“The lesson of history is that no one learns.”
I went into book 2 of the Malazan series thinking for some reason that now that I had a foundation of understanding this world from book 1, that reading through Deadhouse Gates would be less…dense.
I was wrong.
While there are some familiar characters from the Gardens of the Moon, Deadhouse Gates both introduces many new faces and also opens up this world tenfold. The first book took place almost entirely in the city of Dharujistan while this one literally spans three continents.
The familiar faces we get this time around are in two POVs. First off, Apsalar, Crockus, and Fiddler are (ostensibly) on a journey to return Apsalar to her home village. Naturally, this takes tons of turns and does not go nearly as expected.
The other familiar face we have is Kalam, assassin of the Bridgeburners. While he starts off with Fiddler and crew, his story diverges from theirs fairly early on as he sets off on his own quest of vengeance to assassinate the Empress.
And tons of new faces!
Duiker, the historian. His point of view is witness to an uprising in the Seven Cities, an area conquered by the Malazan Empire. The amount of bloodshed in these chapters is staggering and heartbreaking. I admit, I was not very into Duiker’s story in the beginning but after having finished the whole book it is the one that is staying with me the most.
Then there are Mappo and Icarium. These friends have been travelling together for an untold number of years. Icarium has very little memory of his past…and Mappo seeks to keep it that way.
And finally, we meet Felisin Paran. After the events of the first book, Felisin’s sister is promoted to Adjunct. To demonstrate her loyalty to the Malazan Empire, Adjunct Tavore includes here own sister in a group of citizens to be cast into slavery if they are not murdered first.
Her’s was one of the most fascinating points of view because she is such a hateful person. What starts simply as an effort to stay alive quickly leads her down a dark path that she embraces. I think part of what I loved about her storyline is also probably why I loved Duiker’s so much: nothing is held back. There is no line that is not crossed and it is so fucked up and I love it.
That’s a succinct summary of humankind, I’d say. Who needs tomes and volumes of history? Children are dying. The injustices of the world hide in those three words.” “The lesson of history is that no one learns.”
I already know that when I manage to finish this series, I am going to want to reread it. There is just such a massive amount of information about this world given in these pages that I know I missed so much and just retained enough to be able to continue to the story.
As dense as these books are, I am so glad that I started reading them. Although this book, because it took place largely in desert areas, felt sometimes like an endless record of how much water each group had I liked Deadhouse Gates even more than I liked Gardens of the Moon and Memories of Ice better look out!