranth, though we still dont know if the Malazans can buy/bargain munitions.

Infact id say if the Seguleh had seen the Malazans being bombed, or destroyed utterly by the Tyrant, it would have made more sense for a Seguleh viewpoint lamenting the destruction of a honourable foe and how war in this way is not part of the Seguleh tradition. Its not like we havnt seen war like this before either as Moranth munitions or at the Battle for Lether in MT.

The last Samurai, aswell as being a film, is about the remnant of a once influential culture, the old world clashing with the new out of nothing more than a sense of honour, having its last hurrah. It shows how a society changes but both portions are related to each other. Its Japans old world clashing with Japans new world.

If it had been a new Malazan army fighting Dujeks renegade Fifth and the Moranth, who lets say were still under terms of the allaince, bombed the Fifth that would make sense. Thats plausible that the veteran Fifth pushed the new recruits up against the Moranth mountains and the Moranth bombed the Fifth killimg them to almost a man and the recruits start crying. The Seguleh arent even fellow soldiers.
The Seguleh are not a Malazan fairy tale. If the Old Guard had an elite cavalry division that was under pressure and had been destroyed in civil war in ROTCG then the Malazan reaction would have been perfectly justified.

It is of course completely subjective but for me the scene doesnt fit for the reasons youve stated.

This post has been edited by Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-tiam: 17 March 2012 - 09:56 PM

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#60 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 10:29 PM

You make some good points, though I still don't agree with a lot of it (namely use of munitions during "fair fights" vs. this unprecedented act of instant destruction, apples and oranges to me). But what I mainly don't understand is the notion that it's unlikely that people, even soldiers, would cry at the sight of it. People cry all the time for all sorts of reasons, from death of loved ones to sappy Hallmark card commercials. It's not even remotely bizarre to me that some soldiers who witnessed this, especially those who had to finish the job on the killing field, would have the visceral reaction of tearing up. I mean besides all the contextual back and forth we're having, this basic human response can be triggered in all sorts of ways. It doesn't take that much with some people.
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