marcusmarcusrc: (goat)
[personal profile] marcusmarcusrc
When I was still an undergrad, and regularly spent time in MITSFS, I had at least passing knowledge with all the major fantasy series (and even some of the more obscure ones, like PC Hodgell's God Stalk... which, I note, after publishing 3 books between 1982 and 2006, has gone on a spree of 4 books in 8 years... which maybe I'll track down and read now). Not so true for books post graduation (though I did read the first couple Game of Thrones books before they became cool. Do I get hipster sf cred? Or is "hipster sf cred" self-contradictory?). Anyway, one of the major series that I totally missed was Steven Erikson's Mazalan series.

So... I picked up the first one a few weeks ago. And found it... not really my cup of tea. It is billed as being like Glen Cook's "The Black Company", and, indeed, that's probably the closest analogue I can think of... but I enjoyed the Black Company (despite some drawbacks) and I felt like the Mazalan book had less cohesion and more confusion. The thing that I found most annoying was that it seemed like characters changed allegiances willy-nilly with little support in the text - at best, there were allusions to off-screen events and information that apparently were important but often these events were either unclear to the reader or, in those instances where the reader knew about them, it was unclear how the character knew or why it would have been sufficient to change their minds.

I did feel like the book improved somewhat over its course, so I am considering trying a second one, but... maybe I have better things to do with my reading time. Does anyone want to try and convince me one way or the other?

(in related news, the Shadows of the Apt series has finished. I quite like the series as a whole, though it appears I differ in this from several of the people I would have expected to like it. I did find the last book felt hurried, as if the author had set up a bunch of potential hooks in previous books and then chose to skip them because he wanted to be done)

Date: 2014-09-04 10:03 pm (UTC)
desireearmfeldt: (Margaret Fuller)
From: [personal profile] desireearmfeldt
You live!

*waves hello*

Date: 2014-09-04 10:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really wouldn't compare the Malazan books to the Black Company novels -- Malazan is far more concerned with epic events of epicness.

The first Malazan book is the weakest of them that I've read, as the author is trying to squeeze more universe-building in than he comfortably can. I've found the others to be reasonably good -- in my category of "every once in a while I'll pick one up and read it". Definitely not everyone's cup of tea, and there are things that annoy me enough in most of them to keep me from reading them more than infrequently. Some people really are quite taken by them, though.

Fortunately, they're comparatively self-contained. There are arc plots running through the series, but each book stands alone reasonably (at least of the ones I've read so far), in that I don't have to really remember much of what happened in a previous book to get into the next one.

Date: 2014-09-05 12:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Someone completely independently asked me my opinion of Malazan last night at my MITSFS hours, and something that came mind: of the books of it that I've read, I consider the second to be the best. So, if you're pondering reading more, I'd lean towards suggesting you read that one.

Date: 2014-09-05 10:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I could not finish the first Malazan book, though it did remind me of the Black Company too (which I really liked way back when). It kind of baffled me at the time - it clearly had all the things I like in books, so why did I keep wondering if there was anything on television while I was reading it?


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