Book Reviews 2006 #54: Memories of Ice

My next book was a long, ~900 page read, the third book in the Malazan novels by Steven Erikson, Memories of Ice.

Memories of Ice (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 3)

by Steven Erikson
The third book in the Malazan sequence, Memories of Ice takes us back to the continent of Genabackis, where, at the end of the first novel, Gardens of the Moon, the Malazan army, including the Bridgeburners, have been outlawed after the failure to capture the prize of the city of Darujhistan, even as a new, theocratic threat looms in the south that might have something very old and powerful lurking behind it…
Memories of Ice picks up the story of that army, especially the combat engineer unit of the Bridgeburners, and others who array seperately and together, to deal with the Pannion Domin threat. And sometimes with each other. Add in a reborn sorceress with multiple souls who has the power to summon and lead the elder race T’Lan Imass, add in conflicts between the Ascended, more information about the “Deck of Dragons”, and a tangle of other personalities and plots, and stir well.
The first novel threw a lot of stuff at the reader which was sketchy to understand. The second book, although taking place on another continent, helps ground the reader even as the novel itself was very grim. Now, in Memories of Ice, with a lot more under the readers feet (I would not suggest that anyone try to tackle this series except at the beginning), things make a lot more sense, conflicts are a lot more understandable, and the stakes are more easily understood.
Erikson describes his unique brands of sorcery very well, his characters run the gamut from grim hard edged warriors to barbarian princesses of war, to even a a comic relief character who, when the chips are down, proves to be a lot more than he appears. A lot of the story of the Bridgeburners is wrapped up by the end of this, although there are obvious threads for certain of those characters to continue.
If you do make your way up to and through ths novel, its certain you will find characters in the tome you will hate, and others you will absolutely adore.
It was a long and tough slog, though. Erikson is not a light, quick read by any means. Still, I am very glad to have made it, and at some point, after some decompression with other things, I look forward to reading the fourth volume, House of Chains, in which we return to the continent of Seven Cities as seen in the second book.