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The Bonehunters (The Malazan Book of the Fallen #6)

4.41  ·  Rating Details ·  19,806 Ratings  ·  511 Reviews
The Seven Cities Rebellion has been crushed. Sha'ik is dead. One last rebel force remains, holed up in the city of Y'Ghatan and under the fanatical command of Leoman of the Flails. The prospect of laying siege to this ancient fortress makes the battle-weary Malaz 14th Army uneasy. For it was here that the Empire's greatest champion Dassem Ultor was slain and a tide of Mala ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 1231 pages
Published April 2nd 2007 by Bantam (first published 2006)
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Gardens of the Moon by Steven EriksonA Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinThe Blade Itself by Joe AbercrombieThe Black Company by Glen CookDeadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson
Military Fantasy
9th out of 247 books — 473 voters
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinPrince of Thorns by Mark  LawrenceThe Blade Itself by Joe AbercrombieLast Argument of Kings by Joe AbercrombieBefore They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie
Best Dark Fantasy
41st out of 266 books — 510 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 20, 2015 Conor rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, malazan
'Aye,' he said in a rasp, 'we went hunting… through the bones of the damned city. And then we crawled outa that grave.'

The Adjunct's gaze left the ragged man, traveled slowly, along the line, the gaunt faces, the deathly eyes staring out from dust-caked faces. 'Bonehunters in truth, then.' She paused, then said 'Welcome back, soldiers.'

Another really strong installment in this series. The return of a load of my favourite characters with loads of really cool developments in the world and plot
Jenna Kathleen
I'm a little sad that I only have 4 books of the main series left - I never want to leave Malaz.

After Midnight Tides, I was so happy to see some familiar faces again. I still loved the 5th book, but this was an extra level of epic to return to the characters I love after some awesome worldbuilding in book 5.

Cotillion is one of the best characters who doesn't even show up that much, but you know he's always working behind the scenes and when he does appear, you can't put the book down.

I love Gan
Aug 10, 2015 Kaitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-sff-faves

So happy to have finished this up! It's the longest book I've read EVER I believe.
I have a lot of thoughts to sort through before I review this so my review will follow very soon.
Suffice to say it was very very good!


So, this book is the book which I was a little intimidated by when I saw the size and this coming from someone who read a LOT of very big books. It's a whopping 1,200 pages, and much as I love the Malazan characters and world I did find
Duffy Pratt
Sep 15, 2013 Duffy Pratt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, shared-world
10/10/11 - This series keeps getting better. This book doesn't work as a standalone novel, but that's not too surprising in a book for number six in an ongoing saga. Rather, this one felt to me like two novels in one. First, there is the baptism by fire of the Bonehunters. And then second, there is the Return of the 14th Army to Malaz Island. Both of these sections stand up with anything already in the series.

GRR Martin got famous by killing off a beloved character. He did it once, and since th
Jun 25, 2016 Jason rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books, read-2016
5 Stars

The Bonehunters is a perfect addition to the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. This is the sixth story of the series and a very heavy one. It is literally huge and comes in at over 1200 pages in length (paperback). It is also very heavy due to its complexity. This book would not work as a standalone and is elevated by how well it brings the previous novels into this one. Difficult does not even begin to describe it.

I found myself torn over and over again between feeling exhilarated and
David Sven
Sep 16, 2013 David Sven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, dark-fantasy
I could again go into great length about how Erikson brings his world to life in deep and detailed world building, or how the reread of each of the Malazan books is a vastly superior experience to the initial read given the density of information that is missed on round one – but it gets a little repetitive after book six as far as reviews go and if you have got this far you are probably already in love with the series anyway. So I’ll try and stick to some of the basics of plot and theme for tho ...more
Apr 09, 2009 Lori rated it really liked it
It's useless. I keep intending to take a break between these and read something else that I've been eagerly anticipating, but the fact of the matter is I'm addicted to this series. And it's all I want to read. So why deny myself?

Finally finished! I haven't had much reading time this whole past month, and I have been so so frustrated, because this is such a marvelous addition that continues to satisfy and feed my obsession with this series. Also, it does meander a bit in the middle so it's not as
Scott  Hitchcock
Oh SE you treacherous bastard how I want to smack you for some of the decisions of your characters in this book. Not because it wasn't a terrific story, as good as DHG and MOI if not better, but because they elicited rage from me at the unfairness of it all. Which of course is the point and what any great author is looking for.

(view spoiler) must die soon.

(view spoiler) I don't know why (view spoiler) didn't dump
Apr 21, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, epics, reviewed
As much as I made fun of the previous book, Midnight Tides, as being the quintessential Malazan book (huge new cast of characters, place we had never been to before, time period before the main arc, etc.), The Bonehunters struck me as a very conventional, but still quite excellent, novel. We returned to see many, many familiar faces from past books. It was so strange recognize just about every main character, know what was going on, and understand the dynamics of their respective situations. Lik ...more
Apr 10, 2016 Tammy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Erikson is Brilliant.
These books keep getting better and better. I think at the end of Bonehunters you really start to grasp how Epic this tale is, and why it can never be matched. The character development was superbly done and as usual different plots converge in the end into arguably the best climax i've read so far, i mean i held my breath for three chapters straight, it was intense and very rewarding.
some notable characters: Cotillion, he was amazing. Ganoes Paran, Fiddler, Kalam/Quick Ben
Click, clack is the sound of the bones I've bound to my hair. Clack, click is the sound of the bones on my clothes. As I march in tune with my fellow Fallen, I hear Fiddler's song chime on the wind. With tears in my eyes I move forward through ever-changing warrens of grief and wonder and magic. I'll follow the Adjunct now, whereever she leads us, however the opposition, cause I'm one of hers now. A Bonehunter.

Oh, the things I've seen in the past months. I saw the soldiers from Genabackis united
Sep 26, 2016 Nate rated it it was amazing
RE-READ REVIEW: Reading this massive fucker a second time has definitely cemented it as one of my favorite entries in this series. I haven’t finished the series yet but I’m pretty sure Seven Cities is gonna stay my favorite Malazan setting/continent/arc, and thusly probably my favorite fantasy setting/continent/arc. The whole thing just oozes ancient history, unforgiving terrain, buried cities, religious fanaticism, unending strife and conflict, etc. SO. MUCH. GOOD. SHIT. The story itself was ye ...more
It's really difficult to review a book that's this far into a series without spoiling anything but dammit, I'm going to try. The Bonehunters picks up where House of Chains left off. We meet back up with the Fourteenth Army under Adjunct Tavore's command, catch up with Karsa Orlong, and also spend some time with Ganoes Paran.

Steven Erikson still loves his duos. Karsa Orlong has a new friend in Samar Dev, a witch and scholar from Seven Cities. Samar Dev is one of the few new characters Erikson int
3.75 stars.

I almost dropped it to 3 stars, as there were lots of WTF moments and confusing drawn out parts. In truth, this book could have probably been half the length and been just as good (as long as it was the right half).

The Bonehunters were great. Paran, Kalam and Quick Ben, and Karsa Orlong. Oh, and I loved (view spoiler) Badass stuff.

When this book was good, it was fantastic. When not as good, it was like a big, long "
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
Jun 07, 2016 Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) by:
Well, we've officially turned the corner in this series--there is a dim light ahead that is the end of the tunnel. The pieces are all on the chess-board now, and 'The Game' has begun. The Bonehunters is Steven Erikson's sixth book in his multi-layered epic high fantasy series, "The Malazan Book of the Fallen." I've actually moved far beyond just recommending this series for folks who love fantasy fiction. This is a complex tale that breathes life into Erikson's fictional world; a world comprised ...more
Executive Summary: This has been my favorite book of the series thus far. There are just a few minor things that prevent me from giving it a 5 star rating.

Full Review
The book probably introduces the fewest number of new characters. As we've passed the halfway point of the series, it appears that the majority of the very large ensemble cast has been introduced and the stage is finally set for the looming battle.

Sides are forming up, but just who is on which side still isn't clear. This book con
Jun 05, 2008 uroš rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: to every fan of Epic (with a capital E)
Shelves: fantasy
The review is originally available at Realms of Speculative Fiction

It took me the better part of the month to work -- yes, sometimes it really felt like a chore, but which ultimately paid off in the end -- my way through the sixth novel in the sprawling Malazan Book of the Fallen series. I found out that most of the things I’ve ascertained in my review of Midnight Tides (review) still hold true for its successor – The Bonehunters. Erikson is a genius epic fantasy writer, but alas, the series is
Jul 23, 2016 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Update: After finishing this book in May, I can't stop thinking about the scenes in this book. Upgrading this to a 5 star read. One of my favorite Malazan books now.

In May 2016, I wanted to take a small break from reading many things to just read one thing rather relaxed and that was The Bonehunters. In fact, this was the only book I finished in May(along with some graphic novels). The Bonehunters is a monster of a book and depending on the edition is about 1,000 pages. Coming in at 365,000 wor
Laura Hughes
May 11, 2016 Laura Hughes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been accused – on *many* occasions – of harping on about the Malazan Book of the Fallen. Things like, “god, do you EVER shut up about it?” And, “if I promise to read the first one, will you please, PLEASE leave me alone?” And, “oh my god, you’re in my house WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOUSE YOU CRAZY BITCH PUT THE BOOKS DOWN SLOWLY WHILE I CALL THE POLICE.”

And really, no one needs that kind of negativity in their life. Just like I don’t need to spend the night in a prison cell, rocking back an
The Crimson Fucker
War, assassins, treason, mages on crack, psychopathic alcoholics, maniac depressive gods, retarded magi, horny spirits from the past, and a stubborn mo fo warrior!! You name this book got it!!! Pure gold!!!
TS Chan
Aug 03, 2015 TS Chan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.

What I liked most about this instalment of the Malazan Book of the Fallen is the convergence of the various plots and characters from the preceding 5 books. Yup, convergence - a singular theme linking all the books so far. It's a welcomed change to see familiar and favourite faces coming back together in a single tome and finally seeing signs of their individual arcs coming to a head.

The pacing in The Bonehunters was almost spot on, and the multiple switches between POVs in a single c
Carl Black
Feb 16, 2014 Carl Black rated it really liked it
It's going to be hard to write a review about book 6 without spoilers so I will just share my thoughts. This book mainly follows on from House of Chains and weaves in a few small characters from Midnight Tides. I found it to be one of the more complex ones of the series so far even though we only have a small amount of new characters or does it just seem that way after reading Midnight Tides? :)

This book is really about the 14th army (Tavore's) and their journey through Seven Cities leading to t
Nov 18, 2013 Hanne rated it liked it
There’s a peculiar trend here: I’ve adored all the uneven books in the series, but all the even instalments have been an uphill battle. I felt completely out of my league in book 2; book 4 had too many story lines that didn’t interest me, and this one again just isn’t up to the level of the other books.
I have to add one thing though, because it probably didn’t help my experience either: I was half way into the book when I put it on hold because I left on holiday (and Erikson really doesn’t qual
Jul 12, 2014 Anirudh rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
It would seem my ratings for this series will not show much improvement. As usual. when you open the book you find out that it has a huge number of new characters and a whole new plot which has little to do with what you were expecting.

This marks the return of the Bridgeburners or what's left of them. The book is too dull to read without them. There are a few good jokes here and there. Magic as usual is tragic. There are new houses and more mystery. The writing as always is very detailed.

Tracey the Lizard Queen
Full review here:

I'm not even sure where to start with this. The complex plot? The epic scale? The authentic feel to the enormous cast? I don't know!

What I do know is, after completing this, I was massively depressed. It dawned on me rather suddenly that some time, in the next few months, I will complete the entire 10 volume series. And then I won't ever be able to enjoy it for the first time.

Apart from being rather broken up about the eminent end of thi
Sep 16, 2013 Linette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's official, I am hooked on this series. It took a while, but the massive depth of this world fascinates me, and the characters keep me coming back. I wouldn't even know where to start with an analytic review, so I'll just say that the effort put into reading these books and struggling to understand them is worth it.

In this book all the different factions and characters begin to converge, and the result is cataclysmic. On to the next book - must find out what happens next.
Aug 06, 2015 Scott rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
"And so we weep for the fallen. We weep for those yet to fall, and in war the screams are loud and harsh and in peace the wail is so drawn-out we tell ourselves we hear nothing."
Jun 13, 2016 Patremagne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Epic. Epic epic epic. The defense of the First Throne, Y'Ghatan, the clusterfuck at Malaz City - all magnificent.

The first time in two or three Malazan books that I read it straight through, rather than with a months-long pause in the middle. Only complaint is that in a couple spots Erikson went off the walls with philosophizing rather than weaving it in bit by bit.
Sep 19, 2011 Andre rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epic-fantasy

The theme of my limited review is commitment, so if anyone is uncomfortable with that, I recommend a review written by the TNT tag team over at Speculative Fiction who wrote a great one about the book. No commitment required.

At a bit over 1,200 pagers of densely packed script, it was a commitment to read The Bonehunters. In fact, since about book four, picking up an Erickson book has been about like agreeing to date exclusively. I have been reading a few other things on the side, but
Nov 16, 2011 Traci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Okay, so it was bound to happen. My first less than five star review for a Malazan book. I can't even tell you what went wrong. It just seemed to be missing the wow factor of the ones I read before. This almost seemed like the first "filler" book. One part of the complete tale to get characters to where they need to be.
I enjoyed the return of characters that I missed from the last book. But even though I've been reading these straight through there were moments where I was lost. Should I know th
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The Malazan Fallen: * BH - End of Book Discussion 24 109 Sep 19, 2016 06:12PM  
The Malazan Fallen: BH - Chapter Four - No Spoilers 24 112 Sep 11, 2016 03:29AM  
The Malazan Fallen: BH - Chapter Two - No Spoilers 32 117 Sep 10, 2016 01:48PM  
The Malazan Fallen: BH - Chapter Three - No Spoilers 50 121 Sep 10, 2016 01:47PM  
The Malazan Fallen: BH - Prologue - No Spoilers 50 131 Sep 09, 2016 05:42PM  
The Malazan Fallen: BH - Chapter One - No Spoilers 23 111 Sep 09, 2016 05:35PM  
The Malazan Fallen: BH - Chapter Twenty Three - No Spoilers 27 111 Jul 24, 2016 02:31PM  
  • Stonewielder (Malazan Empire, #3)
  • The White Luck Warrior (Aspect-Emperor, #2)
  • The Many Deaths of the Black Company (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #8-9)
  • Corvus (The Macht, #2)
Steven Erikson is the pseudonym of Steve Rune Lundin, a Canadian novelist, who was educated and trained as both an archaeologist and anthropologist. His best-known work is the on-going series, the Malazan Book of the Fallen.
More about Steven Erikson...

Other Books in the Series

The Malazan Book of the Fallen (10 books)
  • Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1)
  • Deadhouse Gates (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #2)
  • Memories of Ice (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #3)
  • House of Chains (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #4)
  • Midnight Tides (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #5)
  • Reaper's Gale (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #7)
  • Toll the Hounds (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #8)
  • Dust of Dreams (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #9)
  • The Crippled God (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #10)

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“There is something profoundly cynical, my friends, in the notion of paradise after death. The lure is evasion. The promise is excusative. One need not accept responsibility for the world as it is, and by extension, one need do nothing about it. To strive for change, for true goodness in this mortal world, one must acknowledge and accept, within one's own soul, that this mortal reality has purpose in itself, that its greatest value is not for us, but for our children and their children. To view life as but a quick passage alone a foul, tortured path – made foul and tortured by our own indifference – is to excuse all manner of misery and depravity, and to exact cruel punishment upon the innocent lives to come.

I defy this notion of paradise beyond the gates of bone. If the soul truly survives the passage, then it behooves us – each of us, my friends – to nurture a faith in similitude: what awaits us is a reflection of what we leave behind, and in the squandering of our mortal existence, we surrender the opportunity to learn the ways of goodness, the practice of sympathy, empathy, compassion and healing – all passed by in our rush to arrive at a place of glory and beauty, a place we did not earn, and most certainly do not deserve.”
“Show me a god that does not demand mortal suffering.
Show me a god that celebrates diversity, a celebration that embraces even non-believers, and is not threatened by them.
Show me a god that understands the meaning of peace. In life, not in death.”
More quotes…