Memories of Ice is the third book in The Malazan Book of the Fallen series. I’ve been reading through the series at a decent pace and in fact finished reading Memories of Light a few weeks ago. The book follows a lot of the same characters from the previous book and is more of a sequel to the first book than the actual second book in the series, Deadhouse Gates. The book continues to follow the story of the Bridgeburners and their new allies in their fight against the growing threat of the Pannion Domin. In the midst of all this comes the rise of the mysterious Silverfox, a young girl who ages rapidly and claims to be a flesh and blood Bonecaster for the T’Lan Imass , a race of undead. All the while the Crippled God manipulates things behind the scenes towards his own end, as the war with the Pannion Domin comes to a head.
The novel features the welcome return of many characters including, Whiskeyjack, Ganoes Paran, Quick Ben and Toc the Younger. Yet the standout character which intrigued me the most had to be Silverfox, who claims to possess the reborn souls of previous character Tattersail and Nightchill, with each of their personalities taking turns coming to the forefront. Yet she is unique in that she is considered to be her own person and identifies with neither of the two souls in her, instead being some kind of middle ground between the two. This is to the dismay of Ganoes Paran, the former lover of Tattersail who is forced to accept that Tattersail has not truly come back from the dead and that Silverfox is somebody else.
I also welcomed the continuing insight into the various gods and deities and their role in the plot, in particular the series’ villain the Crippled God. The Crippled God desires to escape his prison by poisoning Burn, the sleeping goddess whose death would lead to the destruction of all humanity. The Crippled God’s role behind the scenes becomes more prominent, with characters such as Quick Ben discovering more about the Crippled God’s role within the conflict. In particular the roles of other characters in the conflict’s past come to light as well, which I found interesting to say the least.
In terms of plot the work suffers the typical problem faced with long books, slow pacing. Like the previous book, Memories of Ice seemed to suffer from slow pacing in parts and this works against it. In terms of point of view characters the book was easier to follow since a lot of them carried over from the first book. Yet the influx of new characters in the plot was still hard to keep track of, though I’ll admit I didn’t suffer with it in the same way I did with Deadhouse Gates. Despite this I thoroughly enjoyed the climax, with a lot of unexpected twists which I wasn’t expecting and really hammered in the direction that the series was going to take. There was one major character which hit home for me. I shall not spoil it for the sake of those who may wish to read the series but I can tell you that this character’s death wasn’t one I was expecting to happen and the fallout and the betrayal that lead to it hit home the fact that dealing with the Crippled God isn’t going to be a cake walk.
I’ll admit that after reading the series a bit I have become more and more aware of the slow pacing and that there is a lot of “purple” prose, or rather prose that drags on too long, that is responsible for this. Despite this the work’s scale and sheer world building continue to intrigue me and I am intrigued by how the series will continue as I have been before. Overall I think this was a strong instalment for the series and I certainly had a better time reading it then I did the other books since I have adjusted to the formula somewhat. I am aware of the series’ flaws now but to my surprise I am still optimistic and I am hopeful that this optimism will last me for the entire series.
IN A WORD: GOOD