Fri
Jul 27 2012 1:00pm
Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Reaper’s Gale, Chapter One

The Malazan Reread on Tor.comWelcome to the Malazan Re-read of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapter One of Reaper’s Gale by Steven Erikson (RG).

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A forum thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

 

Chapter One

SCENE ONE

Tanal Yathvanar delivers a new puzzle to Invigilator Karos, commander of the Patriotists and in Tanal’s mind “the most powerful man next to the Emperor.” The two join the Tiste Edur liaison, Bruthen Trana, to inspect a line of prisoners, some of whom have lost consciousness. Only a portion of the 300 + prisoners, most are there as political prisoners or due to guilt by association, such as a poet who wrote a call for revolution. Karos goes through the charges against each as Tanal thinks admiringly of the Invigilator’s “perfect laws of compulsion and control.” Once Karos finishes, Bruthen Trana leaves. Karos solves the puzzle and says he needs better ones, then discusses business, noting a lack of coinage in the city and saying he wants to meet with the leader of the Liberty Consign. Tanal says Rautos Hivanar has a theory and Karos agrees to meet with him. Karos tasks Tanal to find out what Trana’s purpose is in his weekly visits and suggests possibly investigating him, which shocks Tanal somewhat, Karos reminds him the Patriotists have a charter to “police the empire” and figure out who is “loyal and disloyal” regardless of if they are Edur or Letherii.

SCENE TWO

Rautos Hivanar one of the richest Letherii and leader of the Liberty Consign (an association of wealth families in the Empire) suspects someone is deliberately sabotaging the economy. He is surprisingly less concerned with that than with a new mystery recent flooding has brought to light. He is obsessed with figuring out the purpose of a series of boulders, posts, ands strange objects the river’s current had revealed, some strange mechanism he thinks. He tells his main assistant to go to Drene to find out for the Consign what is happening there, saying the Factor of that area isn’t giving enough information. He is happy to hear that the Invigilator is finally willing to meet with him concerning his theory on the economic sabotage.

SCENE THREE

Atri-Preda Bivatt’s Bluerose cavalry has massacred an Awl’dan camp, including elders and children, taking their herds in the name of the Factor, Letur Anict. She implies by tone she doesn’t much care for what her army is doing with the Awl, telling the Edur Overseer, Brohl Handar the Awl are not trespassers and implying this is to enrich the Factor. She asks Handar if he ever wonders who won their war. Handar thinks of how the Awl have been mostly decimated and that Anict holds the most power in this region. Bivatt tells him the “official” story is that the Awl and others are aligned in the “Bolkando Conspiracy” which threatens the Empire, but in reality there is no conspiracy. Though, she adds, they did fight and barely defeat a group of mercenaries recently of whom they know nothing. Handar asks why Factor Anict wants to enrich himself so much and when she replies gold give power over people, he says not the Edur, who are “indifferent” to wealth. Bivatt tells him that is no longer so, saying Edur have confiscated lands, are taking Indebted as slaves.

SCENE FOUR

Silchas Ruin and some of his group approach an Edur slaver group, telling them they captured two Letherii (Udinaas and Kettle) that belong to him and he wants them back. When the Edur refuses, Ruin kills most of them. When Kettle says she was raped, Ruin goes off to kill the other Edur. Fear and Udinaas spar as they always do. Seren thinks how those pursuing them do so in strange manner, more akin to herding than chasing. Udinaas discovers the slavers were carrying weapons. Ruin returns.

SCENE FIVE

Tanal Yathvanar looks down on a woman he’s been torturing, reveling in his power and immunity, though he thinks Karos knows of his proclivities. He joins Karos and Hivanar, who has convinced the Invigilator that someone is sabotaging the economy and asked the Patriotists to take the lead in finding the person. Hivanar also tells them to back off their arrests of academics and scholars, whose friends have brought concerns to him. Karos agrees, saying perhaps they’ve already done their job of quelling sedition among that group. After Hivanar leaves, Karos tells Yathvanar to free the woman in his room. Yathvanar says he will, but thinks he “won’t suffer alone.”

SCENE SIX

Tehol and Bugg discuss Ezgara the two-headed bug, manipulating their economic sabotage, and making a special “clever box.”

 

Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter One

I think that this first sentence in the extract from The Hiroth Dynasty describes many of the uneasy relationships we’ve been seeing across the novels: “Two forces, once in vicious opposition, now found themselves virtual bedmates, although neither could decide which of them had their legs pried open first.”

Is this “strange object” merely a toy? Or is it something believed to be a toy but isn’t? Something from the Bluerose people, who we know as Tiste Andii.

What a nasty little contrast between talking about the unusual gift and then seeing the treatment of the prisoners—tortured by being left in the sun for hours without any sustenance.

It is rough heading back into the very grey area of the Letherii vs Edur after spending a book dealing with people you can see as being much more the good guys. Yes, these Letherii are being held as prisoners and dealt with cruelly, but I’m forced to question what they did to earn this treatment from the Edur! Both are as bad as each other!

Having said that, these misdemeanours seem more petty than anything that deserves the treatment they’re receiving: “The proprietor of an inn, the tavern of which was frequented by undesirable elements—disenchanted soldiers, in fact...”

Ooh! Interesting comment about this body called the Patriotists: “The Patriotists...possess the imperial charter to police the empire. In that charter no distinction is made between Edur and Letherii, only between the loyal and disloyal.”

So, altogether, not completely sure what is happening here, but I’m guessing we’re seeing the new situation in Letheras, after the events of Midnight Tides.

We move on from the Patriotists to hear about the Liberty Consign, “an association of the wealthiest families in the Lether Empire.” It’s clear that everyone is currently scuffling to mark out new lives and different organisations under the rule of the Edur.

Heh, now who do we possibly know that would be striving to achieve economic sabotage?

I wonder what is it that Rautos has found, this (possible?) barrow, with the tools of a previous civilisation. In my experience, unearthing something long forgotten in these books doesn’t usually end well.

Rautos has a very likable curiosity, for me.

Never a good sign when a slaughter encompasses elders, women and children. I don’t find that the army of Atri-Preda Bivatt is being endeared to me by their actions. Especially when they then attack the dogs as well! And the scalping... Well, these people are not pleasant at all.

Oh, now this is an incredibly poignant question in my mind: “Do you ever wonder, Overseer, which of us truly won that war?” And, I guess, the reverse as well—who really lost.

So we’re not loving Letur Anict either, are we? The “official version” of the Awl antagonistic tendencies being spread in order to raise ire towards them, all in order to justify the slaughter of the Awl and make himself richer. Especially when the Atri-Preda makes it clear that this is a blatant lie, and that the Awl are mostly squabbling amongst themselves.

It seems as though anyone can create a reason for a war. And sadly that can equally be a comment on the Malazan series or of real world events.

Silchas Ruin is a genuinely chilling character, isn’t he? More than Rake did, Silchas reminds me of Elric of Melnibone, with his albino appearance and his height with that slender appearance.

I don’t know why, but this tickled me in a very dark way: “...the other with a third of his skull sliced away. This latter one turned away as the fighting continued, reaching down to collect the fragment of scalp and bone...”

Oh man... Kettle’s casual mention of rape makes it so much more painful than if she was outraged and screaming about it:

“Silchas Ruin approached Kettle. “Hurt you. How?”

“The usual way,” she replied. “With the thing between his legs.”

She’s so young, and this loss of innocence, especially compared to what we saw of her in Midnight Tides, is exceptionally hard to read.

I am glad that Silchas is prepared to visit bloody vengeance on them for their actions.

Fear and Seren present very different views here—she doesn’t mind that Silchas plans to hunt down and kill the other members of her race, while Fear resents any killing of the Edur and prays for their souls. I think this says a great deal about the two different cultures we’re dealing with here.

Ah yes, we see as well the reactions between Tiste Andii and Tiste Edur—as Seren says: “...you know, if those two are any indication, it’s no wonder the Edur and the Andii fought ten thousand wars.”

This is a group of people with far too many secrets, and outright hostility towards each other. Fear is the biggest part of this, having reason to hate both Udinaas and Silchas Ruin. Not easy for them to work together.

Okay, I really didn’t like Tanal Yathvanar at the start of this chapter—but now I positively hate him. “He wasn’t much interested in beating his women, just in seeing them beaten.” I hope to god we see his comeuppance, and it’s nice already to see that he is experiencing possible restitution for his actions.

Ahhhh. Before we even knew truly, the dialogue and the chat between these two reveals it to be Tehol and Bugg. Nice to see them back! They’re the one real high point for me of the Letherii Empire.

What I love most about their dialogue is that most of it is nonsensical, and just now and then there will be a sentence that pushes forward the plot.

 

Bill’s Reaction to Chapter One

So we get an early mention of Bluerose, a place that’s been popping up a lot lately in little tossed-off lines. Something to think about...

Tanal is not one of the most pleasant characters we will meet, and so this makes a good introduction to him as we see his brutality right from the very start as he kicks the unconscious prisoner awake and threatens to break his bones. This is actually one of his nicer acts/threats.

We also get an intriguing introduction to Karos in his immediately clear love of puzzles. As we soon learn he’s in charge of the sort of not-so-secret police in the new Empire, one has to wonder how his love of solving puzzles might have an impact on his love of seeing/manipulating conspiracies and sedition.

I really like how efficiently Erikson portrays the McCarthy-like process of the Patriotists:

  • Right away we get the usual key phrases: “known associations,” “no specific crimes,” “frequented” bad establishments, “informed.”
  • Then we get the Invigilator’s rulebook: “bribe the weak to expose the strong. Kill the strong and the rest are yours,” and so on. We’ve seen this so many times in our history any such book would have to be considered public domain at this point I’d think.
  • Then the inevitable corruption such power brings, Karos’ forty-five percent interest in the establishment of the “traitor” innkeeper.
  • The way such organizations always will turn on the those that unleashed them, seeing it as their “mandate” to go wherever their suspicions (real, paranoid, or manufactured) lead them. As Karos says, “no distinction is made.”

It’s an interesting parallel between these two men—Karos and Rautos. We meet both and are introduced early on to their intelligence (Rautos doing scholarly research, Karos with his quick solution to the puzzle), their compulsive/obsessive natures (Karos with his puzzles, Rautos with his archaeological dig), and the way these compulsions can distract them from their usual main goals.

“Strange construct,” “antiquity,” “mechanism,”: We’ve seen some of these words before in association with someone....

It’d be difficult to paint an uglier picture of Letherii genocide than we get here in Drene: Slaughter of old people and children, scalping, collecting Awl skins as trophies, killing dogs as “sport,” all topped off by the rapaciousness of it all, the greed for more land, more gold. And for that reason, it’s also hard not to like Atri-Preda Bivatt, who seems not to care much for what she’s involved in: “not my campaign” [italics mine], her facial expressions, her defense of the Awl against the charge of trespassing and her scorn for the manufactured “Conspiracy.” As well as her clear-minded view of “cultural assimilation,” the genocidal nature of her own people, and the effect of “victory” on the Edur.

After the dialogue-driven, action-driven nature of this scene, I really like the closing few paragraphs. That image of the three Awl dogs watching, their silhouettes, —it’s a bit ominous and creepy, and I like as well how the number parallels are red-masked Awl and his two taloned killing machines. Then the way Brohl almost loses his balance—which fits his sense of being lost out here as well as the impact of Bivatt’s revelation re the Edur. And then the carrion bird of course.

Anyone else kinda wonder why the “remaining eight” Edur took so long to run?

A few interesting mysteries pop up in this scene:

  • Why are the slavers carting weapons?
  • Where is Wyval?
  • Why are their pursuers not simply overwhelming them with numbers?

I’m wondering in this scene about reactions to Kettle’s rape—the rape itself and the group’s individual reactions to the rape.

Speaking of rape, here we have Tanal’s true sick perversion revealed and we can see how “restrained” he was in the earlier scene with the prisoners. And as well it continues the depiction of such organizations with Tanal’s musing that he it’s the “perfect haven for people like him” and his belief that Karos knows all about what he is doing with these women. The way the uniform becomes symbol, the way they are treated differently from all others—allowed to bear dagger and shortsword.

Concern for Tehol might become a bit heightened here, as we see two clearly smart and compulsive men join forces to find out just who is the economic saboteur. (Though such concern is also lessened by knowledge that he has an Elder God in his corner. Often literally.)

We have the possibility of some internal dissension being set up for possible future plot as Tanal is furious at Karos’ order to give up his toy.

And no coincidence we move from Tanal and Karos’ willingness to let him do what he wants so long as Karos as a say in to whom he does it to “depravity” and a “sick” soul.

Probably not a bad idea to get some comic relief in before this chapter exhausts us with tragedy. We’ve got genocide, slaughter of children, rampant abuse of power and corruption, Ruin wiping out Edur and Letherii, Kettle raped, a reminder of Seren’s rape, and rape/torture. Just a little grim.

It’s also a bit of a relief, especially after seeing the meeting just concluded, that Tehol seems to have a plan, one beyond the sabotage.


Amanda Rutter is the editor of Strange Chemistry books, sister imprint to Angry Robot.

Bill Capossere writes short stories and essays, plays ultimate frisbee, teaches as an adjunct English instructor at several local colleges, and writes SF/F reviews for fantasyliterature.com.

31 comments
Chris Hawks
1. SaltManZ
This was always my least favorite book of the series, and I think a good chunk of that is that there are so many truly unlikeable characters. In MT, it was hard to root for one side or the other, because though the Edur and the Letherii were headed for inevitable conflict, you got to know and respect and even like the characters and motivations on each side. In this book, besides a small handful of characters (Bruthen Trana and Brohl Handar—who I always mix up—and Bivatt come to mind) most of the main characters in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Edur Empire of Lether are so highly despicable.

Love that dialogue with Tehol and Bugg, and I especially love the fact that it goes on so long without SE naming them, and yet you know exactly who's talking. "What kind of sentence is that? Would good enough." and "Size?" "Absolutely." Hilarious.
Sydo Zandstra
2. Fiddler
Did we get more comment here than text to be commented on?

I did a quick read, and will do another later...
Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter
Kettle's treatment is certainly rough here. I would have prefered a fate less rough for her, but being in a slave chain isn't a good place to be. Silchas probably gave the various soldiers a quicker death than they deserved.
I found the thought that they should be being pursued by armies interesting in a couple ways. First, there's the question as to why they aren't being more aggressively pursued. Then there's the so what if an army did pursue them? Silchas is fairly formidable and in his Soletaken form could probably defeat a fair percentage of most any force.
Then we have Tehol & Bugg. When in doubt, root for Tehol.
Tehol's question of just what the bugs are doing with all the mass they are eating is a very good one.
Jay Doctor
4. therealdrj
Of all the characters Erickson and Esselmont have created, Silchas might be the most grey (makes sense, with the grey skin), he seems very by the books, unrelenting and viscous, but then shows moments of genuine humanity in situations like with Kettle. But by the end it did make sense for this dichotomy but nevertheless, I really do look forward to learning more about him beyond the betrayl he suffered in the last few books. He does seem extremely complex, moreso than his brothers Anomander and Andarist and I am curious to know why he has grey skin when every other Andii has black, hmmmm.
Jay Doctor
5. therealdrj
To Tehol and Bugg. I can't get enough of them. Would love to see a Korbal & Broach-esque short story collection. I very much like this version of Mael better then his petty, jerky relationships, although it is very reminiscent of Zeus and his behaviors.

I can think of only 4-5 Letherii that I don't want to see wiped out. The rest are so corrupt and such weasels that if Rhulad had been smart, instead of conquering, he should have destroyed the upper classes and snuffed out the Patriotists before the ink on their charter had finished drying.
Mieneke van der Salm
6. Mieneke
Taking Saltz's remarks about unlikeable characters into account I think I'll have to cling hard and fast to the characters I know I can like, such as Tehol and Bugg and Seren and perhaps Bivatt, to get me through the book. I can deal with unlikeable characters, but I need someone to anchor me to a book.

And it'll be an interesting game between Tehol and Karos/Rautas, though I'm sure Tehol still has plenty of tricks up his sleeve.

As for Kettle's rape, that made me flinch and I'm glad that Silchas went after him and I have to admit liking Udinaas a bit better for taking out the main abuser. But what I found most touching was when Seren went to release Kettle and she just said, 'I missed you'.
Thomas Jeffries
7. thomstel
Minor spoiler via opinion, skip if so inclined:



Silchas's group is this book's "tough to read" for me (i.e. Felisin in DH, Mhybe in MoI, etc.). While I enjoy seeing the interplay and can respect that the interactions between the characters are there for a reason (some plot, others characterization, sometime philosophical musings), I still get irked when I read these sections; they all act in petty, unlikable ways and it drains me to watch them bicker. Kettle is the exception, but only because she acts more detached, as if arguments and such are not worth her effort. Even her offhand remark about the rape sets her up in my mind as a character that I'm going to have difficulty relating to simply because she has no desire to be relatable. Is her detachment a choice? A side-effect of being dead, then gradually revived? Something else?

I suppose I will count myself lucky that amongst that group, I do NOT easily find myself relating. They're all pretty damaged, including the upcoming addition to the gang.
tromedlov87
8. tromedlov87
Yeah, I have to admit that Reaper's Gale is my least favorite book in the series. Mostly for what SaltZ mentioned, the lack of likable characters, but also more to do with the overall plotlines. A big part of it is also some of the events near the end of the book, but we'll get to that :)

That said, I still enjoyed the book, and it has a lot going for it, just not as much as most of the Malazan books IMO.
Sydo Zandstra
9. Fiddler
Reaper's Gale is high among my favourite list. 4'ish or so.

Why?

Because this is the book where the Bonehunters start getting a mean reputation, and every inch of it will be deserved.

Paraphrasing Stormy, this is where we get to see what Kellanved intended with Marines when he created them.

Just wait and see :)
Julian Augustus
10. Alisonwonderland
Bill, while it may be comforting to think that Tehol literally has an Elder God in his corner, it has been shown that it wouldn't prevent him from being savagely beaten and/or killed. After all, the God can't be near him 24/7, and one can't rule out the possibility of something happening to Tehol while the God is occupied elsewhere. We've seen that already, haven't we?
Tricia Irish
11. Tektonica
Thank goodness for Tehol and Bugg. These Letherii just keep getting worse. There are few people to root for in these opening sections. And I have to agree, it's not one of my favorite of the MBotF.

This whole continent seems to be infected with depravity......many broken, twisted people, as well as cultures. It's a hard read for me, but I'd rather be in Malazan than anywhere else!
Jay Doctor
12. therealdrj
What the Letherii does to the Awl'dan is the worst by far (not including what happens to one character at the end that broke my heart since he has been getting the short end of the stick since GotM).

We haven't been introduced to him yet, but I LOVED Rautos' butler/companion/secretary, especially at the end. Hopefully he finds his way into books 8-10 somewhere, just like the awesome Seguleh have been popping up more frequently.
karl oswald
13. Toster
Re Silchas' skin colour: isn't he ablino, as in pale white, not grey??

also, i mostly agree with people who find it hard to read the sections with silchas' party. they are a slog, but there some golden moments (udinaas' deconstruction of certain trope being one of them), and the ending is slightly mind-popping. the hardest thing is the fact that none of these people are really that moral, nevermind likeable or admirable.

sure, silchas hunts down kettle's rapists, but that's revenge, and if he didn't need kettle, he wouldn't waste two minutes on her.
Jay Doctor
14. therealdrj
@Toster: Very true, but I have a feeling since it is Erickson, Silchas isn't as bad as he seems. That is left to the likes of Kallor and Skinner. Which is why I am super excited to read the Darkness trilogy to shed more light, we don't know if his single-minded determination and disdain for others is a project of being trapped in the Azath for so long with the other undesirables.

I was absolutely wrong, he is albino, not grey
tromedlov87
15. tromedlov87
@8Fiddler: Yeah, I admit the stuff with the Bonehunters is awesome in this book. I just wish that there was a little more of it and a little less of some of the other storylines.

After thinking about it, I have similar feelings about this book and Toll the Hounds. More than a lot of the other books, IMO, they feature several plotlines that either don't seem all that important or are just unsatisfying or boring. TtH came out better overall, though, for two main reasons:

1) I'm a little biased and much prefer the Darujhistan setting/characters to those in RG

2) The ending of TtH blew me away and ratcheted the book up several degrees in my mind all its own, while the ending to RG... didn't.
tromedlov87
16. Destiny
Hello all,
I've been following this re-read for a while now and decided to come out of lurkdom :) though I won't be following the reading pace. I'm already on chapter 7.

I agree with others that this isn't my fave Malazan book (though that means nothing as I love them all). I'm not a fan of the Karos/Tanal/Rautos plot, or the Redmask/Awl'dan plot. They just didn't interest me the first time round. Though I can say it's better now in a re-read.

And I'll have to disagree with the rest of you, 'cause I really liked the Silchas story. He's one of my favourite characters.

So for me the Silchas & Bonehunter plotlines sort of make up for all the stuff I didn't like. Oh and Tehol&Bugg of course.
tromedlov87
17. Kanese S's
It's odd, everyone else seems not to like this book that much, but it's one of my favorites, if not my favorite overall (I can't really decide if I like it or The Bonehunters better).
tromedlov87
18. Jordanes
While I agree with others that this one isn't my fave of the series, I still profoundly enjoyed it - and when you start listing to yourself the various specific bits about it which are good, it actually turns into a pretty long list.

But oh boy yes, is it ever a dark book. Well, it is called Reaper's Gale after all, what did you expect? ;)

Although, it did surprise me that, after the efforst SE has gone in previous books to present all sorts of characters as various shades of grey, this book really does have plenty of characters who are just plain awful individuals, and even just outright evil.

I am also on the side of those who like the Silchas and co. plotline (apart from the huge timeline headache of them supposedly having wandered around together FOR AT LEAST THREE YEARS by the time we meet them in this book). But I especially love the Udinaas-Fear Sengar interaction. Poor Fear.

Hell, I'm even a fan of the Redmask plotline, because of one character we all know and love in particular, but also because it does a great job of showing that this is an Empire we're dealing with, and the events which are of huge consequence in the capital don't necessarily have great bearing on events out on the periphery.

And finally:

BRUTHEN TRANA. Suck it Trull Sengar - now this is a real Edur! :D
Darren Kuik
19. djk1978
Hmm, interesting. While there is certainly a lot of characters in Reaper's Gale that one hopes will get there comeuppance sooner rather than later I am not amongst those who put RG amont their least favorites. At least if you asked me that I would say no, because I really liked this one.

Then if you ask me whether I liked DG, MoI, MT, BH, TtH, DoD or CG better I would be forced to say yes. So with at least 7 books ahead of it I guess that does make it one of my least favorites in the series. But that is hardly an indictment of the book, it's just a credit to how good I think the series is.
tromedlov87
20. Tufty
I love the characterization in RG. There are some pretty awful people, but they come in some very interesting flavours - like Karos Invictad, who is horrendously evil mostly as a side-hobby to his main interests of being rich and smart.

And amongst all these awful, terrible people, the evil monster ruling over them all, Rhulad, becomes so heart-achingly human.

Ublala Pung, Brohl Handar, Hannan Mosag, Errastas... a lot of characters make great turns of personality in this novel, whether big or small (Kenryll'ah).

I can feel already that, unlike the last two books, there's going to be a lot of cheering and bawling moments from me while we re-read this one. Plot be-damned (not that it is), IMO, RG always delivers for that alone.
Brian R
21. Mayhem
Silchas Ruin is a fascinating character, of the three brothers he is truly the most alien in thought and deed. I can see how Silchas reminds Amanda of Elric of Melnibone - besides the albino look, he also has that same way 0f seeing the world differently to normal people. And being incredibly old, he also has that jaded cynicism of the elders - he's seen it all before, all the petty corruptions.

He's really the most draconic of the brothers, chaotic in body, cold and calculating in mind. He's had millenia to ponder what he would do once he escaped the Azath, and Revenge on Scabandari seems pretty high up on the list of things to do.
Rob Munnelly
22. RobMRobM
I have to confess that this book pushed me over the edge to where I mentally lost control of how everything fit together. Too many people, too many places for me to keep track and enjoy the subtle interaction, foreshadowing and theme building. I finished the series to the end and have been reading the subsequent Esslemont books but I lacked the connections I had felt with the first four books.


:-(
Darren Kuik
23. djk1978
Rob, all the more reason to stick to the re-read. There's a lot of re-readers here who ought to be able to help you sort it out enough to enjoy it more.
Rob Munnelly
24. RobMRobM
djk - yes, I'm sticking with and appreciating the thoughtful commentary of Bill, Amanda and the group, but just wanted to point out this book as a break point for me in my initial read. I don't even have a clear sense of the plots of the remaining books, while I have a pretty sharp memory of what happened in the books before it.
Darren Kuik
25. djk1978
Ah, gotcha. I would agree that the series as a whole becomes more convoluted with this book, but that's not surprising considering that at least the first 5 books were all set up for the next five and then Bonehunters was still a lot of familiar territory in terms of people and setting.
Tricia Irish
26. Tektonica
RobM:

I totally agree with your assessment. I was pretty lost with this book the first time through. If not for Fiddler, who helped me immensely, I might have thrown up my hands in despair.

It's making a lot more sense the second time through, (although I still don't like many of these characters, and continue to think a few of the plot lines are superfluous.) As you can see from some of my early questions on this very thread, I'm still putting the pieces together. It's such a massive body of work, with so many plot threads, I've found it hard to keep all the balls in the air.

Glad you are with us! Ask some questions, so I'm not the only dumb bunny filling in the blanks!
Jay Doctor
27. therealdrj
For me, the first several books were overwhelming and while the last few (just finished TtH, holy crap, right up there with MoI in terms of raw emotional sways, about to start Stonewielder) have been bigger in terms of plot, characters and sheer murder of trees :), I have loosened up a bit.

Erickson is a smart writer, he knows how massive this is becoming, and I have started to take the Stephen King approach. By that, I mean I am not worrying about being able to piece everything together as it is happeneing *cough* Tehol's plans *cough*, but I know by the end Erickson will given me enough that I will be able to understand it. This could simply be an amalgum of me being familiar with his writing, familiar with the universe and Steven realizing that if it is too convoluted without SOME explanation then he has done more harm.
Steven Halter
28. stevenhalter
I will be interested at everyone's opinion when we get to the other side of this book in the reread. There is a lot going on here, but hopefully we'll help get it all (or mostly) put into place.
I think there are a number of wonderful parts and there are parts that need to be there in order for other things to happen later on.
Amir Noam
29. Amir
RobM @24:
I know what you mean.
I've only read the books once (and only up to TTH) and this is my first re-read (actually managing to follow along at Bill's and Amanda's pace).
But I've noticed that although it's been many years since I've read the first books in the series, I still managed to remember most of what happened in them. While in the later books (which I've read relatively more recently) my memory was/is really fuzzy on a lot of the plot points.

Actually, that was my reaction to other series as well - such as WoT: I've only read the books once (and often having to wait for new books to be released), so it was spread over many years. Yet I remembered a lot of details from the first books and very little from the later ones.

Interesting.
Tabby Alleman
30. Tabbyfl55
So yeah, as late as it is, this comment may never be seen, but it seems the appropriate place to ask my question.

First my background, I'm speeding through this re-read to catch up to where I actually am in my first read-thru and am not actually re-reading as I go. So I have read way past this point once, but have to go by memory when I read the re-read, which can be pretty spotty.

That said, I recall being really lost, bothered and confused at this point with the Silchas group, and I can't remember: does it ever get explained exactly how/why this group of characters ended up together? I think I remember something about Fear coming to find Seren because of Trull having given her his sword. But Udinaas and Kettle? Seems like last time we saw those characters, they were nowhere near each other, aside from being on the same continent.

Anyway, I will continue reading the re-read and maybe some light that I missed before will be shed. It's happened enough times so far, to be sure.
Joseph Ash
31. TedThePenguin
Everyone was in Letheras for the final battle(s) in Midnight Tides, and then Fear and Trull went to Seren's house, while they were there Ruin, Kettle and Unidas (and associated Wyval/Wither) were at the Azath, then someone (Bugg?) brought them to Seren's house as well to get them out of Dodge (or Letheras) undetected. They have been wandering since (the timeline is NOT important)

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