04 October, 2010

Malazan Reading Order (ICE included)

It seems like this topic comes up over and over again. What's the reading order for The Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson? Not to mention, where does Ian C. Esslemont's (ICE) Malazan Empire series fit in and the novellas?

It's true, this isn't your typical series. One book has a group of main characters, the next has a completely different new set. Then they split up, get back together, and what the heck's going on with the timeline?

When it comes to the main series I DO recommend publication order (that's Gardens through The Crippled God). It will make sense, it just takes a bit of time...even though it may not make complete sense - but that's just a consequence of reading the series in general. :D

With the permission of Adam Whitehead (THE Werthead) to reproduce this list he posted on a forum, below is an in depth chronological order of the entire series including novellas and Malazan Empire:
Prologue I of Midnight Tides/Prologue I of Reaper's Gale
Prologue I of Memories of Ice
Prologue II of Memories of Ice
Prologue of Gardens of the Moon
Night of Knives

Blood Follows
The Lees of Laughters End
The Healthy Dead

Prologue II of Midnight Tides
Chapter 1 of Gardens of the Moon
Midnight Tides
Prologue and Book I of House of Chains
Gardens of the Moon
Deadhouse Gates/Memories of Ice (occur simultaneously)
Books II-IV of House of Chains
Prologue II of Reaper's Gale
The Bonehunters
Return of the Crimson Guard
Reaper's Gale
Toll the Hounds
Dust of Dreams
The Crippled God
My only addition, knowledge that wasn't available at the time this list was created, is that Ian C. Esslemont's newest, Stonewielder, belongs just after Return of the Crimson Guard - at least as far as I can tell (Synopsis here).

Hope that helps clarify some things. I would use this not necessarily as a reading schedule (unless it's a reread), but as a way to wrap your head around some of the events, but of course it's up to you.

As far as storylines go, there are basically three different one's we'll call creatively 1, 2, and 3.

GotM: 1
DG: 2
MI: 1
HoC: 2
MT: 3
TB: 2
RG: 2 & 3
TtH: 1
DoD: 3
TCG: (1,2,3?)

Not that some characters don't cross over into other storylines and back, but this is basically it. For TtH and DoD I'm going off hearsay.

Clear anything up? Make it more confusing? Don't even want to attempt this series anymore? I can say that it's all worth it. Each book has a stunning ending that has you salivating for more.


Anonymous said...

Nice. You're making me want to go back to my re-read of these books again. I got stranded in The Bonehunters but would like to read the rest at least one more time before TCG arrives...

Todd Newton said...

Good to know.

I'm still reading GotM, only made it to page 66 but it's pretty enjoyable so far. Everyone says it gets better, etc., but I'm having trouble just understanding what's going on in each scene.

ediFanoB said...

Well done Seak.
Now the only thing I have to do is to start reading :-)
I'm not sure when I will start. I need to be in the right mood. Until then I will keep your post in mind.

Anonymous said...

Still I think it's best to read the main series in publication order. It definitely makes sense not only because this is one of those magic moments to see those seemingly chaotic stories finally fit together.

Just one question:
Where doese 'Crack'd Pot Trail' fit in?

Bryce L. said...

@sRaets - You gotta go back. I have the habit of taking a break midway through the longer volumes too.

@TD - You can do it! It's definitely worth the effort, although at first it's quite a bit of effort. You will be rewarded!

@edi - Yeah, I'm the same way. When the mood strikes is the only time to read.

@Anon - Agreed on publication order and that's putting it well - I think it's more meaningful when it finally fits together.

Crack'd Pot Trail as far as I know goes right after the first 3 novellas. I think it just continues the Bauchelain and Korbal Broach storyline.

Jimthething said...

I think if you're the kind of reader who has to stop and start with a book or wait for the mood to take you, you could easily spend years and years getting through these books, and probably losing your way in the process. I've just begun reading The Bonehunters, (I've read the series in publication order) and I read about a chapter every day and it's still taken me around 8 months to get this far.
I've tried to pass Gardens of the Moon onto friends but every one of them has given up after a few pages. Reading the Malazan books probably isn't for most people, but I believe that those who do read them will find them to be the most rewarding books they ever picked up, as they have been for me.