First details about Dust of Dreams

Pat received the page proofs.

This is what we know to this point:

– The book is 889 pages long and so about the size of The Bonehunters (approximately 360k words).
– Official publication date is even earlier than expected: 17 August.
– The book comes with a note from Erikson warning readers that this is just the first part of a two-volume novel and that it doesn’t have the same structure of other novels.

I’ll update this post with more tidbits if Pat comments the book on the forums while he reads like he did for Toll the Hounds.

Okay, three chapters and 118 pages in, and that’s as far as I’ll go today.

Very good thus far. An underlying sense of doom pervades the narrative, and you know that the end is coming. Even though early in the game, there has already been a major surprise that I never really expected. Interestingly enough, although there are myriads storylines woven into this series, SE introduces us to additional characters and plotlines. This far in the series, they must be of capital importance, I guess.

That and what is likely the most important reading of the Deck of Dragons yet. . .

Good stuff! The pace was atrociously slow for about 2/3 of TtH, and if not for that spectacular ending the book would have tanked to a certain degree. Not so with DoD. You can feel that the build-up is almost over, and the shit is about to hit the fan in a way that will make past convergences look like a walk in the park.

More to come. . .

212 pages into it, 6 chapters down, and Book 1 done, and it’s still very good.

You know at the end of RG when Icarium entered his machine and we thought that nothing really happened. Well, something did. Something MAJOR. . .

While I’m not going to reveal which POVs are featured thus far, since a lot of you have asked I can say that the narrative is comprised of the usual suspects among the Malazans and the Letherii. A bit more interesting is the fact that we get to see the Shake, the Khundryl Burned Tears, the Perish Grey Helms, and more in the spotlight.

Good stuff, this!

Nine chapters and 316 pages in, and it’s still pretty damn good, though portions of this last chapter were a bit on the lame side. . . The banter and interaction between Malazan soldiers are kind of fun, but this story has bigger fish to fry, methinks.

We learn more about what Icarium’s machine did, and crap it’s HUGE! More K’Chain Che’Malle revelations, and glimpses of what the Errant is planning. More about the Barghast, the Shake,and two heretofore minor characters who seem to be destined to become power players.

Though this is the beginning of the end, so far DoD follows the same Malazan blueprint as the rest of the volumes in the series. I figure that the first two Books are the set-up, and then the shit will hit the fan.

There can never be too much shit, really. . .

I’ve stopped updating because Pat started to discuss more about the plot and less about opinions on the book. Here a post from Hetan:

There is a lot of set-up in this book as we have been told, which doesn’t mean to say there arent’ any OMFG moments because there are plenty of those and other surprises in it.
I’m not sure that Steve is even bothered about filling in what are considered plot holes or ommissions as it is clear he knows where his story is going and some of those side plots are simply that – stuff that happened – and the plot has moved on without any further explanation. But that is the nature of history.

I’m not going to comment much on the Crimson Guard and where it ties in as Steve sees DoD as Book one of the end rather than book 9 of a ten book series, therefore I’ve only read book one of two and it may be that there is more to come from that (crimson guard) side of things.

There’s quite a lot of background information on all sorts of things as Pat has said, The Shake, the Eleint, The K’Chain …. and some things that seemed minor at the time are now much more relevant than we had thought.

Books at my door – Late June

Best Served Cold – Joe Abercrombie – 534 pages
Big hardcover densely written. With 44 lines on the page it’s bigger than the page count would say. I had expected to find an actual map in the book, but the map is only on the cover and then segmented as background for the various chapters. The cover art and style in general is excellent but that thin pointy sword and coins on the page with map in the back make it look too much like a book about pirates, with treasure to dig somewhere.

There are many, many reviews on the internet already, all celebrating excellence, followed by forum posts saying it’s not all that good and so confirming it IS that good (forum dwellers enjoy to have contrasting opinions without motivating them). This is a standalone volume, a rarity in the genre. It is still set in the world of the previous trilogy and with some characters reappearing, but not requiring previous reads. Easily one of the very best of the year, Abercombie himself said on his blog that while the book didn’t come out easy it’s still the best he wrote to this point. This is particularly important because I consider this the first real proof he is a “writer”. Not only he surpassed in quality and productivity his rivals (Rothfuss and Scott Lynch, both stuck in their own success), but this is the first book that came out of his “job”. The First Law trilogy was something that he worked on for a long time, ideas and characters developed for many years. Here he demonstrates that he doesn’t have just one bullet to shoot and that he can command his art ;)

Return of the Crimson Guard Ian C. Esslemont – 1047 pages
In this case the new bigger mass market UK version, smaller than the page count would say since they continue this bad habit with Esslemont of using a huge typeset, 34 lines on the page. Comparable in actual size with Deadhouse Gates as you can see from my updated wordcount.

I have the suspect this isn’t the last edition of the book I buy, since there are rumors that Canada is publishing using the old mass market format and I’d like to have the whole series in the same format, along with the fact that I find the smaller version more fitting as well (since the typeset is already quite large and I like more concentrating in reading than turning pages).

In the meantime the real wait is for Dust of Dreams, rumored to be around 350k (so at least smaller than the last 3 volumes and matching Memories of Ice). Page proofs sent to Pat for a review, we can expect some comments in a week or so. I repeat this is extremely important because this book is the first part of the real conclusion of a 10 volumes long series. The moment of truth for many aspects.

A Magic of Twilight – S. L. Farrell – 574 pages
First volume of a tetralogy (I think) and written by one of Martin protegee. For how disrespectful and unfair it sounds this should be a “second tier” kind of fantasy even if from the few pages I read it may become a pleasant surprise. There’s an excess of fabricated words that you have to look in the glossary at the end of the book, justified by the attempt to do some worldbuilding inspired by Renaissance in Italy. A lot of those terms are derived from italian words slightly modified, so it sounds a bit silly but it’s not too distracting.

Four maps between city maps and surrounding, and a particular structure. As in Martin’s books each chapter has the name of the character having the PoV, but here these sections are short (5-6 pages or even less) and then bundled together in bigger chapters/sections that are meaningfully named (prelude, beginnings, harbingers, movements, encounters, maneuvers, endings, repercussions etc…). Maybe the very short PoVs will fragment the narration too much, but they also make the book more lively.

So you have this redone renaissance with a spark of magic and a plot that seems all focused in politics and scheming. All framed in a artsy simil-Venice. Rather fitting for those who love Martin.

Canti del Caos – Antonio Moresco – 1070 pages
You don’t know about this book because it’s italian and I don’t think it will be exported anytime soon (and it would also be quite hard to translate). 15 years to come out in its completed form, it’s a monumental work whose ambition tops everything else that is Literature. This is one writer we have in Italy completely dedicated to literature, living for literature. Heavily experimental, mixing all known genres together and lacking a “plot” or normal flow. It’s chaos made into words, delirious and ruthless, without imitations. It is considered a world-book, many different stories contained into it, mixing together impossible characters and situations. Loved, hated, surely pretentious.

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How the story ends

I don’t write about mmorpg anymore if it’s not about leftovers. I guess I’ll comment this.

Seen on Rock-Paper-Shotgun:

EA will merge Mythic and Bioware to create a new MMO and RPG division. The new division will apparently be headed by BioWare boss Ray Muzyka, while BioWare’s other co-founder, Greg Zeschuk, will become Group Creative Officer. Mark Jacobs, the outspoken boss at Mythic, will apparently be leaving the company

It didn’t end too well, did it?

Nope, for anyone. I guess you would expect me to be all happy about this since I wrote so much negative stuff about Mythic and especially about Mark Jacobs along the years. Nope, I’m not. Justice is done? Nope.

Justice is when things are understood and people collaborate to work toward something better. Justice is to see things realize their potential and draw the best from the people who made them. There’s little justice in seeing something fail, even if there are good motivations behind the failure. Or whatever, even if you still won’t call this failure.

And there’s also no justice when you’re proven right, and yet you can’t put it to any use.

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Bauchelain and Korbal Broach – September in Trade Paperback

I’m rather impressed, this is the first cover for a book by Steven Erikson that Tor publishes and that doesn’t suck. Beside the horrible green used in the name, the image is a rather faithful representation of awesome duo (minus the manservant, the real protagonist).

The book, till now only available in limited hardcover, is going to be published in September by Tor for the american market, trade paperback only. It collects all the three novellas Erikson wrote, probably in their story order, but not in publishing order (The Healthy Dead was written after the first, but comes third in reading order). Erikson has already the contract to write three more as soon he finds the time.

Maybe more people will read what I consider Erikson’s masterpiece and, without a doubt, the very best thing I ever read in fantasy and sci-fi. This book is my all time favorite (even if the first novella can’t reach the awesomeness of the other two).

The summary on the Tor page is also quite fitting for what’s written in the book.

Return of the Crimson Guard – Out in Mass Market (UK)

Return of the Crimson Guard, second book by Esslemont and suggested read after The Bonehunters or Reaper’s Gale, is out in mass market format in UK and available at the usual places. ( and bookdepository)

Even for this version they are going to use the slightly larger format they started to use with the MM version of Toll the Hounds. Sadly.

The real question is whether it will contain the prologue form Stonewieleder or not. The MM version of Night of Knives had the prologue and a few pages of the first chapter of RotCG, but Esslemont had already completed the book, while we don’t have any news about when the next book should come out.

In the meantime the wait for Dust of Dreams continues. It should be out by the end of August and in a couple of weeks the first reviews should come out. The moment of truth.

If you can (European Parlaiment Elections in Italy)

If you can.

He’s only in north-east Italy circumscription and I can’t vote him directly. I wanted to vote Debora Serracchiani of PD, but she’s also in another zone and I don’t know anyone who’s listed in mine.

My vote goes for Sinistra e Liberta’ even if it’s a vote lost (won’t likely reach 4%), at least for once I won’t feel betrayed.

With xenophobia and right-wing already winning in exit-polls and polls in other zones of Europe this time a vote of protest is a meaningful one.

Things are going to get much worse before they can get better.

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