Done. Finally. This one took me awhile. I learned a few things with this book. Number one, I didn't have the stamina for a marathon Malazan reading. I...moreDone. Finally. This one took me awhile. I learned a few things with this book. Number one, I didn't have the stamina for a marathon Malazan reading. I think I sprained something in my brain in the attempt. I also learned that while Steven Erikson is a master of writing tragedy I don't care for his over the top humor. With a few exceptions, I do love Tehol and Bugg. And that hidden beneath this dark tale hides the heart of a romantic. And an author who can write male friendships like no one else I have ever read.
I spent the first half of this book in frustrating confusion. Too many characters. Too many plot points to keep track of. I stopped reading a few times. The only thing that kept me going was my love for the previous books and my nearness to the end of the series.
And then somewhere I couldn't put it down. I spent the second half in dreadful anticipation of what was going to happen from page to page. So much tragedy in one book. No one character is "safe". And that knowledge makes for a nail biting read.
Some high points for me were Beak, Toc the younger, and Trull story lines. I also liked getting back to the characters from Midnight Tides.
I couldn't decide between a four or five star rating. The last half was an easy five for me. But I struggled in the first half. So a very high four. Days after reading this the end is still haunting my thoughts. (view spoiler)[Just when Trull was becoming my favorite character.... (hide spoiler)]
Can't wait to see where this series is going next. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
...OMG... Standing ovation, bow,...grovel. I wish I could thank Steven Erikson for writing this series. It is exactly what I have been searching for. He...more...OMG... Standing ovation, bow,...grovel. I wish I could thank Steven Erikson for writing this series. It is exactly what I have been searching for. Heroic fantasy for your brain. I can however thank those of you here on goodreads. For some reason I had never heard of these books until I joined. And I might never have on my own. My book shelf would have remained incomplete. I'm serious. I have been reading fantasy for a long time and have seen favorites come and go. Truthfully I've been a little jealous over readers who have "the book". You know what I mean. The favorite above all favorites. Well, I don't think I need to be any longer. Now for my review I suppose.
Book 5 stars (6!) Series 5 stars (8!!!) After 10,267 pages the story finally comes into focus. It combines what is great about the previous books. Especially when the focus is on the Bonehunters and Bridgeburners. It reminded me a bit of the fast pace of Gardens of the Moon. But with more clarity. With more attachment to the characters. With more investment in the story. I loved the end. It's not all happy. Not all tragedy. There are even some things left unresolved. I cried a little. Okay, maybe more than a little. I was holding up quite well until the last scene with Fiddler and Hedge. I laughed a little. And I never knew what to expect next. A very satisfying conclusion.
This series takes a certain commitment of the reader. And it's not for everyone. It seems you either love or hate it. My advice for new readers is to keep notes on character names. This was three fourths of all problems I ran into personally. And I will be doing this when I do a reread. Probably sometime within this year.
Favorite character without a doubt Fiddler. I usually go for the "cool" characters. The Kalam. Quick Ben. Cotillion. Rake. But somehow with all these unique interesting characters the one that won my heart was the average soldier. The reluctant hero who was uncomfortable with his role. One of my favorite parts (there were many) was the Bonehunters "last" march. Perfectly written.
Also loved Gesler and Stormy. Icarium and Mappo (I don't "mind" how this ended but I would still like to know more about this duo). Toc the younger (his last scene was another teary moment). Onos T'oolan. Tehol. Bugg. Brys. Can't forget Bottle. Onrack. I missed Trull. I would've loved to see him again. I was left wanting more of Karsa Orlong.
I loved the two epilogues. Korlat and Whiskey Jack. Another teary moment. And how the book ended in an almost full circle moment.
I'm at a lost on what to read next. I'm glad to have finished but sad to be leaving. Even though I know I will return. Probably sooner than I am thinking.(less)
When I read the reviews for this one I was afraid I wouldn't like it. Kruppe isn't one of my favorite characters. Heck I'm doing good when I understan...moreWhen I read the reviews for this one I was afraid I wouldn't like it. Kruppe isn't one of my favorite characters. Heck I'm doing good when I understand half of what he says. But surprisingly I enjoyed this. And I even liked the different approach to the narration.
There's still alot here that I'm not getting and feel I won't completely understand without a second, or maybe even third, reading. But for some reason I love this series anyway.
These books aren't for someone who is looking for a quick easy read. They're not for casual fantasy readers. But if you are tired of the same tired clichés this might be for you. If you like challenges and puzzles. If you derive pleasure from slow revealing mysteries. If your favorite TV show was Lost, or to a certain degree Twin Peaks, this might be the series for you.
This was book eight of ten. And the next two are halves of the same story if I understand correctly. End game. I haven't been reading these long but I find myself sad. Nervous, excited, and sad. I hope it all fits together. I hope for reunions, revelations, and resolutions. Hoping for a fitting farewell to these characters, both living and dead, that I have grown to love.
It's funny. After reading eight books I still would be unable to tell someone else what the plot is. Who the bad guys are. Who the good guys are.
And somehow I doubt the ending will be any different. But really would I have it any other way?(less)
This is one of the best fantasy series I have read. Fallon is very much an underrated talent. And I recommend reading her if you haven't already. This...moreThis is one of the best fantasy series I have read. Fallon is very much an underrated talent. And I recommend reading her if you haven't already. This is a "middle" book that builds on what has already happened and sets up a finale. I enjoyed the slow pace although I know others did not. I liked the characters even though it was a little too Twilightesque drama. Hopefully the last book swings things back up. I recommend this series to fans of Robin Hobb, of mythology, and any romance readers who don't mind alot of fantasy.(less)
I feel as though I should give this book two ratings. The first for a single book of a series and the second for being the next to last in a series. I...moreI feel as though I should give this book two ratings. The first for a single book of a series and the second for being the next to last in a series. I seem to still be missing something. Now whether that is reader or writer fault I don't know. But what I do get I love. And I have the feeling I'll be reading these again soon. I even think I'll understand more. Erikson has a tendency to write backwards. Giving you important information before you know what to do with it. Introducing characters without knowing you should pay attention. But despite it all this is still one of, if not the, best fantasy I have ever read.
But I can't help but be nervous. Maybe I've been burned too many times but I can't see a satisfactory ending here. There are still too many characters who have been missing for books now. Too many dangling plots. And I'm still waiting for revelations and reunions. Instead of working towards a conclusion I feel there are too many new characters and plots here. When things should be winding down.
Although I must say I enjoyed getting more of the K'Chain Che'Malle.
And I am glad I don't have to wait to read the next and last book.(less)
Four out four five star ratings...I'm pretty sure no other author or series has caused this sort of reaction from me. I don't even know where to start...moreFour out four five star ratings...I'm pretty sure no other author or series has caused this sort of reaction from me. I don't even know where to start with this review. Just wow. To start just when I thought I had a handle on the world of Malazan Erikson throws a curve ball with Karsa Orlong. Who is he? What is he? Where is he? When is he? The mystery of it had me scratching my head in a way that I haven't since Lost was on. And what could have been an Ana Lucia, or worse a Nicki and Paulo, moment never was. I enjoyed reading about Karsa from begining to end. In parts it reminded me of some of my favorite pulp fantasy, like Fritz Leiber's Grey Mouser or Moorcock's Elric. One little thing....(view spoiler)[the section in Deadhouse Gates with the Tiste Andii trade ship remains one of my favorites and I loved seeing the other end to it. Who, or what, found the Tiste Edurs and how the heads became covered. Not what I would have thought....but good. (hide spoiler)]
Quick Ben. Kalam. Cotillion. Anomander Rake. Caladan Brood. With all of these flashy, mysterious, cool characters I'm not sure how it happened but my favorite character, in atleast two books now, might just be Fiddler. At first his transformation into Strings was odd to me. From Gardens of the Moon...well let's face it he's not the sharpest tool in the shed. And here he's supposed to be a leader? It seemed like Erikson was writing for Whiskeyjack. But then the character became something different and human with all of the fear and nervousness. Instead of Erikson writing as though he needed another Whiskeyjack it became more like the character would copy how to lead from the greatest leader he knew. (view spoiler)[And the scene where he found out about the Bridgeburners death was one of the most touching scenes I have read from Erikson, although not the last in this book (hide spoiler)]
I just loved this book. So many scenes...(view spoiler)[Karsa's gods...Karsa's revenge on Bidithal...Adjunct Tavore unknowingly killing her sister...the Tanno Spiritwalker's song...the Crows' ghosts following the Chain of Dogs with Tavore's army (loved loved loved)...and Hedge coming for Fiddler...the remaining Bridgeburners reunion... (hide spoiler)]
I think I am in danger of becoming a Malazan fanatic. I could not be happier though. Now to start Midnight Tides.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I enjoyed this book, but I would love to see the notes Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont have on their Malazan world because it still seems like I'm...moreI enjoyed this book, but I would love to see the notes Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont have on their Malazan world because it still seems like I'm missing something. I was expecting insight on Kellanved, Dancer, and Surly but that's not what this prequel is. I liked the new characters, Temper and Kiska. Edgewalker was cool. The real surprise was how much I liked Artan and Hatter. It was also a much easier read than Erikson's books.
Update 2/5/12 The first time I read this I had only read the first three Erikson books and had a shakey understanding of the series and the world. After getting lost I read this hoping for some clarity. It didn't help.
Well now I have read all the books of the main series and yes I did understand and enjoy this one more. I don't recommend reading it too early.
There's an introduction that tells this world was always meant to be a shared world. But where The Book of the Fallen seems to have little in common with the books like Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms this one would fit right in. Not that it's bad. It's not. But it does seem like Malazan-lite.
It does give interesting background on the history of the main series, but it does almost seem like a fan fiction. Let me put it another way. I watched the show Lost. After it had been on a few seasons they decided to introduce new characters to the island. Characters who had always been there but unseen. They even shot scenes where these characters were in the background of scenes from the previous seasons. They were given too much importance. Another example. A popular device in fan fiction is to plant a new character in with established characters to stand in for the reader. I couldn't help but think of this for Kiska and Temper. But especially Kiska. I won't spoil it, but she witnesses one of, if not the most, the most important events in the Malazan world. And that stretched my belief a little too much.
I would've rather had a book that focused on Kellanved, Dancer, Surly, and Tayschrenn alone without buffer characters.
But it was good if not quite on the same level of the Erikson books. I recommend it to any fans of that series that haven't read this yet. For readers who haven't read then yet it probably won't do much for you. And for anyone who wonders if it will change your mind about the series, probably not.(less)
I actually liked the first book better. What got my interest was the unique American Western inspired world in a fantasy setting. This one was much mo...moreI actually liked the first book better. What got my interest was the unique American Western inspired world in a fantasy setting. This one was much more ordinary. In my opinion. The whole Wardrobe idea that's been used and reused countless times. And I'm not liking the characters so far. Eddie just a loser. And his section was way too long. I don't typically enjoy reading about drug addicts. I liked Odetta more. But wasn't really sold on the split personality thing. I hated Detta. Hated her. Hated reading about her. And I know it's explained why she's such a cartoonishly stereotypical angry black woman but found it hard to read. Uncomfortable. And then there was the Odetta and Eddie thing. Seriously after what a few hours, maybe, they're madly in love? Instant attraction as I've said before doesn't bother me. But when two characters meet AND fall in love in one chapter I don't like it. And I don't think Odetta who obviously has some hang-ups about race would find falling for a white boy that easily. It would've made things more interesting too. Alright. I liked it okay. A little disappointed. I want more of Roland and his weird western world. Less contemporary America. More gunslingers. Less gangsters. But I do plan to continue. Mostly because I have the full set of books already.(less)