This was my second read of Gardens of the Moon, I had read the book in June 11 so it was relatively fresh in my memory. I remember when I was half wayThis was my second read of Gardens of the Moon, I had read the book in June 11 so it was relatively fresh in my memory. I remember when I was half way through this series thinking to myself, i cannot wait to start this again. I was less than 5 pages into this re-read when i realised just how much I was going to enjoy the story with the knowledge I had.
Erikson is a brilliant story teller, There are a number of 'Epics' out there, to be honest, there probably needs to be another honorific that transcends Epic. This story, you have to factor the whole story when discussing the Epicness of this, is unlike any other i have read. You'll read much about how hard it is, how lots have tried and given up, how Erikson loves his descriptive prose etc etc But at the end of the day, what Erikson does is create a world with lots of shit happening in it. He then opens a portal and drops you in it. There is no backstory, there is no slow introduction of characters, it is here and now and you'd better start concentrating.
I remember when Twin Peaks first came out, I remember half of my friends thinking it was the best thing they had ever seen, there was bizarre stuff, mysteries, weird clues and it didn't get resolved at the end of the hour, hell there was a possibility it might not get resolved. The other half of my friends hated it, absolutely hated it with a passion. There was not many fence sitters. The haters did not like the fact that, sitting on their couch, relaxing with a glass of wine and then having to work hard to gain enjoyment/ nah! not their idea of entertainment. Malazan Book of Fallen is a lot like that.
Erikson will not give you any free passes with this book, he will tell you what is going on and start to slip in clues about why it is happening. As the characters unveil plots and gain information, you gain it too. There is no God view here. So why does this make a brilliant book? Why does this become more than an epic? i'll tell you why, because you feel a sense of achievement as you read this book, your mind is being forced to work and not just process words flowing across a page, having the story spoon fed to you. Why the hell did an Elder God just suddenly appear after hundreds of years of inactivity? Did you not remember the discussion about sanctifying temples? Yeah, neither did I at first.
Erikson has the ability to create a world that seems very much real. Characters who develop personalities that you can identify, he needs to be able to do this because by the end of the story you know 500 characters and be able to describe each one. There is a downside to this realism. The book can be very violent, if you want descriptive world building you get descriptive battle and gore. It can be grim at times, but this is a shitty grim world. You have a army marching across the world conquering. Hundred thousand troops marching from one place to another is not a Contiki tour of Europe, this is a nasty world where the population live in fear of war and death. Being in a conquering army is a awful life most of the time, there are moments of brightness, but Erikson doesn't hide the badness of it all.
I always recommend this series to people, I know most won't stick with it, that's ok, I understand not everyone wants to invest in the story like you have to do with this. But when I meet people who have read the books....happy times, you will NEVER have a moment where you have nothing to say to each other. You'll find you can talk for hours on the subject that is Malazan.
If you are planning on reading this book and would like help in understanding the story. The group The Fallen, has a discussion thread chapter by chapter, in fact some of the threads are longer than the bloody chapters themselves. it is likely that if you have a question, it has been asked and debated to death here. The group is VERY strict on spoilers, so each thread is chapter specific.
Story: 3.5/5 I had thought I was coming to an end of my Dresden run with the last book Summer Knight. I was disappointed with a story that ambled alonStory: 3.5/5 I had thought I was coming to an end of my Dresden run with the last book Summer Knight. I was disappointed with a story that ambled along with confusing stories and characters that just did nothing for me. So believing that Jim Butcher had nothing new for me I approached Death Masks with low expectations. I was pleasantly surprised. The story has a interesting plot. Of course our intrepid hero gets himself in a whole lot of trouble, with the usual mix of characters; Red court vampires, demons, the church, the knights of the church, the knights of the churches wife, sexy Susan with the seducing saliva and the Turin shroud. We see a whole new level of bad guys in this, even referencing back to Judas' coin and noose. A couple of Knights join the affray, Mr Miyagi and Dolph Lundgren team up to give some great new characters. On top of this we meet the Archive for the first time and her bodyguard Kinciad, who sounds way to cool and I am hoping we see more of these two in future books. On top of a dual to death at Wrigley Stadium (or was at the white sox ground?), fighting the demons and trying to find the shroud, we finally have Sexy Susan Rodriguez back (who i am visualising as Penelope Cruz). Our favorite half turned vamp is back as sultty as ever with saliva that will have you a drooling mess in the corner. Butcher takes us on a bit of a wild sex romp with Sexy Susan and it has all the makings of an Anita Blake story, vampires, black leather and bondage. Add that a visualisation of Penelope Cruz and it makes for some very flushed reading on a rush hour train journey. Needless to say, I really enjoyed this story. You have to accept the Mickey Spillane style of cheating death ten times a book, because thats the style, forget the improbabilities Dresdens ability to survive all this shit and you'll enjoy this for what it is. Just plain fun.
Characters: 4/5 Dresden's character is pretty much maxed out on points. He isn't going to get any wiser, build empathy, become evil, he is good old Dresden and I like that. Bringing Sexy Susan back built the character development level of the story because she has changed. A lot. It was told well, bits and pieces became apparent and I really like the Susan angle and hope to see more of her. Ahem, maybe without the black leather and bondage. The other new characters Miyagi and Lundgren were really well written and it was easy to like both characters. The only character development i didn't like was Murphy. Our tough no nonsense cop became a wimp in this, her voice all went soft, she lost her hard edge, was compliant and really had a horrible part in this story. Seriously hoping she gets her mojo back for the next book.
Read weight: Light
I am listening to these stories on audio as they are a easy listen, especially when driving as the stories are generally very light and quick.
For the first time in a Dresden book I couldn't turn it off. I wanted more, then more. Completely engaged in this story....more
Well the kids love it, I got a bit bored through the end as it all seemed much a muchness. But had fun inventing different accents and voices for theWell the kids love it, I got a bit bored through the end as it all seemed much a muchness. But had fun inventing different accents and voices for the characters. Stoked that the nearly 4 year old is wanting chapter books read at night now. Think this is a great book for starting the little ones off on listening to chapter books as it has a big visual aspect....more