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  1. First read thoughts

    17 July 2019 - 06:50 PM

    First of all, let me just say, WOW! This is in my opinion by far the best book in the series so far. I think it has the most beautiful writing, the most robust story, the most interesting setting and so, so much worldbuilding and context. I also love the slow pace and the more contemplative tone (by the way, the novel is really deep, especially at an emotional level), although I can see why this book can alienate some readers. However, I think that if I had started from this book, I would have appreciated the series even more.

    Regarding the writing, I have noticed that the writing in this series goes hand in hand with how interesting each continent is. To me, Genabackis seems like a pretty generic and typical fantasy continent. This might be because GotM and MoI don't really focus on the continent's past, at least not as much as Erikson does with Seven Cities, where its history and past are brought up again and again. But what can I say about the continent of Lether? This is an amazing place, stuck in the past in more ways than one, dark, threatening, where terrible events have taken place and still keep happening. This is the most immersed I've been in the series thus far. I love the dark and brooding tone as well, and big props to Erikson for being able to make the Letheras characters work in such a dark novel (not perfectly, but well enough to not break the immersion).

    As for the story, nothing is really resolved, or at least no character has found closure (except the really dead ones). No big questions are answered (Kettle, Nameless Ones, Hold of the Dead, the realtionship between the Hold, the Azath and Gothos' spell if there is one, the Empty Hold, the Errant's plan, the Rat Catchers' guild etc.), and this is why I can't wait to get through the Bonehunters and come back to this storyline in Reaper's Gale. Normally, I would have a myriad of questions, but I've been used to it by now and I trust that Erikson will answer them in time. The only real question I have is about the giant story at the start of the novel. Does this refer to a jade giant that came with the Fall and the ocean and the waves changed its form? Also, just a throw, but could The Pack's death have something to do with the convergence taking place in Deadhouse Gates?

    And the only problem I have with the story is the part where Seren and Buruk run from the Edur. And my question is: why does Buruk run? He's made the decision to commit suicide, so why does he not just wait for the Edur to kill him? If he wants to die in his home, Erikson should have indirectly told us. Also, why does Seren feel so guilty for Buruk's death? We have no indication that they were close, except for his advances which Seren turns down. Following the same logic, why does he have to drug Seren? Why would he think that she would try to stop him? These questions (minor plotholes in my opinion) stem from the fact that Seren is not a well developed character in my opinion. We do get some glimpses of her character, but not enough to be able to understand her actions. I think there should have been a little more context on her relationship with Hull, to understand the extend of her guilt and why would it manifest after Buruk's suicide. Even her rape is not really handled that well. If Erikson is trying to show us how private of a person Seren is, it's working, but it's also confusing for the reader. Oh, I should probably say that I failed to see the purpose of some characters and events in the novel. Why was Gerun Eberict in the novel? The only reason I can think of, is that he was an impersonation of the evils of Letherii civilization, but I don't think he was needed. The same goes for Shand, Hejun and Rissarh. I don't think they were needed for Tehol to take action, he could have realized what he needed to do by himself. Unless of course they play a role later in the series.

    As for characters, I think the character work in this novel is kind of lacking, but I really love Trull. He's incredibly relatable. His going against the flow, his honesty, his reason, his wisdom. I also mourn for Brys (effin Errant, so much for being an observer) and the Ceda. I can't feel any sympathy for Rhulad (I don't think Erikson really tries), but I can kind of understand Mayen. She was immature and weak. She found herself in an impossible situation, tried to make the best of it and failed. She was not a nice person by any measure, but I think she is still a tragic figure. Comparing her to Felisin, I think Felisin is an infinitely deeper character, but Mayen is a lot more sympathetic.
  2. First read thoughts/questions

    15 May 2019 - 08:00 PM

    So, I just finished this book. I have kind of mixed feelings to be honest. When it's good, it's REALLY good, but there are times that it is pretty mediocre, the pacing suffers consistently... I think the main problem thouh is the fact that it is too packed. I mean, there are way too many characters and plotlines to follow, and that results on some of them not being given the attention they deserve. We barely follow the 14ths (is it the 14th? I really don't have the inclination to fact check atm) journey, we get far too little from Tavore, Kalam and Apsalar/Cutter, Icarium and Mappo make just a cameo(!) and my favourite character (Felisin) doesn't get the time to shine, even as Shai'k and the same goes for Heboric. Finally, the politics in Shaik's camp could have so much more detail. In my opinion, this book should be split in two, one with Karsa's (and maybe Trull's and Onrack's) journey and the other with all the other stories and the final convergence.

    Karsa is amazing though, and the writing falls between DG and MoI in my opinion (I really think that Seven Cities is a much more interesting setting than Genabackis, and that gives Erikson the opportunity to write better prose). Still, the book may be better than GotM, but has way too many shortcomings to come close to DG and MoI.

    I also have some questions (I suspect that the most important ones willbe answered in due tome, so I will just ask some minors one). First, what was the task Cotillion set to Lostara? Was it hinted at some point? Because we learn about Kalam's and and Apsalar's and Cutter's tasks, but of Lostara's I feel we learn nothing. Also, what was the purpose of the Azalan demons being let loose in Seven Cities (through the diamonds that Kalam used to buy his two knives)? I am also not really sure about Febryl's plan. Was his goal just to help Dom and then requesting from him that he gives Seven Cities their independence? Or was there something more and I missed it? Finally, how was the Adjunct able to assume that Dom would betray Shai'k? Was there a secret deal? Although we know that Tavore was working with the Talons, I doubt it, because as hard as she is, I don't think that she would let Dom slaughter Coltaine's army and Aren's garrison. Also, there were mentions of Hood himself coming to Raraku, we see the Talons worshipping Hood and we know Baudin was a Talon and is know Knight of Death. Could the Talons be working for Hood himself? That's a pretty wild guess, but it kinda makes sense. I don't really see how Hood would be benefited by Dom's plan though. Maybe by ruling the Malazan Empire behind the scene?
  3. First read thoughts/questions

    15 May 2019 - 07:39 PM

    So, I finished the book some time ago. It was really great, although I don't really like Erikson's tendency to overcomplicate things towards the finale of the books.

    To start, I think this is the best book up until House of Chains (I finished that as well) by barely edging Deadhouse Gates. The main thing it has going for it, is the almost flawless pacing (in contrast with the hiccups of the first two books, as well as HoC) and the more interesting (to me) central plot. On the other hand, DG has slightly beter prose, character development and is tighter thematically than MoI in my opinion.

    I loved Itkovian's storyline, such an amazing arc, while the siege of Capustan is one of the most amazing stuff I have ever read, really really fascinating. I also loved Paran, the Paran siblings and their relationship is an amazing theme, despite not interacting with one another.

    I also have a few questions, things I didn't catch on during my read.

    First, what exactly is up with death in the series? I mean, when someone dies, they go through Hood's gate and then they stay in Hood's realm, right? But if that is so, then how come the Barghast (and other) spirits wonder? And why are there questions throughout the book about where an individual will go after death? Is there a difference between soul and spirit (this is a more general question, I always thought they were kind of like the same thing)?

    Also, how did Togg end up in that cage in the Beast Hold? And why did Toc have to go to the Seer (K'rul specifically said that in a vision)? Did he need to be at Coral for Togg to take the Beast Throne and if so, why did he have to suffer in the hands of the Seer and not go straight there and not get captured in the first place (in the company of Envy perhaps)?
  4. Finished the book for the first time-general thoughts/impressions

    03 March 2019 - 07:52 PM

    Hi guys. So about a month after finishing GotM, I am back with some thoughts and questions about DG. If you care to comment and shed some light into some of my questions and plot points I haven't entirely got, please do. I would beg for no spoilers and if the answer is RAFO or if a potential theory is wrong/correct, please answer with yes or no. Fair warning, this is going to be a long post, so please support a fellow fledgling Malazan noobie if you have the patience.

    I'll start with some general thoughts about the first two books. After putting some time between me and GotM, I can say that that book has some pacing problems. It is also known that it was originally intended as a movie script and it shows in some ways.

    Let me explain these thoughts. The book starts off really interesting and does a hell of a job of establishing the setting and put a shroud of mystery over the world. Then, the worldbuilding continues, albeit in much slower pace, but the book remains extremely enjoyable. Until we get to the last part. I don't know, but the, let's say, third act of GotM seems, to my eyes, a total mess. The pace picks up really quickly for some inexplicable reason and we seem to get action for the sake of action. While the second act is a subtle and really satisfying bricklaying, the last 200 pages or so is a series of battles between really powerful entities (which are dealt with really quickly by the way), half of them not being essential to the plot. And that is what indicates to me that this was intended as a movie script (of course this movie would have left the audience completely baffled). There are some other issues with GotM, but I think the pacing and the badly structured finale are the most important for me. Oh, I almost forgot the enjoyable but totally unnecessary Three Musketeers inspired storyline (the Simtal affair). If it was done to develop the characters fine, but it seems kind of out of place and awkward. If Simtal was more involved in the central plotline, it would be more organically absorbed.

    Now, Deadhouse Gates. This book is a vast step forward, there is no denying it. There are still some quite obvious flaws to this book (Erikson seems to have not comletely matured as an author yet), but the pacing is vastly improved (although some slight hiccups remain and the book could have done with like 200 less pages I think) and the last 3-4 chapters are just so incredibly good. To the point that I wish the whole book was written as well. Also, the characters in Deadhouse Gates are way better developed and fleshed out in comparison to GotM (which had already done quite a fine job). Favourite character would have to be Felisin, in terms of depth and development of course. As for likeability, I would really like to strangle her with my bare hands, so the credit goes to Erikson I suppose, because this was obviously his intention (although you could say he took it a little too far). I can't wait to see her development and her clash with Tavore in HoC. Also, Mappo and Iacrium are not exactly an original concept, but they are incredibly well done. As to parts I enjoyed the most, I know most people would go with the chain, and yes, these parts were the most action packed and thrilling. But personally I liked more the worldbuilding and the character interactions of the Felisin/Heboric/Baudin and Mappo/Icarium storylines. Even the short Kalam parts had some interesting bits.

    So, on to questions/general thoughts. My question as to Dujek's knowledge of Lorn's plans in GotM was answered and I am really satisfied. Kudos to Erikson.

    I want to also comment a bit on Laseen. She seems really intelligent, efficient and with a knack for plotting and conspiring. She is really inventive and knows very well how to manipulate. She also seems to possess integrity and honour. However right now we see glimpses of incompetence, poor choosing of her officials (the whole Pormqual/Seven Cities situation is totally her fault until we learn otherwise) and, as ironic as it sounds, softness. Yes, we see Laseen conduct cullings and get rid of the Old Guard etc. But she seems too slow to take control of things. She shows a kind of indecisiveness that only makes things worse. This is evident by the Seven Cities situation, as commented by Duiker, and by the fact that she seeks to reason with Kalam (something that any ruler that would put the stability of the Empire and their personal safety first would not really consider, as Laseen herself says, by referencing Dassem Ultor). Juxtaposing Laseen with Dancer is especially interesting. Both possess a kind of utilitarian worldview. Both seem quite honorable and see assassination as a means towards a noble goal. But Laseen seems way less decisive and sure than Dancer from what I have seen so far. She is quite similar to Kalam in that sense (I'm thinking on how he didn't act on his suspicions of Pearl/Salk Elan).

    BUT, from Laseen's conversation with Kalam we have a very interesting situation. Either there is a large inconsistency between GotM and DG, or she is lying her teeth out for some of the events of the first book. If what Laseen says is true, then Lorn's and Tool's whole story arc does not make any sense. If they want to make Rake and Darujhistan allies against the Seer, then why does Lorn try to level the city twice and weaken and possibly kill Rake (Raest and the demon)? Even if they became aware of the threat after Lorn had set off from Pale, they would certainly be able to communicate with her and stop her. I can understand assassinating Darujhistan's leaders and Dujek's army conquering the city, but I can't understand destorying the city and/or killing Rake. If it's RAFO please say so.

    Some other minor questions that are left open. Who started the convergence? Was it really planned to coincide with the Whirlwind or was it just a coincidence? What was the Warren that the Shilanda went through and some of the passengers almost ascended (maybe Telann, since it is the Warren of Fire?) and does everybody that come in contact with this fire ascend? Also, I would like your thoughts on Mallick Rel. Do you believe he was a traitor from the start or did he side with Dom due to Coltaine humiliating him? We have indications for both. Pormqual is acting weird from the start, but Rel warns Coltaine that he would see to his destruction after he is humiliated by him in Hissar. I tend to believe he only cared about himself and that he decided to side with Dom after his clash with Coltaine.

    Anyway, in a few words I really enjoyed the book and I am really looking forward to the next two books so I can see how the storylines in both continents continue.
  5. Dujek/Tyrant question

    31 January 2019 - 07:04 AM

    Hello everyone. So, I am new to this forum and to the series. I am currently in the last 150 pages or so and this book, although it comes with some obvious flaws, is very good and I think prepares you for what is to follow (or at least what I expect to follow). It is confusing and not confusing at the same time. I find that if you pay attention you will have little problem understanding what is going on (unless Erikson doesn't want you to of course). Most of the plotlines are either resolved, left for later books or provide the reader with enough information to either figure out things for himself or construct a plausible interpretation.

    That said, there is a part close to where I am right now that does not make a lot of sense. How does Dujek know about the Tyrant? As far as I know, only Lorn, Tool, Tayschrenn, Bellurdan, Tattersail (who finds out shortly before her confrontation with Bellurdan) and of course Laseen know about the Tyrant (at least in the Empire). None of them was likely to inform Dujek of Lorn's plan. So how does Dujek know and inform Whiskeyjack in their conversation through the K'Chain Che'Malle artifact? If this is answered later, please just say so and don't give any spoilers. Perhaps I am getting impatient, but I expected this to be resolved prior to the conversation scene or immediately after as is usually the pattern after such a big revelation. Instead, it seems it is kind of just brushed off. Have I missed something?

    By the way, the Coll/Simtal thing, does it go anywhere? Because right now it seems like a completely disconnected sideplot. Has it some significance to the overarching plot or it's just a subplot to build up the Darujhistan characters? Because it really seems strangely disconnected.

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