Nov 30, 10
Read from November 11 to 28, 2010
It occurs to me that this series is a lot like Lost, minus the stupid soap opera melodrama (mostly) and with the ridiculousness ratcheted up to 11. A sensible narrative? Who needs it? Meaningful character studies? Not really, although Erikson does nod in that direction from time to time. No, what we have here is an ever-escalating series of mysterious and epic, epic, epic mythological backstories and historical events that are mostly only vaguely hinted at (or explosively overturned by some sort of bombshell revelation).
This point is made most clearly, I think, in the fact that conversations in both tend to take one of two forms:
1. The one where one character refuses to explain something to another even though it would be in the best interest for both for this to happen.
2. The one where the conversing characters talk about something in some totally unnatural convoluted way in order to hide what they're talking about from the reader/viewer.
What keeps you going is your interest in solving the puzzles and figuring out the myths that have been hinted at. The problem, though, is that Erikson - like the writers of Lost - appears to have little interest in playing by his own rules, making it quite impossible to piece together the things that have been hinted at because, instead of answers, all we ever get are more questions. And the scope of the series, indeed, means that the reader/viewer tends to forget or lose track of the questions they had had previously, as they are swept under by a constant deluge of new mysteries and revelations.
An interesting side effect of this tendency is the emphasis on fan-created and -maintained communities on the internet that endlessly catalog and discuss these things. How popular, one wonders, would Lost or the Malazan books have been pre-internet?
(I guess it kind of goes without saying that I am a total sucker for this stuff. When I picked this one up to read it, Joy rolled her eyes and called it my "junk food")