Friday, November 25, 2011

Deadhouse Gates

It ended up taking me most of a year to read this book, but that was more because I've been short on free time and reading tends to take a backseat when that happens, and less because I didn't like it. I ended up liking it probably more than the first book in the series, though it again took a while to really get into anything resembling a groove. It features four returning characters, but they only occupy two out of six or so main story threads, with the rest focusing on new faces, and again it's quite a bit of time before most of them seem to start connecting and involving themselves in something that could be called a plot.

It's hard to say whether this struggle early on in the books is a fault of Steven Erikson's writing or if it's just my failure to consistently read them, but usually I can only focus on doing so when I can tell what's happening and am enjoying it. Compared to some other series I've read, The Malazan Book of the Fallen can be pretty obscure. Your eyes can glaze over an entire paragraph if there are too many strange words in it, and if anything really happens in that paragraph, you can struggle with understanding it for a while. But when it works it works really well. I know the series gets weird with its chronology later on, but Deadhouse Gates is a straight sequel to Gardens of the Moon, and it expands on ideas from that book without necessarily requiring you to have just read it. The book uses some pretty dark and violent imagery to effective sell the significance of its events, and at some point it really does get gripping with me reading the last hundred pages in a couple hours. 11 months is definitely too much time to spend on a single book, but I'm prepared to blame that on myself and say I want to continue reading the series.

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