Surprisingly moving.

Memories of Ice - Steven Erikson

Memories of Ice is far and away the best of this series so far. I was very happy to see so many familiar names listed under Dramatis Personae. I really enjoyed the Bridgeburners in the first book, so I was happy to see them featuring prominently in this particular book. Another favorite of mine had been Tattersail, and I was eager to see how her reincarnation, Silverfox, would come across.

This book picks up more or less where Gardens of the Moon left off, since the events of book two took place elsewhere, and I believe, at around the same time. I was easily drawn into the plot, with the alliance between Caladan Brood, the Tiste Andii, and the Bridgeburners, against the new threat of the Pannion Seer.

New characters were quickly easy to like. Gruntle and his companions were entertaining at first, and later, incredibly compelling. I initially had trouble warming up to Karnadas, the Destriant of the Grey Swords, but I liked Itkovian right away. He was shown very quickly to be a man of discipline, honor, and a rare compassion. The way he treated those under him really stood out to me and made him probably my favorite in the story, which is saying a great deal when competing with people like Whiskeyjack and Tool.

I appreciate the depth and introspection that is explored through all of these characters. It's a rare thing to find in an epic fantasy series. Through the most brutal battle scenes, even, one can find unexpected meaning. I'm not usually big on reading combats, but this author does it better than any I know.

I feel that saying much would ruin the story. There were numerous turns of events that I was not expecting. There are schemes going on, which is to be expected of Whiskeyjack and Dujek One-arm, naturally. The way everything comes together is the best part of this series, to me. There were also some heartbreaking events. One that I was expecting, so I'd steeled myself against it, but was still brought to tears when it finally came. Another that I really didn't see coming, and it hit me hard.

Although these books are not for everyone, I feel the way everything is set up and the way the elements interact with one another, they are heartwrenching perfection.