Malazan Book of The Fallen

I'm thinking of getting back into this series - last time through I ended at book 4 or 5 - but feel like I need some kind of companion book to help me understand what the hell is going on.

Any suggestions?

Start at the beginning again, things will make a lot more sense with 4 or 5 books under your belt.

Other than that I don't read anything other than this thread and the occasional Google search, so I'm not up on the sites that may give good help.

The publisher, TOR, is doing a series of blogs where two people (editors?) re-read the series and discuss their thoughts. Each post covers a chapter or two, and they've done this for perhaps half the series (including the esslemont books).

It's the closest to a recap of the books that I've come across, and they provide some interesting insights.

http://www.tor.com/features/series/malazan-reread-of-the-fallen

FINALLY about to finish Memories of Ice. Holy hell, I can't believe it took me almost six months to get through. I REALLY wish there were audiobooks for these. That or I need to read faster.

Man, when he does a climax, he does a climax. I tried to summarize what all was going on at the end for my fiancee. After about the third or fourth minute straight of just going through all the different factions, she shut me up and said she got the idea. I think I lost her around "giant undead lizards with blade arms". Or maybe "demonic condors."

I was going to take a break, but think I might just jump right into House of Chains. Well, after I go read a summary of what happened in book 2.

I don't know if people are still following this thread or not. It seems like I've had a different experience with the series than some. I started Gardens and set it down after about 100 pages, citing some similar complaints to others here. "They don't explain anything!" But I went back a few months later at the urging of a friend and started again. For several books, I was rewarded with a rich, satisfying reading experience.

Gradually, however, I started to have problems wanting to pick it back up. Sometimes it was because of the hard breaks between novels. New characters and plotlines, with nary a familiar face and 1200pp to go - a daunting enough undertaking for any reader! But that wasn't it - not really. I pick up and read novels full of unfamiliar characters all the time. Other times, the pacing just seemed off. There can be hundreds of pages at a stretch where nothing really happens.

I'm in the middle of book 8, and I'm determined to finish, (though it's starting to feel like unrewarding work). Thematically, the series is very one-note. If I have to read another lecture on deep-time or the fleeting nature of existence, I might throw my e-reader out the window.

Those complaints aside, I absolutely LOVE some of the characters, and I really hope I can slog through the rest and find out their fates. I'd love for somebody to encourage me - just give me a reason. Glad to see some goodjers share my reading interests.

TL:DR I want to finish, I really do!

Localgod54, I was greatly relieved when he stopped introducing whole new civilizations. After that, a few new characters here and there was not such a big deal.

Localgod54 wrote:
Those complaints aside, I absolutely LOVE some of the characters, and I really hope I can slog through the rest and find out their fates. I'd love for somebody to encourage me - just give me a reason. Glad to see some goodjers share my reading interests.

TL:DR I want to finish, I really do!

I, like some others here (I believe), found Toll the Hounds' ending redeemed every single page that was turned in mild irritation and ever so slight boredom. The final two books are much better about that, as well, so definitely stick with it.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
Localgod54, I was greatly relieved when he stopped introducing whole new civilizations. After that, a few new characters here and there was not such a big deal. :lol:

LIES.

This is unpossible. Every page, nay, every PARAGRAPH is rife with the introductions of new story elements|characters|civilizations|gods|pantheons|forms of magic|BEES. Ten pages from now, there's a quiz. if you get any of the questions wrong, you have to START THE BOOK OVER.

The series almost killed me in book 2. Hell, book 5 was the hardest. Felt like a giant step backwards after the way book 4 ended.

Okay, I've got a vacation coming up. I've got a whole week with nothing to do but sit on a beach, read, and make a fool out of myself trying to throw a lightweight frisbee in the wind. I'll finish Hounds and see if it kick-starts me. Thanks for the encouragement, e'erbody!

Started House of Chains a few days ago, and this one's grabbed me a lot faster than the others have so far. Might be because so far, he's telling a single, (seemingly) isolated story with a small cast of characters rather than character-hopping like usual. I'm really liking it, and enjoying trying to figure out how this story line fits with the rest of what I already know.

I finally finished! After I think it took about a year for me to get through the 10 books. I am tempted but the spin offs novels, like I would love to read more about the Crimson Guard. Book 10 had a much faster pace/more action that probably the 3 previous books combined, it was a fast read.

I am not sure how I feel about the series... I think it was very good, and very challenging. I am glad I read it, and it had great characters and moments, but think it had too much philosophy for me. He created so many memorable characters (my favorite is probably Kruppe, I was disappointed he only had a minor section in the last book), but the whole Tisti Andii I didn't really care about, doubly so for the Shake plot line. I agree that I really think the tone of the crippled god changed a lot over the last two books.

I think I will move onto something lighter for a bit and then pick up the spin-offs. Some quick questions:

Spoiler:
- I thought Crokus was killed, how did he come back to life at the end?

- What happened to the Malazans that were left alive in Darjuhistan after some were killed in Krul's bar?

- How did Hetan return to life?

Finished Deadhouse Gates for the second time. Man, harrowing.

Question: Is there anything of Coltaine in the spinoff books?

I find most of his books harrowing, to be honest. I really should finish the series, though.

LeapingGnome wrote:
Some quick questions:

Spoiler:
- I thought Crokus was killed, how did he come back to life at the end?

- What happened to the Malazans that were left alive in Darjuhistan after some were killed in Krul's bar?

- How did Hetan return to life?

Well, I'll give these a timely reply. Going based off of memory here.

Spoiler:
Crokus: When are you talking about? He is near death after the attack by Imass. He's healed and eventually meets up with Apsalar again. Was he in serious danger between then? I don't recall him ever being close to death again.

sh*t. Umm. They either left Darjuhistan or continued on living their lives there. I believe it was barely mentioned at some point. Really can't recall.

Hetan: I believe that was Toc's doing. As to the how of it, well, guess it had something to do with him being a part of High House Death. How does anything work in these books? lol

Rallick wrote:
I find most of his books harrowing, to be honest. I really should finish the series, though.

Mos def. It obviously gets worse as the books go on, especially when we get into the long passages ruminating on the futility of life and whatnot, but these books are nothing but harrowing journeys.

The comedic ones - the Korbal Broach/Bauchelain books - are much less harrowing, though no less good

garion333 wrote:
Finished Deadhouse Gates for the second time. Man, harrowing.

Question: Is there anything of Coltaine in the spinoff books?

=)

You have to look at the Esslemont books, though.

This thread makes me sad. I started the series (and the thread) quite strong, but for some reason just got tired/really confused by the second last book. Ah well. Time to start over and try the whole thing again.

No worries, I find myself constantly petering out on this series. I'm more than halfway through book 4 (I think), and I haven't read it in ages. It's partly my fault, because I don't do much sit-down reading these days, but the sheer complexity of the things makes it hard to get back into them after a break.

I really wish they were out in audiobook.

Chaz wrote:
No worries, I find myself constantly petering out on this series. I'm more than halfway through book 4 (I think), and I haven't read it in ages. It's partly my fault, because I don't do much sit-down reading these days, but the sheer complexity of the things makes it hard to get back into them after a break.

I really wish they were out in audiobook.

Each time I start the series from the beginning, I make it a bit further.

I have been picking up cheap copies of the oversized softcover releases when I see them in used bookstores, so that someday I'll finally finish the whole thing. In some ways, it feels like a (very complex) fighting anime. There are SO MANY different factions / characters / magic, and they're introduced in snippets here and there throughout the series. You're always left wondering how strong folks are in comparison to others. Sometimes you find out.

So, it took me years to get through the 10 books, which is much longer than anything has ever taken me to read. The writing is so dense and there's so many characters that reading those first few books felt like work at times. So I'd get through a chapter and feel burnt. I found that the best way for me to read these books is to do so in smaller chunks over longer periods of time. I'd read just about every day but usually for only a half hour.

On my second time through I'm still reading in smaller chunks, but mostly because I feel like I can take my time and ruminate on what's happening since the pieces are falling into place oh so much easier for me. That said, I marathoned for three hourse when finishing Deadhouse again, so it's not as if I'm not up for long reads, but if you're struggling through the series the worst thing you can do is wait weeks or months before picking it up again. I was lost in a lot of parts during my first read through but I kept at it and kept it fresh by reading in smaller chunks and it worked. Give it a shot.

I'm halfway through Midnight Tides. Someone please tell me that books 6-10 are Tehol and Bugg running around the world having hilarious adventures. I seriously love those two.

And a general question:

Spoiler:
Does this one come after book 4 chronologically? I vaguely remember Trull Sengar appearing in an earlier book that I read years ago, but no specifics. Of course, book 5 is doing that "not gonna tell you where this takes place or how it fits into all the stuff you already read" thing, and I can't work out how Trull appeared somewhere completely else, but Midnight Tides doesn't seem to be talking about it at all.

No, Tehol and Bugg don't become the central focus, but they aren't only in Midnight Tides.

Book 5 starts in the past (before book 1) and then works towards the present. It'll eventually converge with everything.

I think I'm liking the two of them even more because of the voices the narrator uses for them in the audio book. They're just awesome.

I should've known that the answer to my spoilered question was going to be "It'll start to make sense later." That's pretty much the M.O. of these books.

I had a tough time caring about Midnight Tides after how awesome the previous book was. The payoff is worth it, eventually, but the immediate satisfaction of Tehol and Bugg is awesome.

I need to get the audio books for 1-4 and listen to those again. When I'm reading them, it takes me so long that I lose track of threads, and I think the impact of everything is lessened. Like, I just finished House of Chains a month ago, and I can't even remember what happened at the end of it, really.

Chaz wrote:
I need to get the audio books for 1-4 and listen to those again. When I'm reading them, it takes me so long that I lose track of threads, and I think the impact of everything is lessened. Like, I just finished House of Chains a month ago, and I can't even remember what happened at the end of it, really.

How is the narration? I used to own most of them as paperbacks, but switched to Kindle format for the last few; generally I read via Audiobook these days, so I might re-buy them if they're well presented.

Book 5 is the first one I've done via audiobook, and the narration's pretty good. He's got a good variety of voices, which helps with keeping the characters straight. The down side of the audio version is that since they're so dense, you have to pay really close attention, and there's obviously no flipping back to try and remember who this character is again.

I thought I remembered someone saying that they changed narrators at some point, and the later one is less good, but I can't verify that myself yet. At least the audiobooks are cheap. They're doing them as MP3 CDs, so they're around $10 each.