Memories of Ice: This is one of those stories that hooked me

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review Steven Erikson Memories of Ice Malazan Book of the FallenMemories of Ice by Steven Erikson

I sometimes find myself lost in this story’s complexity. I think I’m getting the general idea that the gods of this world have a more direct relationship with the mortals than what we’re used to, and that the tale here really started hundreds of thousands of years ago. Also, sometimes when it seems like I’ve missed something, it eventually comes together, more or less.

I also get very frustrated over the lack of visual descriptions. That may be only my own personal pet-peeve, because I have this complaint for a lot of today’s fantasy writers. It’s just bothersome to me when I’m trying to enter a fantasy world and the creator doesn’t always paint a good picture of its creatures or the characters. I’m infuriated when I surrender to the fact that I’m just going to have to go with my best idea of what something looks like, and then a description comes pages after it has been introduced and I find that I’m way off. That’s if I get a description at all.

Usually those things are enough to make me stop reading a book mid-way through and go find something more to my liking, but not with The Malazan Book of the Fallen. Erikson is still telling a great story, despite my personal problems with the details. What he lacks for in visuals, he makes up for in action and gritty dialogue. You can’t help but admire the boot-leather-tough characters, with their true soldier mentalities. The Bridgeburners have that by the wagon load. You can never tell who to trust or who to kill when you’ve got the chance.

Erikson has woven a great complex tapestry from many courageous threads of individual glory and honor. I’ve been drafted by the Malazan army and, like the rest of these poor troopers, I’ll have to see this thing through to the last battle. That’s not because I’m above desertion either. I’m ashamed to say I’ve been tempted, but I’m too damned loyal to these guys for that now.

So you can’t say you weren’t properly warned. Be careful, or you’ll be slooshin’ along, belly-aching about the lousy grub and lack of sleep, and be expected to hold your own along with the rest of us when the fighting starts. Who knows? Maybe you’ll survive to collect your back pay.

The Malazan Book of the Fallen — (1999-2011) Publisher: The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins. For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze. However, it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand.

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GREG HERSOM’S (on FanLit's staff January 2008 -- September 2012) addiction began with his first Superboy comic at age four. He moved on to the hard-stuff in his early teens after acquiring all of Burroughs’s Tarzan books and the controversial L. Sprague de Camp & Carter edited Conan series. His favorite all time author is Robert E. Howard. Greg also admits that he’s a sucker for a well-illustrated cover — the likes of a Frazetta or a Royo. Greg live with his wife, son, and daughter in a small house owned by a dog and two cats in a Charlotte, NC suburb. He retired from FanLit in Septermber 2012 after 4.5 years of faithful service but he still sends us a review every once in a while.

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