Memories of Ice

I've just finished reading the third volume of A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen. And I'm left utterly speechless. Memories of Ice in an undeniable masterpiece. After reading fantasy novels for well nigh two decades, I can't believe that I can still be awed to such a degree by an author's work.

Steven Erikson set the bar rather high with the first two volumes, Gardens of the Moon and Deadhouse Gates. Yet somehow, the author found a way to outdo himself with this new installment. Without the shadow of a doubt, Memories of Ice is one of the best books I have ever read.

Epic in scope and vision since the very beginning, this addition brings even more depth to a series that is rapidly growing into a body of works that stands at the front of the pack. In worldbuilding and depth, I now believe that Erikson is without equals.

The characterizations are of the first order. Key revelations about Silverfox, Whiskeyjack, Quick Ben, Paran, and many others mark the return of fully realized characters. It's with immense pleasure that we return to the continent of Genabackis, even if what took place in Seven Cities was incredible. This book starts some time after Gardens of the Moon ended. Hence, it marks the return of favorites such as Anomander Rake, Onos T'oolan, Kruppe, and the Bridgeburners. But we are also introduced to a vast array of new characters that breathe new life into the tale. It demonstrates just how talented Erikson has become in that department. Special mention goes out to the Bridgeburners -- the best military outfit in the fantasy genre's history.

Weighing in at nearly 1200 pages, this is a big novel. And that size may daunt some potential readers. Yet the pace never slows down and there is not a single dull moment within its pages.

The myriad storylines weave an ever-growing tapestry which shows the potential of being the best fantasy series ever written. And even better, in Memories of Ice Steven Erikson's saga reaches an emotional and spiritual level that is rarely encountered in works of fiction. Moreover, the author does it all with a grace that left me baffled.

The battle of Coral will likely remain one of the most impressive armed conflicts to ever grace the pages of a novel. Yes, the action scenes are great. But it's during that gruesome conflict and its terrible aftermath that Erikson truly unveils these emotional and spiritual layers which make Memories of Ice such a special reading experience.

To conclude, a bold claim, if I may: If you are not reading A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, you are missing out on what is possibly the most ambitious fantasy series to ever see the light. As for me, chalk me up for the Malazan Reading Cult!;-)

The final verdict: 10/10

For more information on Memories of Ice: Canada, USA, Europe

4 commentaires:

Sarah said...

I just got the first one in the mail yesterday, and I am eager to try them!

Maurice said...

I found Erikson to be very brave in this book since he closed of some Huge plot threads and opened of course some others, and he had the oppurtunity to easily stretch them out. The ending is also one of the saddest, because of a certain someone's death.

Anonymous said...

Will there be a fantasy author capable of topping Erikson? It's hard to imagine.

Ripper Madness said...

Just going back and reading some of your older reviews. I started buying Erikson when the first novel, Gardens of the Moon, was first released in the UK. I had read a review and I thought I need to get this book! Being from the States I ordered it through the Amazon uk site. I loved GARDENS and DEADHOUSE GATES. When MEMORIES OF ICE landed in my lap I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was blown away, I was in awe, I wept, I laughed, I cheered. After I finished reading it I immediately said to myself, "This is my favorite fantasy novel I have ever read." - after reading a couple thousand fantasy novels I was pretty stunned that after all these years a book could actually possess me and move me like this novel did. I was already preaching Erikson to my friends who scratched their heads at the time and said, "But we can't get Erikson here in the States and I don' want to order from Amazon UK" - blah blah blah. I've bought complete runs of the series for my friends on their birthdays. Still my favorite character in the series is Karsa Orlong (will he ever fulfill his destiny, will we get to read about it soon?) but I still think for me MEMORIES OF ICE will always be my favorite Malazan novel, and if not my favorite all-time fantasy novel (Guy Gavriel Kay's UNDER HEAVEN - which I read because of your review here I might have to put at my top) will be right there at #2. Once again thank you for all the reviews and the time spent on the Hotlist. It is appreciated.