Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson

Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 5, Midnight Tides

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted one of these. Yes, I’m still trundling along with this series.

It took me a while to get into this one, okay, I slogged through the first half. Midnight Tides is like starting an entirely new series, and had a lot of background story that did not seem to tie in to that we know of the series so far.

I questioned my taste for epic fantasy. Could it be? Was this too epic for me? Was it, in fact, too broadly reaching to hold my interest in the middle section of a series? I missed the old characters I haven’t seen, heard or even wandered around the same region as for half a book. And then the enemy showed up (to save the day?). A few characters revealed some quirks that, knowing Erikson, promised to be interesting. And I was hooked.

In short, hang in there, it ramps up, a lot. I think I picked away at the first part for 3 months and then finished the rest in about a week, which is fast for me.

Midnight Tides adds yet another facet to the story as a whole. This series is the most epic story I’ve ever read, for sure. This really reminds me how much can be going on in a world at one time. Instead of one character hearing about the occurrences in a distant place, Erikson puts a set of point of view characters in the middle of it. Throwing in but a dash of the familiar to connect the signature dots of this story, and you have to know what to look for, which adds to the fun of it.

Structurally, Erikson is managing the scope of the series by adjusting how he introduces new things this many pages in. In book 4, House of Chains, the first half was all about one character without getting other points of view, as if catching up the character to the time line. It seems as though Erikson did the same here, but with a new corner of the world, not just one person; with a new plot element, not just a new character.

With book 5 still riding the story development arc up, and only five books remaining, I’m hoping the next installment will start to bring everything together for some more of the merry plot mashing goodness that Erikson has shown a unique aptitude for so far. And yes, I read the Dramatis Personae in the front of each book to see who is in it.

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