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#1 User is offline   BellaGrace 

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 11:28 PM

I know there are lots of threads about reading order on this site, but I'm afraid to search too much because I don't want to inadvertently read spoilers and the non-spoiler thread about this doesn't answer my question.

I'm just wondering why Stonewielder is listed as next to read after TtH. I am really reluctant to break from Erikson's books now I'm so close to the end and I'm wondering what the reasons are for the Stonewielder to be suggested reading now (I know Erikson named it that way for the TOR re-read) - it's not next in publication order. Is there really a good reason to read it now?

I read RotCG after RG and I don't see why that book is suggested to read in that place. There's nothing that I can recall from RotCG that really has any bearing on TtH - except maybe some random references to Seguleh in RotCG and Skinner in TtH.

Anyway - thanks for your patience in answering a question that has probably been asked often before.
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#2 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 11:43 PM

Well it came out after DoD but people don't like to split up DoD and TCG for some reason, so they put it before DoD. That's because it works better as prelude to the MBotF finale than it does as aftermath. Namely because it is prelude.

RotCG goes after RG because it follows up (roughly) The Bonehunters but leads into TTH, particularly with Traveller. And like all ICE books at this point in the chronology, it provides reason for why certain characters aren't active at certain points (for instance, Tayschrenn).
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#3 User is offline   BellaGrace 

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Posted 20 December 2014 - 12:15 AM

So it's your opinion (or the opinion of other MBotF veterans) that there is a value in reading Stonewielder before finishing up the series? There's plot points that directly related to events in DoD or TCG? Or just that the events of the book happen chronologically but not directly relating to the last 2 books?

I do plan on reading Stonewielder, I just feel really impatient to find out what happens....

EDIT -

PS - I forgot about Traveler and Ereko in RotCG

This post has been edited by BellaGrace: 20 December 2014 - 12:16 AM

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#4 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 20 December 2014 - 01:01 AM

I would say in the grand scheme of things it's not that important to read SW before DoD/TCG if all you want is MBotF plot resolution. Chronologically SW doesn't take place before so much as during (and parallel) to the finale, but it ends before TCG does and has a few implications (rather than setting up plot points) for the end of MBotF. If you read it after, you won't be dealing with spoilers so much as information gaps filled in.

That said, SW is mostly an independent story on another continent and has plenty to offer either way...it's in no way merely a corollary to SE's work and along with Assail is ICE's crown jewel of his own series. So whatever you decide, you should be looking forward to reading SW.
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#5 User is offline   BellaGrace 

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Posted 20 December 2014 - 01:16 AM

View Postworry, on 20 December 2014 - 01:01 AM, said:


That said, SW is mostly an independent story on another continent and has plenty to offer either way...it's in no way merely a corollary to SE's work and along with Assail is ICE's crown jewel of his own series. So whatever you decide, you should be looking forward to reading SW.


I've heard others say that SE's books get better as they go along and I do really like Greymane - I guess you've convinced me :blush: I'll give it a go and see how I like it.
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#6 User is offline   D'rek 

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Posted 20 December 2014 - 01:28 AM

Return of the Crimson Guard is the only Esslemont book that you really *have* to read in-between MBotF. Reaper's Gale does some setup for it, such as Toc the Younger learning at the end of RG that Toc the Elder still lives, and it deals with events within the Empire that were heavily setup in House of Chains and The Bonehunters. Furthermore, Draconus' appearance to Murk foreshadows Toll the Hounds, and Traveller's journey follows straight from Return of the Crimson Guard into his appearance in Toll the Hounds. Finally, there are small references to Mallick Rel being the new Emperor in the later MBotF, so if you haven't read RotCG by that point it hugely spoils the dramatic fall of Laseen.

Stonewielder, Orb Sceptre Throne, Blood & Bone, and Assail, on the other hand, you can completely wait until after finishing Erikson's books to read. Obviously with the caveat of knowing that when you do eventually read Stonewielder and OST, that events in them are happening before events you've already read in DoD or TCG. But once you have read Toll the Hounds and Return of the Crimson Guard, none of the later Erikson books will spoil things that happen in the later Esslemont books.

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

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

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Posted 20 December 2014 - 06:53 PM

View PostD, on 20 December 2014 - 01:28 AM, said:

Return of the Crimson Guard is the only Esslemont book that you really *have* to read in-between MBotF. Reaper's Gale does some setup for it, such as Toc the Younger learning at the end of RG that Toc the Elder still lives, and it deals with events within the Empire that were heavily setup in House of Chains and The Bonehunters. Furthermore, Draconus' appearance to Murk foreshadows Toll the Hounds, and Traveller's journey follows straight from Return of the Crimson Guard into his appearance in Toll the Hounds. Finally, there are small references to Mallick Rel being the new Emperor in the later MBotF, so if you haven't read RotCG by that point it hugely spoils the dramatic fall of Laseen.

Stonewielder, Orb Sceptre Throne, Blood & Bone, and Assail, on the other hand, you can completely wait until after finishing Erikson's books to read. Obviously with the caveat of knowing that when you do eventually read Stonewielder and OST, that events in them are happening before events you've already read in DoD or TCG. But once you have read Toll the Hounds and Return of the Crimson Guard, none of the later Erikson books will spoil things that happen in the later Esslemont books.


Thanks - that helps too.

I feel like I do ICE a disservice reading his books while I"m reading Erikson's stuff. I think I'd really like ICE's books if I wasn't constantly comparing him to Erikson, or feeling mildly resentful that I "have" to read this book before I can get on with "the good stuff". I hated NoK, but thought RotCG was decent. I'm sure I'll like the rest of his stuff... I just am still emotionally devastated by the events of TtH and am ready to see how everything plays out.
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#8 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 20 December 2014 - 07:02 PM

If it makes you feel better, ICE's OST is the actual direct sequel to Toll the Hounds so you're gonna have to get there anyway.
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#9 User is offline   Stormcat 

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 02:22 AM

For me reading ICE books in suggested order makes the whole more enjoyable. In my opinion the information that ICE gives makes the whole picture better. It adds detail and colors to the painting that you could do without but make the painting feel more complete as a whole. SW was a little boring to me but I thought OST was very good. I try not to judge the writing style and just think of it as pieces of a puzzle that belong in a certain spot. Small background pieces that don't change the main picture but complete the puzzle.
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#10 User is offline   BellaGrace 

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 04:26 PM

Just to conclude this discussion and for anyone else that might be interested.

I finished out the Erikson books and then read SW. I am really glad I waited to read it. I didn't like it, thought it was really boring and I don't see how it really contributed to the DoD or TCG storylines at all.

SW is my least favorite book out of all the Malazan books I have read thus far.
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#11 User is offline   Andorion 

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 05:40 PM

View PostBellaGrace, on 10 February 2015 - 04:26 PM, said:

Just to conclude this discussion and for anyone else that might be interested.

I finished out the Erikson books and then read SW. I am really glad I waited to read it. I didn't like it, thought it was really boring and I don't see how it really contributed to the DoD or TCG storylines at all.

SW is my least favorite book out of all the Malazan books I have read thus far.


Read OST yet?
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#12 User is offline   BellaGrace 

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 07:57 PM

No - I did look at the "cast of characters" though - saw a lot of familiar faces so maybe that one will be better.

Are you implying it's a lot better? It's worse? or just that it helps tie things into DoD/TCG?
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#13 User is offline   Andorion 

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 01:38 AM

I could.....Naah I won't put any ideas into you head. What do you think of ICE so far?
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#14 User is offline   BellaGrace 

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 08:43 PM

View PostAndorion, on 11 February 2015 - 01:38 AM, said:

I could.....Naah I won't put any ideas into you head. What do you think of ICE so far?



I find myself constantly comparing him to Erikson and he comes up way short. I feel like he is trying to be Erikson with the multiple POVs, disparate storylines that converge at the end, the poems/history excerpts before the chapters etc - it just doesn't work for him like it does for SE.

The MbotF series had me laughing and crying in equal amounts - but ICE's books don't hit that kind of emotional resonance with me. In fact, I'm a bit resentful with what he did to Greymane - someone I started out really liking. He went from this super-cool, mysterious warrior/leader to a moody jerk towards the of SW. His death, which should have had me in tears, left me feeling nothing at all. Plus, there were several storylines in SW that seemed really superfluous (Ivanr, Bakune). Even things that are supposed to be a great mystery are super obvious - I knew right away that Jheval was Leoman and Warran was ST (to be fair, I did like Warran). Even characters that were funny on their own - like Manask, weren't nearly as funny as Tehol, Bugg, Iskaral Pust etc. IMO there was no sense of surprise, danger or "OMG that just happened". Overall, I just couldn't make myself care about any of it. I go into it a bit more in my GoodReads reviewi f you're really that interested! (or feel free to friend me if any of you are on there)

Of the 3 books SW was my least favorite and RotCG was the best of the lot.

I wish that ICE would find his own style and voice - he doesn't have to be Erikson to have books in the Malazan world that are good. If I wasn't already so invested with the Malazan world, I'm not sure I'd even bother reading his books - mainly because I haven't fallen in love with any of his characters. I find myself not liking Kiska and Kyle. Actually, now that I think about it - I did really love Ereko...so the ONE guy I really liked is the guy ICE kills! I had no idea what the hell was going on when I read GoTM but I fell in love with Anomander Rake, QB and WhiskeyJack from the start. Three books in to ICE's stuff and there isn't a single character that could be killed off that would bother me (except for the Osserc and Dassem - who are just as much SE's characters).

I feel a bit alone in my opinion on ICE, I'm just so "meh" about him. I really don't see anyone else criticizing him much around here.

This post has been edited by BellaGrace: 12 February 2015 - 08:45 PM

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#15 User is offline   Andorion 

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Posted 13 February 2015 - 03:17 AM

View PostBellaGrace, on 12 February 2015 - 08:43 PM, said:

View PostAndorion, on 11 February 2015 - 01:38 AM, said:

I could.....Naah I won't put any ideas into you head. What do you think of ICE so far?



I find myself constantly comparing him to Erikson and he comes up way short. I feel like he is trying to be Erikson with the multiple POVs, disparate storylines that converge at the end, the poems/history excerpts before the chapters etc - it just doesn't work for him like it does for SE.

The MbotF series had me laughing and crying in equal amounts - but ICE's books don't hit that kind of emotional resonance with me. In fact, I'm a bit resentful with what he did to Greymane - someone I started out really liking. He went from this super-cool, mysterious warrior/leader to a moody jerk towards the of SW. His death, which should have had me in tears, left me feeling nothing at all. Plus, there were several storylines in SW that seemed really superfluous (Ivanr, Bakune). Even things that are supposed to be a great mystery are super obvious - I knew right away that Jheval was Leoman and Warran was ST (to be fair, I did like Warran). Even characters that were funny on their own - like Manask, weren't nearly as funny as Tehol, Bugg, Iskaral Pust etc. IMO there was no sense of surprise, danger or "OMG that just happened". Overall, I just couldn't make myself care about any of it. I go into it a bit more in my GoodReads reviewi f you're really that interested! (or feel free to friend me if any of you are on there)

Of the 3 books SW was my least favorite and RotCG was the best of the lot.

I wish that ICE would find his own style and voice - he doesn't have to be Erikson to have books in the Malazan world that are good. If I wasn't already so invested with the Malazan world, I'm not sure I'd even bother reading his books - mainly because I haven't fallen in love with any of his characters. I find myself not liking Kiska and Kyle. Actually, now that I think about it - I did really love Ereko...so the ONE guy I really liked is the guy ICE kills! I had no idea what the hell was going on when I read GoTM but I fell in love with Anomander Rake, QB and WhiskeyJack from the start. Three books in to ICE's stuff and there isn't a single character that could be killed off that would bother me (except for the Osserc and Dassem - who are just as much SE's characters).

I feel a bit alone in my opinion on ICE, I'm just so "meh" about him. I really don't see anyone else criticizing him much around here.


Your problems are kind of what my initial reactions to ICE were. I also felt his convergences were underwhelming. Its interesting that you don't like SW because that book of his I did like. The trick is to forget that he is co-writing with Erikson. If you compare, his books will be dead to you. I managed to read Assail as simply an ICE novel. I forsook all my expectations and preconceptions and had a really enjoyable read. This is very difficult to do. You cannot help but compare. But comparing is simply not the answer. Very different writers with very different styles.

One thing I really liked about SW was the way ICE built up the Lady's influence. ICE can construct pretty intricate stuff. His strength is not in the great epic tone that SE uses, in the scintillating emotional highs and lows, in the unbelievable What the Hell just happened scenes. He works on a different register. You have to get to that and then things will be better.

Also you read SW after TCG. Trust me, every book seems bland after TCG. I couldn't read anything properly for a week or so.

Don't get too caught up with Osserc. That guy is a card-carrying idiot. (Or so I proclaim to anyone who will listenPosted Image)


If you like Dassem, OST ought to hook you.


BTW I sent you a Goodreads friend request.
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#16 User is offline   Melnibonean Wanderer 

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 05:56 PM

I share Bella's opinion on ICE's series. While they are better than the vast majority of fantasy series I've read, I would like for him to try developing his own style or return to that of Night of Knives. NOK is my favorite ICE novel thus far, then Stonewielder, and finally RotCG.
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#17 User is offline   Tru 

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 11:54 PM

What I do to offset the whole comparision things between the two authors, which is natural to want to do so, is I read other books from other series intermixed, often between a SE and ICE novel. This way there is less jarring for me to transition because I've just read something completely different. Not sure this works for everyone, since it is natural to want to continue a series that you become emotionally invested in, but for me I enjoy ICE's work thus far.

Also, for me to read SE's series without ICE's series (in hindsight) sprinkled in, would be hard to fathom because some of the characters and journeys, and their intentions (Traveller is a very good example here) would be far less meaningful. I expect that after the finale of SE's series, it would be hard to then go back and read ICE's series and pretend you did not already know of major events in the world. I can easily see how ICE's series could fall flat by reading it all after SE's series, but that's just my opinion.
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#18 User is offline   Gorefest 

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Posted 22 May 2015 - 09:48 AM

I originally read the ICE books after the SE books, as at the time I was not aware of a preferred reading order or, more poignantly, even of the existence of the ICE books. In retrospect, it did dampen my enjoyment of the ICE books and I really think it works better to read them intermixed as per the suggested reading order on the forum. It is unavoidable to start comparing their writing styles and I think everyone will agree that Erikson is the more gifted writer of the two, but ICE does certainly hold his ground as a more than decent author in his own right and there is a lot of interesting world and character building stuff in his books to keep you entertained. In particular, ICE's 'horror' writing (claustrophobic or unsettling scenes) are class, and his battle scenes are good too. If it wasn't for the inevitable comparisons with SE, who is simply in a class of his own, ICE would undoubtedly be appreciated a lot more as an author, as he still comfortably beats a lot of other writers out there.

Where ICE stumbles for me is his pacing, his character development, and his desire to mimic SE in the multiple characters viewpoint. Where SE manages to keep (almost) all viewpoints interesting and interwoven, with ICE a significant amount of his POV characters are either outright boring, slow-paced, or not really relevant to the storyline. I feel he would fare much better if he had stuck to the NOK framework with a limited set of characters but (probably consequently) a lot more focus and pace.
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#19 User is offline   Andorion 

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Posted 24 May 2015 - 02:19 AM

Its usualy a good idea to read them intermixed. For example in my current reread, RotCG meshes in neatly with many elements of TBH.

What I have always had a problem with is ICE not making me empathize with any of his characters. I have cried reading the end of MoI, RG, TtH, and TCG. But I have never even come close in an ICE novel. Also his convergences are a bit underwhelming.
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#20 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 24 May 2015 - 03:17 AM

I dunno, he doesn't have the skill (or desire?) to make it universal like SE does, but he does have his high points in certain characters. They're just much fewer and farther between. He doesn't "go there" often enough for my taste either, frankly, but when he does it can be pretty effective. Chief example up to this point would be Hiam, who's one of the best drawn characters, start to finish, in any of the books. To a lesser extent there's Rillish, Bakune, and Corlo who all get a nice array of emotional moments. RotCG had Possum, Ullen, and Jumpy (and to some degree, Storo). ICE definitely has way more missed opportunities for this kind of stuff though, that's for sure.
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