Malazan Empire: Is Esslemont as good as Erikson? - Malazan Empire

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Is Esslemont as good as Erikson?

#1 User is offline   Demandred 

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 01:39 PM

I am about 300 pgs into Midnight Tides and the reading order list I got online says to go to Night of Knives next. My question is, will I be disappointed reading it, because I am thoroughly enjoying the series right now and dont want a huge let down. How would it affect the series if I were to read straight through all the MBotF books, then go on snd read Esslemont's afterward?
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#2 User is online   Slow Ben 

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 01:47 PM

Just my opinion, I would read all of Eriksons books first, then go back to Esselmont. If you do a re-read is when i would do the suggested reading order.

While i did still enjoy them, Esselmont doesnt touch Erikson.
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#3 User is offline   Gorefest 

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 02:32 PM

View PostDemandred, on 13 May 2019 - 01:39 PM, said:

I am about 300 pgs into Midnight Tides and the reading order list I got online says to go to Night of Knives next. My question is, will I be disappointed reading it, because I am thoroughly enjoying the series right now and dont want a huge let down. How would it affect the series if I were to read straight through all the MBotF books, then go on snd read Esslemont's afterward?


Going straight through with Erikson and then revisit Esslemont is basically fine, it's probably what a lot of us (including myself) did (I wasn't aware of any reading order or even Esslemont's existence when I first picked up the MBotF...). However, night of Knives is actually a fairly thin novel compared to most of the SE MBotF novels with a limited cast of characters, so you may actually find it a refreshing 'short' break after MT. I really enjoyed NoK and it has some very memorable characters and scenes. Esslemont's later Empire books (RotCG through to Assail) suffer a bit from trying to emulate Erikson's prose and multiple character/convergence aspects, which he simply doesn't manage as well as Erikson (to be fair, very few writers can pull that off the way Erikson does). But for world building and story background, at the very least Return of the Crimson Guard is definitely a recommended read alongside the MBotF novels. The rest you can probably read after without much issues.



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#4 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 03:08 PM

View PostDemandred, on 13 May 2019 - 01:39 PM, said:

I am about 300 pgs into Midnight Tides and the reading order list I got online says to go to Night of Knives next. My question is, will I be disappointed reading it, because I am thoroughly enjoying the series right now and dont want a huge let down. How would it affect the series if I were to read straight through all the MBotF books, then go on snd read Esslemont's afterward?



View PostSlow Ben, on 13 May 2019 - 01:47 PM, said:

Just my opinion, I would read all of Eriksons books first, then go back to Esselmont...



View PostGorefest, on 13 May 2019 - 02:32 PM, said:

Going straight through with Erikson and then revisit Esslemont is basically fine, it's probably what a lot of us (including myself) did (I wasn't aware of any reading order or even Esslemont's existence when I first picked up the MBotF...). However, night of Knives is actually a fairly thin novel compared to most of the SE MBotF novels with a limited cast of characters, so you may actually find it a refreshing 'short' break after MT. I really enjoyed NoK and it has some very memorable characters and scenes. Esslemont's later Empire books (RotCG through to Assail) suffer a bit from trying to emulate Erikson's prose and multiple character/convergence aspects, which he simply doesn't manage as well as Erikson (to be fair, very few writers can pull that off the way Erikson does). But for world building and story background, at the very least Return of the Crimson Guard is definitely a recommended read alongside the MBotF novels. The rest you can probably read after without much issues.




My $0.02cdn...

Follow the 'published' reading order... 'qualified' because NoK was published before TB, but only in a limited run, and the order of publishing of RCG and TtH varied between countries... but the 'intended' order for your next few books would be ...

MT - NoK - TB - RG - RCG - TtH - DoD - TCG...

..firstly, because while comparing ICE's first few books to SE mid MBF verges on unfair, i think ICE's books were still pretty great, and secondly because characters and events in Esslemont's NoK and RCG will be referenced in the subsequent Erikson books. Last... the two authors did coordinate and work together to an extent, so reading in order does let you 'benefit' from that.

NoK is very short, so you're not making a huge commitment and imnsho, it will enhance your enjoyment of TB.

RCG is a bigger book and opinions vary... i enjoyed it and was happy to have it in mind going in to TtH.

That said, if you decide that you just don't enjoy ICE's work, you can absolutely skip them and move ahead with SE's.
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#5 User is offline   Demandred 

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 03:19 PM

Thanks for all the input. I think I will go ahead and give NoK a try after MT. If I seem to enjoy it, I'll continue with the recommended reading order.
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#6 User is offline   Gnaw 

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 06:38 AM

Fuck no
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#7 User is offline   Tsundoku 

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 09:25 AM

He writes a lot more cleanly, but as good as SE (when SE decides to write and not waffle)? No. This is not an insult to ICE.
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#8 User is offline   End of Disc One 

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 01:52 PM

I at least wouldn't skip Return of the Crimson Guard. Big things happen in it that get spoiled if you don't read it before Toll the Hounds.

Is he as good as Erikson? No, and not even Esselmont would say so. I still really enjoy most of his books.
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#9 User is offline   Tsundoku 

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 09:16 AM

Yes, I should have added it doesn't stop me at all from enjoying his works. Truth to tell I've read a lot more ICE than SE over the last few years.
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#10 User is offline   Werthead 

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 08:29 AM

 Demandred, on 13 May 2019 - 01:39 PM, said:

I am about 300 pgs into Midnight Tides and the reading order list I got online says to go to Night of Knives next. My question is, will I be disappointed reading it, because I am thoroughly enjoying the series right now and dont want a huge let down. How would it affect the series if I were to read straight through all the MBotF books, then go on snd read Esslemont's afterward?


Esslemont is more straightforward, if that's the right word, than Erikson and certainly far less verbose. I think you need the context of Erikson's books to enjoy Esslemont properly, but Esslemont provides a different voice and perspective which is just as valid as Erikson's (also worth noting that he created many of the series' best-known characters, and he actually wrote his first two books long before Erikson started writing GotM, although they were published long after). As for comparative quality, I think Erkson is the better prose writer but Esslemont may be better at story and pacing at this point.

As for reading order, Esslemont does have major, game-changing events in his novels that you will get spoiled on if you just read straight through Erikson's books. For that reason I generally recommend publication order apart from a few changes (NoK actually came out before Midnight Tides, but is best read afterwards because it sets up some characters and events in The Bonehunters):

  • Gardens of the Moon
  • Deadhouse Gates
  • Memories of Ice
  • House of Chains
  • Midnight Tides
  • Night of Knives
  • The Bonehunters
  • Return of the Crimson Guard
  • Reaper's Gale
  • Stonewielder
  • Toll the Hounds
  • Orb Sceptre Throne
  • Dust of Dreams
  • The Crippled God
  • Blood and Bone
  • Assail
  • Dancer's Lament
  • Deadhouse Landing
  • Kellanved's Reach
  • Forge of Darkness
  • Fall of Light

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#11 User is offline   John II 

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 10:24 AM

Having (finally) read the major series of both authors, I would recommend reading Erikson fully, then Esslemont on either your first or second read. I mixed them on my first read, but definitely going to go separate on my second (which is a while away... going to read JSAC/DA's The Expanse first, then whatever catches my eye, then a Sanderson reread, then a Malazan reread EDIT: this is ofc after reading the prequels and short stories).
Most would agree that Erikson is a better writer, but that's really like two squad mages comparing their abilities with Quick Ben (Pratchett) looking on :p

This post has been edited by John II: 16 May 2019 - 10:32 AM

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