I have been tearing through this. Part of it is that I don’t want to linger. Erikson has started to move into “every soldier is a philosopher” mode and since his philosophy of choice appears to be Existentialism, it gets pretty fracking tiring hearing about how Hopeless Everything Is. Makes me wish some of the characters would just kill themselves.
Other thoughts, on a slightly more positive note.
This is more of a direct sequel to Gardens of the Moon than anything to do with Deadhouse Gates. The little bits that are mentioned from DHG could simply be glossed over as Erikson writing mysterious stuff that he’ll never explain. He does that ALL the time.
The number of character viewpoints seems to have shrunk. Or if they haven’t, at least they’re all in the same army on the same continent doing the same thing. There are 3 rough viewpoints that are separate in geography, so that really makes things easier. So much is happening with the combined armies of Dujek Onearm and Caladan Brood that it keeps us the reader nailed to one main location. I like that better than all the zipping around in DHG.
Paran meets Silverfox, who is the reborn amalgamation of Tattersail (his former lover) and another mage, Nightchill. That whole thing brings up shades of Dune and the pre-born Abomination of Alia and the twins Leto II and Ghanima. I mean, imagine having memories of someone else in your head who IS you while you try to be just you. I’m confused as kashizzle just writing that sentence.
We are introduced to Bauchelain and Korbal Broach. I’ve read several of the short stories/novels with them as the protagonists and I didn’t care for them. Necromancers who do what they want, no thank you. But if I hadn’t read those short stories, I’m not sure how much of an impression they’d be making right now.
We also find out HOW the K’chain che’malle come back into the Malazan world. That bit of info was a couple of paragraphs in one chapter. It is no wonder I missed it the other times. Too much going on to take everything in.
One thing is that we are getting a LOT of history this time around. History about the Broken God (which is what the whole series is actually about, in a sideways, roundabout, squint your eyes kind of way), history about the T’lan Imass and history about the world. Not that it does me much good as I doubt it’ll ever be referenced again.
As much as I’m doing nothing but complain, I actually enjoying this read. Erikson can write and his words are not cotton candy. I’m just not in the mood to have to dig out my sword to cut this steak; I just want to eat a bleeding hamburger.
Here are the posts of this reading along by me and by DZ: