Malazan Empire: Abyss Just Finished Assail - Malazan Empire

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Abyss Just Finished Assail spoiler-free comments, then SPOILERS after the jump...

#41 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 01:00 PM

While he may have died on the First Shore, Spinnock doesn't have to be dead to be Jethiss. He may very well just be shipwrecked (or whatever) and is certainly mostly drowned by the time he enters the book (probably supernaturally and as a condition of his quest). I guess you could call it a pretty severe baptism, and now he's born again.

Loved the book from start to finish pretty much, it was as good as or better than SW.

Random thoughts:
I guess we find out by inference that Fanderay is the wolf who died? And now Togg has retreated from the world. Alternately Togg gave one final order in his dying breath? And Fanderay retreated from the world. But I'm going with the first one. The wolves never catch a break really.

Remember when Ereko talked about how Kyle's people were enemies of the Jaghut and it seemed like he was lumping humans in with the Imass? Kinda weird now. But I guess you could say that these Icebloods et al are ultimately descendents of both Imass and Jaghut.

I kept expecting Ieleen to turn out to be ST with all the cane-tapping she was doing. Curious that ST and Cots don't make an appearance. Are they the old friends who contacted Cartheron though?

That myth mentioned that the Stormriders come from outer space -- actual outer space, like the black void and not a different planet -- was pretty wacky.

Now that ICE's saga is over, I must say I could have really stood for just a bit more crossover fan-service. Surely Icarium has walked through some of these lands and left machines here and there!

Also no Kallor and no Seguleh 2nd (and really no Skinner either). I kinda wonder if K'azz was sick of fighting, and Skinner and Cowl buried him cuz they wanted to finish off the Malazans and end it already. Or something like that. Otherwise still not sure I understand their power play. I mean that's the other way the Vow ends, presumably, without need of a Summoner?

Finally, if there's one big misstep in this book (and most books really) it's that there's absolutely no mention of Olar Ethil -- her connection to the ritual, or if her death resonates.
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#42 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 07:40 PM

Definitely the best of ICE's books. Interesting, extremely easy to read and most importantly, the characters and their motivations are believable. I hope that ICE will continue writing on this level, if not better.

Minor complaints:
- Assail is overhyped. Sure, it's incredibly hard to get into, but once there, it isn't that impressive. Given how (relatively) well disorganized groups of gold prospectors and common criminals fared, Malazan army could have conquered most of the continent without any trouble.
- doesn't really feel like an epilogue

General thoughts about the series:
-the whole series feels less like 'Tales of the Malazan Empire' and more like 'The Crimson Guard Story'. I get that whole describe the empire by it's enemies thing, but after some point (RotCG?) it became less about CG's opposition to the empire and more about their struggle with the vow and themselves.
-not enough politics, intrigues, assassinations. I can't believe that I'm saying this, but not enough Mallick Rel.

View Postupworthywort, on 10 August 2014 - 01:00 PM, said:

I kinda wonder if K'azz was sick of fighting, and Skinner and Cowl buried him cuz they wanted to finish off the Malazans and end it already. Or something like that.


It could also be that, being ambitious men that they are, they opted to do something useful with their immortality rather than continue walking in circles under K'azz the Undecided. As long as he was around, they would always be his underlings and they couldn't be sure of the extent of his power over them thanks to the vow. So they got rid of him, which didn't go exactly as planned. But wanting to end the curse fits too. I suppose after a century even death would be a preferable option to standing still.
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Posted 11 August 2014 - 02:54 PM

View Postbuddhacat, on 09 August 2014 - 02:29 AM, said:

View PostAbyss, on 08 August 2014 - 06:40 PM, said:

Spin never died on screen or by clear reference.
Also, Jethiss' hair had white streaks.


Anyone recall Andarist's hair? Graying hair might be normal thing for the really old Andii.


i vaguely recall grey, but Jethiss wasn't described as old and the hair was definitely white.

Now that said... you raise an interesting theory because Jethiss' semi-recall of a battle at a gate could totally fit a misremembered version of Andarist defending the Throne against the Edur in HoC.

...i like where that might go.


View PostStoneburner, on 10 August 2014 - 05:28 AM, said:

The unveiling of Omtose Phellack at the end... I saw no indication it had been stopped, nor that it could be stopped. Lady Orsenn said it would last a hundred years or so. Does that mean the entire world is in for an ice age? Or was there an implicit agreement that the matriarch would somehow withdraw the ritual?


In the same conversation they note that the Ritual is sweeping large chunks of the continent, but not all of it... mostly the coast where the human would-be settlers and prospectors were arriving. Orsen and the other Icebloods state that they're going to the other coast which remained liveable.

It would also suggest that the various rituals that made Assail so problematic... the cold, the Dread Sea, the rough tides and icebergs, the ghosts.... were all renewed.

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Also, any speculation if we've seen any of these elder characters before? The Jaghut are by far my favorite elder race and I can't recall seing Buri, the Matriarch, or any of the others mentioned in previous books.


I was watching for that too and didn't see anything. We had seen the Progenetrix before, of course, back in RCG... which raised the interesting question of why her people... being Icebloods... were keeping a Jaghut locked in the dungeon.

I had an initial moment of disappointment that ICE didn't work in any of the various surviving Jaghut we've seen in the MBF books... Aramala, the Witch on Leth, Cyniggig, the Jagtree, even Gothos and Gethol or that blue couple from TtH... but there are good reasons for none of those to show up on Assail, and actually having finished the book (twice) i liked, even preferred that he let the continent stand on it's own for the most part. Yes, it would have been a neat fanservice moment for all the various Jaghut to show up, but that would have removed even more of Assail's separation from the rest of the Malazanland, past and going forward.

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Finally, do the names "Anger" and "Wrath' tell us anything about other similarly named siblings?


I think it was just coincidence but it's a neat theory.
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Posted 11 August 2014 - 03:24 PM

View Postupworthywort, on 10 August 2014 - 01:00 PM, said:

...
I guess we find out by inference that Fanderay is the wolf who died? And now Togg has retreated from the world. Alternately Togg gave one final order in his dying breath? And Fanderay retreated from the world. But I'm going with the first one. The wolves never catch a break really.


It certainly seemed like whichever wolf was struck towards the end of TCG died, which would be nice symmetry for how Togg was alone and wandering when we first met him in MoI.

I still really like the theory that his last comand to the Blue Helms was to trigger the FA massacre but the Mortal Sword was so inherently a decent guy that he misinterpreted it.

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Remember when Ereko talked about how Kyle's people were enemies of the Jaghut and it seemed like he was lumping humans in with the Imass? Kinda weird now. But I guess you could say that these Icebloods et al are ultimately descendents of both Imass and Jaghut.


Yes, but Kyle was far more human as were most Icebloods, so i think we can take that at face value.

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I kept expecting Ieleen to turn out to be ST with all the cane-tapping she was doing. Curious that ST and Cots don't make an appearance. Are they the old friends who contacted Cartheron though?


Crust mentioned that it was a contract. My bet's on Admiral Mok, who was still serving the Empire last we knew.

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That myth mentioned that the Stormriders come from outer space -- actual outer space, like the black void and not a different planet -- was pretty wacky.


Yep, but i took it as ref to a particularly weird warren or alt dimension.

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Now that ICE's saga is over, I must say I could have really stood for just a bit more crossover fan-service. Surely Icarium has walked through some of these lands and left machines here and there!


I had similar feelings initially but now that i've settled my brainz a bit on this book,i actually think the lack of more obvious connections like Iccy, the various other Jaghut we've seen, etc, worked in this book's favor. Assail was supposed to stand outside of everything... having piles of known characters show up and be all 'oh yes, i did that here millenia ago' would have made it like most other continents in the world.

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Also no Kallor and no Seguleh 2nd


Those stories went as far as they needed to in BnB and OST respectively. We didn't need that here and i think it would have read as contrived to have Kallor looking for yet another throne and yet another lost group of Seguleh showing up.


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(and really no Skinner either). I kinda wonder if K'azz was sick of fighting, and Skinner and Cowl buried him cuz they wanted to finish off the Malazans and end it already. Or something like that. Otherwise still not sure I understand their power play. I mean that's the other way the Vow ends, presumably, without need of a Summoner?


Nope, that's what Cowl was cackling about the whole time. The Vow NEVER ends until they have their own Summoner.

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Finally, if there's one big misstep in this book (and most books really) it's that there's absolutely no mention of Olar Ethil -- her connection to the ritual, or if her death resonates.


The one omission that bothered me too, but not overly. ICE set things up well so that the Imass on Assail were clearly preoccupied with killing Icebloods, chasing the killers, or protecting Silverfox, and last time we saw Olar Ethil with T'lan Imass in MoI, they treated her as more or less just another Bonecaster, suggesting the Ritual had gone beyond her. In fact, given revelations in FoL, she may very well have just been pulled into the whole thing by aspecting herself to the Imass, more than the other way around.

... or maybe by this point the Imass have just recognized Olar for the nutbagcrazy Azathanii she was.


View PostSecond Sword, on 10 August 2014 - 07:40 PM, said:

...- Assail is overhyped. Sure, it's incredibly hard to get into, but once there, it isn't that impressive. Given how (relatively) well disorganized groups of gold prospectors and common criminals fared, Malazan army could have conquered most of the continent without any trouble.


I know this is going to be a contentious point, but most of the 'hype' was in our heads and the references from unreliable narrators written by SE and ICE.
And while by the time of the story, the Icebloods are severly reduced, there were still entire clans.... Mist and her kids, the Shaars/Sheers... who gave even the Guard and the Tlan Imass a hard time.... and those were just the ones we saw.

Plus, easy to overlook but important not to... standing over all of this was a Jaghut Matron who could wipe clean the entire contient, and a tribe of pureblood Forkrul Assail who could have wiped clean the continent and then kept right on going. Not 'impressive' enough?

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- doesn't really feel like an epilogue


It wasn't an epilogue.

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General thoughts about the series:
-the whole series feels less like 'Tales of the Malazan Empire' and more like 'The Crimson Guard Story'. I get that whole describe the empire by it's enemies thing, but after some point (RotCG?) it became less about CG's opposition to the empire and more about their struggle with the vow and themselves.
-not enough politics, intrigues, assassinations. I can't believe that I'm saying this, but not enough Mallick Rel.


I know that was the book some expected, but it wasn't the book we got.
What we got was a solid part of the larger universe exploring a new chunk we've been hearing about for sixteen books or so. It was a great story, i thought.


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View Postupworthywort, on 10 August 2014 - 01:00 PM, said:

I kinda wonder if K'azz was sick of fighting, and Skinner and Cowl buried him cuz they wanted to finish off the Malazans and end it already. Or something like that.


It could also be that, being ambitious men that they are, they opted to do something useful with their immortality rather than continue walking in circles under K'azz the Undecided. As long as he was around, they would always be his underlings and they couldn't be sure of the extent of his power over them thanks to the vow. So they got rid of him, which didn't go exactly as planned. But wanting to end the curse fits too. I suppose after a century even death would be a preferable option to standing still.


Part of the point, i suppose... the Guard are now even more messed up than the Imass. They had the option of oblivion, and now the Redeemer's afterlife. The Guard can drift and watch as Brethren, or return again and again, which as we've seen with Kazz, Cown and Shimmer, doesn't make for an easy existance. It's forced immortality for people who will inevitably have to die unpleasantly again and again.
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Posted 11 August 2014 - 05:24 PM

View PostAbyss, on 11 August 2014 - 03:24 PM, said:

I know this is going to be a contentious point, but most of the 'hype' was in our heads and the references from unreliable narrators written by SE and ICE.


I deliberately ignored the Jaghut and Forkrul, because most people living on the continent don't really know about their existence - they are a serious threat but not a known one. What I had in mind, given all those bits of info we were provided with, is a land so dangerous that even a badass crew like the Avowed of the CG are trying to escape asap. A hell hole of Wu, so to speak. But aside from a few very localized threats (Mist, Sheer&Sharr clans) there is not much that an organized army with cadre mages would consider a challenge. A cold climate, maybe.

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It wasn't an epilogue.


True, it wasn't. However, I feel like the last book in a series should bring some sort of closure. Or be more about the actual Malazan empire, not just 'cool stories from around the world'. I, for one, fully expect the new ICE cycle to be 'The Crimson Guard Chronicles'. With minimal presence of the actual CG, of course.

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Part of the point, i suppose... the Guard are now even more messed up than the Imass.


That is one other thing I'm concerned about, but I'm willing to wait for ICE's other works to make up my mind. The Crimsong Guard seems like his pet project, one that he is not willing to let go of no matter what. For one, the Malazan Empire series is mostly about them, not the empire. But consider this: As we know , the Vow is essentially a lesser version of the Tellan ritual. K'azz is (was) no mage, certainly not Olar Ethil. He used the site of the previous ritual, which was still 'active' and that is all that we know. But the effects are just too good:

1. Azath grounds can effortlessly hold T'lan Imass. But not the CG, because of the Vow. Somehow.
2. T'lan can be destroyed. The CG can also be killed, but they can go back to life if only they want to.
3. It seems like when they 'go back' (Shimmer) they are pretty much alive only feel less.
4. Even if eventually they will morph into T'lan Imass, they still have a couple of 'extra lives' and a 'reload' option.

For a bastard child of another ritual carried out by a muggle, it has some Wu-shattering consequences. Even elder gods need blood to be ressurrected and cannot do it by themselves. Essentialy, K'azz created a new race of true immortals. It remains to be seen if it had some deeper thoughts behind it, or the next Avowed we meet will be Mary Sue Ultor, the High Mage of the Seguleh.
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Posted 11 August 2014 - 10:18 PM

@Abyss: I don't disagree with most of your responses, but I brought up Kallor because of his grudge with Silverfox, not for any reason regarding his ambition. I suppose it wouldn't have fit the story anyway though, that's true. Second Seguleh, however, I don't much care if it fit. I want him to enter the CG pocket death warren and fight Skinner and double kill him. Or at least have a one-off scene writing in his diary about the day Skinner wronged him. I don't care about closure, I just want to know the mystery. But now that I think of it, who's to say we don't get Crimson Guard presence during ICE's conquest prequels? In the same way TTH/DoD/TCG planted seeds for Karkhanas.

But that reminds me, one more sad note (not a complaint necessarily) is that the chapters didn't have historical tidbits at the start, and ICE was great with those. As much as I loved this book, those could have really filled in a few of the cracks, even if they just add a little more character to the continent (or included a diary excerpt from Seguleh 2nd).

And I do agree w/ Abyss that the land was plenty dangerous, especially the north (which of course is the end facing Genebackis). Mist and the hillbilly rival families were just the tip of the iceberg, I think. One thing I don't think anyone has brought up yet was the sand creature/sorcerer thing that attacks Kyle in the desert. It was pretty awesome, but also another frustratingly mysterious entity!

This post has been edited by upworthywort: 11 August 2014 - 10:19 PM

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 03:42 AM

Just Finished.

Honestly, I had this nagging suspicion that throughout the book Jethiss was Clip. Then the part where he talks about the redeemer, and I think it can't be Clip. Then I remember that Mommy D and the Redeemer beat the Dying God and returned Clip to himself... did Mommy D offer him another chance?

He certainly had a fight at a gate or two, and he thought he was Mommy D's mortal sword, and he had magic (she has this thing about birth canals). I know that Fisher thought he was Rake (the throw away comments about him being a shape changer), but if Rake is back I'm going to be so very, very unsatisfied.

Edit: Anyone remember what Clip's hair looked like?

This post has been edited by Obdigore: 12 August 2014 - 03:43 AM

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 04:04 AM

View PostObdigore, on 12 August 2014 - 03:42 AM, said:

Just Finished.

Honestly, I had this nagging suspicion that throughout the book Jethiss was Clip. Then the part where he talks about the redeemer, and I think it can't be Clip. Then I remember that Mommy D and the Redeemer beat the Dying God and returned Clip to himself... did Mommy D offer him another chance?

He certainly had a fight at a gate or two, and he thought he was Mommy D's mortal sword, and he had magic (she has this thing about birth canals). I know that Fisher thought he was Rake (the throw away comments about him being a shape changer), but if Rake is back I'm going to be so very, very unsatisfied.

Edit: Anyone remember what Clip's hair looked like?


Interesting theory, tho Clip was alive last we knew in TCG.
Pretty sure his hair was black.
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Posted 12 August 2014 - 04:11 AM

View PostAbyss, on 12 August 2014 - 04:04 AM, said:

View PostObdigore, on 12 August 2014 - 03:42 AM, said:

Just Finished.

Honestly, I had this nagging suspicion that throughout the book Jethiss was Clip. Then the part where he talks about the redeemer, and I think it can't be Clip. Then I remember that Mommy D and the Redeemer beat the Dying God and returned Clip to himself... did Mommy D offer him another chance?

He certainly had a fight at a gate or two, and he thought he was Mommy D's mortal sword, and he had magic (she has this thing about birth canals). I know that Fisher thought he was Rake (the throw away comments about him being a shape changer), but if Rake is back I'm going to be so very, very unsatisfied.

Edit: Anyone remember what Clip's hair looked like?


Interesting theory, tho Clip was alive last we knew in TCG.
Pretty sure his hair was black.


Aye he was iirc, but so was Spinnock. I feel like Clip would want to 'redeem' himself and Spinnock wouldn't feel the need because he held steady and always did what was 'right'. Clip was all kinds of wrong and did some bad shit. I feel like Spinnock, even as ruler of (I can't remember the city where Moons Spawn crashed and the Andii unleashed their warren, I keep wanting to call it 'Black Pale'), I feel like he is more at peace. He doesn't have to fight any more and his people have found a place and Mommy D has apparently turned back around through Rake's sacrifice...

Also, through the book Jethiss fought with other weapons besides a sword, and wasn't it Clip bragging that he had been trained with a ton of weapons? I'm not sure the martial traditions of the Tiste Andii, but we only see Rake and Spinnock fight with swords, (except when rake is all like RAWR IM A DRAGON!). Clip was described as Mortal Sword of Mommy D... I suppose that doesn't fit the ending when he is all like 'Im the Son of Darkness!', does it?

Edit: Andarist is also a Son of Darkness, dead, and has long white hair, although he is described as looking extremely old. I wonder if losing his memories also made him lose the grief that made him give up his power?

Honestly I think we need to figure out the Forkrull making the Bone Sword as a 'weapon Jethiss deserves' to figure out who it is for sure.

This post has been edited by Obdigore: 12 August 2014 - 04:17 AM

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 06:07 AM

View Postupworthywort, on 11 August 2014 - 10:18 PM, said:

And I do agree w/ Abyss that the land was plenty dangerous, especially the north (which of course is the end facing Genebackis).


It was. It's just that, aside from Mist and that sand guy, none of the threats really give off the 'I must get the hell out of here no matter what'. If anything, Himatan with all its walking, crawling and swimming content was way more treacherous and scary. Assail is dangerous, but in a simple way - there are a few powerful entities. All in all, it doesn't stand out that much.

View PostObdigore, on 12 August 2014 - 03:42 AM, said:

Honestly, I had this nagging suspicion that throughout the book Jethiss was Clip.

Me too. Only, it was 'please don't be Clip, please don't be him, I hate that guy'. Later, it was changed to 'please, please don't be Rake'. So I'm in the camp Spinnock ;)
Jethiss is dangerous and inteligent, but he is nowhere near as charismatic as Rake. And Anomander's every decision has a certain weight behind it. Jethiss just doesn't give off that vibe, and I don't think that a simple memory loss would inhibit Rake's natural magnificence. That is why I thought that the mystery was a rather poor one, because if he indeed is Rake, then he wasn't written well.

Moreover, Rake faced some of the Avowed, certainly Cowl himself. I don't think that Cowl would have any trouble recognizing Rake's presence if they are so close to each other. And vice versa, Anomander had pretty strong feelings about the CG assassin, so you would think he would be at least alarmed if not angry.
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Posted 12 August 2014 - 08:02 AM

honestly i'm hoping that jethiss is orfantal, slim evidence of course
but orfantal is another shapeshifter/soletaken, and he is mentioned as having the power rivalling Rake / Korlat in the MoI. Also, when Fisher mentioned a hint about whitesword / whiteblade Jethiss didn't react as Rake normally would
perhaps because orfantal is just a kid when anomander and osserc immensely fought each other?
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Posted 12 August 2014 - 02:30 PM

I agree with Second Sword. The continent didn't seem dangerous enough for me. The T'lan Imass just moved through and wiped the floor with everyone. Where are the entities that destroyed roughly 50k Imass (a much greater number than we see in this book).

"I am Lanas Tog. Sent to bring word of the fates of the Ifayle T'lan Imass and of my own Kerluhm T'lan Imass . . . I am the last of the Kerluhm. The Ifayle . . . are all but destroyed . . . cannot extricate themselves from the conflict [on] the continent of Assail. Our losses: 29000 Kerluhm. 22,200 Ifayle . . . We have lost this war."
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Posted 12 August 2014 - 02:53 PM

That was a lie. Lanas was manipulating Silverfox and the other TI. I'm not saying those TI she mentions didn't die. I'm just saying that Lanas Tog was a manipulative psychopath with an agenda. Still not entirely clear on her agenda, although I believe it had to do with a deep-seated hatred of anything even remotely Jaghut and her need to kill them all.
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Posted 12 August 2014 - 05:34 PM

View PostSpoilsport Stonny, on 28 July 2014 - 09:23 PM, said:

Finally! Someone I can share my joy with...

Abyss said:

BEST UPGRADE - Kyle rocked this book. After being with us this long and never quite shining, this was his book. His fight scenes were great fun to read, but aside from that i enjoyed his return home, his slow acceptance of being The Whiteblade, his kind of ignorant bravery in the face of serious opposition... when he took on 12 warriors to distrct them from Lyan and Dorrin, it made perfect sense, and so did the way the fight went. I liked his reflections on the Thel-Akai, and Greymane, and his time with the Crimson Guard.


Yes. His run through the Silent People was chilling, and I'm pretty sure he would have held his own against two or three FA.

Abyss said:

BEST NEW CHARACTER - Ormen was a welcome surprise. I was initially skeptical because of how he resembled Kyle in some ways, but ICE gave him his own storyline ... perhaps not all that original... farmboy steals father's weapon, goes out into harsh world, becomes hero is hardly novel ground.... , but it was well told and moved nicely. The Reddin Bros and Old Bear were great supporting characters.


I liked Ormen a bunch. And Jute was a great POV character. But Tyvar Gendarian was by far the best new character. Holy hell I loved that guy. Imagine the despair a Mortal Sword would feel once his God fled to who-knows-where. And he remained...benevolent.

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BEST ONE LINER - "That's my spear!" Utel Bonecaster to Ormen.


Heh-heh...

Abyss said:

BEST OLD FRIEND - Carathon Crust positively devoured every scene he was in. I loved his recruiting in Wrongway, and i absolutely loved that he used the stolen munitions from RCG to stop a continent wrecking Jaghut Glacier ritual. Also, one of the bestest holyfuckdidijustREADthat moments in the book.


The stolen munitions rivals Possum and Skinner and Cowl's burial of K'azz (see below) for best call back. But there is also this (from Midnight Tides, Ch. 12 Mael and Shurq convo)

Quote

'So, what do you know?'
'Not much. The language on the door belongs to an extinct people known as Forkrul Assail, who are collectively personified in our Fulcra by
the personage we call the Errant. The tombs were built for another extinct people, called the Jaghut, whom we acknowledge in the Hold we call the Hold of Ice. The wards were intended to block the efforts of another people, the T'lan Imass, who were the avowed enemies of the Jaghut. The T'lan Imass pursued the Jaghut in a most relentless manner, including those Jaghut who elected to surrender their place in the world said individuals choosing something closely resembling death. Their souls would travel to their Hold, leaving their flesh behind, the flesh being stored in tombs like this one. That wasn't good enough for the T'lan Imass. Anyway, the Forkrul Assail considered themselves impartial arbiters in the conflict, and that was, most of the time, the extent of their involvement. Apart from that,' Bugg said with a shrug, 'I really can't say.'


Cool, right?!?

Abyss said:

DIDN'T SEE THAT COMING - The instant the khall-addict showed up in Wrongway, i said 'Claw'. But i didn't even come close to guessing it was Possum. Nice touch.


And very realistic too. I know people who've turned to drugs to numb the pain of a tragedy they blamed themselves for. ICE had all the emotions going in this one.

Abyss said:

BEST PERVERSION OF EVERYTHING WE THOUGHT WE KNEW - The T'lam Imass on a full blown genocidal jihad to wipe out every human on Assail with even a little Jaghut blood. It was chilling and very different from how the Imass have been shown to date, but also very consistent.


Yeah I was wondering why this was and what happened to Lanas Tog to make her lie about that whole "Not Jaghut...human" scenerio. It was nice to have some closure with that open-ended statement.

Abyss said:

BEST EXAMPLE OF ASSAIL AS A HORRIBLE UNFRIENDLY PLACE - The Sea of Dread/Dread Sea/Sea to be Dreaded/Dreadhead Sea/ Sea of Dreadliness. Name jokes aside, ICE did a nice job of conveying the insidous creepy magic that just slowly wiped out ship after ship. I enjoyed the setup chapters as various ships tried to even get close to the continent. Despite it's lack of a ship on the cover, ASSAIL delivered some good nautical scenes.


All the different POVs scattered throughout was well done. By the time the last group got to the Dreadful Body of Water I was like "TURN THE FUCK AROUND AND GO HOME!"

Abyss said:

BEST SHOUTBACK TO GOTM - Four Founding Races. Oh, nicely done, ICE. Very, very nicely done. Once, way back when, four races... got together and agreed on a peace that was pretty much forgotten except as a reference in one of Gothos' texts, but brings us full circle to that last confrontation on the mountain with Imass, Jaghut, FA, Andii and now Human at the table.



Abyss said:

SO IS HE OR ISN"T HE - Maybe Jethiss was Anomander Rake returned, maybe he wasn't. There were other Andii in Dragnipur when the finale of TtH went down, after all. But i don't actually think it matters, he was interesting to read without stealing his storyline, and ended the book in a very different and interesting place... a one armed Tiste Andii born of Darkness and carrying a sword made of his own arm bones... that's pure fantasy lit goodness right there... ICE, if you're reading this... i would cheerfully pay dollars for an entire book of Jethiss, Kyle and Fisher's adventures.


Don't read this unless you want to REALLY know...

Spoiler

That is what came to my mind also but the last we saw Spinnock was at the crossroads and his holding off of Kallor and I,m pretty sure he was still alive when Korlat found him

Abyss said:

FISHERING FOR COMPLIMENTS - SO the poet isn't exactly immortal but he is part Jaghut. I am totally cool with that.

...see what i did there?


Also the line about poet's being able to change names and actual events to suit the story. Wink-wink, readers. Wink-wink.

Abyss said:

BEST BATTLE - This book had some good ones... i want to give it to Jute & co trying to repel the Imass from Mantle, but that ended prematurely. Instead i'll go with Ormen and company's running attack on the Bains, tho Kyle and the Guard holding the Lost Holding was pretty close.


There was one battle at sea that stood out to me from all the others. Can't recall the details right now, but I'll get back to you on it. It might have been when Ragstopper took out that lookout tower and all four ships together handled business pretty well.

Abyss said:

BEST RESET - The Crimson Guard as a 'new Imass clan', waiting for their own Summoner. Nice touch.


Even a little good feelz for Skinner being there as well. Still, Cowl was not happy about that, but the whole them being dead and being able to come back whenever they want sure explains alot about him, being as he was well aware of the situation.

I especially loved that the whole Dolmens of Tien thing with K'azz's body was explained, with nary a problem and tied that whole discovery of his corpse thing up perfectly.

Abyss said:

I"MMM ASSAILINGGGGG AWAAAAAAAYYYYYYY - I liked these Assail. They built on everything we learned in past book,s but were strikingly different and more alien than the near mustache-twirling baddies of TCG. When they show up at the end, the reader knows, without any doubt, that they are a huge threat that can happily wipe out everyone standing before them.


They don't take shit from no one. But the inverting of our expectations was superb. I was all prepared for them to wake up and pretty much kill everyone. End of story. See you in the Early Empire books

Abyss said:

BEST BADDIES - They weren't around long, but i really liked the Sheers/Shaars. They were a genuine threat that justified what went down with the Guard leading to Iron Bars and co's escape to Leth and everything since then. And reading them get turned into cole slaw by the Imass was utterly satisfying. Mist and her sons were a nice touch, sideways channelling Circe from the Odyssey only with more decapitations.


Would have liked to have seen a bit more of them, but I loved the Hatfields and McCoys relationship and the back-and-forth POVs upon their demises.

Abyss said:

SPEAKING OF LETH - I rather enjoyed the Letherii as semi-baddies here. Someone needs to remind Tehol that his merchants are assholes. Intercontinental assholes.


Sometimes you gotta stick to what the readers expect. letherii merchants are pricks.


Abyss said:

WORSE DEATH - DAMMIT COOTS!!!!!!


Yeah didn't like that at all. Loved how ICE handled Badland's reaction to it though. Very real.

Another death that surprised me with the affect it had on me was the giant Voltron made of bones that guarded the bridge. I wasn't happy about that. I kinda liked him. "I'll kill you...later. Here hang out in this dark cave in the meantime. You can eat fish or something."

Abyss said:

BEST DEATH - Marshall Teal... ICE threw in just enough hints that there was more to this guy than Letherri covetousness (that's a word, i swear) that his decision to stand and watch the pretty onrushing glacier made sense.


ICE killed him with ICE.

Abyss said:

...so more to come once i've reread a few choice bits, but those are my first thoughts having Just Finished It.

- Abyss, satisfied customer.


Me too. VERY satisfied.

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#55 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 06:01 PM

That's a nice quote, dude

Lanas Tog is a master troll:
Hype: 50 000 T'lan got annihilated in Assail
Reality: Less than 100 (if I remember correctly) T'lan steamrolled through Assail.

This post has been edited by Second Sword: 12 August 2014 - 07:47 PM

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#56 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 08:45 PM

I had understood that Lanas Tog lied. Neither clan ever had those numbers on Assail.
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#57 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 09:07 PM

She lied about them dying (or actually being) there, but probably not about their overall number, so she trolled us anyway into thinking that Assail was so dangerous that 50k T'lan wasn't enough. In truth, less than 0.2% of that number was enough.
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#58 User is offline   Pig Iron 

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 09:13 PM

Loved this book too. More emotional for me than many of the Malazan books for some reason.

Great posts above, thanks. About the only thing I didn't like was a reborn Anomander, and then did a double-take at the Kef Tanar line on the last page. Anomander would never have stated his priority as going to Coral and visit a barrow and play with a friend ... And I thought the wording about "Son of Darkness" to be strange until I read the discussion above.

I don't think Assail was over-hyped. The way I read it was that there were very few Icebloods left (used to be Holds all over) after entire Tlan Imass clans had wiped themselves out in a genocidal war against them.
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#59 User is offline   Stoneburner 

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 09:21 PM

View PostPig Iron, on 12 August 2014 - 09:13 PM, said:

Loved this book too. More emotional for me than many of the Malazan books for some reason.

Great posts above, thanks. About the only thing I didn't like was a reborn Anomander, and then did a double-take at the Kef Tanar line on the last page. Anomander would never have stated his priority as going to Coral and visit a barrow and play with a friend ... And I thought the wording about "Son of Darkness" to be strange until I read the discussion above.

I don't think Assail was over-hyped. The way I read it was that there were very few Icebloods left (used to be Holds all over) after entire Tlan Imass clans had wiped themselves out in a genocidal war against them.


Except, the implication from the story is that the "army of dust and bone" had long fallen into the myth category. Given the unwieldy timelines with the malazan books, maybe it makes sense, however.
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#60 User is offline   Pig Iron 

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 10:03 PM

View PostStoneburner, on 12 August 2014 - 09:21 PM, said:

View PostPig Iron, on 12 August 2014 - 09:13 PM, said:

Loved this book too. More emotional for me than many of the Malazan books for some reason.

Great posts above, thanks. About the only thing I didn't like was a reborn Anomander, and then did a double-take at the Kef Tanar line on the last page. Anomander would never have stated his priority as going to Coral and visit a barrow and play with a friend ... And I thought the wording about "Son of Darkness" to be strange until I read the discussion above.

I don't think Assail was over-hyped. The way I read it was that there were very few Icebloods left (used to be Holds all over) after entire Tlan Imass clans had wiped themselves out in a genocidal war against them.


Except, the implication from the story is that the "army of dust and bone" had long fallen into the myth category. Given the unwieldy timelines with the malazan books, maybe it makes sense, however.


That is true, the Icebloods should have been very aware of the T'lan Imass threat, and not as myth. I think Silverfox said T'lan were being destroyed on Assail in an earlier book though. For now I'll file this under Malazan timeline inconsistencies etc like you say.
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