TS Chan's Reviews > Memories of Ice

Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson
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it was amazing
bookshelves: dr-reading-challenge, favorites, re-read, malazan
Read 2 times. Last read May 1, 2017 to May 13, 2017.

The harder the world, the fiercer the honour.

This in-world quote succinctly explained why Memories of Ice is one of my favourite volumes of my favourite grimdark epic fantasy series.  It is the reason why I even read grimdark in the first place, given that I am so easily assailed by emotions that one wonders why I willingly put myself through such heartbreak. So bear with me throughout this series when I keep waxing lyrical about how humanity manifests its most awe-inspiring qualities in the face of relentless hardship and horrors of a world ravaged by conflict.

As Deadhouse Gates dealt with the rise of the Seven Cities rebellion, Memories of Ice was about the events that happened concurrently back on Genabackis as Dujek Onearm's Host with Whiskeyjack and Captain Paran with his Bridgeburners turned towards the threat of the Pannion Domin, a rising empire sweeping up from the southern reaches of the continent. Where two previously opposing armies now turned allies - the renegade Malazans and the mercenary armies of Caladan Brood, who was backed by the ever mysterious Tiste Andii and their lord, Anomander Rake; a gathering of possibly the world's most powerful and dangerous.

Being a trained archaeologist and anthropologist, Erikson's capacity for worldbuilding with deep and complex history was showcased in full glory. The book opened with a Prologue of events which took place aeons ago. To be exact, part I of the Prologue was dated almost three hundred thousand years before humans walked on this world. These pivotal events had culminated in the seemingly many-faced war that afflicts the current world. Ancient wrongs that led to broken and powerful beings that now feed on the poison of vengeance. And after a hundred thousand years, an ancient god had finally awakened to face the rising threat of the Crippled God that may devour all of mankind and ascendants alike. The Deck of Dragons was also much more than what it seemed, and with a portentous change caused by some strange convergence of powers and events, an unwitting and reluctant mortal had been chosen to play a crucial role in this game of gods and ascendants.

A Malazan book usually takes me twice as long to read as compared to another fantasy of similar length. This one, in particular, was really dense with so much to take in; from all the foreshadowing to the revelations, to the amazing battle scenes, and the empathetic development of a vast cast of characters. However, Erikson's writing and narrative skills seem to be improving as we move from one book to the other and in spite of the density of the overarching plot, Memories of Ice was easier to appreciate than its predecessors.

While there were more new characters being introduced yet again, we have familiar and favourite faces from Gardens of the Moon which made the connection to the story significantly smoother. The characters, both new and old, were absolutely compelling in the portrayal of humankind at its best. Within the Pannion Domin led by the Seer, was manifested in stark brutality, the ugly side of humanity when faced with an all-consuming need, one which is the most primal of all. The first big battle evinced the fragility of mortality but in direct contrast, we also see the sheer resiliency of mere mortals sworn and committed to protect their own. And those who were singular in their courage driven by grief and loss from the mindless deaths that accompanied such savagery.

The Siege of Capustan


Amidst this bloody campaign against the Pannion Seer, the storylines of a few notable characters were the most captivating. Firstly, that of unlikely new friendships forged between mortals and almost immortals. One of which was a bond forged through the burdens and unspoken grief that both had lived through, no matter the disparity of its length in which it was borne; the other by a shared path and unexpected compassion.

"With the proper perspective, even a mortal life can seem long. Fulfilling. What I contemplate at the moment is the nature of happenstance. Men and women, who for a time, find themselves walking in step, on parallel paths. Whose lifes brush close, howsoever briefly, and are so changed by the chance contact."

From such a chance contact, also rose an improbable but beautiful love story within the newly allied armies. The improbability was not so much because of the different camps from which the two lovers sprung from, but because of the different lifespan and nature of their respective people. A love between a human and a long-lived being who has lived through so many years of despair that her race was given to apathy for over a millennium.

A heart, once of stone, made mortal once more.

Mortals, which can bring gods and godlike beings to their very knees. The story of Itkovian, the Shield Anvil of Fener, was one which brought me to mine as it did for tens of thousands with his boundless and unfathomable capacity for compassion. To make right yet another ancient wrong.

I am the Shield Anvil. I am Fener's grief. I am the world's grief. And I will hold. I will hold it all, for we are not yet done.

Well, I am just about done as to continue regaling about all the grim yet touching and inspiring storylines in this book will just be too much for a review. Suffice to say that even with the stupendous tale of the Chain of Dogs in Deadhouse Gates, Erikson successfully followed through with another superior instalment in The Malazan Book of the Fallen. The climactic sequence in Memories of Ice was epic, relentless, emotionally powerful and tragic. Even though this was a reread, I was not insensate to the heartbreaks that Erikson seemed to love subjecting his readers to.

Soldiers are issued armour for their flesh and bones, but they must fashion their own for their souls. Piece by piece.

Just as readers of The Malazan Book of the Fallen need to fashion armour for their hearts. Preferably in adamantium or vibranium. (Oh sorry, wrong series/genre.)

You can purchase the book from Book Depository (Free Shipping).

You can find this and my other reviews at Novel Notions.
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Quotes TS Liked

Steven Erikson
“We humans do not understand compassion. In each moment of our lives, we betray it. Aye, we know of its worth, yet in knowing we then attach to it a value, we guard the giving of it, believing it must be earned, T’lan Imass. Compassion is priceless in the truest sense of the wold. It must be given freely. In abundance.”
Steven Erikson, Memories of Ice

Steven Erikson
“First in , Last out.


Motto of the bridgeburners”
Steven Erikson, Memories of Ice

Steven Erikson
“Every gift is edged.”
Steven Erikson, Memories of Ice

Steven Erikson
“Hello, Capustan. The Bridgeburners have arrived.”
Steven Erikson, Memories of Ice


Reading Progress

February 18, 2015 – Shelved
February 18, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
February 28, 2015 – Started Reading
March 1, 2015 –
14.0% "Oh wow! So many revelations in just a handful of chapters."
March 2, 2015 –
20.0% "Anomander Rake *swoon*"
March 3, 2015 –
29.0% "There's really no letting up in every single chapter so far."
March 4, 2015 –
44.0% "It's getting really hard to put this book down. Halfway through and it's already my favourite book in the series so far."
March 5, 2015 –
53.0%
March 6, 2015 –
65.0%
March 7, 2015 –
90.0% "Emotionally ragged again. Erikson just keeps doing this, doesn't he?"
March 8, 2015 – Finished Reading
June 2, 2015 – Shelved as: dr-reading-challenge
January 6, 2016 – Shelved as: favorites
May 1, 2017 – Started Reading
May 4, 2017 –
18.0% "The gelding shied under the commander suddenly, pitching to one side with a squeal of terror. Wind buffeted the camp, ripping the small tents from their shallow moorings. Voices shouted in alarm. Paran stared upward as a vast black shape swept towards the Tiste Andii encampment.
"Anomander Rake has arrived, sir."


This badass dude really knows how to make an entrance."
May 6, 2017 –
44.0% "Book Three: Capustan
If you can, dear friends, do not live through a siege.


Ohhhh boy, here we go! *Bracing myself*"
May 13, 2017 – Shelved as: re-read
May 13, 2017 – Finished Reading
June 14, 2017 – Shelved as: malazan

Comments Showing 1-50 of 50 (50 new)

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Damian Dubois One of the best books in the series!


message 2: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan I liked the entire book more than DG but the Chain of Dogs is still the most amazing storyline so far.


Orient Wonderful review, TS :)))


Samir Fantastic review TS! :) I'm halfway through. Do you have some spare adamantium or vibranium to share? :)


message 5: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan Orient wrote: "Wonderful review, TS :)))"

Oh just saw this. Thanks Orient! Albeit my previous one has been superceded. ;)


message 6: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan Craig wrote: "Great review TS. Heart....is the key word, damn...anyway gor sidetracked haha. Are you enjoying reading again? Great image too :)"

Thanks Craig!! I'm definitively enjoying my reread. But it's so exhausting that I just can't speed it up more than a book a month.


message 7: by TS (last edited May 13, 2017 02:13AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan Samir wrote: "Fantastic review TS! :) I'm halfway through. Do you have some spare adamantium or vibranium to share? :)"

Thanks Samir!!
Oh you'll love this one I'm sure.
Let me see if I have any precious heart armour material left...


Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin Wonderful review, TS! I still haven't gotten up my nerve to try the series yet =)


Petrik Amazing review my dear! And my god those character names are handful to remember already! Other than Anomander Rake of course! :D


Lady Luna. ✨ Fantastic review lovely ! I can't wait to get back to this series!


ijeoma Agbaje ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ your review.. still get choked up when I think about this book.


Markus Great review, TS!


message 13: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ wrote: "Wonderful review, TS! I still haven't gotten up my nerve to try the series yet =)"

Thanks Melissa!
You do need to be ready to read this series. If you're not in a good place already, it will be doubly hard.


message 14: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan Petrik wrote: "Amazing review my dear! And my god those character names are handful to remember already! Other than Anomander Rake of course! :D"

Thank you, my friend!
Hahah, and believe me I've barely mentioned 10% of them. :P

And it goes without saying that Anomander Rake was freaking awesome!


message 15: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan ☽Luna☾ wrote: "Fantastic review lovely ! I can't wait to get back to this series!"

Thank you sweetie!
I can't wait for you to dive back too. It's sooo good!


message 16: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan Sade wrote: "❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ your review.. still get choked up when I think about this book."

Thanks Sade!!
IKR! Man, I was still crying reading this the 2nd time, especially the last 2 chapters.


message 17: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan Markus wrote: "Great review, TS!"

Thanks Markus! :)


Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin TS wrote: "Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ wrote: "Wonderful review, TS! I still haven't gotten up my nerve to try the series yet =)"

Thanks Melissa!
You do need to be ready to read this series. If you're not in a go..."


You're most welcome!

And thank you for the heads up because I'm not so I will wait =)


message 19: by C.T. (new)

C.T. Phipps I've never actually wanted to read Malazan before but you've convinced me to start the series now.


message 20: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan C.T. wrote: "I've never actually wanted to read Malazan before but you've convinced me to start the series now."

Awesome!!! Just curious - why the initial aversion?


message 21: by C.T. (new)

C.T. Phipps TS wrote: "C.T. wrote: "I've never actually wanted to read Malazan before but you've convinced me to start the series now."

Awesome!!! Just curious - why the initial aversion?"


Malazan is such a long running series, it seemed like a huge time commitment. Also, a few of my Forgotten Realms friends had an issue with it for reasons I don't understand but they were very loud about.


message 22: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan C.T. wrote: "TS wrote: "C.T. wrote: "I've never actually wanted to read Malazan before but you've convinced me to start the series now."

Awesome!!! Just curious - why the initial aversion?"

Malazan is such a ..."


Oh it is a huge time commitment. I can only feasibly read one Malazan book a month given its density and that's enough to give me a dose of grimdark in my repertoire.


James Lafayette Tivendale Amazing review. Very nicely written. One of my top 3 of the series. x


message 24: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan James wrote: "Amazing review. Very nicely written. One of my top 3 of the series. x"

Thank you James! :)


edge of bubble brilliant review!!!


message 26: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan edge of bubble wrote: "brilliant review!!!"

Thank you! :)


Choko Wonderful review, TS!!! I am 100% with you once again:):):)


message 28: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan Choko wrote: "Wonderful review, TS!!! I am 100% with you once again:):):)"

Thanks Choko! You're always so kind :)


Choko Not kind, just truthfully appreciative 🙂🙂🙂! You just have no idea how happy I am to find so many people who truly enjoy Fantasy as much as I do!!! I have very few in real life and the rest look at me as if I am weird...


message 30: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan Choko wrote: "Not kind, just truthfully appreciative 🙂🙂🙂! You just have no idea how happy I am to find so many people who truly enjoy Fantasy as much as I do!!! I have very few in real life and the rest look at ..."

That is too true! Most of the people I know don't read fantasy and just thought it's weird that I do.


edge of bubble I've stolen that quote unknowingly =D


message 32: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan edge of bubble wrote: "I've stolen that quote unknowingly =D"

Hahaha! Nah that's not stealing cos that quote belongs to Erikson. Just shows we're of one mind while experiencing this book. Will check out your review later. ;)


edge of bubble I've said this before, but upon finishing the book and rereading your review, brilliant! *and I've had to read it twice this time because I've mixed your review with choko's and both of you guys are amazing!*


Miche I liked the entire book more than DG but the Chain of Dogs is still the most amazing storyline so far.

I concur, TS. ‘The Wickans! The Wickans! The Wickans!’ I still get goosebumps when I think at that.

I loved your review! You were able to put in words my journey through Memories of Ice. I am so crushed that I find myself unable to fully articulate my feelings about it. I cried while reading the Chain of Dogs storyline at DG. I sobbed with Memories of Ice. Note to self: keep a box of tissues by my side when reading the last 10% of a Malazan book and make sure to be alone in the room...


message 35: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan Miche wrote: "I liked the entire book more than DG but the Chain of Dogs is still the most amazing storyline so far.

I concur, TS. ‘The Wickans! The Wickans! The Wickans!’ I still get goosebumps when I think at..."


Thanks Miche! Glad I was able to articulate your journey through my words. This makes the effort it took to write this review really worth it :)

Malazan is just so emotionally powerful. There are more to come by the way, especially in Book 7 and 8. I haven't read the last two books yet though.


Miche TS wrote: "Malazan is just so emotionally powerful. There are more to come by the way, especially in Book 7 and 8. I haven't read the last two books yet though. "

*Braces herself.*


message 37: by Ayman (new) - added it

Ayman Teaman You really have outdone yourself in this review. It makes me wonder why should I bother to do mine!

I agree with you, to me this book was far more interesting then the first two; I think because a) we are invested in the characters/world already, 2) there is far more about them than the previous two books


message 38: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan Ayman wrote: "You really have outdone yourself in this review. It makes me wonder why should I bother to do mine!"

Thanks for such kind words :)
You should definitely write yours too! Will look forward to it.


message 39: by Haïfa (new)

Haïfa Amazing, heartfelt, and so beautifully written review TS!! One of my favorite of you!


message 40: by Zoe (new) - added it

Zoe Artemis Spencer Reid That's a real great and thorough review TS !


message 41: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan Haïfa wrote: "Amazing, heartfelt, and so beautifully written review TS!! One of my favorite of you!"

Aww.. thank you, my dear!


message 42: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan Zoe wrote: "That's a real great and thorough review TS !"

Thanks, Zoe!


Mayim de Vries Lovely review TS, you really pointed out all the amazing things about this book.


message 44: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan Thanks, Mayim!


Rinaldo Just finished this. MoI is surely worlds away compared to GotM and DG in my book. I really dig the in depth lore regarding Elder Gods and Elder Races. The delivery of compassion theme is also getting smoother, along with the insane magic warfare!

I'm just not quite sure if I can refer this series as grimdark. Sure, it can be dark and gruesome, but compared to the standard fare of grimdark where everything is nihilistic and futile, there's more hope, heroism, and nobility in Malazan.


message 46: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan Rinaldo wrote: "Just finished this. MoI is surely worlds away compared to GotM and DG in my book. I really dig the in depth lore regarding Elder Gods and Elder Races. The delivery of compassion theme is also getti..."

This had been my favourite of the series when I first read it and rereading didn't change my view at all, mainly for the reasons you've stated.

Honestly I am still not 100% certain how to apply the definition of grimdark though I've never equated it with nihilism. I also have not read that much grimdark to be sure.


Petrik Damn, I forgot how awesome your Malazan review are. Well done, and I agree with what you said here! :D


message 48: by TS (last edited Aug 13, 2018 06:11AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan Petrik wrote: "Damn, I forgot how awesome your Malazan review are. Well done, and I agree with what you said here! :D"

Aww.. thank you, my friend.
And I'll say this again - FINALLY!! A Petrik 6-stars!! xD


message 49: by Dustin (new) - added it

Dustin Possibly my favourite fantasy novel, ever.


message 50: by TS (new) - rated it 5 stars

TS Chan Dustin wrote: "Possibly my favourite fantasy novel, ever."

It's definitely among the top of my favourites.. it's one of those I rate as a hypothetical 6 of 5 stars.


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