Memories 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.