I'm a liberal minded person, enjoying philosophical discussion and dilemas. I read about 45% Crime/Thrillers, 45% Fantasy, 10% Other.
One of the best...both for performance and enjoyment, providing you can handle a huge cast of characters, a vast world, and subplot upon subplot. If you are looking for a coffee table 'pick it up, put it down' or a 'sit on the beach, half a sleep' popcorn novel, then steer clear. If you want a thoroughly engrossing complex plot, full of intrigue, where every word counts, resulting in giving your brain a good work out...then this is definitely it! Were the latter to apply to you, then pay no attention to the ratings and reviews on this site. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but this site's demographic will not represent the veiws of discerning Fantasy fans, and Steven Erikson is not a household name...therefore, knowing little of what this book contains, a large proportion of those choosing to download it on a whim, would have known little of what to expect. Among hard core Fantasy readers and authors alike, Malazan Book Of The Fallen is a hugely well regarded series, and from this first book alone, I can see why.
The story is multi layered, characters are both intriguing and well developed, and the journey is totally unpredictable. None of your much repeated Fantasy cliches are here, and you never know who to trust...for the most part anyway. For all it's complexity and detail, the action is pretty relentless, although subtle. Several events happen in every chapter, and the story moves swiftly. One this is imperative though, you need to concentrate on every word. If you are distracted by events around you, or in your mind, don't try to read this novel, and if you've already started it, come back when you can devote your attention to it...the concentrateion will pay dividends in the end. For many, Song of Ice & Fire is the best Fantasy series available today. I disagree. George R R Martin's epic tale reads more like a soap opera compared to Malazan Book Of The Fallen. It spent vast overlong chapters revealing relatively little to further the stories. While sex is neither embarrasing for me, nor offensive, Song of Ice and Fire seemed to indicate that the author was obsessed by sex, and it became boring and tiresome. Don't get me wrong, there is much to like about Song Of Ice and Fire, but given the several years we have to wait between novels being released, it hardly seems worth it. Malazan is a completed, ten book series now, and the author did it in a relatively short period of time. To create this masterpiece, so quickly, and without padding out the story out with overused sexual titillation, is commendable.
To read a print book and to listen to a book be read to you, are two entirely different experiences. One allows your own interpretation of character's personalities and voice traits, and will be limited by your imagination and acting ability. Good audiobook narrators are charged with knowing the charaters, usually by reading the book once or twice before recording it, thus knowing all there is to know about a character before applying it's final voice, accent, and personality...something that reading a print book can't do for you. A good narrator will enhance a print book by entertaining you, and allowing your mind to focus more on the plot and dilemas. Ralph Lister is one of the best. He has carefully applied the voice and personality traits to each character, and accurately, given the story that unfolds. He is clear, interesting, and acts the dialogue faultlessly. This makes this hugely complex book far easier to grasp. I will have no hesitation in seeking out other books read by him, and be extremely happy should he turn out to be the reader on future novels I want to read. I have a forum thread running on Amazon's audiobook forums, where I have created a 'league of narrators' and Ralph Lister will be in the top division.
Sorry, don't do spoilers. Once again I say, Audible, give up on this Q&A style of writing reviews...particularly questions about revealing elements of the plot. What's the point of reading a book if you know what's going to happen?
When I obtained this book, it was available as one complete volume. Given the low take up (revealed by the extremely low review count), I am flabbergasted that it is now on offer as a two part, two volume edition, forcing those now to have to give up 2 credits. It is a 26 hour book not a 40 hour book for god's sake. You'll never shift more downloads by making an already low rated book (ratings I totally disagree with by the way...it's a first class read) more expensive!
This is an amazing series that is way overdue for audio version. Thanks Audible for bringing it onboard!
Um, nothing that I can think of. It would have to be a different book.
Erikson comes highly recommended all around. But having read an enormous amount of fantasy myself from trying to start this book, twice in print and once in audio, I don't really get it. The language has all the overwraught quality that flaws much of the best fantastic writing, but without the plot or characterization insofar as I could get to. The whole thing reminded me more of a romantic era epic poem in which the characters were more demiurge than human, and demiurges who were hard to care much about. The battle scenes were full of pyrotechnics and magic, but the first was, in the age of cgi, so what, and the latter not realized, but rather simply imposed upon the narrative. Suspension of disbelief would demand interest; my interest began waning from the opening bell.
Not particularly, but then he did not have much in the way of characterization to begin with.
I believe there are those who love the challenge of Erikson's in medias res style of scene. I would be more willing to put up with that in the third book of such a long series. This was a young author more filled with ideas than fleshed out characters. If you are an idea person, then go for it. He kind of reminds me of David Lindsay, the early twentieth century, Brit author of A Voyage to Arcturus, but with many of Lindsay's flaws, lacking Lindsay's stupendous imagination.
I have heard that the books in this series get immeasurably better after the first one. At the same time I have been told it is necessary to get through the first one to go on. Well, there you have it. I have tried and tried again, but it always puts me to sleep.
As has been mentioned in other reviews you regularly find yourself wondering what happened, and need to go back a bit to make sure you understand the connections. In a paperbook this would not be a big issue, but in an audio book it is a hassle. And as I regularly listen in the car to and from work this book was not the enjoyment I had hoped. It seems to have potential, but I would recommend people read it instead of hear it.
I don't think changing his performance would of made a difference. This book is just very complicate.
This isn't a book where you can listen to while driving, cleaning, or doing other activities. Every sentence is important so if you passively listen, it will confuse you later on. You have to really give it your full attention, or you'll have to keep rewinding it to catch back on.
Love to listen at work
The sheer size of the story and nothing is explained right out. The series is not for a novice.I have read most fantasy epics and this is impressive.
That nothing is simplistic, magic, ghosts, gods,rulers, heros, villians, it is never black amd white. Least interesting is...well his description of types of peoples is tough to remeber at times.
When the Imass race is first introduced. Maybe when Anamando Rake is introduced as well.
The characture named Kroper makes me smile.
There is a lot of plot to process at first but this is a masterful series. Remember dear friends that nothing is as simple as it appears.
I liked he storyline, but the narrator's voice is horrible. I couldn't continue with the book. He accentuates the same word on every sentence. it was so annoying, I had to return the 2nd book even though I had already purchased it in anticipation of the whole series.
Really hard to get into the book at first. I actually listened to it a second time and enjoyed it significantly more
Nothing could have, this is a terrible book I didn't like it at all.
His writing style
Assassins, magic, meddling gods, threat of a powerful tyrant, and intrigue, what more could you want from a epic fantasy?
Be warned this book is long and has a high learning curve. I was about a quarter or third before I could stop wondering if I understood what was happening and start enjoying the story.
It all came together at the end and the last few chapters was exciting and page turning. Despite being part of a long series the story stands well on its own.
There are many characters and politics to track. The main characters are well fleshed out and have their unique voices.
If you don't like books you can't get into right away then stay away from this. If you're patient and okay with a slow increment of reveal and plot advancement then hunker down and start reading.
One problem with the audio book is that the character viewpoint will often change within a chapter and there are no audio cues or even pauses. It can be quite jarring and annoying.