“We humans do not understand compassion. In each moment of our lives, we betray it. Aye, we know of its worth, yet in knowing we then attach to it a value, we guard the giving of it, believing it must be earned… Compassion is priceless in the truest sense of the wold. It must be given freely. In abundance.”
The third book in the Malazan series takes us back to the characters and setting in Darujhistan serving as a direct sequel to the evens in Gardens of the Moon and paralleling the events of Deadhouse Gates.
The short version of this review is that while this is a fantastic story and incredibly deep world, I find myself getting burnt out on some of the style of writing in some ways.
Unlike Deadhouse Gates, while Memories of Ice still has a multitude of POVs that all begin in different places, this book focuses solely on the Pannion War (as opposed to Deadhouse Gates which maintained several POVs that only ever tangentially converged).
I for one really liked this because a) it made it easier to keep everything straight in my head as far as what was going on and b) because if offered numerous vantage points for the same central conflict. It might have been because of this I was able to get more emotionally involved in several of the characters’ stories.
Arguably the most important character introduced in t his book is Silverfox, a Rhivi child born with the souls of three other people inside her. She is both naive and intelligent but also very flawed and I loved reading her character for it. Hers is probably the character that I connected with thee most this go around.
There were a few relationships that bloomed in this story too but I have to say, I never really felt the chemistry with any of them. This honestly might be because there is always so much going on with the plot that I always felt like I was struggling to keep up with it and so I just didn’t get as immersed in the characterizations as I think I could have. This isn’t something with just this book either, there have been a few relationships in this series so far and I have felt the same about all of them. Just…’oh okay.’
And that kind of brings me to what I am burnt out on: that constant struggle to keep up with the plot.
Three books in and I still feel like I am barely treading water at times in understanding this world. I will think for a moment that I mostly have it and then there is a conversation that just goes way over my head. For me, this leads to not really understanding characters’ motivations at times or completely missing what just happened and having to accept the result without understanding how we got there.
Several times in this book, I had to google who a person or group of people were just to be able to kind of keep up.
I can fully accept that this is on me. I know that there are so many people that love this series and so I doubt they are having the same issues. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change that when this happens I am pulled out of the story and my immersion is broken.
All that said though, this really is an amazing story. I love how all of the various plotlines and character arcs converge to make an even bigger story. Once I put together enough pieces to get a good idea of what’s going on, I amazed by the crafting of this enormous story.
I have gotten three books in now as was my initial goal. I am going to push that goal out to at least get to book 5 by the end of the year. There is no way that I can binge-read this series as each one just leaves me so mentally exhausted but I think 2 more books in the series in 3 months is definitely something I can do.