No I doubt it. It's a VERY complex book and I am someone who listens to my ABs while jogging, lifting, doing housework, driving etc. There are so many..Show More » characters in here and so many factions it's easy to get confused. I love GOTM but I wish I had a non-spoiler crib sheet that would have told me who was who and who was aligned with who.
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.
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.
So much has been said about the Malazan series that I'm going to limit myself to a couple of personal impressions & some thoughts about the narrators...Show More »
The length of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series gave the author broad-range opportunities for developing complex characters, and he took full advantage of the big canvass. Few of them change in a linear way and a lot of times my feelings reverse and reverse again while continuing to connect with a character.
Erikson usually approaches philosophical and spiritual issues by keeping discussions open-ended, leaving readers with enough substance to continue chewing on the questions raised. I was disappointed in a couple of sections towards the end of Toll the Hounds that were more like closed little packages. The rest of the book was good enough to keep me from knocking off any stars.
In reviews of the other books, there's been a lot of discussion about the narrators. Their styles are quite different & I generally like both. I agree with listeners who have said there should be more than one narrator for each book. There are just too many characters, creating a need for more unique voices than one individual can handle. Both narrators were particularly Inadequate re. women's voices. Also, in order to broaden the range of voices, both of them resorted to styles that were growly, creaky, etc, that get old very quickly. It would have been much better to have at minimum a male & a female narrator for each book,
One of my biggest frustrations with both narrators has been that neither of them pause at all between the sections of a chapter. There's no indication that we've moved from one plot-line to another, which can lead to a lot of unnecessary rewinding.
Hope I haven't sounded too negative-- I'm really enjoying the series. Definitely recommended!