Sunday, August 14, 2011

Why Erikson’s better than Martin

Wrote this a bit ago, but just thought I’d post this now as I’ve just finished Steven Erikson’s Deadhouse Gates two nights ago, and finished Game of Thrones last night, the TV show based on George R.R. Martin’s series. And boy oh boy was Deadhouse Gates as amazing as his other books!! Again that feeling at the end of “Oh my god!! Oh my god!!” as I read about the devastation outside the gates of Aren. Sigh. Definitely Duiker’s story line captivated me the most. Coz of Coltaine, coz of Duiker’s nameless marine :), coz of the Wickans and the Malazan 7th Army. Sigh. And I loved the battle scenes! I love strategy, so hearing in great detail what happened in each battle was thrilling!!

Also I want to write a bit about reading order for Erikson’s books. After reading Gardens of the Moon (Book 1) I wanted to carry on with those characters so after doing a bit of research I realized Memories of Ice (Book 3) continued most of them. So I read that before Deadhouse Gates (Book 2) and there was really no issues of timelines! I did miss out on the drama of Duiker’s last line in Memories of Ice but feel it’s an acceptable loss to get my “need to know what happens next in Genabackis” fix!! Haha! As well House of Chains (Book 4) continues what happened in Deadhouse Gates so I’m actually much happier with this read order!! ie. Now I can get my “need to know what happens next in Seven Cities” fix right away!! Haha!

Anyways, here’s the reasons I think Erikson’s better than Martin:

• In Erikson’s books female fighters are the norm, every army and group has some. Versus Martin who’s only female characters that carry a sword are a little girl and a woman who was only introduced in the 3rd book and killed off in the 4th book. (She may not have been but I refuse to read Dance with Dragons. :/ ... )
• He’s a way better storyteller!! Actually understands that there should be a climax and resolution, and knows how to use multiple plot lines and make them come together for one conclusive climax in each book!! And all his books are connected without having a single story arc that spans 7000 pages. No wonder we and Martin are all lost! I frankly doubt he’ll be able to tie in all the story lines into the final outcome.
• He’s not stingy with his use of magic!! It’s soooo refreshing!! But many fantasy books are? I think the last fantasy I read that used magic liberally was Mercedes Lackey’s Vows and Honor books! Martin I can’t even remember if there was any magic? Besides hint at the supernatural white walkers, and has dragons?!
• He doesn’t kill off everyone. He kills some when it adds to the story, but not to the point of making it a Shakespearean tragedy like Martin does. A comment I got on my previous Martin post made a good point, when the author goes on killing sprees it effectively negates his good characterization making me not care about the characters anymore, knowing they’re going to die.
• One thing Erikson’s not as good at is maybe characterization. They’re still great characters and have some depth, but maybe not enough. They become slightly one-dimensional or maybe two ;) at the most. This probably happens because he just has soooo many characters.
• BUT the majority of Erikson’s characters are likable unlike Martin’s!! I mentioned this in The Tudors post below, but both TV shows seem to think lack of likable characters can be made up for by sexy scenes with beautiful people. I think there’s more sex in the show then there was in the books? But it’s been ages since I read them so I’m not sure I remember correctly.
• He’s Canadian! ;)
• Erikson can pull off these beautifully written dramatic scenes or even sometimes single sentences! A lot like Guy Gavriel Kay, who is a master at that! Although Kay still does it a lot better. ;) As for Martin... I don’t remember any, but that could be just my shoddy memory! And I don’t mean the scene has lots of drama going on, but an event that has a huge impact, and is described wonderfully.