I am doing it differently this time – still trying to figure out the best way to write down my thoughts.
Well, that escalated quickly. She is safe for now but paid for it. Felisin learned how to use her body as currency and now sleeps with Beneth, the leader of her section as well as anyone else, if it’s profitable for her, Baudin and Heboric. She is also on drugs, numb and looks 10 years older. It’s a really messed up situation. Felisin herself is trying to help Heboric who can’t do hard work any more and would probably have died without her good connections. I mean, this guy doesn’t have hands! And is working in the mines! She thinks Heboric is ungrateful because he judges & criticizes her. They are both pretty mean to each other and say nasty things they later regret. Beneth is starting to turn on her and after she started lying to him about who she is, he beats her up.
Baudin on the other hand is busy escaping from jail, killing guards and setting buildings on fire. I like this guy.
It’s scary to see how much Felisin has already changed from the innocent girl she was in the prologue. Erikson doesn’t hold back here, we get explicit scenes and more details than we like to know. Although I haven’t even met Adjunct Tavore properly, I already dislike her for not saving her sister.
Poor guy is now stuck with Apsalar and Crokus after Kalam left them. And Crokus just won’t stop harassing Fiddler. He is so annoying, I don’t even know why he’s there.. It would have been so much better if it was just Apsalar (who is very quiet and inactive so far) and Fiddler. I don’t even remember where Crokus goes from there. I know he is getting a new name but I don’t remember if he did anything important. The only thing I remember is his constant whining and complaining. He should show some respect for Fiddler and grow up.
In Chapter 5 the group arrives in G’danisban which has been taken over by Seven Cities natives again. It’s pretty gruesome how Erikson describes what’s happening to the Malazan population there. Everyone, even children are executed and there’s loads of description of people cut in half, blood & gore. This is certainly not for everyone.
One of the great aspects of the whole series is, that there is no clear good & evil. Everyone is doing horrible things and most people think they have good reason for what they do. Sure, there are some real nasties around and also some very good people. But you have way more grey characters than black & white ones.
Kalam sits out a sandstorm in a little hut and this feels like filler material to me. He meets some hostile people and, unknowingly, runs into the Red Blades who are supposed to follow him without him noticing. Good job, guys! The only remarkable thing that happens is, that an old seer throws the Deck of Dragons towards Kalam and it shows him being surrounded by High House Death. That’s not really a surprise when you think on what he’s up to.
In Chapter 5 though, it’s going down for him. We get a nice little twist to end this part of the story. Kalam already meets Sha’ik and hands the book over to her. The moment she opens it she gets shot in the head and dies. What? I didn’t expect that! A good example of how Erikson likes to describe in detail:
The quarrel stuck her forehead an inch above her left eye. The iron head shattered the bone, plunging inward a moment before the spring-driven barbs opened like a deadly flower inside her brain. The quarrel’s head then struck the inside of the back of her skull, exiting explosively.
Interesting tidbit: We meet Toblakai, one of Sha’ik’s bodyguards whom I like to describe as The Malazan Book’s version of Brock Lesnar.
So, Kalam is on his way again, the bodyguards are unemployed and the Red Blades did their job. The question is now whether this stopped the Uprising. I’ll spoil this. No, it doesn’t.
Mappo & Icarium
Let me just use this quote:
Mappo shook himself. The High Prist’s rambles had a hypnotic quality. Each question the Trell voiced was answered with a bizarre rambling monologue that seemed to drain him of will beyond the utterance of yet another question.
I feel you, mate.
Mappo & Icarium are wandering around and Mappo, as usual, tries to keep Icarium from thinking too much about the passing of time, destruction and lost civilizations. Now that I know why he does it, I ask myself, what’s the point? What does he think Icarium will do, if he finds out? Be more depressed than he already is? Anyways, they find an underground chamber that is touched by an unknown(?) warren that is similar & different to Kurald Galain. Erikson is just throwing around names of some elder warrens and I wonder how this man comes up with some of those names? Lots of them are pretty epic. And some are just weird. Kurald Galain, Starvald Demelain, Omtose Phellack.. for example. Also, want some example of the insults Erikson comes up with? There you go:
‘Foul snot of rabid dogs! Anal crust of dysenteried goats!’
More introduction here. Duiker is more of a general observer in his chapter than an active player in the game. He’s standing back and gives us his opinion on what’s happening without taking action. For now at least. Well, that’s his job anyways as a historian. Duiker and Kulp are watching a confrontation between the Red Blades, who are working for the Malazan Empire (right?) and some of the Wickans who are in service to the Empire as well. They don’t end up fighting in the end, but it’s apparent that the Red Blades don’t like & trust the Wickans.
There’s a lot of talk on how Coltaine trains his Malazan Army – very, very hard, in mock battles that are almost impossible to win. CORPORAL LIST DIED IN EVERY ONE OF THEM SO FAR! I just love little details like that. One aspect I love about the books is, that even the minor characters are real and you can relate to them. It makes the world seem so much bigger, when you have tons of ‘real’ characters in it.
Now it gets confusing. This child warlock, Sormo E’nath decides to do a ritual and open himself up to the spirits of the land. Why? Is he bored? He doesn’t know why. Duiker doesn’t know why, I don’t know why! I really would like to know though because it seems pretty useless and stupid. Kulp is on my side there but Sormo doesn’t listen. And he made a big mistake. He opens the way up for giant wasps that almost kill Bult and tons of other nasty shapeshifters. Apparently they are passing through the warren Tellann on their way to the Path of Hands, which I think Mappo & Icarium found in Iskaral Pust’s cellar.
I am more confused than I ever was. I don’t even remember reading this! I think my brain must have just ignored lots of information while I was reading it for the first time. Or I didn’t question as much. There is so much foreshadowing I am trying hard to understand all of it!
Still love it though, especially the end of chapter 5 got me excited.