TS Chan's Reviews > Midnight Tides

Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson
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really liked it
bookshelves: malazan, dr-reading-challenge, re-read
Read 2 times. Last read June 18, 2017 to June 30, 2017.

Betrayal. Lies. Greed. Power.

These are the dominant themes presiding over Midnight Tides, the excellent fifth chapter of Malazan Book of the Fallen, which opened with a Prologue dated back to the Time of the Elder Gods, providing yet another history lesson into this deeply complex world.

One would expect that progressing through the series should only get easier right? It seems though that Erikson decided to up the ante for worldbuilding by bringing the reader to a completely new far-flung continent and an entire cast of new characters. There is only ONE name that is familiar in the Dramatis Personae, one whom we met in the previous book - Trull Sengar. It turns out that Midnight Tides was dedicated to relate the story of how Trull ended up being in his dire position as we've seen in the Prologue of House of Chains.

This is the story of a kingdom which was prophesized to be reborn as an empire at the end of what is known as the Seventh Closure. The Letherii exhibited all the evils of greed and, in its intransigent belief of their destiny to rule as an empire, had been subjugating the various lands and races in the continent of Lether. The only remaining people yet to fall were the Tiste Edur, the children of Shadow, a people which were living a lie of a betrayal so great that it shattered a land.

To approach this book without getting a whiplash, you need to be prepared to treat Midnight Tides as a completely fresh story. It is easier said than done, however. That learning all new characters and cultures again made for a rough start was a bit of an understatement. Even the basis of magical power and the gods were different here as instead of the Deck of Dragons and the Houses, we have the more antiquated form of Tiles and Holds. Thankfully, Erikson's narrative continues to improve with each and every subsequent book. The almost effortless flow of the story and the POV switching really helped to ease the reading experience.

As always, character development was top-notch. Through the multitude POVs between the Letherii and the Tiste Edur, the one common thing that run through their narrative was the stories of three brothers.
The history of this decade, for our dear Letheras, can be most succinctly understood by a faithful recounting of the three Beddict brothers. And, as is clear, the tale's not done yet.

The King's Champion, the ex-Sentinel and the Diabolical Genius - three Letherii brothers with a poignant story to tell. One of these brothers, Tehol Beddict, and his manservant, Bugg, make up my favourite Malazan duo of all time. It was through their perspective that one can gain some appreciation of the Letherii outside of courtly intrigue and conspiracies, which made all the more enjoyable with its dry and sarcastic humour, laced with sharp intellect, hence providing a much-needed dose of lightheartedness.
"No one spoke after that, not for some time. They drank their wine, and it seemed to Trull that something was present, some part of his life he'd thought - not long gone, but non-existent in the first place. They sat, the three of them. Brothers, and nothing more."

The Sengars of the Tiste Edur were made up of four brothers to be exact, but I felt that the story was mostly told between three of them. It was every bit as empathetic as that of the Beddicts, if not more. As the Edurs embraced a deadly power that they did not understand, one filled with ravenous hunger for vengeance, the story spiralled ever further into the dark depths of madness, of greed and the poison of power.
"Greed and savagery unleashed, fear and panic triggering brutality and ruthless indifference."

At risk of sounding repetitious, I cannot ignore mentioning how epic some of the battle scenes were, albeit this time it was because of the overpowered level of sorcery unleashed instead of the tactical military brilliance we've seen in Deadhouse Gates (which for me were still the best ones in the series thus far because of the Chain of Dogs).

Slaughterous sorcery

Art by Lauren Saint-Onge

In spite of the unfamiliar setting of this instalment, there were stunning revelations herein which offered a connectivity to the overarching tale that had already been told in the previous books. A couple or so subplots seemed a bit out of place though and appear to serve as an extended prologue for future books.  Together with some strange dream sequences, which as usual, did not sit well with me, I was not able to attain the same level of enjoyment reading Midnight Tides as I did with the first three books of the series.

Notwithstanding, this is still a very solid entry into the Malazan Book of the Fallen and only continues to demonstrate the brilliance of Erikson in creating such an immersive world and telling such compelling stories of possibility the largest cast of characters I've encountered in a series thus far.

"The world has drawn breath.. and now breathes once more. As steady as ever, as unbroken in rhythm as the tides.
For such is the rhythm of these particular tides. Now, with the coming of night, when the shadows drew long, and what remained of the world turned away.
Until midnight, all is turned away, silent and motionless. Awaiting the last tide."

And with the tide, a new world unfurled.

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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Reading Progress

May 3, 2015 – Started Reading
May 8, 2015 –
2.0% "SE never fails to impress with his Prologues, which all share a similar tone one instantly recognises as a Malazan novel. \n \n And of course, any mention of Anomander Rake sends delicious shivers down my spine ;)" (ebook Edition)
May 10, 2015 –
14.0% "And she suspected, the forging of a vast, depthless friendship... Where silences could become a conjoining of paths. Where a handful of inconsequential words could bind spirits in an ineffable understanding.\n \n One of my favourites aspects of the Malazan novels - SE's masterful rendition of friendships/relationships of the most unlikely pairings." (ebook Edition)
May 10, 2015 –
25.0% "Thus far I am indifferent to both the Tiste Edur and the Letherii in general. Individual-wise, a few of the Letherii characters stand out way more than the Tiste Edur. There's also something about the machinations of the Letherii empire that reminded me a bit of ASOIAF." (ebook Edition)
May 11, 2015 –
30.0% "Fallen. Who tracks our footsteps, I wonder? We who are the forgotten, the discounted, and the ignored.. Why does my heart weep for them?.. Can one stop, can one turn and force one’s eyes to pierce the gloom? And see the fallen? Can one ever see the fallen? And if so, what emotion is born in that moment? . . . recognition.\n \n Such deep contemplations, gosh this series really work your heart and mind." (ebook Edition)
May 15, 2015 –
37.0% ""Peace, my young warrior, is born of relief, endured in exhaustion, and dies in false remembrance.. Do honour, loyalty and sacrifice truly exist? Are such virtues born only from extremity?"\n "..loyalty is not to be spoken of, and honour is to be endure. Whilst courage is to be survived. Those virtues.. belong to silence."\n "Indeed, yet how they proliferate in peace!"" (ebook Edition)
May 15, 2015 –
42.0% "I need more Tehol and Bugg!!!!!" (ebook Edition)
May 16, 2015 –
59.0% "You have always held my heart \n \n Oh Seren, how my heart aches for you." (ebook Edition)
May 17, 2015 –
84.0% "They drank their wine, and it seemed to Trull that something was present, some part of his life he'd thought - not long gone, but non-existent in the first place. They sat, the three of them. Brothers, and nothing more.\n \n Oh, my heart aches again!" (ebook Edition)
May 17, 2015 – Finished Reading
June 18, 2017 – Started Reading
June 18, 2017 – Shelved
June 18, 2017 – Shelved as: malazan
June 18, 2017 – Shelved as: dr-reading-challenge
June 18, 2017 – Shelved as: re-read
June 30, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-28 of 28 (28 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Orient Woot, nice to see you in Malazan!!! And wow, reading for the third time..... :)


message 2: by TS (new) - rated it 4 stars

TS Chan Orient wrote: "Woot, nice to see you in Malazan!!! And wow, reading for the third time..... :)"

It's actually just the 2nd time. Dunno what happened just because I had a different edition or something and I can't remove the dates. Arrghhh!

Anyway, glad to back too! ;)


Orient TS wrote: "Orient wrote: "Woot, nice to see you in Malazan!!! And wow, reading for the third time..... :)"

It's actually just the 2nd time. Dunno what happened just because I had a different edition or something and I can't remove the dates. Arrghhh!

Anyway, glad to back too! ;) "


GR tricks as usual, sigh. Have you read it long ago?:)


message 4: by TS (new) - rated it 4 stars

TS Chan Orient wrote: "TS wrote: "Orient wrote: "Woot, nice to see you in Malazan!!! And wow, reading for the third time..... :)"

It's actually just the 2nd time. Dunno what happened just because I had a different editi..."


Slightly over 2yrs ago. Need to finish the series this time, got stuck after Book 8.


Orient TS wrote: "Slightly over 2yrs ago. Need to finish the series this time, got stuck after Book 8. "

That's good as it's almost like a new read and maybe this time you'll get to the end :) Anyway, if you need an encouraging kick, I'm there for you ;)))


message 6: by Igor (new) - added it

Igor Ljubuncic Yup, you're right. These books are heavy on the soul.
Igor


Jay  The Crippled God hey ts chan. beautiful writing and thanks. i always extremely enjoy ur review and this one is special to me <3


Lady Luna. ✨ Great review my lovely friend 😘


message 9: by TS (new) - rated it 4 stars

TS Chan Jay wrote: "hey ts chan. beautiful writing and thanks. i always extremely enjoy ur review and this one is special to me <3"

Thank you Jay. Such kind words :)


message 10: by TS (new) - rated it 4 stars

TS Chan ☽Luna☾ wrote: "Great review my lovely friend 😘"

Thanks Sarah!
Old review actually.. had problems with my 'times read' but couldn't fix it even though I deleted the book from my list and added it again. Sigh...

I'm just waiting for you to get back into this series ;)


Petrik Amazing review my friend! can't get enough of that art honestly arghhh I can't wait to read this series next January!! :D


message 12: by TS (new) - rated it 4 stars

TS Chan Petrik wrote: "Amazing review my friend! can't get enough of that art honestly arghhh I can't wait to read this series next January!! :D"

Thank you my friend!!
Oh you'll like researching the art for this series I'm sure. I am looking forward to when you start this one.


Orient Yay, you finished! I'll finish in a couple of days :)


message 14: by TS (new) - rated it 4 stars

TS Chan Orient wrote: "Yay, you finished! I'll finish in a couple of days :)"

Great!! Looking forward to your thoughts/ review when you do.


Michael Britt Awesome review, TS!!


message 16: by TS (new) - rated it 4 stars

TS Chan Michael wrote: "Awesome review, TS!!"

Thanks Michael! 😀


message 17: by Jokoloyo (new)

Jokoloyo ow... a 4 star rating. Malazan is getting dimmer.

thank you for the review, TS!


Choko Great review, TS:):):)


message 19: by TS (new) - rated it 4 stars

TS Chan Jokoloyo wrote: "ow... a 4 star rating. Malazan is getting dimmer.

thank you for the review, TS!"


You're most welcomed. It's just a bit of a dip for now. I recall that the next book goes back up :)


message 20: by TS (new) - rated it 4 stars

TS Chan Choko wrote: "Great review, TS:):):)"

Thanks Choko!


Orient Wonderful review, TS :) I may sound spoiled, but I think that more familiar faces would have helped me love this book more :)


message 22: by TS (new) - rated it 4 stars

TS Chan Orient wrote: "Wonderful review, TS :) I may sound spoiled, but I think that more familiar faces would have helped me love this book more :)"

Thank you, Orient! It is an unwarranted feeling for sure, this is the 5th book after all.

I think you'll enjoy the next one though. A lot of the plots from previous books start coming together.


Orient TS wrote: "Thank you, Orient! It is an unwarranted feeling for sure, this is the 5th book after all.

I think you'll enjoy the next one though. A lot of the plots from previous books start coming together. "


Sure, I bet Erikson wanted to test the strength of love of his fans XD I wonder, was it better for you than the first time? ;)


message 24: by TS (new) - rated it 4 stars

TS Chan Orient wrote: "TS wrote: "Thank you, Orient! It is an unwarranted feeling for sure, this is the 5th book after all.

I think you'll enjoy the next one though. A lot of the plots from previous books start coming ..."


Yes it definitely was better the 2nd time.


Samir Great review TS! I think I'm gonna struggle with this one even more than I did with HoC.


message 26: by TS (new) - rated it 4 stars

TS Chan Samir wrote: "Great review TS! I think I'm gonna struggle with this one even more than I did with HoC."

Thanks Samir!

Sorry to hear that you've been struggling tho :(


Mayim de Vries Great review, TS. I'd also add debt as one of the novel's leitmotifs to your introductory line.


message 28: by TS (new) - rated it 4 stars

TS Chan Mayim wrote: "Great review, TS. I'd also add debt as one of the novel's leitmotifs to your introductory line."

Thanks, Mayim!
Yes, 'debt' definitely is one of them too.


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