I tried hard to like this book. I really did. Everyone keeps telling me how wonderful Erikson is and how he’s breaking all this ground in fantasy, and everyone also said that this book was easier to understand than the first. Well, it is, I’m happy to say that, but it still doesn’t make it good. There is just too much going on, and ordinarily I love books with too much going on, but this one just doesn’t pull it off. It makes everything confusing and rushed and constantly leaves off characters after a few pages with a cliffhanger ending, forcing the reader to wait fifty pages for their next little scene, by which point I’ve already lost the feeling of suspense and just get irritated.
This is a book about war and not much else. Everything is a struggle. I suspect this is why Erikson is often compared to George R.R. Martin, because he does similar things, but Martin does it better, still managing to engage the reader in his story even as you know the viewpoint character is likely to be killed at any time. With Martin, the overall struggle is understood. Half the time it’s impossible to figure out why Erikson’s characters are at war, except that they are.
I do have MEMORIES OF ICE, so I will be reading that as I’m interested to see what happened to the characters in the first volume, but afterwards I really doubt I will be continuing with the series. What a shame, because I was really hoping to discover a new author to love.