By blog on Jun. 13, 2010.
I wasn’t sure I’d read the series, but after having started it, I’m glad I did.
First off, damn I’m happy to not be reading Malazan! Seriously! Erikson is one messed up fellow and I’m glad not to be reading his work anymore! It’s so refreshing!
I started Mistborn: The Final Empire a little while back when I was a little tired of reading Malazan. I enjoyed the change of pace, and I was quite intrigued by the Allomancy in the book. It’s a very interesting magic concept, and one that I think will be fun to read about for some time to come.
The book is written well, it’s not the best I’ve read but it’s still quality reading. The cast of characters is pretty good, and I’m quite intrigued to find out more about this Lord Ruler, as the excerpts from the beginning of each chapter seem to be from his perspective, prior to ascension. He seems like a pretty bad guy, but that perhaps he didn’t start out that way. Not sure, and I like the idea of finding out more about that.
The fact that at only half way through the first book you’re already getting character progression is nice. Such a change from books like Wheel of Time where the characters are largely unchanged for thousands and thousands of pages.
Sanderson seems to walk a nice line between descriptions of characters, locations, clothing, etc. There’s not too much description, but there’s enough to have a good sense of the world the author is envisioning.
I think what I like about it is that the characters are very real. They’re individuals, not cardboard cut outs of characters I’ve met in a dozen other fantasy novels. I’m impressed with how fleshed out the magic system is when it was Sanderson’s own creation. I also really like taking the tack of the after events of the bad guys winning, that’s a thoroughly interesting concept, I have to say. I’m looking forward to going off to read in the near future.
By blog on Jun. 3, 2010.
No more Malazan for me!
I’ve been toying with putting down Dust of Dreams and taking up another series for a while. Another book might make me appreciate the characters of Malazan again, or something like that. However some aspects of the story were picking up and I was looking forward to seeing where it ended up, so I kept reading.
I’ve put up with a lot from this series and this author. Of the top ten most horrific things I’ve ever read in fantasy, this series would have to have eight places on that list, and the other two actually had merit in the series in which they appear. Erikson has a talent for being a sadistic ass that is often seen in overdrive in these books. But I stuck with it for eight and a half books, and at about half way through book nine, and the ‘Hobbling’ of Hetan, I’ve quit the damn series.
That’s right, Erikson, I was really enjoying the books. That’s right, I did feel that the story was worth the horrible crap you seemed to take pleasure at putting in there. The gratuitous and vile acts, especially towards women and children, that have gone on through this series have been beyond what I’d put up with in a film or television series, but I kept reading because I liked a lot of what was going on. I really enjoyed the immense scale, the inclusion of so many Gods, and the army themselves, the Bridgeburners and the Bonehunters were awesome, well, save the psychos included for no apparent reason.
But yeah, at that one scene, I hated Erikson with a vast and deep passion. I felt violated by the horror of what I read, and thanks to Erikson I’ve read some horrific stuff. So, that’s it. I’ve tried to find a good synopsis of what happens through the book, and I’ve figured out much of what happens, though many of the story lines could use further filling out. I’m not going to buy or read the final book, either, though I will again read a synopsis of it online.
By blog on May. 9, 2010.
There’s always a however when it comes to Malazan, isn’t there?
So, I’m still enjoying the book, and I’m still finding motivation to stick with it, but there’s one little group of characters which is extremely depressing, and one character specifically that’s rather irritating.
Remember when I was talking about Alan Wake, and how I didn’t like that a fair portion of the storyline was told through Wake’s internal monologuing? Well, there’s a character who does that a lot in Dust of Dreams, too, Badalle. If her internal dialogue wasn’t the mean depressing diatribe that it is, this probably wouldn’t bother me so much, but really, she’s just such a depressing point of view to read.
The Snake, which she’s a part of, is a very interesting and odd little group, and where I’m up to I’ve no idea where it’s going. We know they’re all children, and what Erikson’s putting them through is absolutely horrid, but that’s really about all we know. They’re on some mass exodus from a city, and they’re headed ’somewhere’ and were being pursued at some some point but probably not any longer.
Badalle seems to be the religious leader of the group in a way, delivering poems to the children as if they were services. It’s all very sad and surreal to read, and that can become quite grating. I really do enjoy a bit of surreality in a book, but more like a scene of it, not an entire recurring point of view of it, and this group/PoV isn’t the only one that’s pretty much entirely surreal and… odd.
The group currently running around in the abandoned K’Chain Che’Malle city fortress thing is also a very surreal group to read about. There’s a ghost running around with them, but I honestly have to wonder if it’s just one of the group who thinks he’s a ghost. They’ve all seemed to lose themselves, to be taken over by some sort of force. They absolutely don’t seem the same as they were in previous books, so I really don’t know what’s going on there.
That’s the thing about these books. A lot of it you read on faith that all will be made clear at some later point, and that is exactly what happens, but occasionally you have to slog through it to get to that point. Still, I am enjoying the read overall and do look forward to the next, and final, book in the series.
By blog on May. 7, 2010.
I realise I’m writing two posts on Malazan in less than a fortnight, but it’s warranted.
As I’m sure you’re aware, if you read any of my posts, I’ve been reading Malazan books constantly for probably the past year. I sort of got a little burned out with the whole series a little while back, as I was slogging my way into the ninth volume in the series. I felt like I was sick of the whole thing, you can see the post, it’s only a week or so old.
So, I kept reading. As I was reading one day, I actually started to feel excited with the book again. There’s things going on that are mysterious and interesting, and I’m really excited to see a certain army wage war on a God. Oh yeah, now that’s the Malazan I’ve come to know and love.
I’m also really enjoying watching the odd interplay of a small group who’ve found a giant mobile city that belonged to the K’Chain Che’Malle. I think that’s part of what I find so enjoyable about the Malazan books, they’re so epic. Erickson isn’t afraid of making a band of travellers happen upon a 100 foot tall mechanical dragon in the middle of a desert. I mean, it’s not the first time we’ve found an amazing monstrosity in the sands, remember that giant jade statue? Yeah, where that storyline is going is damn interesting too!
So, I’m pleased I didn’t give up on the book. I picked it up whilst having a bath the other night – trying to alleviate a very sore shoulder from poor posture at my computer – and read. When I picked it up I wasn’t really, really, into the book, but my interest had picked up again. I started reading in the bath and before I knew it I’d been in there an hour. At this point I knew I was going to finish this book before I went back to reading the Mistborn books, even though those are shaping up very well too!
By blog on Apr. 26, 2010.
I’ve just started, and it’s going very well!
I’m feeling a little over-cooked in terms of Malazan books, so I decided to give the Mistborn series a go and I’m really, really liking it so far. I’m over the first one hundred pages, and the remarkable difference between this and nearly every book I’ve read in the past two years is that it wasn’t an arduous struggle. I know that’s a backhanded compliment, but seriously, with many of the Malazan books – which I think are excellent – I’ve had to push myself to get past those first one hundred pages.
I’ve found the same issue with the Wheel of Time books, too. Robert Jordan – may the good man rest in peace – wrote the most protracted prologues you’ve ever seen, with many of the books seeing the one hundred page mark pass whilst you’re still reading the prologue. Okay that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but it’s not far off the truth, either.
Another thing that I like about the Mistborn books so far, are it’s almost cinematic action sequences. One can practically see and feel the panorama of Luthadel as Kelsier goes flying through the night, using Allomancy to stir up trouble for the Dark Lord. That’s right, the story is set in a world where the Dark Lord has already won, turning the traditional fantasy narrative on it’s head. It’s an interesting premise, and I’m looking forward to finding out more as I plough further into the series.
In other news, hilarious news in my opinion, my SO’s father has been taken to court – that’s not the funny bit, this bit coming up next is the funny bit – over their fence line… Can you believe it!? Their neighbour decided he wanted to put up high security fences, in colour-bond steel, which is all well and good, but of course that means my SO’s parents, along with the neighbours on the other side of this lack-wit, will have to pay for half of the cost of the fence that borders their property. They’re okay with this, but that does mean they feel they’ll have to get the same sort of colour-bond fence for the rest of their yard lest it look odd, though they are going with a lower, more open fence for the front.
So, my SO’s father’s neighbour had the lines drawn for the fence-line last weekend, and what do you know? They’re about half a meter further onto their land than the previous fence. My SO’s father went and had a talk with this neighbour trying to see what the mix up was, and the neighbour gets out a copy of the city-planning layout for the area, which was nearly a century old, and tells him that the fence was in the wrong spot and should be moved over. My SO’s dad is having none of this, and told the guy he’d need better proof than that. Anyway, there’s been a great amount of talking back and forth, some of it very loud, and now they’ve both gotten no win no fee solicitors and they’re suing and counter suing each other. So far as I can see, and looking up the properties with online documents, the original fence line is right where it was up until the neighbour had it ripped out, the new drawn line is encroaching half a meter onto my SO’s parent’s property. The dead give away, though, was the fact that this neighbour tried to pull the same stunt with his neighbour on the other side, too.
By blog on Apr. 25, 2010.
And I’m just not really digging the Malazan experience right now.
On the one hand, I really do enjoy these books. I mean sure, there’s a bit of one-up-manship going on in a lot of it, with more and more powerful characters coming into the series, but I like the epic scope of the books, and love how things that happened in certain books tie in with happenings in books much later in the series. There’s some serious skill going on here.
However, I’ve read the first eight books all in the last year. That’s a heck of a lot of Malazan to read back to back. I’ve not read anything else in that entire time, just Malazan book after Malazan book. They’re all combining in my head, too. This book seems to follow on after Reaper’s Gale, so of course I can’t really remember what happened in that one very clearly. I mean I remember the big stuff, but a lot of the smaller details have left my mind.
Same thing has happened with Toll the Hounds. I remember the climax of the book, and all the stuff that went down then, but a great portion of the book is lost to my mind. I tried to find a good plot summary of what had happened in those books, but I haven’t found anything comprehensive yet, which is frustrating. Part of me is considering putting the book down for a while and reading something else for a while, and leaving Dust of Dreams to read just before I read The Crippled God as they’re actually parts one and two of the finale for the series.
I’ve heard good things about the Mistborn series, and that’s already finished which is a nice change. Still no news about the next Song of Ice and Fire book from George R R Martin, which isn’t surprising. It irritates me greatly that he’s got millions of fans waiting for the next book and he decides he’s going to take time out to write a 1733 word blog post about the NFL draft.
Anyway, so yeah, not sure what I’ll do there. Knowing me I’ll probably end up reading them both at the same time now.
By blog on Mar. 18, 2010.
HBO’s version of A Game of Thrones has been given the green light!
I know, I know, I’m dreadfully late in reporting this, but yes, A Game of Thrones, by George R R Martin – FINISH THE NEXT BOOK, GEORGE – has been picked up by HBO after the pilot was shot late last year and earlier this year. I’m excited, I must say, to see this come to pass.
I do know that I’ve said in earlier blog posts about this that I was trepidatious, that I was concerned for the ‘corny’ factor, the clichés that could arise, but I have to say, after watching Rome recently, and having just bought three more seasons of The Wire because the first was so bloody good, I’ve got confidence in HBO. They put on some damn fine shows, I have to say. More on that story later.
So yes, the show has been given the go ahead, and the first season shall cover the first book, and will contain ten episodes in total. That seems a little on the skimpy side for such a massive book, but so much can be said without words that I suppose it should be alright. I’m just hoping to see the story play-out as faithfully as possible to what happened. No missing certain awesome characters – Tom Bombadill is noticeably missing from The Lord of the Rings! – or just altering things for the sake of making it easier to understand or some such. I hate to see that sort of thing happen, but I do look forward to seeing this play out.
Of course, I have no expectation that all the books will be made into a season of the series. I mean, seven seasons of A Song of Ice and Fire would cost quite a fortune, I believe, and HBO does have a history of cancelling shows if the cost is getting too high.
I suppose, though, that this show will have a huge following before anything is even shot. That’s the bonus of working with non-original content, I suppose. Anyway, this particular geek is most anticipating this one!
By blog on Feb. 15, 2010.
I’m aggravated, and I frankly think he oughtn’t be!
Every now and then I go and check George R R Martin’s ‘Not A Blog’ to see how much longer I’ll be waiting for a book that he said would be done within a year, five years ago! In perusing his previous posts, I noticed an irritated mini rant at his blog readers, and I had to investigate.
It turned out that back on the 29th of January, Martin posted a very brief, and rather vague in my opinion, blog post that was titled ‘A Good Day, With Snow‘ and the only contents of said post was ”nuff said’ and the mood listed at the bottom was ‘accomplished’. Now, I took this to mean he’d finished a Jon Snow chapter, but many others didn’t. Comments poured in on the post congratulating Martin for finishing the book, and excitement rose to see when the book would hit the stores. There were also many others like myself who took this post to mean that George had just finished a chapter, but it was easy to see where some had gotten the wrong idea.
The following day, George posted another blog entry, but this one had a lot more in it. This mini rant, entitled ‘No, No, No‘ – as if admonishing a naughty child or disobedient dog – was having a go at his blog readers for trying to ‘decode’ his previous post and assuming that it meant that A Dance With Dragons was done. He made a comment about this being why he hated to make updates, and that all he was saying was that he’d had a particularly good day of writing. To that I say, for a person who makes their livelihood off of communication, he should be able to readily understand why his ambiguous post got the hopes up of many readers.
Quite frankly, the idea of Martin being aggravated with us, his readers, for the understandable assumption that that terribly obscure post meant that the next ASoIaF book was finished is quite preposterous. Sure, I thought it was quite clearly about Jon Snow, but it’s much like an optical illusion, it’s easy to see two different images contained in the small amount of information given in that post.
The fact that fans of this series have had to wait five years for the second half of the last book is bloody ridiculous. The first in the series was released back in 1996, and at that point it was set to be a trilogy. Book two was released in 1999, book three in 2000, and book four in 2005. We are now to expect seven books in the series, but if Martin keeps this writing pace up – and lack of focus, in my opinion – we’ll be waiting on the final instillation till 2020!
By blog on Nov. 2, 2009.
Filming has begun for the series, and I’ve very mixed feelings, but anticipating nonetheless.
Okay, to explain where I’m coming from… If you’ve seen Rome, which is sort of an equivalent to this series in terms of production values, and the production group – HBO – but I have to say that many of the actors are of a much better calibre than Rome, anyway, back to my point. If you’ve seen Rome, you’ll know what I mean when I say there are moments of complete cringing. It could be a line in the dialogue here, or a gesture there, but sometimes you are ripped so forcibly from your tentatively shallow level of immersion that all of a sudden you realise you’re watching a bunch of guys prancing about in little dresses, taking themselves very seriously…
It’s not like that all the time, and I think Deadwood didn’t quite have this going so much as Rome – again, made by same group, HBO – but I’m still very highly aware of the fact that that just because these are great books, doesn’t mean they’ll make a great TV series… Can you imagine watching some of the stuff that happens in that book in the form of a TV show? I’m concerned I’m going to feel like I’m watching a school play the whole time. The seriousness of whether or not Jon will be allowed to go and join the Night’s Watch or not… yeah, goodness me I hope all the actors really do this well, and that the sets work and everything.
So far all the filming has been completed in Scotland, at Doune Castle in Scotland to be precise, which is where they shot all the scenes that took place in the courtyard of Winterfell. Next they move onto Paint Hall Studio in Belfast which is where everything will be shot, except the stuff that’s supposed to be happening in Pentos and all that, which is being shot in Morocco.
So yeah, I respect many of the actors involved in this, but still feel like I’ll be wearing a grimace throughout the entirety of the first episode.
By blog on Sep. 10, 2009.
I’ve one more cast member to announce, and general frustration with George to complain about, too.
I noticed on George’s blog a few days ago that Cersei Lannister has been cast, and will be played by Lena Headey. Now, obviously they will have to give her golden hair and green contacts, but I think this is a very good casting choice for Cersei, actually. Doesn’t this lady look like she could play an evil calculating so-and-so? I think so, and it’s nice to see that the casting is still going pretty well.
There are more pictures of the two Stark girls, too, up on George’s Not A Blog, and they really do fit the parts of Arya and Sansa, if you ask me. I was concerned about these characters, because finding good child actors can be very difficult, one imagines, but George said Arya especially blew the competition out of the water. That sounds like Arya spirit to me.
I was watching season six of 24 recently, with Boothe Powers as the President, and I think this actor could fit in so very well in the SoIaF world, he looks and sounds just right. It’s funny, but I couldn’t say exactly which character – have to be ‘bad’ or ruthless one – but I think he’d be a great addition to the show.
Now, just for a little bit of a complain, because it wouldn’t feel right to leave this out… George has been talking about writing more on A Dance with Dragons… about tackling a certain portion of the book, and not getting anywhere with it… Well, and this is a restrained version of what I want to say… What the hell is going on!? I want to write in all capitals right now, but I will refrain… George! Stop spreading your attentions over fifty bloody projects and get this bloody book bloody-well published! You told your fans when you released the last one that Dance was more than half done, which later turned into a third done, which meant this should have taken half to a third of the time of the last one! But no, NO! The last book came out October 2005! The one before that August 2000, so by my estimation of time and what he said, this book should have been out at latest early last year… We are looking to hit 2010 before Dance with Dragons is actually released, and I can’t help but feel this is due in part because of George’s lack of focus.
I know that it’s hard to write a book, to write a short story let alone a novel, but when you’re running off to write graphic novels and other things, it’s going to take even longer. It’s just so annoying. Respect the people who love your work. This is part of the reasons why Malazan makes into my top five favourite series, Erikson gets books written in a fifth of the time, and they are just as epic, larger in scale even, that Song of Ice and Fire, and as interesting in terms of storylines. Too depressing, I will admit, but Westeros has more than it’s fair share of that, too!