The previous book “Deadhouse Gates” focused on just one half of the story so far, and “Memories of Ice” now tells us the remainder of the story as they happen simultaneously. If the previous book had the dramatic and heartbreaking demise of Coltaine, this one has an equally poignant moment. It’s almost too sad for words and quite shocking because I never thought that such a central character would ever be killed off. It seems this series shares the tendency of another one called “A Song of Ice and Fire” which also brutally finished off lead characters. But I prefer the way it’s done here. It’s more sensitive. Less meaningless and less disheartening.
Steven Erikson has written a book which gives me everything I absolutely love about epic fantasy. It’s certainly not cliched. In the appallingly bad “Sword of Truth” series for example, the lead character keeps losing a magic sword which was gifted to him. In “Memories of Ice,” an immensely powerful immortal ascendant also wields a sword called Dragnipur. But when the presence of Dragnipur couldn’t be detected, a character in the book contemplates the possibility of it being lost:
“If we were living in one of those bad fables with some dimwitted farmboy stumbling on a magical sword, well, then losing the weapon might be possible. But…Anomander Rake? Son of Darkness? Lord of Moon’s spawn?”
There are some really well crafted characters in the “Malazan Book of the Fallen” series and that’s what holds my attention. Even the story itself is…epic. There’s no other word for it. It spans centuries, millenia even. The sense of sheer ancientness can be overwhelming. The “plot” weaves on without letting us get even a hint of where it’s going next in the larger scheme of things. The “main villain” of the series is shadowy and I’m not yet sure what role he’ll play later on.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am grateful to Steven Erikson for giving me such a wonderful tale and such tremendous characters to feed my imagination with.