Malazan series Book Club

João Ribeiro

Journeyed there and back again
#1
Hear ye hear ye!
Welcome to the new wave of the Malazan Book Club.

So a bunch of us are planning this community read of the series by Erikson and Esslemont and this thread is to organize the multiple book club threads that will pop up in the coming months.

We need to set a date to begin and as it is we are pointing to the beginning of 2014 however it is open to suggestions so please if you intend to read along state your preferred starting date.

Start Date Preferences:
@João Ribeiro November 1st
@Hand of Fear November 1st
@fbones24 Early / Mid November
@Aikura Mid/Late November
@Obscenic Early / Mid November

If you want to read the books in an ordered timeline the suggested reading order is:
  1. Gardens of the Moon
  2. Deadhouse Gates
  3. Memories of Ice
  4. House of Chains
  5. Midnight Tides
  6. Night of Knives*
  7. The Bonehunters
  8. Return of the Crimson Guard*
  9. Reaper's Gale
  10. Toll the Hounds
  11. Stonewielder*
  12. Orb Sceptre Throne*
  13. Dust of Dreams
  14. The Crippled God
  15. Blood and Bone*
  16. Assail*
Esslemont's books are marked with a *

However you can either skip Esslemont's books altogether or read them afterwards. It's up to you.

I'm not listing the people who have shown interest in this book club because there are no obligations. Everyone is welcome as usual. The more the merrier. If you have already read them please feel free to help clear some doubts as well.

If you want to discuss how you're liking the series so far (up to the point you have read) feel free to use this thread as well but for the love of any or all Fantasy Gods don't spoil information for others :stop:

I'll try to compile all book club threads below so everyone can find the one they're looking for if we mismatch our reading speed.

Links to the book club threads by book:


Gardens of the Moon links:
Prologue and Chapters 1 and 2




Deadhouse Gates links:
Book 1 Raraku
Book 2 Whirlwind
Book 3 Chain of Dogs
Book 4 Deadhouse Gates


Memories of Ice links:
Prologue
Book 1


House of Chains links:
House of Chains - Prologue
House of Chains - Book 1
House of Chains - Book 2
House of Chains - Book 3


Midnight Tides links:


Night of Knives links:


The Bonehunters links:


Return of the Crimson Guard links:


Reaper's Gale links:


Toll the Hounds links:


Stonewielder links:


Orb Sceptre Throne links:


Dust of Dreams links:


The Crippled God links:


Blood and Bone links:


Assail links: (March 2014)
 
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Obscenic

Told lies with Locke
#2
January/February works the best for me, but I could start as early as December. My solid TBR list is never more than two books at a time (right now it's Way of Kings and Mythago Wood) so I have plenty of time to finish them before this book club starts.
 

fbones24

Journeyed there and back again
#3
I vote January or February too if my opinion counts for anything. ;) I am looking to finish up The Tawny Man Trilogy and possibly go through The Gentlemen Bastards now that ROT's is out. If it is decided that we start in December, I could find a stand alone to breeze through when done with Tawny Man.

I'm kind of excited for this.
 

João Ribeiro

Journeyed there and back again
#4
I vote January or February too if my opinion counts for anything.
Your opinion counts as much as anyone else's my friend! :)
Personally I can only start in December or January myself since until the end of the month I'm finishing the Gentelmen Bastards series... well reading the available ones at least.
 

fbones24

Journeyed there and back again
#5
I guess I would be down to start in December. I would just put off starting anything too daunting until then. It may even give me the opportunity to re-read some books I've been meaning to re-read. With that said, I'm going to start a thread on that.....
 

Aikura

Became a Faceless Man
#7
I've been umming and ahhing about this one, but I think I'd be keen with a group. Toward the February end of the scale, for me.
 

Hikerike

Owns a Ring of Power
#8
I think i'll go ahed and start to read before you guys, i mentioned this in another post but i don't really have anything else lined up until Words of Radiance. Reading The Black prism right now and will continue with The Blinding knife. then i'll probably move on to Gardens of the moon. Sorry , but i'm sure you'll be more than fine without me! Maybe it's okay if i post some thoughts when i read it (with the spoiler thingie so you guys dont read any spoilers, duh!) and that way i can still participate :)
 

João Ribeiro

Journeyed there and back again
#9
Hi Hikerike, reading rithms will be inevitable along the way so feel free to start reading and kick-off the threads for Gardens of the Moon. You can bounce ideas with the users who have already read the book and we'll come along afterwards.

By the way if you want something nice and light to read I trully recommend The Dresden Files. It's Urban fantasy and it's a great ride from book 3 onwards. Go Team Dresden.
 

João Ribeiro

Journeyed there and back again
#11
Still kinda felt bad about it but it isn't a race so i guess it's ok
Hi! It's not a race but it's not an obligation either my friend. If you're pumped about starting the series then by all means go ahead. It would probably be on the back of your mind anyway and may spoil any other book you read in the meantime.

To tell you the truth I had so much fun hunting for the cover pics and organizing the post that I had half a mind to start myself. However I'm way to involved with Locke and Jean at the moment to stop Read Seas and Republic so I'll just wait.

But please don't hold back if you're really enthusiastic about starting Malazan. We'll catch up :)

Cheers
 

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
#12
You guy's might want to consider taking notes. There are lots and lots of characters to keep track of and many plot twists creep up very unexpectedly.
 

João Ribeiro

Journeyed there and back again
#13
You guy's might want to consider taking notes.
Is it that complex? I really need to finish the Gentleman Bastards books to flush them out of the system before starting the Malazan books completely focused! I guess we can use the book club to take shared notes!
 

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
#14
Is it that complex? I really need to finish the Gentleman Bastards books to flush them out of the system before starting the Malazan books completely focused! I guess we can use the book club to take shared notes!
I didn't think it was that bad. There are lists of characters in the front and lists of things about warrens, etc. in the back. Not EVERY character is in the list of characters in the front (would constitute spoilers if they did that, in some cases), but all the minor ones pretty much are.

There IS a lot of stuff that you only catch on a second reading (but I only read the first 3 books more than once). But you wouldn't even know to take notes on some of it because you don't recognize how important the clues are until later.
 

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
#16
I don't think I will be taking notes on this, may take some of the fun away from it and I've never felt the need to do that before.

I never did either before I read GotM. Keep in mind that this novel is one that defeats a lot of people. Don't let yourself be one of them.
 

Hand of Fear

Journeyed there and back again
#17
Keep in mind that this novel is one that defeats a lot of people. Don't let yourself be one of them.
From what I've heard from you and other members you have to put time into this series, nothing is given to you on a plate you have to work at it but once you do you will be left with a very rewarding experience.
 

Sir Arthur

Journeyed there and back again
#18
Is it that complex?

No. It's just a big story with lots of locations and characters. I think it's been bad for Malazan that people are always calling it " complex".

I avoided it for years because of this. I felt as though the last thing I needed was some archaeologist/ anthropologist flexing his brain at me. Turns out, it's not like that at all.

It's not hard to read or follow. Just start reading, sit back and enjoy.
 

Amaryllis

Journeyed there and back again
#19
Is it that complex?

No. It's just a big story with lots of locations and characters. I think it's been bad for Malazan that people are always calling it " complex".

I avoided it for years because of this. I felt as though the last thing I needed was some archaeologist/ anthropologist flexing his brain at me. Turns out, it's not like that at all.

It's not hard to read or follow. Just start reading, sit back and enjoy.
This right here is something that can't be stated enough. Everyone says 'complex.' I guess it's more complex than 'traveling adventurers go to one location and fight something,' but this is drilled in too much. Its 'complexity' comes from the amount of references. They story is probably LESS complex than many. In a way, I feel like that word was just tacked on by someone who wanted to feel disproportionately good about themselves for reading it, and it just made it into the average synopsis of the series via some sort of osmosis. This has lead to its reputation as 'epic fantasy for smart people only.'

What you need to worry about turning you off much more is the style in which it is written (the dialogue, characterization and plot progression are not 'realistic' and progress more like a historical epic than they do the fantasy novel than all the signs lead you to believe it is), and that the story doesn't explain very much to you, but drops names every couple of sentences. The latter part you will absolutely get used to after awhile, and assuming you are paying at least a little attention, you'll automatically start sifting the info he's throwing at you, because as it turns out, humans are actually pretty good at absorbing data. You may not recognize every little complexity, and if you're the type to reread, I'm sure you'll get more out of it, but it's hardly necessary. You'll catch the big things, and a fair number of the little things. Enough to make you think 'ha! I saw that.' which I assume is what most people want to get out of that kind of storytelling.

The former is a bigger worry, because most people crack open GotM with absolutely no idea what they're about to read. Even if you like historical epics, it's like ordering a hamburger and getting a pizza. On principle, it's disappointing. When people compare this series to A Song of Ice and Fire, you can conclude that they have absolutely no idea what they're talking about. I don't care what your favorite is, they are as dissimilar as Law and Order and Oz. Marginally about the same thing SORTA, but not really. ASoIaF is a big story headed by characters whose eyes you live through, as they undergo struggles to survive and succeed in a cold, cutthroat fantasy world. Malazan is a big story where the characters are mostly caricatures and superheroes, whom you are supposed to be curious about rather than empathize with, and the story of the fantasy world and its changes is far more prominent than that of anyone populating it. Your attachment to GRRM's work will almost certainly be through the characters whose toils and turmoil you feel for yourself, while your attachment to Erikson's will be academic in that this is pretty cool and I wonder what happens next. That isn't to say that you can't appreciate the story in ASoIaF or some characters in Malazan, but they are built completely differently, from the foundation all the way up. Even to the point where GRRM is welcoming and tries to rope you in at the start of his series by starting small and building up, and not staging major action sequences until all sides are clearly drawn, and Erikson kind of tries to annoy you into quitting by opening the narrative with deliberate use of in media res (again, note that this is exactly how most historical sagas open).

I do feel like the series would have a lot less 'controversy' surrounding it, if it was advertised more honestly. Then again, the controversy is probably a lot of what sells it, and gives it such vehement defenders.