After decades of internecine warfare, the tribes of the Tiste Edur have at last united under the Warlock King of the Hiroth. There is peace - but it has been exacted at a terrible price: a pact made with a hidden power whose motives are at best suspect, at worst, deadly.
To the south, the expansionist kingdom of Lether, eager to fulfill its long-prophesized renaissance as an Empire reborn, has enslved all its less-civilized neighbors with rapacious hunger. All, that is, save one - the Tiste Edur. And it must be only a matter of time before they too fall - either beneath the suffocating weight of gold, or by slaughter at the edge of a sword. Or so destiny has decreed.
Yet as the two sides gather for a pivotal treaty neither truly wants, ancient forces are awakening. For the impending struggle between these two peoples is but a pale reflection of a far more profound, primal battle - a confrontation with the still-raw wound of an old betrayal and the craving for revenge at its seething heart.
"This novel and all others in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series follow my own pronunciations of 'Malazan' words and names. My thanks to Michael and Jane and everyone at Brilliance Audio." -Steven Erikson, Victoria, B.C. Canada, January, 2014
©2004 Steven Erikson (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
Another amazing epic fantasy saga all contained in one book, with a climax as epic as that in Memories of Ice and House of Chains.
That he can weave yet another story of this magnitude, set on an entirely different continent with entirely different characters, is astounding. Erikson is the real deal when it comes to writing epic fantasy. And I believe that this may be his most approachable book yet in the series.
In fact, this wouldn't be a bad place to start the series from. It's an excellent standalone story, and although it helps to have 4 more books under your belt, I think most fantasy fans would be able to take this one by itself. It is also not quite as dark as the other books before it, which could help newcomers as well. There is more humor in this book, too, much of it dry, but for the first time I found myself laughing out loud while listening. The banter between characters, especially Tehol and Bugg, is great and deliciously builds upon itself with each new iteration.
In Midnight Tides, Erikson shows he can follow a tighter storyline and (relatively) fewer players, which enables the characters in this book to have more depth as we spend more time with them. And what amazing characters they are. Many of them stand out so uniquely and richly in my mind and I know I will not soon forget them. Trull Sengar, Rhulad, Udinaas, Kettle, Tehol and Bugg, Shurq Ellale, Iron Bars... There are SO MANY great characters and I enjoyed spending time with all of them. And we get introduced to so many fascinating characters as well.
There is almost no drag in this story, especially after the first quarter or so. This is a poignant story of two families and the brothers on both sides have rich personalities and you will find yourself caring for each of them. Yet this story contains so much more... A vast tale of war, but somehow Erikson is able to portray it both on the grand scale and the personal level. And the depth of plotting and foreshadowing is simply incredible... The climax of the story brings together so many threads, while dropping hints of things that are to come and give us glimpses of a MUCH broader landscape. The Malazan series is truly the most broadly epic fantasy series out there. I cannot wait for the next volume to be released on Audible.
A note on the narration: I agree with everyone else, that the change from Ralph Lister was definitely a step in the wrong direction. This despite the fact that Erikson went out of his way to write a note here essentially saying "I approve this choice". The thing is, in this case THE LISTENERS ARE ALWAYS RIGHT. If you don't want to listen to us, then you may not find us buying your books on audio anymore. You need to make good marketing decisions and make your customers happy, rather than sticking dogmatically to your own preferences. After all, we can always read these books in printed form.
There's nothing wrong with Michael Page's pronunciation or diction, for me; it's the fact that he can't differentiate the voices of the characters enough. Because of the dark setting and the plethora of large, hulking, inhuman characters, he tends to use his "growling" voice almost 50% of the time. This not only gets old and makes it hard to distinguish characters,, but cheapens the effect of using the growl in the first place.
Still, despite all this, I don't agree with people giving the book poor ratings because of the narrator. Keep the ratings separate between the two - that's what it's for. You can give the narration 1 star, but give the book the 5 overall stars it deserves.
The series called "The Malazan Book of the Fallen" takes a break from talking about the Malazans. Granted, there are large chapters of this series that feature people far removed from the Empire. But they always came back to main plot of the machinations of the Empress, the army, and the part they play in the war with the Crippled God. This book is basically a prequel to the previous novel (where Onrack, the T'lann Imass meets Trull Sengar, a banished Tiste Edur). It sets up later novels and is, generally speaking, hard to skip without missing some key elements for the remainder of the series, but it mostly feels like we're taking a break from the real plot for an irrelevant side story.
It's got some of the funniest moments in the series (featuring Bugg and Tehol), and it certainly has some flashy magic happening, but a few things bug me:
The Tiste Edur don't act like immortal beings. They act like morons. The Tiste Andii have the perfect immortal thing going on: totally bereft of excitement for anything. They've done it all. Any humanity, as we might see it, comes when they interact with humans. It usually brings sorrow (Beren and Luthien style), but it's beautiful in its tragedy as they remember what they once had, and how sweet it is to feel. But the Tiste Edur. What, do they live normal human life-spans? They get angry, petty, and most seem young. What does that mean, young? 50 years? One hundred?
The whole "capitalism is bad" storyline. There's little about this society that points to a liberal economy. If anything this is a feudal economy complete with landowners, sharecroppers, and a rigid caste system. The Bugg-Tehol plot seems like it's trying to be Wall Street drama without explaining what's going on. Only that the "greedy" are getting what they deserve and that society will be turned upside down.
Finally, this is the second book since "Memories of Ice". What is going on with everybody we left behind? What about the Bridgeburners? What about Felisin and the Whirldwind? Paran and the Deck? What's going on with all the characters we fell in love with? This book was a bit jarring. And while there were some enjoyable moments (Bugg and Tehol were, of course, hilarious), all in all it felt like a lot of this could have been told within the constraints of other novels featuring more of our favorite characters.
Sigh... This series has lost its flavor without Ralph Lister. I love the writing but just miss Ralph Lister. He did such a good job. Continuity is lost and the new narrator just doesn't stack up. Would be better had he actually listened to previous renditions by Lister. Unprofessional.
Has everything a epic fantasy book should and more! The attention to detail and complex plot will keep you captivated. The reader does a great job as well!
This book like the previous is three stories in one. Author weaves the stories together into one massive tale
A few characters find themselves in this book as well. Looking forward to the next book. Each book over 32 hours of listening pleasure. At least one cannot say that they don't get their monies worth.
The most awesome story!
However the narrators performance doesn't come close to Ralph Lister who did the first 3 Books. But the story is so rich and captivating that i highly recommend it!
I've read the first four parts of this series and this was the first I listened to. I will also losten to the next books.
Erikson's saga is known for its plethora of characters and wide spanning plot. That's what makes this a somewhat more challenging book. At first it seems like a maze of people and events, but slowly you get to know who's who and what it is they do.
Erikson really shines when he's concentrating on fewer characters or when he describes unfolding events with astonishing clarity. Unfortunately he cannot always keep this up, yet I am always drawn back in to get to know what happens newt and finally that is what matters.
Great characters and a good anough story.
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