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Midnight Tides (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #5)
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Midnight Tides Discussion > Book 1 - Frozen Blood (Chap 1 - 5)

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Kitty G Books (kool_kat_kitty) | 671 comments Mod
This is the discussion for book 1 of Midnight Tides ONLY please! No spoilers for any other part of the book please :D

How do you like it so far?
Whose story is best?
What's the theme?
How does it compare to the others so far?

message 2: by TS (last edited May 11, 2015 12:27AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

TS Chan (tschan) | 159 comments Ok here goes:-

Firstly, I loved the Prologue! So far SE's Prologues are just enough to engage the reader and this one was visually epic. I can't help comparing Malazan's Prologues to Wheel of Time's which for saidin's sake are longer than Malazan's main chapters!!

Thus far I claim utter indifference to the Tiste Edur and Letherii in general. Character-wise, I think the individual Letheriis are more interesting than the Tiste Edur. Aside from Trull whom we met in House of Chains, I don't care about any of the rest. Meanwhile, Tehol Beddict and his servant, Bugg, are really enjoyable to read.

The 'theme' that I can discern so far is about betrayal. It was very clear in the Prologue.. and then hinted a lot with regard to Hull Beddict, and the machinations within the Letherii empire.

While the POVs flow well in this book, I sometimes wish that he breaks up the chapters a bit more though.

Kitty G Books (kool_kat_kitty) | 671 comments Mod
Okay, so I totally have to agree with you TS. This prologue instantly gripped me and even though we're focussing on a completely different section of the world, I am really enjoying being back with SE's writing.

I think learning about the Letherii and Tiste Edur is pretty interesting actually and even thought I also don't 'care' about the other characters from each just yet, I still find the balance of the two and their ways of life intriguing.

As for Tehol and Bugg, all I can say is I was pretty much instantly in love with this duo, especially Bugg. Bugg seems to be such a sarcastic and amusing character and his personality made me smile straight away, whilst Tehol is an intriguing one for sure!

I actually read a whole load of this today so I'm going to go comment in the thread that i'm up to with the rest of my thoughts as I don't want to spoil anything :)

Kitty G Books (kool_kat_kitty) | 671 comments Mod
BEWARE, Spoilers for Chap 1 - 5 below :)

Okay so I have a lot to say so far for this book as I'm enjoying it a lot, let's get started with what will no doubt be a very long message!

Chap 1 thoughts:

First up I am really enjoying the two story focuses that we currently have and I think both of them are interesting to me in their own way. We have the Tiste Edur and the Letherii who seem to be rather interesting races. We know a little about the Edur already of course from the previous books and meeting Trull before, but at this point of his story he's still with all his brothers and is a part of the Edur community. Seeing him running back to warn the tribe for days on end shows his dedication to the tribe, but I like that we already get hints at his reluctance to fight as this is something which we know he's known for.
Then he's sent on a mission with his brothers (one of whom we're suspicious of as he seems intent on impressing his brother's betrothed and trying to prove himself) by the Warlock King. Trull sees a white crow (we know that they're important, right?) and I assume this is a bad omen for their journey.

Then we have Udinaas who I have to say intrigued me from the get go. His story of being a slave for the Edur was instantly interesting for me and then we get to see him go through some changes in the later chapters (I'll say no more until later) which I found really exciting. He also sees the white crow (not good).
Feather Witch is a slave also and she's 'casting tiles' which I assume is somewhat similar to the deck of dragons or a semi-equivalent? (maybe I'm assuming wrong here?). Whilst she does so a crazy beast starts attacking her (called a Wyval) and Udinaas manages to stab it.
I liked this scene as it was action-packed and drew me into the story. I think that I already like the romance or flirtation of these two characters, and I wonder what will become of them as we go on.

Then we see a vision from Hannan (the Warlock King) and he says that Trull and his brothers and two others have to go and get this item and wrap it in fur and not touch it (I hope they don't do the stupid thing and ignore this warning as it sounds important!)

And finally we get the scene from Udinaas and Feather Witch as they're unconscious and Trull's mum tries to bring them back where they have a nice little chatter about how hopeless their love is and the 'taint' of magic.
After their chat and they wake Udinaas hears that he has a second heartbeat (where does SE get these ideas?! That's so crazy and badass, but totally shocking and scary too!!) which I assume is to do with the Wyval attack and everything that just happened as Hannan asks if Udinaas is 'infected'. Infected by WHAT I wonder....

Chapter 2 thoughts:

In chap 2 we meet a few other new characters such as Seren who is an 'acquitor' for Buruk the Pale, a 'trader'. Buruk seems a fairly standard 'drunkard' character, whilst Seren is the more interesting of the two for me. She picks up on the fact that Baruk is probably sheltering instructions which are 'killing him' (sounds very ominous!!).
Hull Beddict (the old Sentinel) also journeys with them a little and we see that he was the one who studied the tribes and then gave away all their secrets so that the were taken over. He seems like a nice, if somewhat naive guy, because he then resigned from his position (or at least I think he did).
I like Seren and Hull and I'm interested in when we will find out exactly what news and info Baruk is holding onto. Will there be a war coming on? It's certainly a possibility...

Then we meet Tehol (brother of Hull) and Bugg (his servant/friend) which I have to say was pretty great. I had an instant liking of these two characters and their lazing around and joking was a much needed and fun scene. They are chatting and Bugg tells Tehol that 3 women were looking for him, so Tehol is intrigued and goes to meet them.
The women say that they 'know who he is and what he did' which sounds ominous, and that if he doesn't help them they will expose him. They want him to help them do whatever it was he attempted before and this time 'go all the way'.

Brys (brother of Tehol and Hull) is then shown (I like that we have three brothers and we get to see a bit from each of them) talking to Nifadas (a Eunuch for the Letherii's) and they are talking about what info Baruk has and whether Hull with interfere now they're together.
Then we see Brys stop Nevath (Prince Quillas' bodyguard) by drawing his sword after Quillas' request is denied. The Queen tries to calm the prince, but he storms off.
This section I found interesting because it shows how fast Brys can react and he's clearly a man not to mess with. He is the King's bodyguard, a position of power, yet he's also the youngest brother of Hull and Tehol so already we see that each of these brother's is important.

We then meet Kuru Qan, the High Mage for the Letherii and seemingly a friend of Brys. They talk over prophecy (a lot of which is very ominous as prophecy tends to be). Brys tells him about what happened with the Prince, and also hints that he believes Hull may end up killing the Prince at the 'Great Meeting' (it seems like a lot of this first few chapters is set up for the politics going into this meeting).

Then we go back to Tehol and he's with Shand, Hejun and Rissarh. They want to make a lot of money with Tehol's help so that they can buy all the islands, and they reveal that Tehol almost ruined all of the country before with his tests on if money is power. They want him to completely destroy the economy in order to get revenge on the Lether.
He agrees eventually...
Well now this sounds pretty bad for the Lether. Apparently there's going to be a big meeting and probably a big argument/war between the Lether and the Edur, and now we have Tehol and the women trying to take down the economy... I'd say as of right now Lether needs to be a little worried...

Although then hull says that the 'great meeting' will bring a 'deadly peace' to the Edur and that he wants them to go to war, so maybe they should be watching out too!

So far not sure which side I am rooting for (if either) but I'm liking seeing both sides and I feel like the balance of the two cultures and their perspectives and characters is pretty well done. Seems like SE's writing just gets better as it goes!

Chapter 3 thoughts:

Next we have Trull again as he and the Warlock king discover an Edur corpse, killed by the Leterii Sorcerers. Then the Warlock king casts magic to send 'wraiths' at the Lether ships and shark carcasses are everywhere (I remember Sharks being a fairly key element in the last book too with Karsa... interesting!) Trull notices that everything has a sense of wrongness about it, maybe it's a trap?!
Trull then returns home whilst the corpse is being taken care of by the slaves, and he still has a feeling of unease surrounding him. All pretty troubling and maybe this is the beginning of when trull starts his journey towards changing and becoming quite different to a lot of his race. it already seems like he's a pretty observant sort.

Udinaas has a dream about Daughter Dawn (a soletaken goddess who the Edur don't like - according to the wiki which I have been referring to a lot to keep everyone's positions straight in my head).
She asks which heart he is going to ride and Udinaas answers the Wyval's. She the RAPES him.... and leaves... flipping weird!!! Like, where did that come from, but whatever...
Typically Feather Witch doesn't believe him when he tells her about it (and there ended my liking of her, because she seems a little dumb if she doesn't believe him!) He then sees dragons heading to war (yes, dragons are awesome and I am happy that we have already had a hint of them :) they seem to be called the Eleint).
Then Trull and Rhulad (his brother) go to the Stone Bowl (which is holy) and they find the bones of Wyval's and a crushed Eleint skull there. Fear (Trull and Rhuld's eldest brother) tells then that the Warlock King is messing with dark powers and trying to avenge the dead in the Stone Bowl - messing with some bad stuff for sure!

Chapter 4 thoughts:

We see Saren again as she thinks over the events we've already seen such as the attack on the Whales by the Lether and what reaction this may spark. She thinks war (I'm inclined to believe something dramatic has to happen, although not entirely sure just what that may be).

We then see Brys again as he's at a 'drowning' where Ublala (a half-blood with 4 lungs) survives. I found the idea of the drowning to be a very interesting one and certainly I think this proves how well SE knows his cultures that he manages to create convincing punishment systems and economies for each.

Tehol tells Shand to hire Ublala for a bodyguard which I like seeing as he sounds like a pretty interesting and useful character to have around and get to know.

We then see Eberict who apparently saved the King one time and now gets to do whatever he wants (including murder) and get away with it. Now, this seems like a rather insane custom to me, but there you go, and therefore he's a rather nasty character in my eyes.
We see him talking to Brys about Brys' brothers and Eberict seems to know more than Brys about Tehol's situation and his 'fake' poverty.
Eberict sounds like a potential game changer as he's outside the law and therefore if he decides to get involved he has nothing to stop him from changing things to his vision, as long as it's not the royal family he kills.

We then learn that Tehol and Eberict are staunch enemies and Tehol strives to ruin all of Eberict's plans. He sounds like a dangerous one to get on the wrong side of to me, I hope that decision doesn't come back to haunt Tehol later.

We meet Shurq Ellale next who is undead and a thief. She is hired by Bugg for Tehol. Have to say she was an interesting one to meet and her story and curse all was fun to read.
Apparently there are 3 undead people including her, a child (who lives on the Azath grounds) and a cursed woman.
Shurq and Tehol negotiate the terms of their agreement and the child features in this, along with being made to look human again and feel pleasure (fair, if powerful, requests. I hope Tehol makes good on that promise if she does her part).

We then see Shurq as she meets with the undead child, Kettle. Kettle wants Shurq to be her mother and Shurq doesn't want to be a mother to her, but does bring her bodies.
Kettle seems able to talk to the prisoners of the Azath and she tells Shurq that the Azath needs bodies so it doesn't die. This all went a little over my head, but it's all seemingly set up for some sort of potential catastrophe which I am sure will follow soon!
We find out the the 5 trying to escape are Toblakai... (isn't this what Karsa is... Ooh exciting and scary!)

Chapter 5 thoughts:

Udinaas then is seen talking with the wraith who hants him. We learn that it wishes to be called Wither, and that it was a Tiste Andii before it was in ice, and then forced to serve the Edur.
This leads Udinaas to the realisation that the shadows must be Andii and therefore they can be allies. He's told to dig up an arrowhead by Wither... Not sure what this is for, but as always it doesn't sound 'good'.

We see the Warlock King preparing the Edur for war, and trull questioning it - again the start of him changing?

Udinaas' dreams again about a world of ice where there are K'Chain Che'Mall, Edur and Andii. He feels sorcery and footprints which he follows and then he realises he's where Wither died. Silchas Ruin appears (aka white crow and brother of Anomander Rake) and is a Dragon.

The chapter ends with Trull and his brothers wondering about their purpose and Udinaas collapsing. All very dramatic, and a lot of build up for the war which is no doubt coming soon.

On the whole a really interesting start!

Kitty G Books (kool_kat_kitty) | 671 comments Mod
Kaitlin wrote: "BEWARE, Spoilers for Chap 1 - 5 below :)

Okay so I have a lot to say so far for this book as I'm enjoying it a lot, let's get started with what will no doubt be a very long message!

Chap 1 though..."

I had a lot of help in recapping this from the Tor.com Malazan reread and also the Malazan Wiki which were both great in keeping everyone straight in my head so if any of you guys are confused etc then certainly give those a check over :)

I actually reached the character limit on that last message! Crazy! I've never done that before, but it shows that I am enjoying this a lot and I wanted to get all my thoughts out and in order before going any further :)

I hope it all makes sense and that you guys are also enjoying it :D

message 6: by Mpauli (last edited May 11, 2015 05:58PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mpauli Haha, I know the feeling of reaching the character limit while talking about Malazan.
It was a real refresher to read your in-depth summary and thoughts.

Two random things that came to my mind: I really like how Erikson implements a theme of symbiosis here.
It is shown on a character level with examples like Udinaas hearing two heartbeats in himself (one more than "normal" or Ublala's race having two sets of lungs (one pair more than "normal")
And on a society level this is reflected as well. The Edur having human slaves integrated into their society, while Undead walking around in Lether (that one might be more of a stretch) are also not totally uncommon.

And in regards of Karsa, you are absolutely right, Kaitlin. I really love how Erikson plans this all out. In House of Chains, we learn that his people call themselves Teblor, but we know from Deadhouse Gates, that Karsa was called Toblakai when he was a bodyguard to Sha'ik. So there seem to be different name branches for this giant race.
Now if we go far back to Gardens of the Moon and look at the poem from Gothos Folly that stands in front of Chapter 3, we find this:

Thelomen Tartheno Toblakai
find the names of a people
so reluctant to fade
into oblivion...
Their legend rots
my cynical cast and blights
my eyes with bright glory...
"Cross not the loyal cage
embracing their unassailable heart

...Cross not these stolid menhirs
ever loyal to the earth."
Thelomen Tartheno Toblakai
Still standing, these towering pillars
mar the gelid scape
of my mind...

This is very interesting, cause it suggests the same thing. The race is known under many names and seems to be known everywhere.
A little fun fact on the side. One chapter earlier, at the battle of Pale, the High Mage Bellurdan was introduced, the comapanion of Nightchill. He was introduced as a Thelomen.
So, these giants seem to be in very powerful positions, when they show up and are in the company of very powerful people, when you think of who Nightchill truly was, as is suggested in Memories of Ice.

message 7: by TS (last edited May 12, 2015 04:07AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

TS Chan (tschan) | 159 comments So regarding Ublala Pung - so is the Tarthenal related to the Toblakai? He is also quite a giant from what I can gather from his description. And I find it sooooo hilarious when he was scared around Shand, Hejun and Rissarh. "Don't leave me here!" - ROTFL

I find the dream scenes in this book so far to be absolutely bizarre!! Had to read them at least a couple of times not to feel lost, and yes I find that I needed to refer to Tor.com's Malazan reread to help me again.

Mpauli TS wrote: "So regarding Ublala Pung - so is the Tarthenal related to the Toblakai?"

That is what I assume, yes. Or at least he is from a race that branched off from the original Tartheno.

Kitty G Books (kool_kat_kitty) | 671 comments Mod
Mpauli wrote: "TS wrote: "So regarding Ublala Pung - so is the Tarthenal related to the Toblakai?"

That is what I assume, yes. Or at least he is from a race that branched off from the original Tartheno."

:) Definitely exciting thoughts! :D Feel like I'm getting to grips with this series now and discovering things along the way which are so fun!

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