Malazan Book of The Fallen: Worth Reading

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Malazan Book of The Fallen: Worth Reading

Postby I Love Italy » 21 Nov 2015, 04:21

So I just got finished with reading Stephen King's Dark Tower series this morning. I'd heard things about this series that intrigued me (specifically the extreme world building, intricate plotting, and darkness compared to typical fantasy), and was wondering if anyone here had read it, and if so is it worth spending some time to check out. Thanks.

And yes, I know reading this would be quite an ordeal. That's no problem for me. When I get into a series, I devote the time and attention necessary to get the most out of that series. I'm more concerned with the quality of the books themselves.
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Re: Malazan Book of The Fallen: Worth Reading

Postby locksmithvic » 21 Nov 2015, 04:34

Stephen king is awesome. I read a few of the dark tower series.
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Re: Malazan Book of The Fallen: Worth Reading

Postby Master Radishes » 21 Nov 2015, 14:14

MBotF is one of my absolute favourite fantasy series ever.

People either love it or can't get into it, and I totally understand why in both cases. The first book gives you no information. It drops you right into the middle of a war and explains next to nothing. There are lots of characters, a strange magic system, multiple settings, mysteries and plots unseen that the characters seem to understand but you don't, and so on. If you survive, you will love the characters, see the hints of epicness to come, and feel like you've enjoyed a good story that's only just beginning. (I actually really enjoyed Book 1, although the consensus is that it's good-but-not-amazing.)

But it's a lot of reading before you feel you understand what's happening, and some people get turned off by this. (And if they do survive, but still feel unsure, they definitely get put off by learning the next book is set on an entirely different continent with largely new characters!)

Books 2 and 3, on the other hand, are honestly some of the best fantasy I've ever read (and this tends to be the consensus as well). Absolutely amazing. Book 5 is right up there too, and book 4 not far behind. (Books 6-7, and especially 8, bog down a bit as the author gets philosophical for a tad too long at times, but books 9-10 recover and end satisfyingly.)

The series is, in a word, epic. Dozens of intersecting plots across an entire world of continents; multiple non-human races with alien origins and 300 000 year histories; a unique and mysterious magic system; a massive character list with unique and engaging personalities; battles and sorcery and mysteries and gods on a scale unmatched by nearly any other fantasy series. And all very well-written. Eriksen does not simply accept common fantasy tropes - he subverts them. If he introduces a 'white knight' character, you can expect him to die in an inglorious, messy way. He doesn't shy away from killing off main characters, although without making it his 'thing' like George R.R. Martin does. He handles battles in all their messy glory better than anyone in the genre since Glen Cook.

It is not perfect. Every character can be a philosopher, it bogs down for a couple books later in the series, and it can be confusing and difficult to track everything that's going on. But to answer your query "is it worth it?", my answer is a resounding "YES".
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Re: Malazan Book of The Fallen: Worth Reading

Postby I Love Italy » 21 Nov 2015, 18:55

Master Radishes wrote:MBotF is one of my absolute favourite fantasy series ever.

People either love it or can't get into it, and I totally understand why in both cases. The first book gives you no information. It drops you right into the middle of a war and explains next to nothing. There are lots of characters, a strange magic system, multiple settings, mysteries and plots unseen that the characters seem to understand but you don't, and so on. If you survive, you will love the characters, see the hints of epicness to come, and feel like you've enjoyed a good story that's only just beginning. (I actually really enjoyed Book 1, although the consensus is that it's good-but-not-amazing.)

But it's a lot of reading before you feel you understand what's happening, and some people get turned off by this. (And if they do survive, but still feel unsure, they definitely get put off by learning the next book is set on an entirely different continent with largely new characters!)

Books 2 and 3, on the other hand, are honestly some of the best fantasy I've ever read (and this tends to be the consensus as well). Absolutely amazing. Book 5 is right up there too, and book 4 not far behind. (Books 6-7, and especially 8, bog down a bit as the author gets philosophical for a tad too long at times, but books 9-10 recover and end satisfyingly.)

The series is, in a word, epic. Dozens of intersecting plots across an entire world of continents; multiple non-human races with alien origins and 300 000 year histories; a unique and mysterious magic system; a massive character list with unique and engaging personalities; battles and sorcery and mysteries and gods on a scale unmatched by nearly any other fantasy series. And all very well-written. Eriksen does not simply accept common fantasy tropes - he subverts them. If he introduces a 'white knight' character, you can expect him to die in an inglorious, messy way. He doesn't shy away from killing off main characters, although without making it his 'thing' like George R.R. Martin does. He handles battles in all their messy glory better than anyone in the genre since Glen Cook.

It is not perfect. Every character can be a philosopher, it bogs down for a couple books later in the series, and it can be confusing and difficult to track everything that's going on. But to answer your query "is it worth it?", my answer is a resounding "YES".



That sounds like exactly what I want. Thanks for the response.
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Re: Malazan Book of The Fallen: Worth Reading

Postby I Love Italy » 21 Nov 2015, 18:57

locksmithvic wrote:Stephen king is awesome. I read a few of the dark tower series.


What made you stop? Just curious because for me, by the time I got to the end of book two I was completely hooked, and knew I wouldn't stop until I'd finished the series.

As an aside, what would you say your favorite King books are? I've read a smattering, but nothing that could even come close to a good representation of his mammoth output.
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Re: Malazan Book of The Fallen: Worth Reading

Postby Fatmo » 25 Nov 2015, 02:51

Funny that you mention Malazon, because I'm actually about three quarters done with book 8 and I'm not going to stop until it's done.

I didn't read MR's post because I am irrationally paranoid about even slight spoilers (I trust you MR, but I no longer need to be convinced either), but I'll just say that it's one of the best series I've ever read so far. Also, I was a huge fan of the Dark Tower books and powered through them about 8 years ago.

This series has kept me entertained for about a year already (I'm kind of a binge reader, and these books are very long, so sometimes when I'm busier I might not read for a month or so). Besides all the aspects you mentioned, one thing I really like about it when compared to other big fantasy books is that it has both believable/deep characters that are not just one dimensional as well as a great story with an intricate plot and world building. I generally find that many fantasy or science fiction books lean too heavily on one at the expense of the other.

There is a lot going on, on several continents and realms, and you do have to pay pretty close attention to realize just what's happening. Things might get a bit bogged down or long-winded sometimes, but it's all worth it.

I actually started the first book and was a bit overwhelmed by all the concepts he just throws at you so quickly that I kind of stopped reading after the first few chapters. However, part of me was intrigued enough to keep going months later, and believe me you'll start to get into it the further it goes along. Got way more excited during the second book, and during the third book I knew with 100% certainty that I would finish the series.

I know it's obvious, but another great thing about it is that you can start reading it now and know it's done already. Before I started reading this, I happened to start reading three series that aren't finished yet (Song of Ice and Fire, Kingkiller Chronicles, and Stormlight Archive), and it's pretty frustrating when you get on a roll and all of a sudden you're done with the latest book knowing it might be years before the next one comes out.

Hmmm, I think I'm going to make some coffee and read some more right now.
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Re: Malazan Book of The Fallen: Worth Reading

Postby I Love Italy » 25 Nov 2015, 03:59

Yeah, I hear you about Song of Ice and Fire. Winds of Winter can't come soon enough.

But anyway, picked up the first book today, and am absolutely digging the 70-ish pages I've read so far. Something about his prose just draws me in. I already know I'm going to finish the series. Doesn't matter how confused I get, when I read something where I enjoy the writing itself, regardless of actual content, this well, I know that I'm going to stick with it. Although the seeds of the world that he's already sowing are intriguing me too. I think I hit a bullseye here.
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Re: Malazan Book of The Fallen: Worth Reading

Postby nanooktheeskimo » 25 Nov 2015, 05:46

Really good writing in some of the books, especially the first ones. Lots and lots of gore, so be ready for that. The writing gets very, very, detail and minutiae oriented sometimes, to the point of bogging down and almost losing the story for chunks in my opinion, but some people like that style, it's just a matter of personal taste. Good luck with some of the names.

Completely agree with fatmo by the by: having a finished series is a huge plus. I started two of the same three he has, kingkiller and storm light, and the wait is really killing me.

I'd say more, but others have already said it and you're already hooked! Enjoy :)
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Re: Malazan Book of The Fallen: Worth Reading

Postby Fatmo » 25 Nov 2015, 11:07

I Love Italy wrote:So I just got finished with reading Stephen King's Dark Tower series this morning.


I Love Italy wrote:But anyway, picked up the first book today, and am absolutely digging the 70-ish pages I've read so far.


I'm pretty sure I took at least a week after finishing the Dark Tower just to recover and let it sink in. Haha, I love that you just hopped from one long, emotional, epic ride to another :lol:. Not sure I could have pulled that off.

nanooktheeskimo wrote:Completely agree with fatmo by the by: having a finished series is a huge plus. I started two of the same three he has, kingkiller and storm light, and the wait is really killing me.


I'm kind of new to reading ongoing series, and now that I think about it, it's going to be a real challenge to just pick up where the stories left off. All these series have such complicated plots and characters that I might have to spend months re-reading them to get ready for the new ones. Is this something most people find they have to do for books like this? Do you just rely on your memory and hope you can remember relevant things as you read? I know my memory is pretty good, but I might feel like I'm missing something by not refreshing.

It's been a while since I stopped checking nearly weekly for updates about those three series, but from what I remember, most people don't think Winds of Winter will come out until at least 2017. Maybe the same for Kingkiller. I think Sanderson actually writes very fast, but he is also writing multiple ongoing series at the same time. I seem to recall his rough plan was to finish a couple of other books, but when he starts prioritizing Stormlight again he wants to get a new one out every year and a half or so for at least another three books.
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Re: Malazan Book of The Fallen: Worth Reading

Postby nanooktheeskimo » 25 Nov 2015, 17:48

Fatmo wrote:
nanooktheeskimo wrote:Completely agree with fatmo by the by: having a finished series is a huge plus. I started two of the same three he has, kingkiller and storm light, and the wait is really killing me.


I'm kind of new to reading ongoing series, and now that I think about it, it's going to be a real challenge to just pick up where the stories left off. All these series have such complicated plots and characters that I might have to spend months re-reading them to get ready for the new ones. Is this something most people find they have to do for books like this? Do you just rely on your memory and hope you can remember relevant things as you read? I know my memory is pretty good, but I might feel like I'm missing something by not refreshing.

It's been a while since I stopped checking nearly weekly for updates about those three series, but from what I remember, most people don't think Winds of Winter will come out until at least 2017. Maybe the same for Kingkiller. I think Sanderson actually writes very fast, but he is also writing multiple ongoing series at the same time. I seem to recall his rough plan was to finish a couple of other books, but when he starts prioritizing Stormlight again he wants to get a new one out every year and a half or so for at least another three books.

I know some people re-read, or take notes, or glance through sparknotes or wikipedia or something like that to jog their memory, but personally I go almost solely by memory. I have a pretty good memory for that sort of thing, so it's not that hard for me to pick up a series, even after a few years sometimes. Malazan did trip me up a little bit with the similarly named characters doing similar things, but usually either something jogged my memory or I did a quick search through the wiki and found what I needed. Stormlight, they're good books, but I don't think they're so intricate you'll need to worry much about it if you have a good memory. Kingkiller might be worth a skim through at least, if only because they're really good.

Kingkiller the last I heard was mid-2016, but that it might get pushed back by Rothfuss' involvement with the development of a TV show and/or movie based on The Name of the Wind. So we're probably looking at late 2016, maybe into 2017 there.

Sanderson I think just depends on when he makes them a priority again. I heard the same as you, that he hopes to have about a book every year and a half when he goes back to it, but he's got other projects he's working on and I've heard nothing about how far along he is with Stormlight. So a rough guess would say...2017, the magical year for future releases apparently.
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