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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Majestic and oh so tantalizing
When i saw that this book was coming out 6 months earlier in the UK than the US, I called my brother in Ireland and told him to pick it up there and send it on to me ASAP. It arrived 5 days ago, and at almost 900 pages it was just a joy to behold. I managed to finish it in 4 days and the reson it took so long ;) was that I just wanted to savor it as much as possible,...
Published on October 1, 2009 by Patrick Mcgann

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45 of 59 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Losing the thread
I'm a long time fan of this series, and still consider Deadhouse Gates to be one of the best fantasy novels I've ever read. But the downward trend in characterization, coherence, and common sense that has become increasingly obvious the last few books has really become too much in Dust of Dreams.

It's boring. I found I had to skip ahead vast amounts, usually in...
Published on February 26, 2010 by Dylan Alexander


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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Majestic and oh so tantalizing, October 1, 2009
When i saw that this book was coming out 6 months earlier in the UK than the US, I called my brother in Ireland and told him to pick it up there and send it on to me ASAP. It arrived 5 days ago, and at almost 900 pages it was just a joy to behold. I managed to finish it in 4 days and the reson it took so long ;) was that I just wanted to savor it as much as possible, especially after the foreword warning about cliff hangers. And let me say up front, this book has some nail-biting cliff-hangers!
I absolutely love this series! Sure, it is difficult to follow sometimes and frequent trips to previous volumes are required to jolt the memory of this character and that event (in fact, i am now re-reading Toll the Hounds just to make sense of some things I read in DoD). But the way SE can bring all these disparate story lines together still amazes me.
As I alrady mentioned, this book is a hefty tome, 900 pages of battles, philosophy, plots and betrayals, and I was captivated from the first chapter. Characters that were distant memories suddenly returned, and the story arc of the K'Chain Che Malle was amazing and left me questioning many of my preconceptions. There is a lot of philosophical banter among the characters, but this is a hallmark of SE and I have come to appreciate some of the gems he manages to introduce.
It's hard to say much more about this book without adding spoilers, and I don't want to do that. But suffice to say that this book is everything I hoped for and I await with bated breath for the conclusion of one of the best fantasy series of all time.
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45 of 59 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Losing the thread, February 26, 2010
I'm a long time fan of this series, and still consider Deadhouse Gates to be one of the best fantasy novels I've ever read. But the downward trend in characterization, coherence, and common sense that has become increasingly obvious the last few books has really become too much in Dust of Dreams.

It's boring. I found I had to skip ahead vast amounts, usually in vain, to find some action to grab my interest, some attempt at humor that was actually funny, or some explanation of why I should care about yet more new characters inexplicably introduced in the ninth book of a ten book series.

It's pointlessly depressing. In past books, characters we cared about often had bad things happen to them for reasons tragic, ironic, or at least serving the plot. Those made me choke up, made me care, and sometimes made me righteously angry at other characters in the book. Good stuff. Here we have a lot of death that seems purely random and serving no purpose at all. Did anyone at all care about the Barghast after their only significant appearance in the third book? Of course not. Was anyone calling out for their reappearance in book nine? Endless pages describing stupid internal squabbles? Their ultimate fate, and the simply disgusting treatment of Hetan? I kept hoping to find something to tie this inexplicable interlude into the larger plot involving the Malazan 14th Army or the machinations of various gods and others, but it's not there. I can only guess Erikson couldn't get an S&M novella about primitive tribal cultures published independently and folded it into Dust of Dreams as some sort of misguided form of "artistic" expression.

It's not well integrated into the overall story. New characters/nations/factions, most of whom are boring and pointless even here and can't possibly be necessary to the completion of the series in the next book; "new" supposedly extinct races, for the 193rd time, with no foreshadowing whatsoever in previous books; and random flailing around by those actors we did know about from prior efforts in the series. I have no doubt whatsoever that I could write a two page synopsis of the events in this book that would enable one to transition smoothly from book 8 to book 10.

No one's motivations make sense. In the middle of this series I developed a strong distaste for the philosophizing that was overly dramatic and masturbatory to aspire to the title "sophomoric," but this books makes me wish it would come back - then at least I'd have some explanation for why anyone would choose to do the things they do in this book, and, even less explicably, why others follow them. (I'm looking at you, Bonehunters.)

This is not the worst book in the world, but it is the worst book in this series so far, a title I sincerely hope it retains after the release of book 10. This series has overall been interesting and sometimes extraordinary. If you've been a fan before, you should still read this book. Just don't feel the need to take it too seriously or read it all. Skimming will lesson your pain considerably.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too inconsistent, needs and editor, February 23, 2012
This review is from: Dust of Dreams: Book Nine of The Malazan Book of the Fallen (Mass Market Paperback)
I confess that I began reading this series with the hopes of finding something close to the epic storytelling of George.R.R.Martin or Robin Hobb, and at first it had all the elements for it, interesting plot if you could get through the first 2 books, original characters, amazing world with plenty of very imaginative cultures, and so on.

Sadly he lost his way along the proverbial way, or lost his original editor, or maybe one of his characters decided he had traveled enough for two lifetimes and knocked him in the head with a club, or maybe it was a Warren, after all those things seem to be able to do anything Mr. Erickson wants them to do.

I read the series in a row up to book 9, I think that gives me some perspective about it's chronology and consistency, and here is my rant, not really a review since its so FULL of SPOILERS:

- The magic doesn't have a set of rules that are the base to all its further applications through the books. At first the Warrens were realms completely different from each other with their unique aspects, after a few books Mr Erickson decided they served the plot better if there were extension of elder Warrens, and instead of the extensions being unique, they are flavors of each other's, Tellan being originally de Warren of Time but not really since now it's the Warren of Fire, which in turn its a cousin of Tyr which is also fire, so you don't really have one but two Warrens of Fire, only the single applicationand of Tellan seen in the books transforms the Imass in inmortal, something you would expect a time warren to do. Shadow is really a broken piece of Kurald Emurlah only it travels around (because Warrens can travel, but only some of them) and turns out they can also talk, but none of this matters in any way to the story, it doesn't move the plot forward, and I can't be completely sure of any of this because I'm still missing the 10th book, and perhaps I'll find that by then he has already changed it again.

-There were 7 Hounds of Shadows, this very strong, unique creatures that were particular to the realm of Shadows alone. Then we found out that there are Hounds of Dark, that somehow can be combined with the essence of the Hounds of Shadows? The hounds of Dark were the creation of Dessimbelackis, or maybe he became a Di'ver and that is his actual form, but in someway they superseded the hounds of shadows, which are supposed to be much older. And, wait for it, there are Hounds of Light too, not that it matters in any way to the story, except to create artificial suspense, or the anticlimactic convergences that Mr. Erickson likes to use so much.

-Why did Kallam gave the freaking Apocalypse book to Shaik, knowing all the consequences that it would bring? I know there was a reason but strong enough to justify it? Did he experienced any remorse for being the indirect cause of the Chain of Dogs? Someone like Martin would have capitalized on that but from Erickson all we get is Herboric with pages and pages of internal mononologues about the nature of religion and whether he deserves what he has or not. And do you want a more pointless arc than Felisin and the Whirlwind? After a book of an interesting journey and becoming Shaik, it all kinds of fizzles and ends up being about whether her sister is cold iron and she is hot iron, and cold iron always wins against hot. REALLY? I was expecting an explanation about what the hell that theory was, but there was none.

- Whatever happened to Whiskeyjack and the Bridgeburners after their Ascension, did it served any purpose as far as the story concerns or it was just for kicks? What about the forced love interest between Paran and Silverfox, she completely disappeared after being in one, perhaps 2 books total. There was a First Empire from the Imass, but there was also another from Dessimbelackis, and last but not least ANOTHER first empire, this time from Kallor. Whatever happened to the Grey Swords and Toc the Younger, he spent a whole book lost, then another book being tortured, and another one mostly prisoner to die oh so very pointlessly at the end, which is another example of Mr Erickson introducing characters just for the sake of filling pages, either that or after a while he simply doesn't know what to do with them anymore. What the hell was the Tyrant of Darujistan and why where people so afraid of him in the 8th book? Wasn't Mother Dark crazy from a device that the K'Chain Che'Malle sent into her Warren before their supposed extinction, as a means of vengeance for their total annihilation to de hands of the Andii? I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere in there.

I could go on, but I think this illustrates my point. Somewhere along the way the author forgot that the first rule of any good tale is show, don't tell. This series could be less dense and yes, less boring, if it had fewer character, fewer monologues and specially, an editor that could point out the enormous amount of inconsistencies it has. Why the need to ad superfluos characters at every turn, and why are they all philosophers, from the street thug to the soldier to the priest? Will I ever have a satisfying conclusion to the story that isn't forced or totally anticlimactic? I don't think so. But maybe all this extra fluff is there for a reason, and that reason is that if Mr Erickson wrote exclusively about the main theme of this series, he would never have been able to write even 5 books of the stuff.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What was this?, January 7, 2011
This review is from: Dust of Dreams: Book Nine of The Malazan Book of the Fallen (Mass Market Paperback)
I know that the Malazan books are mostly about the futility of war and human struggle but this book was a struggle and a war to read. It took me an entire year to finish this book and only because I really, really forced myself to, something I would not do for every author out there.

First off, I have loved every book in this series and I went into this book knowing that Mr. Erikson is a slow starter, but half way through this book I was left wondering if anything at all would happen in this book, anything at all. And no, nothing really happened, a few players behind the scenes were revealed and that is about it. Mr. Erikson has a habit of having strong, vivid characters pop up out of nowhere in his books but in this book minor characters that were incredibly boring and really did nothing to further any part of the plot popped up every other chapter, it was infuriating. This was (nearly) 1000 pages of stubborn, challenging, reading that was more frustrating than anything.

If Mr. Erikson's intent was to bring the reader down to the level of boredom and misery as his characters in Dust of Dreams then he indeed succeeded in reaching that goal.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I can't do it, March 7, 2011
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I just can't do it. I tried; I really did. But after a couple of hundred pages... I've set it down. For the first time in more than 30 years of reading just about all the fantasy and scifi I could find, I've decided I really don't need to finish a series that I was initially quite excited about.

When I discovered the Malazan books two years ago, I was captivated. Mostly quite good, sometimes excellent writing; the myriad little connections and foreshadowings; an interesting and atypical philosophical underpinning; some really great worldbuilding with a depth and breadth of historical sweep that is simply breathtaking! And if the humor is a little stilted and artificial sometimes; if perhaps we don't need *quite* so many characters (or maybe even a whole novel for each set of characters...); if occasionally the internal chronology doesn't seem to hold up quite right... well, it's Erikson's project, let's see where he takes it and enjoy the ride.

I would read the negative reviews and shake my head thinking "You just don't get what he's doing; and that's such a shame, because you're giving up a great experience!" I welcomed the Tor.com re-read, which helped refresh memories about the early books and pointed me in certain directions in terms of how I have read and approached later ones.

Things took a turn towards darkness. Bonehunters: Dark... but ultimately pretty satisfying. Reaper's Gale, similar. Then came Toll The Hounds: maybe a couple hundred pages of plot, scattered amongst an extended meditation on the sentiment "All is vanity." It was worse than that though. Not content to passively let his readers drown in the Sea of Existential Misery, Mr. Erikson abandoned the "show, don't tell" guideline of fiction writing and proceeded to allow each of his characters to beat us repeatedly with the Rod of Despair: dozens of pages of depressive maunderings from each one. I made it through via judicious skimming (something I've hardly ever done on a first read), and a vague memory of having read somewhere in the Tor re-read that Mr. Erikson himself views that book as the psychological nadir of the series. Any project with this kind of scope has to suffer a bit here or there; look at some of those later Jordan Wheel of Time books for instance... So, things had to be looking up in Book 9, no?

Maybe they do. Maybe there are some brighter spots in the book. I gave Dust of Dreams almost 300 pages, which may as well have been 300 more pages of Toll The Hounds. A new set of mysterious characters, whose purpose seems to be to demonstrate, in yet dozens more pages of internal monologue and introspection, exactly how low human beings can sink. Humor which seems increasingly contrived the further into the series we go. Doom, gloom, and despair with no respite. We're off the track - plot is lost amid the character's psychological explorations. "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust", we're all doomed, nothing matters.

I get it. I really do. I'm pretty sure I get what he's trying to say. But I don't need to get beaten over the head with it any more. I live in that world. I live in the world where people in positions of power act with the meanest of motives; where no good deed goes unpunished and we're all destined to die in the end; where actions always have unanticipated consequences and those consequences are frequently bad; where everyone talks about evil things all day long and the little good things that make life worth living go largely unremarked. We all live there.

I frequently like for my fiction to make me think. I like it to challenge me a little; offer a different perspective. But I also like it to help give me a little hope that maybe things can turn out right once in a while, and maybe not be even more persistently sordid and depressing than the real world. There are more threads in Western Culture - and other cultures - than the book of Ecclesiastes; other sentiments which uplift and have led to some of humanity's great achievements. I can get depression and existential angst every time I turn on the TV or walk into the urban high school where I teach. For entertainment, I'll move on... to something which entertains.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You're almost there, November 13, 2011
By 
Steve G (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dust of Dreams: Book Nine of The Malazan Book of the Fallen (Mass Market Paperback)
You've come this far, so keep going. Only two books to go but in reality books 9 and 10 are one continuous book. This is the best reason to keep going because this also wasn't one of the better books of the series. But this still means it is better than most Fantasy books out there. There are a lot of parallel stories as usual, but here the stories do not get tied together. And remember, only 2 books to go to complete the series.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars enter Draconus [no spoilers], March 4, 2010
"Dust of Dreams", the ninth tale in "The Malazan Book of the Fallen" saga, adds a couple more characters to an already vast forest of individuals. As stated in the author's note, the novel does not follow the traditional arc and will not provide full closure but is the first half of a two-volume novel. Therefore several of the addressed character plots (many of the Bonehunters after a major battle) are not resolved. The clever Erikson superbly illustrates magical power and the strength of a charismatic presence. I especially enjoy the character names but the amusing banter can be a bit distracting.

K'Chain Che'Malle and the Elder Gods are major focal points. After Draconus' entrance and his travels outside of Dragnipur, I'm eagerly anticipating his story in the final novel. Karsa Orlong and Captain Paran do not appear and Icarium is briefly visited in a rather confusing manner. However, I think I grasp what the author, who has been exceptionally resourceful in his narration, conveys in a mildly excessive metaphysical and philosophical approach. But a few dialogues involving a gibberish slang dialect are extremely difficult to follow and greatly reduced my reading flow.

While I appreciate detail and depth, when a page characterization occurs I struggle to recall the description and nuances of a particular soldier from earlier in the series. The brief moments remind the reader the character exists, yet may not advance the plot per se. I am dismayed by the lack of appendix detail. Many names (which are very funny, such as Rumjugs) reveal an obvious gender, otherwise I must search the internet, hoping for any information without spoiling a character's outcome.

The mediocre map and hopeless appendix provide little or no information. Given the abundant quantity of characters, an improved comprehensive appendix is necessary including racial characteristics, relating magical powers, and describing creatures.

Thank you.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another thoroughly engaging and enjoyable addition to the series..., March 1, 2010
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Erikson is like a fine wine. You want to savor it, take in all its complexities and richness and revel in the bold flavor with the smooth finish. You don't want to drink the wine fast because then it would be gone, so you relish every nuance and take in every subtle flavor with joy. When I read Erikson I can't help but enjoy reading it slowly, taking in every bit, laughing and crying with the Malazans. Dust of Dreams is no exception. Although not the best in the series, it is arguably on par with the Erikson that we have come to know and love.

I knew going in to this one that it would be a cliffhanger, that DoD is actually the first half of the final book and would be setting up a lot of what will be happening in the final book. That being said I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the Malazans yapping at each other as they moved ever closer towards the final battle. In reading about the Barghast you aren't really reading about them, but more so of Onos Toolan as the warleader. We follow several threads out of Lether, namely that of The Shake, Sandalath and the Elder Gods. We finally follow the K'Chain Che'Malle and given a lot more insight in to their history.

**Spoiler Alert** Finally, as with many of Erikson's books, this one joins up with the timeline about 500 pages in where the Toll the Hounds left off with Rake dying and you get to see the effect it had on the players that did not take part in Toll the Hounds. I always enjoy this about Erikson because everything is brought full circle and you get to see how the series is all connected. As always, the humor has you chuckling, if not out right laughing at some parts, and the sadness of some scenes has you shaking your head, and always Erikson is able to stir your righteous anger and make you love and hate characters. I thoroughly recommend both this book and the series. Although the book ended with a lot of loose ends I would have liked to have continued following a little further (i.e. The Shake and Sandalath) I am left satisfied and will eagerly await the 10th and final book.

5 stars.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dust of Dreams is AWESOME, January 21, 2011
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This review is from: Dust of Dreams: Book Nine of The Malazan Book of the Fallen (Mass Market Paperback)
Dust of Dreams, the ninth and next to last book of Steven Erikson's series of The Malazan book of the Fallen, is as exciting and full of surprises as all of the books that preceded it, despite the fact that it ends in a cliff hanger. As I read each new book of the series, I was always asking myself how Erikson could possibly top himself in the next book yet he never once let me down and such is the case with Dust of Dreams. Full of familiar characters and places it also has plenty of new people places and things to meet while at the same time it is starting to bring all the loose factions of the previous books together for what I can only imagine will be one heck of a HUGE finish with the publication of the final book of the series, The Crippled God. In other words, all Erikson fans who have read and loved the first eight books will not be disappointed by this book, unless its to be sad that the series end is in sight but don't let that stop you as the Dust of Dreams is one of the best of the series!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book in the series, January 1, 2011
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This review is from: Dust of Dreams: Book Nine of The Malazan Book of the Fallen (Mass Market Paperback)
Yet another great entry in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. I can't believe it's coming to an end after the next one!
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Dust of Dreams: Book Nine of The Malazan Book of the Fallen
Dust of Dreams: Book Nine of The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson (Mass Market Paperback - November 30, 2010)
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