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Thoughts on OST Spoilers everywhere, for the entire book

#1 User is offline   Andorion 

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 04:12 AM

If I had to describe OST in one word, it would be "uneven". There were some awesome pieces of writing, there were some bad or just strange parts of storytelling.
1. The prologue was awesome: a. Ebbin's discovery scene was one of the best-written parts of the entire book
b. Dassem
2. I was really worried how ICE was going to handle a signature SE character like Kruppe(especially after TTH). Turns out he actually doesn't because all Kruppe does for most of the book is flit in and out doing slapstick comedy. I really did not like the last confrontation with the Tyrant, SE could have done that much better.
3. Karsa is camped outside Darujhistan, all of this happens and he does nothing??
4. Brood: i was so excited that we would get more of a focus on Brood, coz he was pretty much ignored after MoI, except for a few cameos and one ending act in TTH. Turns out, all he does is some foreshadowing of the Rhivi dying, than at the end of the book, walks in, punches the Circle and walks out. If he was so worried about civilian deaths, and he could punch that hard, why didn't he walk in and just punch some more people?
4. The Rhivi: They were warned they would die if they went to war. They went to war. Lots of them died. What this could have used was a really powerful Rhivi PoV, I am thinking of the Khundryl and Barghast POVs in DoD, or the Awl PoV in RG. So far this series has done really well in showing tribal scenes and wars. This was a bit of a letdown, especially as we see the Rhivi in GotM, MoI, but this is where they actually fight, as opposed to wander around behind Brood.
5. I am a bit confused about the Moranth hierarchy now. Its mentioned that the Gold and the Silver are the aristocracy and one Silver Elect is the Field Commander for the entire attack on Darujhistan. But in RotCG thousands of Gold fought in ranks for the rebel forces under Urko and lost. From rank soldier to general.....
6. Also about the Moranth, when they find out that Dassem is still alive they decide that their treat of alliance is not void as they seemed to think it was. But, Dassem supposedly died at the time of the prologue of GotM when Paran was a kid. So why were they still fighting for the empire in GotM and MoI if the treaty voids with Dassem's death?
7. The Seguleh: a. I really liked the Yusek/Sall/Lo story line, but the main Seguleh body, except for Jan, was not really that impressive.
8. One part I really liked was when Envy lays out the cards and Draconus shows up. then later: "Still afraid of the dark Envy?"
Apparently Draconus terrifies the shit out of Envy. Really puts some perspective on Rake's defeat of Draconus in ancient history.
Well thats it for now. Will post more if any other stuff occurs. Also why did Rake steal the First mask and stash it away in Moons Spawn? Seems a bit petty and un-Rake
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#2 User is offline   Tarthenal Theloman Toblakai 

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 04:40 PM

I think from the Karsa part, Karsa is essentially in the freeing slaves business for want of a better description. If you step on the little or fuck with him directly or indirectly, he will act. I think that the city rulership changing a few times and a war on who does or doesn't rule or have the right to doesn't really interest him. Thats just a possible explanation i like to think is plausible.

The fact that various characters of power like Brood and Karsa didn't act resulting in deaths could be reflections upon society as a whole, the whole the rich or powerful letting the poor and weak die etc, that might be something or another deep seated reason I either don't understand or missed. I think that there has to be suffering or disappointment and tragedy for their to be elation and success. Look at the chain of dogs, Whiskeyjacks death etc, I cried like a baby during both but god damn they led to some great things. Look at the snake in the desert etc.

Not sure on the ranks of Moranth i am afraid

I really like the society, an elite society of warriors that lost their way and were too loyal to an old outdated ideal that almost killed them all, cool story. I think that they were displayed as awesomely powerful as they deserved to be, running endlessly and making everybody crap their pants in awe and terror, some not believing it because it was too scary to comprehend. Getting the nuts bombed off them and still fighting where any mere normal human would have given up, imo they were protrayed just right, and tragically so.

I love Spite and Envy having cause to shit themselves, pair of crazy ladies need a few slaps to set em straight! Daddy dearest is definitely the man to do it lol. Not sure on the Rake front to tell you the truth, you are dead right that it isn't is his nature to be spiteful or tricky or sneaky. He must have had reason, maybe i missed it or maybe we will never know!

Hope some of my thoughts have helped yours, at the very least I enjoyed reading your opinions of the books as I enjoyed ICE's books just as much as Erikson's. I just love me some Malazan flavour and story, there are differences and maybe even some quality differences not just writing styles, but damn, give me more Malazan!
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#3 User is offline   Andorion 

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 12:43 AM

My point about the Seguleh was that we have no idea how they react to a totally changed world, be it the condition of Genebackis or the Moranth. The only PoV we get is that of the 2nd, who by definition is not an ordinary Seguleh. I suppose this kind of expectation comes from reading TCG or DoD or RG where you get multiple marine and heavy PoVs so you get a fair idea about what the army is thinking.

Another thing comes to mind. What was exactly the automaton? It just sat their for the enture book and then at the last it suddenly went homicidal? And how did Tayschrenn and Kiska come out of inside it?

Also, where is Iskaral Pust? Sordido Qualm seems to be alone, but in TTH Pust was inventing rules that would allow him to marry her. That didn't work out?
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#4 User is offline   abate 

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 11:28 PM

View PostAndorion, on 27 March 2014 - 12:43 AM, said:

Another thing comes to mind. What was exactly the automaton? It just sat their for the enture book and then at the last it suddenly went homicidal? And how did Tayschrenn and Kiska come out of inside it?

The automaton reminded me of the armoured soldiers of the mage Jhest on the coast of Jacuruku. This was during the voyage of Kyle, Ereko, Traveller and others on the Kite in the RotCG.
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#5 User is offline   Sheve 

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 12:43 AM

View PostAndorion, on 26 March 2014 - 04:12 AM, said:


6. Also about the Moranth, when they find out that Dassem is still alive they decide that their treat of alliance is not void as they seemed to think it was. But, Dassem supposedly died at the time of the prologue of GotM when Paran was a kid. So why were they still fighting for the empire in GotM and MoI if the treaty voids with Dassem's death?



There was several persons signing the alliance and the Moranth are very particular about following what is written,

Cant remember witch where there for the signing, was it Dassem, The emperor, Dancer and perhaps Aragan,
but they belied that all of the persons that signed for the malazan empire was dead.
So it was not Dassems death.
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#6 User is offline   tiam 

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 06:50 PM

View Postabate, on 24 May 2014 - 11:28 PM, said:

View PostAndorion, on 27 March 2014 - 12:43 AM, said:

Another thing comes to mind. What was exactly the automaton? It just sat their for the enture book and then at the last it suddenly went homicidal? And how did Tayschrenn and Kiska come out of inside it?

The automaton reminded me of the armoured soldiers of the mage Jhest on the coast of Jacuruku. This was during the voyage of Kyle, Ereko, Traveller and others on the Kite in the RotCG.


The Automaton is answered in Blood and bone.

As for the Moranth even in GOTM the allaince is on shaky ground. Lorn and Dujek talk about how its worth using the Moranth allaince for all its worth to stage a giant airlift during the campaign. We see in SW that the Blue are used in the invasion of Korel while the Gold follow Urko and the Black quickly ally with their kin.

As we see in OST the colour scheme really represent Guilds. So these Guilds follow there own interests with some serving the Malazan Empire and other fighting against it. I would say that they never fight each other in combat so maybe theyre not mercenaries as such. Id say they can take outside contracts for the good of supporting their base in Cloud Forest. Im sure theres more to it but im tired.
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#7 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 08:03 PM

I agree with Andorion on most, if not all, of his points. Especially about the 'uneven' part. While reading, I couldn't really tell where was he coming from, but the closer to the ending, the more I got it. On the one hand, it was (for me) a very enjoyable read. Easy and interesting, especially at the beginning. But at the same time, I realize that its because I already knew (and liked) most of the characters from SE books and Darujhistan is my favourite city in the Malazan world, so its not that hard to please me in that regard. However, upon a closer examination things don't look so good.

1. ICE continues the trend of rushing his endings. There is so much going on, so many sub-plots but most of it really comes down to 'it was looking really bad, but then some guy showed up out of nowhere and fixed things'. Especially annoying example - Spindle and Duiker think/search/experiment in order to find a solution to their problem only to have Brood show up at the perfect moment and use his fist to resolve the issue. Which leads us to the next point:


2. Plotlines going nowhere. That's not always a bad thing, but there's a lot going on already in OST and ICE should really focus on the flow of the story. Instead, he keeps adding new elements (Duiker&Spindle investigating team, imperial sceptre, that one t'lan imass, golem, pickled seguleh fighting that golem, K'rul's sex change etc) that could be interesting but aren't fleshed out, and then he runs out of time and writes the ending like its some kind of a summary rather than a story.

3. There's a number of powerful characters in the area who do not really do anything. The Tyrant was supposed to be this legendary threat, but nobody really cares about him. Not that surprising given his performance (or lack thereof) at the end, but still. Brood is just sitting around. And what about Karsa *not* getting into a fight with a powerful tyrant and his demon/wizard lackeys? Less believable than Kruppe going on a diet :p

4. Some of the characters feel more like a plot device than anything else. Case in point: Taya Radok. Nothing against her as a person, cause she's awesome. A total bitch, but awesome. However, her motivations are... inconsistent to say the least. Assasinates the empress for 'killing' her mother, then goes back to kill said mother. Works with Mallick, then works against him. Her anger at Vorcan for abandoning her had potential but without further explanation felt rather extreme. I was expecting an extended backstory. Maybe she felt a grudge against the emperor for using her, and thus the allure of the Tyrant, both as an alternative to her mother and a 'f*ck you' for Mallick. More conflict, more dialogue. Instead, it felt like my book was missing some pages.

5. Come on, Topper. After all that you've gone through with Cowl and other fellow assassins, you're really gonna leave Taya alive? Some men just don't learn :p
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#8 User is offline   Egwene 

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 08:24 PM

View PostSheve, on 25 May 2014 - 12:43 AM, said:

View PostAndorion, on 26 March 2014 - 04:12 AM, said:


6. Also about the Moranth, when they find out that Dassem is still alive they decide that their treat of alliance is not void as they seemed to think it was. But, Dassem supposedly died at the time of the prologue of GotM when Paran was a kid. So why were they still fighting for the empire in GotM and MoI if the treaty voids with Dassem's death?



There was several persons signing the alliance and the Moranth are very particular about following what is written,

Cant remember witch where there for the signing, was it Dassem, The emperor, Dancer and perhaps Aragan,
but they belied that all of the persons that signed for the malazan empire was dead.
So it was not Dassems death.


I am not sure if we ever got told who exactly attended the signing, but we had a lot of old hands dying at various times in the books. Obviously at the time of Dassem's supposed death one or several of the others were still around.
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#9 User is offline   Mentalist 

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Posted 16 November 2015 - 03:39 PM

I finished a re-read of OST yesterday.

I agree that the book is "uneven". I read it after SW, but before DoD (wanted to complete the Kiska-Leoman-Vitr plotline all in one go).

My single biggest gripe is that the "scale of the threat" was not there. I mean, yeah, there's hints of how terribad the Tyrant is, and we're expected to extrapolate from the T'orrud mages and an army of Seguleh, but... it's just too obvious that this isn't enough in t modern world.

What I'd have liked to see was a flashback PoV set in the Golden Age of the Tyrant-Kings, that actually showed me the threat. As it's written, the main story is all bluster, just there to wrap up a bunch of loose threads.

Re: Moranth. Pure speculation on my part, but I'm guessing as of MoI Dujek and/or WJ remained the only "officially" living signatories to the treaty. That would explain why the Moranth officially withdrew by RotCG, with the Gold acting on their own due to their personal friendship w/ Urko. As for the Blue, they were always up for hire by the highest bidder, since they handle Moranth "international" commerce.
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View PostJump Around, on 23 October 2011 - 11:04 AM, said:

And I want to state that Ment has out-weaseled me by far in this game.
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#10 User is offline   Andorion 

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Posted 16 November 2015 - 05:10 PM

View PostMentalist, on 16 November 2015 - 03:39 PM, said:

I finished a re-read of OST yesterday.

I agree that the book is "uneven". I read it after SW, but before DoD (wanted to complete the Kiska-Leoman-Vitr plotline all in one go).

My single biggest gripe is that the "scale of the threat" was not there. I mean, yeah, there's hints of how terribad the Tyrant is, and we're expected to extrapolate from the T'orrud mages and an army of Seguleh, but... it's just too obvious that this isn't enough in t modern world.

What I'd have liked to see was a flashback PoV set in the Golden Age of the Tyrant-Kings, that actually showed me the threat. As it's written, the main story is all bluster, just there to wrap up a bunch of loose threads.

Re: Moranth. Pure speculation on my part, but I'm guessing as of MoI Dujek and/or WJ remained the only "officially" living signatories to the treaty. That would explain why the Moranth officially withdrew by RotCG, with the Gold acting on their own due to their personal friendship w/ Urko. As for the Blue, they were always up for hire by the highest bidder, since they handle Moranth "international" commerce.


The Tyrant never really seemed that big a deal with me either. I mean he was strong, but thats because he got to set up his power, stones shields etc. Nothing a determined Malazan army couldn't have dealt with. The Bonehunters would have eaten him for breakfast. Hell, MoI Envy would have flattened him for looking at her funny
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#11 User is offline   Mentalist 

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Posted 16 November 2015 - 06:37 PM

Yep. I get that we can handwave it away as "just another typically Malazan case of misdirection re: relative power levels" (see also: Raest, Serengahl, the inventor T'lann Imass, Silchas Ruin, etc), but it just falls flat here, because if it's all about just THAT, then the book loses its impact.

I suppose it's comparable to the dissapointment some people have towards "Assail". The difference being, there ICE gets redeeming points for originality b/ he' crafting his own part of the world. In OST, besides Vitr, the Seguleh, the Spawns and some bits about the Moranth, ICE is writing in SE's "turf". And because of that, he lacks scope, and there's nothing to really carry it, besides the dissapointing Tyrant story.
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View PostJump Around, on 23 October 2011 - 11:04 AM, said:

And I want to state that Ment has out-weaseled me by far in this game.
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#12 User is offline   Gorefest 

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Posted 16 November 2015 - 07:20 PM

View PostMentalist, on 16 November 2015 - 06:37 PM, said:

Yep. I get that we can handwave it away as "just another typically Malazan case of misdirection re: relative power levels" (see also: Raest, Serengahl, the inventor T'lann Imass, Silchas Ruin, etc), but it just falls flat here, because if it's all about just THAT, then the book loses its impact.

I suppose it's comparable to the dissapointment some people have towards "Assail". The difference being, there ICE gets redeeming points for originality b/ he' crafting his own part of the world. In OST, besides Vitr, the Seguleh, the Spawns and some bits about the Moranth, ICE is writing in SE's "turf". And because of that, he lacks scope, and there's nothing to really carry it, besides the dissapointing Tyrant story.


There is an SE turf? I thought it was their joint turf? What is specifically SE about Darhujistan? They developed most of those characters (and, one would imagine, the city) together as far as I was aware. Just because SE got there earlier doesn't automatically make it 'his'.

This post has been edited by Gorefest: 16 November 2015 - 07:21 PM

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#13 User is offline   Nevyn 

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Posted 16 November 2015 - 07:58 PM

View PostGorefest, on 16 November 2015 - 07:20 PM, said:

There is an SE turf? I thought it was their joint turf? What is specifically SE about Darhujistan? They developed most of those characters (and, one would imagine, the city) together as far as I was aware. Just because SE got there earlier doesn't automatically make it 'his'.


I believe SE is on record as saying that some characters are almost totally his, some are ICE's, and some they share. They gamed it together, but they divided who would tell what stories.

I don't know who 'owns' Darujhistan, but SE wrote it first, and in great detail, defining expectations for us. Usually the characters and stories ICE focuses on SE has only hinted at. Here a fair amount of the meat of the book have appeared in SE books in detail.
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#14 User is offline   Twisty 

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Posted 16 November 2015 - 08:54 PM

View PostEgwene, on 21 July 2014 - 08:24 PM, said:

View PostSheve, on 25 May 2014 - 12:43 AM, said:

View PostAndorion, on 26 March 2014 - 04:12 AM, said:

6. Also about the Moranth, when they find out that Dassem is still alive they decide that their treat of alliance is not void as they seemed to think it was. But, Dassem supposedly died at the time of the prologue of GotM when Paran was a kid. So why were they still fighting for the empire in GotM and MoI if the treaty voids with Dassem's death?



There was several persons signing the alliance and the Moranth are very particular about following what is written,

Cant remember witch where there for the signing, was it Dassem, The emperor, Dancer and perhaps Aragan,
but they belied that all of the persons that signed for the malazan empire was dead.
So it was not Dassems death.


I am not sure if we ever got told who exactly attended the signing, but we had a lot of old hands dying at various times in the books. Obviously at the time of Dassem's supposed death one or several of the others were still around.


Yes we do, I'm just rereading RG now and it's thrown in during one of Fid's flashbacks (no wonder we can never find relevant quotes, they're all over the place). I don't have the quote on me, but the diplomats were, according to Fiddler and the Bridgeburners, Tasychrenn, Aragan Onos T'oolan.

So, as of OST, the Moranth sure as hell know that Aragan is still alive, as he's the closest ambassador they work with. Seeming plot irregularity here. Even if we assume that those three made the first contact, and Dassem later signed it, we run into trouble with Dassem already being dead before the Genebackan campaign. The only other explanation I can consider is that Tayschrenn was the only signatory, and by OST it is thought that he is dead. But I don't quite buy this. I think this one is just a mistake in the plot line.
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#15 User is offline   Mentalist 

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Posted 18 November 2015 - 12:26 AM

View PostTwisty, on 16 November 2015 - 08:54 PM, said:

View PostEgwene, on 21 July 2014 - 08:24 PM, said:

View PostSheve, on 25 May 2014 - 12:43 AM, said:

View PostAndorion, on 26 March 2014 - 04:12 AM, said:

6. Also about the Moranth, when they find out that Dassem is still alive they decide that their treat of alliance is not void as they seemed to think it was. But, Dassem supposedly died at the time of the prologue of GotM when Paran was a kid. So why were they still fighting for the empire in GotM and MoI if the treaty voids with Dassem's death?



There was several persons signing the alliance and the Moranth are very particular about following what is written,

Cant remember witch where there for the signing, was it Dassem, The emperor, Dancer and perhaps Aragan,
but they belied that all of the persons that signed for the malazan empire was dead.
So it was not Dassems death.


I am not sure if we ever got told who exactly attended the signing, but we had a lot of old hands dying at various times in the books. Obviously at the time of Dassem's supposed death one or several of the others were still around.


Yes we do, I'm just rereading RG now and it's thrown in during one of Fid's flashbacks (no wonder we can never find relevant quotes, they're all over the place). I don't have the quote on me, but the diplomats were, according to Fiddler and the Bridgeburners, Tasychrenn, Aragan Onos T'oolan.

So, as of OST, the Moranth sure as hell know that Aragan is still alive, as he's the closest ambassador they work with. Seeming plot irregularity here. Even if we assume that those three made the first contact, and Dassem later signed it, we run into trouble with Dassem already being dead before the Genebackan campaign. The only other explanation I can consider is that Tayschrenn was the only signatory, and by OST it is thought that he is dead. But I don't quite buy this. I think this one is just a mistake in the plot line.


Which one of many Aragans was that, though?
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View PostJump Around, on 23 October 2011 - 11:04 AM, said:

And I want to state that Ment has out-weaseled me by far in this game.
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#16 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 18 November 2015 - 01:08 AM

View PostMentalist, on 16 November 2015 - 03:39 PM, said:

What I'd have liked to see was a flashback PoV set in the Golden Age of the Tyrant-Kings, that actually showed me the threat. As it's written, the main story is all bluster, just there to wrap up a bunch of loose threads.


Great idea & a missed opportunity. Especially since flashbacks were already a device used for the flickering realities a few characters experience.
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#17 User is offline   Twisty 

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Posted 18 November 2015 - 04:57 AM

View PostMentalist, on 18 November 2015 - 12:26 AM, said:

View PostTwisty, on 16 November 2015 - 08:54 PM, said:

View PostEgwene, on 21 July 2014 - 08:24 PM, said:

View PostSheve, on 25 May 2014 - 12:43 AM, said:

View PostAndorion, on 26 March 2014 - 04:12 AM, said:

6. Also about the Moranth, when they find out that Dassem is still alive they decide that their treat of alliance is not void as they seemed to think it was. But, Dassem supposedly died at the time of the prologue of GotM when Paran was a kid. So why were they still fighting for the empire in GotM and MoI if the treaty voids with Dassem's death?



There was several persons signing the alliance and the Moranth are very particular about following what is written,

Cant remember witch where there for the signing, was it Dassem, The emperor, Dancer and perhaps Aragan,
but they belied that all of the persons that signed for the malazan empire was dead.
So it was not Dassems death.


I am not sure if we ever got told who exactly attended the signing, but we had a lot of old hands dying at various times in the books. Obviously at the time of Dassem's supposed death one or several of the others were still around.


Yes we do, I'm just rereading RG now and it's thrown in during one of Fid's flashbacks (no wonder we can never find relevant quotes, they're all over the place). I don't have the quote on me, but the diplomats were, according to Fiddler and the Bridgeburners, Tasychrenn, Aragan Onos T'oolan.

So, as of OST, the Moranth sure as hell know that Aragan is still alive, as he's the closest ambassador they work with. Seeming plot irregularity here. Even if we assume that those three made the first contact, and Dassem later signed it, we run into trouble with Dassem already being dead before the Genebackan campaign. The only other explanation I can consider is that Tayschrenn was the only signatory, and by OST it is thought that he is dead. But I don't quite buy this. I think this one is just a mistake in the plot line.


Which one of many Aragans was that, though?


Pretty sure they're all the same, right? He shows up in what, GotM, MoI, OST, probably a few others?
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#18 User is offline   Palmdiggity 

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Posted 10 March 2020 - 07:08 AM

*obvious spoilers*

This would be the worst book of the Malazan world imo. I failed to see the relevance of the Spawns story, it kind of felt like ICE was just sticking to the standard format of the books by having multiple separated stories that converge at the end and he just needed one more to make up the numbers.
The Seguleh suffered under ICE as well I think. I know they're supposed to be crazy badasses and all that, but having a few hundred of them take on 30,000 cavalry? Yeah nah.
Also with the Malazan in Fort Step shooting 15 crossbow bolts at one Seguleh and he walks away with two small cuts? Again, nah. To me it seems like he overdid their "badassery" to the point where it was just ridiculous.
One other thing I didn't buy was the sadness of the Malazan when the Moranth bombed the Seguleh. Why would they be so devastated? The Seguleh just killed or crippled, some for life, like 5,000 of their comrades. They would be stoked that the Seguleh were wiped out. ICE should leave that stuff to SE, he clearly can't do tragedy nearly as well.
Also, since when were the Rhivi even cavalry? When they first appeared they were midgets that hid amongst cattle and threw spears at people?
As others already mentioned, the Tyrant plot line was quite weak. He was a little bitch compared to the villains we've seen in the past. How can he possibly compare to the likes of Raest, the Short Tails, FA or the Crippled God? As a result there never seemed to be a serious threat to overcome, seemed like a slow day at the office compared to what we've seen the protagonists go up against in the past.

The book was good in terms of further building parts of the world we hadn't seen in depth before, like the Moranth and stuff but overall I think it had massive issues.
That's my two cents anyway!
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