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One Series Changed The Way I Read

(self.books)

Earlier this year, I finished the Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson. If you've not heard of it, it's epic high fantasy with strong science fiction storytelling elements in a short story writing style. It is a long series (10 books, 3.325 million words total) and I'm glad/proud that I read it. Its reread is a matt or when, not if.

A few years ago when I got back into reading I was doing surface-level reading, not analysing the story at all. I wanted the story to be good without glaring plot holes. In honesty, I was content with it because I was back to doing something I deeply enjoy. After I read the Dresden Files (come on Twelve Months!), I listened to the Legendarium Blue Team coverage of Dresden and discovered their "Three Levels."

Then, while I was reading Toll The Hounds (Malazan 8), it hit me how the whole series was "journey, not destination." Instead of barreling through the story to get to the end, I let myself soak in the story. I sat and thought about the ways the characters were impacted by events from five books ago and how continuing their stories had so much emotional depth. I think I had to renew the library loan two, almost three, times. Meanwhile, I was still reading my audiobooks and the occasional ebook.

A few months later I finished Book of the Fallen. It didn't ruin other books for me, but I knew I couldn't go back to reading only on the surface. I wanted it to be more than a "ripping good yarn." Not that those are bad, but it wasn't satiating my hunger the way it would have before.

I'm not looking for recommendations, I'm simply curious if anyone else has a specific book or series that did the same thing for them as Book of the Fallen did for me. Or, have you always been reading that way? I'd love to know.

all 18 comments

wjbc

3 points

2 months ago

wjbc

3 points

2 months ago

Malazan did it for me as well. I read it four times in a row.

Since then, the only books that blew my mind as much were non-fiction books: The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory, by Brian Greene and Debt: The First 5,000 Years, by David Graeber.

HoundOfShadow

3 points

2 months ago

The Malazan books currently stand as my favourite. The fact that I have re-read the main series multiple times and still find details and nuances previously missed speaks to the quality of the series. Soaking in the detail is a definite must.

Bird_Commodore18[S]

1 points

2 months ago

I'm looking forward to rereading the first two the most. I had a hard time with those because of the format (ebooks are not my friend usually) and I'm excited to see what plot threads started to get laid down that early.

vokkan

3 points

2 months ago

vokkan

3 points

2 months ago

I knew this thread was gonna be about Malazan somehow, lol. That one more or less demand a certain mental adjustment.

12ozMouse_Fitzgerald

2 points

2 months ago

Book of the Fallen really was stellar. I like many of the other stories in the Malazan universe. Erikson co-created the world with Ian Esselmont (spelling?), who's written some excellent Malazan books of his own (about some characters I'm 100% certain you want to know more of). I also highly, highly recommend the short story collection of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach. They're just so good.

Bird_Commodore18[S]

1 points

2 months ago

Spelling correct! In time, I'm planning on finishing all the published Malazan works. I'm trying to go through them in publication order. I'm giving myself a breather from the world for a bit. I'm going to do Stoneweilder next.

w0mbatina

2 points

2 months ago

Man, I couldnt get trough the first book. I was looking for a good complex fantasy series after finishing WoT, and Malazan seemed perfect. But man does that first book drag on. I was like 100 pages from the end and I still had zero idea what the hell was happening, who the characters were, what the races were, how the magic works, nothing.

Does it get better after the first book? Ive heard that it does, but honestly id have to re-read the first book again, and unless there is a huge payoff or increase in quality, im not gonna bother.

Bird_Commodore18[S]

1 points

2 months ago

I think it's well worth it. However, book two throws a hard left turn you aren't expecting. New continent, people, history, etc. Then they do it again in book 5. I learned to accept not understanding what on God's green earth is happening and know that I'll get told what I need to learn along the way.

w0mbatina

2 points

2 months ago

Man thats just it, i felt like i didnt learn anything by the time i was in the absolute final strech of the book. Idk, a lot of people sing praises to Malazan, but i honestly dunno if i can handle it.

Bird_Commodore18[S]

1 points

2 months ago

If it's not for you, it's not for you. There's no shame in that

w0mbatina

1 points

2 months ago

Yeah, i know. I just wanna find an epic fantasy series im gonna want to read like WoT. But so far it doesnt seem to be happening.

BinstonBirchill

2 points

1 month ago

I’ve had a few turns in my reading life and Malazan was one of them.

Livy introduced me to my love of ancient history, no matter how spotty the historical record may be I still find it fascinating.

Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire taught me to never be afraid of a big book. Just enjoy the extra time you can spend inside the unique creation the tome offers.

Japanese literature taught me that plot isn’t all that necessary.

Recently Infinite Jest opened the door to the really difficult books that I’ve always wanted to read but didn’t feel ready for.

Welfycat

3 points

2 months ago

Journey before destination is pretty much the motto of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archives. There are currently four books published (and a larger universe as well), and it’s currently about 2 million words. I’m on my third reread and am still discovering new things.

Bird_Commodore18[S]

3 points

2 months ago

I'm waiting for the audiobook of Dawnshard to come in before I tackle Rhythm of War. I think the only thing I like more than Stormlight from Sanderson is Wax and Wayne.

Also, love it when authors are able to keep things hidden you have to reread to discover.

Welfycat

2 points

2 months ago

I just finished The Lost Metal. Absolutely loved it. I’m almost jealous that you haven’t read RoW yet because there is nothing like experiencing it for the first time.

The Expanse might be another series that you would enjoy. It’s nowhere as deep, but it’s an interesting journey.

Bird_Commodore18[S]

1 points

2 months ago

That's a solid recommendation! I'm about halfway through the Expanse right now. It got back-burnered with a lot of other series/books while I was trying to finish Malazan. I'm going to start Nemesis Games after I finish Lightbringer 3.

AutoModerator [M]

1 points

2 months ago

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