Malazan Empire: Abyss just finished NIGHT. OF THE ASSASSIN! - Malazan Empire

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Abyss just finished NIGHT. OF THE ASSASSIN! ...and also crack'd Crack'd Pot Trail

#1 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:11 PM

NIGHT OF THE ASSASSIN may be the single greatest piece of writing SE has ever gifted us with. This brilliant retelling of Kalam's attempt to assassinate Laseen, originally detailed in DEADHOUSE GATES, is here vastly improved when set to poetic verse and retold in a manner both riveting and thoughtful. This story penetrates deep into the very depths of the main characters - Kalam and Laseen - and exposes their every move. The atmosphere is breathtaking, the ummm....


.....SPOILERS....


....Well that was trippy. Especially the part where Kalam crawled into Laseen's ass thru the privy. Didn't see that one coming... ever.... ever ever.... also, ew....


Seriously, i don't think TOLL THE HOUNDS or even FORGE OF DARKNESS made me think as much as CRACK'D POT TRAIL, and i mean that in a good way. I also don't think i have laughed quite as hard at anything Malazan.

As Malazan books go, this is hardly a cornerstone of the series. As SE's 'voice' giving us an interesting perspective on art, criticism and society, in the guise of a tangential story set in the Malazan world, i think it's actually one of the most interesting bits of writing we're received.

Not that it's wholy without Malazan goodness....

SPOILERS SPOILERS UNBLOCKED SPOILERS
LIGHTLY SEASONED AND COOKED OVER AN OPEN FIRE
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS WITH THEIR HEADS CHOPPED OFF
AND A SPOILERS IN THEIR MOUTHS SPOILERS
SPOILERS

...by example, the story about the Imass woman and the Fenn warrior could easily be the origin of that part-Fenn Bonecaster from DoD/TCG. The Chanter bros were pure Malazan goodness from their gangster origin to the necromancer element. The notion that the Well Knight was possessed by his own god was a nice touch too. And the retelling of Anomandaris was legendary or something and Gothos' Folly never sounded better.... ok i'm stretching there but it was damn funny and did i mention NIGHT. OF THE ASSASSIN!!!!!?

So yes, Bauchelain and Korbal are almost wholly missing from this book and barely even part of the backstory, and yes, it's 200ish pages of philosophy and criticising the critics, yes, and there's virtually no action to speak of and at no point does Dassem fight Icarium or anything like that... All true. And if a reader can't get past that they aren't going to enjoy this book very much. I did, and i did, and i thought it was worth the effort. The sheer entertainment value in the farcical situation SE sets up here, with the Nehemothii travelling with a group of artists as a food supply, is madness. Glorious, glorious madness.

Each time the conversation turned to art and the artist and the critic i could picture SE laughing himself silly, thinking about his fans and critics and even himself as a writer. And in the midst of all the philosophy and theory, the bottom line, i thought, is that none of it should be taken too seriously.

And if you don't take it too seriously, this is a fun, fun read and even a rewarding one. We've spent thousands of pages watching SE turn fantasy tropes sideways, and in CPT he's essentially saying 'i had a blast doing it and who cares what anyone thinks'. At least that's how i take it. But i can see why this was his favourite of the novellas to date.

And Flicker.... the narrator.... that last twist was a nice, nice touch. An assassin who got bored with the usual tools of the trace and turned to storytelling. The sheer audacity of it, as a character and as a concept for an author to work with, is stunning and huegly entertaining. The reveal at the end of what Flicker was up to follows nicely on his intro, and crystallizes most of what he did through the books. Aside from the nasty sex with the Chanter girl, but i digress.

I'm guessing this won't be many malazafans cup of kelyk, but no harm, no foul, it's not going to fracture anyone's enjoyment of the main books, and for those who read this and get a kick out of it, it adds a nice touch of irreverance to the author's 'voice' for future books.

So i enjoyed this... and i have to go re-read NIGHT. OF THE ASSASSIN!!!!!! now. But not on the can.


- Abyss, trip'd out.
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#2 User is offline   Pig Iron 

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 06:51 PM

How on earth could I have missed NIGHT. OF THE ASSASSIN? I loved CPT.

SPOILER SPOILER and so on


SPOILER




Assassination by storytelling. And a huge middle finger from SE to the world (artistically of course, and with a smile).

Well back to reading Blood and Bone, in which ...

This post has been edited by Pig Iron: 19 November 2012 - 06:53 PM

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#3 User is online   Salt-Man Z 

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:21 PM

I seem to recall some bits about Rake that were pretty funny, too.

What a great book.
"Here is light. You will say that it is not a living entity, but you miss the point that it is more, not less. Without occupying space, it fills the universe. It nourishes everything, yet itself feeds upon destruction. We claim to control it, but does it not perhaps cultivate us as a source of food? May it not be that all wood grows so that it can be set ablaze, and that men and women are born to kindle fires?"
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#4 User is offline   Overactive Imagination 

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 07:06 PM

What is this night of the assassin book you guys are talking about? google search turned up nothing. I didn't read the first post because I'm trying to avoid spoilers.
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#5 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 07:08 PM

View PostOveractive Imagination, on 27 November 2012 - 07:06 PM, said:

What is this night of the assassin book you guys are talking about? google search turned up nothing. I didn't read the first post because I'm trying to avoid spoilers.



heh... i'm afraid you'll have to read CPT for the explanation OI... but trust me... it's the shit!


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#6 User is offline   Dutch 

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 07:46 PM

Yep, it has been been a while since I last read CPT, but it was hell of a ride and it never bothered me that KB&B were missing most of the time.
Sappers have a saying, he muttered. "Wide eyed stupid"
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#7 User is offline   Overactive Imagination 

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:55 PM

Ah. I see. Well, CPT has been chillin on my bookshelf for a couple months now.. I'll make sure to read it when I finally finish TTH.
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#8 User is offline   D'rek 

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 04:07 AM

Crack'd Pot Trail seems to be at both far ends of the Malazan universe's spectrum. Some will really love it and some will really hate it. It features the most elegant assassination (Flicker via stories) and the absolute most disgusting (Night of the Assassin)...


View PostAbyss, on 19 November 2012 - 05:11 PM, said:

The notion that the Well Knight was possessed by his own god was a nice touch too.


It wasn't his god, though. The Well Knights of Quaint worshipped the Lady of Beneficence. I think the Indifferent God of Farrog can just possess people (first Arpo Relent, then the ferryman). (And the Indifferent God had a beef with Mister Must because Must was really one of the demons who ravaged the city that Farrog formerly was.)


View PostAbyss, on 19 November 2012 - 05:11 PM, said:

Each time the conversation turned to art and the artist and the critic i could picture SE laughing himself silly, thinking about his fans and critics and even himself as a writer. And in the midst of all the philosophy and theory, the bottom line, i thought, is that none of it should be taken too seriously.

And if you don't take it too seriously, this is a fun, fun read and even a rewarding one. We've spent thousands of pages watching SE turn fantasy tropes sideways, and in CPT he's essentially saying 'i had a blast doing it and who cares what anyone thinks'. At least that's how i take it. But i can see why this was his favourite of the novellas to date.


I agree that as the audience we shouldn't be taking it too seriously, but a further point I think is that this novella really showcases that art is taken very seriously in the Malazan universe. For the characters within the story, whether artist or audience, stories and songs are very serious - a point which has been subtly woven throughout the main series with epitaphs, several characters and the narrative style as a whole, but which is here firmly cemented.

 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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