This book demands attention from the reader/listener that I had to frequently skip back secs / mins to catchup on things which I missed or did not und..Show More »erstood because I was not paying needed attention. Partially it is due to the nature of the book the way it is written, and a lot of it is due to narration. The narrator though otherwise did a great job, did finish one chapter of the book and start the next one seemingly in same breath causing confusion at times. I had to get use to this style, but once I was in synch, I had a great time.
Book has mix of great elements such as mage assassins making it an entertaining listen. Even though there is free flow use of magic, author manage to maintain the intrigue of such things while combining it with great character development. Characters are very well flushed out, and combination of interesting skill set makes the plot lines very interesting.
Book does demand attention as mentioned above that not everything is spelled out for the listener. Events are taking place which make no sense at the time gets explained as user continue to read through the book.
Book sets ambitious goal for itself in terms of complexity and quality, and I have to say that it almost achieved it. Though not easy to listen, it is very entertaining sometimes awesome epic. I plan to next book in the series when it arrives. I would recommend this book for seasoned epic fantasy fans.
Deadhouse Gates is the second book in the dark military epic fantasy known as the Malazan Tale of the Fallen.
Finishing this massive tome f..Show More »eels like you have lived through the war along with the characters. You're exhausted... yet filled with a feeling of accomplishment, and no small sense of awe. The sheer scope of the story that Erikson is weaving is simply MASSIVE beyond anything I've ever read.
This book is the story of a rebellion breaking out in a land controlled by the Malazan Empire, and the brewing war that ensues. It takes about 300 pages to set up, so until then you'll feel like you did in Gardens of the Moon - "What the heck is going on, and why is _____ happening?"
I can see where people say that you need to get to this point before the story really grabs you. That's the nature of this tale, I think. The question is whether you're willing to put this much effort into it, and whether you judge the rewards worth the effort. For me, this was leaps and bounds better than "Gardens of the Moon".
The narration was excellent. The voices matched the dark, hard and gritty tone of the novel.
If you're interested in reading this series, you need to get some notions out of your head. This is a broad canvas that Erikson is painting. This is a milieu story. It is not so much a character story. Yes, there are good characters, and they grow on you, but if you let yourself invest too much into them, you may get hurt.
Every major character will suffer in this book, and some will die. Brutality reigns in this medieval world, and last-minute rescues are so rare that you should never expect them. Innocents suffer. There is some redemption, but I found some scenes hard to stomach. Heroic struggles end in horrid death, and at those times it made me want to scream "WHY DID YOU EVEN WRITE THIS?!" yet it is remarkably well-written. This story is an epic tale of empires.
There is a LOT of war in this book, more than any book I've ever read, up there with "A Memory of Light", and that war took 13 books to set up. I can only imagine what's coming in the rest of this series!
The main drawbacks I found were in the nature of the storytelling - the high learning curve, and at times, the seeming randomness in which plot-pivotal events occur. It's hard to believe that characters just happens to be on the right road, in the right place at the right time, for his/her destiny to suddenly be unveiled, or to witness some ancient prophecy come to pass. Nevertheless, when viewed among the vastness of this tome, such events don't cripple the story itself.
I've got Memories of Ice next, and I'm expecting that to be a turning point. They say you get hooked after that one. I guess we will see!
Erikson's Mythology is as deep, perhaps deeper than Jordan's or Tolkien's. So deep, that I didn't feel any sort of grasp on it until halfway through ..Show More »the book. The characters from the first book are all but forgotten for this tale. Erikson again spins 4 storylines bound for a collision at the end of the book. New, vibrant, and complex characters abound as we again see both sides of warring parties. I find myself rooting for morally bankrupt individuals and trying to figure out if this is a story of futility or hope in the face of desperate odds. Erikson takes on a journey of retribution and sacrifice--balance past criminal behavior versus wisdom gained from experience or tenderness brought on by ignorance.
The story is action packed and abhorrently violent. I was entertained and thought provoked throughout, but too depressed at times to take on long stretches of listening.
Ralph is a solid reader--clear and dynamic, however he does not have the vocal range or accents to cover the shear number of characters presented. I would really love to hear a female reader take on the female characters, much like Michael Kramer and Kate Reading in Jordan's Wheel of Time.
This book made me realize how spoiled I was by Ralph Lister with the first three books. Love this series so far but handing narration duties over to ..Show More »Michael Page was a big mistake. I'm not saying that Michael Page is a bad narrator, he does a wonderful job with the Locke Lamora series by Scott Lynch, he just is not the right guy for this series. They had the right guy, he read the first three books. Maybe it was a scheduling issue, but on the Brilliance Audio website it has Michael Page listed as the reader for the rest of the books in the series. Hopefully they come to their senses and switch back to Ralph Lister, if not I will probably be reading the rest of the series in print.
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 c..Show More »an 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.
INCONSISTENT VOICES!!! Seriously, this is getting ridiculous! But more on the performance in a moment...
This is another epic installment to..Show More » the Malazan series. It hits all the marks - wildly creative, eloquent in prose, frantic in its action, and a scope almost unparalleled in fantasy fiction. Erikson is in full stride on this one, and for fans who have made it this far, it is a crazy and fulfilling ride.
The amount of stuff that happens in this book is simply astounding. Erikson is known for his massive cast of characters, and just about all of them come into play here. For those who have made the investment to know them all, who have learned about the world and followed the story up to this point, the payoff with this volume is absolutely huge. Sequences string together and pull you right along, and you can never guess what is coming next. The characters, which initially felt shallow due to the lack of "screen time", have by this point come into their own, and feel incredibly well realized in the reader's mind.
To even attempt to summarize the plot is pretty much a ridiculous endeavor. Nevertheless if you've made it this far, you should enjoy it immensely. Now that we're past the halfway point, it's starting to feel like the main threads are taking shape and coming together, and I can see several confrontations ahead that promise to be as epic as almost anything I've read. The intricate plot continues to develop and intrigue the reader, as this war among the pantheonic players develops full force.
However, I do have issues with the audio presentation of this series. Michael Page has a great voice, but I don't think it's the right one for this series. There are several annoying problems:
1. Inconsistent voices. This is an amateur mistake that could easily have been avoided. Most notable among these are Karsa Orlong, one of the main characters introduced in House of Chains, and his voice is very different from what it was in that book. He sounds more generic here, and frankly more stupid.
2. Inconsistent pronunciations. The pronunciation for "soletaken" has changed again, as has the pronunciation of several character names, places and race terms.
3. Strange choices for the voices. There are some character voices that seem jarringly out of place. Icarium, a massive barbarian, has a tiny, high-pitched voice like a child. Empress Laseen, whom I would think has a cool, calculated voice, is delivered like an old woman with a heavy foreign accent. Shadowthrone is delivered like a senile old man.
4. Limited variety in the voices. Granted, there is a huge cast of characters here. But the majority of Page's voices seem to be limited to (A) growling, beastly voices and (B) high-pitched, overly accented voices. Also, "pirate" voices are very predominant as well. There are very few characters delivered either as intelligent, manly, or neutral, making me wonder if Page is just limited in the voices he can deliver?
I realize that it's too late to do much about this at this point, and granted, there is a huge cast of characters, making delivery insanely hard for anyone. But it is such as shame as I feel that all of these problems could easily have been avoided.
Overall this is definitely not one to be missed, and more than any other probably leaves you eager to start the next book in the series.
One of my favorites of the series so far. I won't give any spoilers, but many of the disparate and far flung characters are starting to converge. I a..Show More »m so glad I stuck with Gardens of the Moon (book 1) as that book didn't really "grab me" until its second half. Since then it has been an absolute pleasure to take Erikson's tour of Malazan and the rest of this incredible world. I assume most of those reading this review are already fans (its book 7 for goodness sake). Rest assured that this installment continues at the pace and quality you have come to expect. I am amazed at how long Erickson can sustain his climactic portions of the book. Seems like for the last several (many) hours the pace of the story goes at absolute breakneck speed. I am really looking forward to the rest of the books being released on Audible. I am resisting the urge to go out and buy the already completed books 8, 9 and 10 (the finale) - I've decided to stick with the audio.
For New Readers: Start with Gardens of the Moon. This series is a very gritty military fantasy with a huge cast of characters. Point of view characters include Gods and mortals and ghosts and shapeshifters and the (seemingly) insane. Less a High Middle-Ages analogue than a mix of Greek/Roman/Eastern cultures (only vaguely reminiscent of even these - but it gives you an idea). It goes to places you will not see coming - at least I didn't. Book 2 introduces a nearly complete new cast of characters. Highly recommended for those looking for challenging fantasy fiction. Erikson does not dumb down his writing - part of the reason the first half of book one was difficult for me was that Erikson writes as if his reader was already familiar with this world, its magic systems, history, politics and religions - trusting that you will learn and self-translate as you go. Erickson is also not afraid of humor - and writes his more witty characters extremely well (Quick Ben, Kruppe, Tehol Beddict - all have made me laugh out loud). He also has a keen sense for tragedy.
Each chapter is separated by a historical snippet and/or poetry - I only mention this as it may be confusing or jarring in an Audio only context. The print books feature large maps and glossary sections. I actually picked up the books at a bookstore for these features - this was probably unnecessary as there are many resources on the internet.
Especially recommended for fans of Martin, Abercrombie or Glen Cook.