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56 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Malazan Saga continues on...but with a struggle...3.5 Stars
This is the 8th book in Steven Erikson's 'Malazan Book of the Fallen" series.

Of all the books in the Malazan series, this is, without a doubt, my least favorite...I will explain

First, the pros;

Overall, this series is epic fantasy at its best; in fact 829 pages in this book alone. There is intrigue, magic, unexpected enemies and friends...
Published on September 26, 2008 by R. Nicholson

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worst entry so far in wonderful series
This novel really dragged on. The series as a whole is a fantastic effort of imagination and I highly recommend it. This entry however rambles on and on, much of it internal dialogue that dwells heavily on negative themes. It got really boring. The ending makes up for this somewhat, but for the first time in the Malazan series, it was a dreadful slog through the mire to...
Published 11 months ago by Actual Gamer


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56 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Malazan Saga continues on...but with a struggle...3.5 Stars, September 26, 2008
This review is from: Toll the Hounds: Book Eight of The Malazan Book of the Fallen (Hardcover)
This is the 8th book in Steven Erikson's 'Malazan Book of the Fallen" series.

Of all the books in the Malazan series, this is, without a doubt, my least favorite...I will explain

First, the pros;

Overall, this series is epic fantasy at its best; in fact 829 pages in this book alone. There is intrigue, magic, unexpected enemies and friends and even some erotic moments; not to mention the usual backstabbing and clandestine plotting. In this book we are reacquainted with some old friends from previous tales, e.g. Cutter, Druiker, Karso Orlong (Toblakai warrior), Anomander Rake and last but not least, the ever loquacious, forever famished, mound of round, Kruppe.

Erikson's strength is his use of prose to describe people and their surrounding, all the while weaving a tale his characters come alive in; this latest installment is no exception. However, this may be the first in all the books of this series that may be deemed somewhat overwritten, mainly because of some of these perceived strengths. Which leads me into commenting on...

The cons;

1.)As with previous Erikson works, the book starts off by given brief glimpses of several different developing stories. The problem here, in my opinion, is that unlike previous books, most of these story lines do not really develop into something resembling a plot until well after the first 200+ pages.

2.)In addition to the slow development, the writing seems disjointed and difficult to follow; I had to almost 'study' sections to try to figure out what Erikson had his characters doing and saying.

3.)I found I became 'weary' of trying to interpret the vague, unclear conversations and happenings that occurred through out most of the entire novel. Eventually I stopped trying to figure out the difficult passages and just concentrated on sections that I found easy to understand; I don't think I'd have finished the book otherwise.

4.)I never thought I'd ever hear myself saying this about an Erikson book; I found myself somewhat bored by some of the dragged out, confusing descriptions and tales; almost to the point of skimming them.

5.)And last, I can't remember the last time I've been so happy to have finally finished a book.

Conclusion:

An intriguing Malazan tale that had potential, but unfortunately got mired down with a sluggish beginning and middle; the last section (Toll the Hounds) was better...but overall, a somewhat 'difficult' read. That is not to say there weren't some great moments in this book, because there were, many in fact; and this was my main reason for rating the book as high as I did.

I seems to me that Erikson has 'stumbled' with this book; he knows what he's talking about, but I can't say the same for me. I wonder about other readers; I'm I the only one to notice this tendency towards 'unreadability'?

I hope Erikson gets back on track with his next installment; one more book like this and he may begin to lose some of his loyal followers.

Difficult to rate this book, so I settled for a 3.5 and rounded it up to a 4.0 (rather than down to a 3.0 ) because I decided to give Erikson the benefit of the doubt...for this one.

Ray Nicholson
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Patience is rewarded, October 27, 2008
This review is from: Toll the Hounds: Book Eight of The Malazan Book of the Fallen (Hardcover)
I can certainly relate to those who are annoyed by the frequent jumping from one character (or group of characters) to another every 2-3 pages or so, but if you stick with "Toll the Hounds", everything eventually coalesces into a stunning conclusion, as at least one central theme is resolved. Here are some reasons to hang in there:

1. Mother Dark turned her back on her children, the Tiste Andii. Her son, Anomander Rake, assumed responsibility for the fate of his people. The purpose of his sword Dragnipur is revealed, and is not what it seems. Rake's fate and purpose are revealed in stunning fashion, enough to justify reading "Toll the Hounds".

2. Traveler: who is he, and what brings him to Darujhistan? Another revelation sure to surprise those familiar with earlier books. Never assume the departed do not return.

3. Hood, God of death; what is he behind the hood? His purpose is also revealed; the dead are collected for a reason, and and marching towards their fate.

4. A new player is introduced; the Dying God. The visceral corruption of his blood compares to the Crippled God.

As usual, several players are called upon to make terrible sacrifices, and redemption abounds. As always, a few Bridgeburners fight against extinction. And of course, another group of intrepid travelers bumble and stumble their way towards their destination in comedic fashion, trying not to get themselves killed in the process.

I know the book starts a little slow, but stick it out; the conclusion is worth the price of admission.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meant to be Savored, January 1, 2010
By 
Maraich (PHOENIX, AZ USA) - See all my reviews
If you're someone who devourers books in one or two sittings I don't think you'll get as much out of this book as otherwise you might. The writing itself is beautiful and is on a level that makes it difficult for me to read most other people's offerings as they just don't measure up. As always, Mr. Erikson broke my heart after making me love his characters. Being incredibly powerful in these stories just means your sacrifice will be even greater.

I did not find this book a difficult read, but I took my time and read it slowly. I didn't look for connections between the different groups involved in the story, but instead enjoyed them as separate stories that in the end all combined into a neat package. I always ache when I finish another Malazan book, but I think this one was even more draining than Deadhouse Gates (which really tore me up emotionally). I feared, based on some of the reviews I read here, that I would be disappointed in this volume, but instead I believe it is one of my favorites.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worst entry so far in wonderful series, August 14, 2013
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This novel really dragged on. The series as a whole is a fantastic effort of imagination and I highly recommend it. This entry however rambles on and on, much of it internal dialogue that dwells heavily on negative themes. It got really boring. The ending makes up for this somewhat, but for the first time in the Malazan series, it was a dreadful slog through the mire to get there. I'm very much hoping book nine gets back on track! I cannot really NOT recommend this book, as it is a must read for anyone that has gotten this far...I can only commiserate with the reader and say 'I know, I know, ugh'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From a rabid Steven Erikson fan - I was a little disappointed, October 31, 2008
I'm giving this book 3 1/2 stars, 4 stars officially because Erikson deserves being rounded up. I'll start by saying I am a hugely devoted Steven Erikson fan and consider this the best fantasy series in print right now. However, Toll the Hounds has some shortcomings from my eye that haven't surfaced in the other books of the series. Here's the specifics:

As noted by the author, Erikson changed his writing style with this book. He is writing mostly as though the story is told by Kruppe, to an audience named later. I didn't mind this too much but it comes and goes like a fake Keanu Reeves accent. On top of this, there is far less action for 90% of the book and much more reflection on emotions, internal monologue, pondering the past etc. Most of it honestly, was quite boring and tedious, not to mention inconsequential. Instead of rewarding the readers with more of the interesting storylines (Traveler/Karsa, Bridgeburners in Daru), he almost delights in teasing them and then immediately switching to something boring once the reader's interest get pique'd. I thought most of the Nimander story, Seerdomin/Redeemer, and even the Rake/Endest Silan/Spinnock Durav storylines were FAR too lengthy and fell flat.

Then after all of the musings (kind of mopey musings) of the Tiste Andii, the Redeemer, Seerdomin, etc we get about 100 pages or so of extreme unadulterated mayhem for an ending. Now, I like unadulterated mayhem, don't get me wrong, but it just came across as rushed. The mayhem was more quick, random and confusing than deep and emotional like it should have been. The emotional payoff of this book should have blown Deadhouse Gates and Memories of Ice away, given the material. It doesn't. If the pace of the book was a chart it would be a 1 or 2 for the first 90% and then spike to 200. It didn't work in this book and I have to say Erikson kind of asked for it (I'll explain).

Erikson has always been known to be intentionally vague. He'll have flashbacks or dialogue that is meaningless to the reader because they don't know the context. I've always liked this about Erikson because I know he'll explain later (making second readings of his books a must). In this one though, he takes it over the top. There is almost nothing given to the reader so they can get an emotional grip on the story. A spoiler free example is the story of the Tiste Andii, Endest Silan, Anomander and his brothers. There is a bunch of depressing talk of sacrifice, betrayal, redemption, etc but we have no idea what Erikson is talking about at the time. How am I supposed to get emotionally involved when I have no idea what the context is? When I finally get the explanation it is too late, and rushed.

I think others may understand what I mean, perhaps not. I recommend reading the book at any rate. The action at the end IS awesome, and this is still the best fantasy series on the market. I hope Erikson goes back to what he does best which is maintaining an exciting pace and leaving the emotional smash over the head for the end, when we're fully vested. Memories of Ice did this and is still one of the top 3 books I have ever read. The way he balanced the action, emotion and mystery of that book was pure genius.

I still love Erikson and I truly hope other readers see something in this book that I did not. A weak Erikson book is still miles ahead of Terry Goodkind's best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A slow start to an amazing book..., October 13, 2008
I eagerly awaited Toll the Hounds as I became enthralled with not only Erikson's writing style but also the world that he and Esslemont created. So when the book arrived I immediately started reading. And nothing took off, nothing happened. I kept on reading, waiting for Erikson of old to find its way to the pages of Toll the Hounds.

Part of the problem was that this book has an even bigger character roll call than the other books because of how many storylines merged together. So we kept flitting from one character to another and we never really got a chance to get into any one character. When you did it flipped over to somewhere else! Add to that the plot going nowhere and it made for a tough read for the first 200-300 pages.

Oh but did it pick up, to my heart's joyous content. Finally the characters began to take shape and plot lines started merging. When it did I was even more enthralled than in previous books, excepting maybe Reaper's Gale. We got to see virtually all the main characters, with the exception of Ganoes Paran, Icarium, the Tiste Edur and a few other major characters, other than that we see everyone! We watch Karsa Orlong continue his death giving ways (and a twist, we finally see fear in the Toblakai - who'd a thought, which only added more to his character... You'll have to read on to see what could truly cause fear in such an awesome character). The hilarious Kruppe, the funny Bridgeburners, and Iskaral Pust are joined by the likes of Scorch and Leff and the Bole brothers to add such a complex comedy aspect to such an epic fantasy. My favorite scene is when Iskaral Pust rides at his swiftest speed, legs kicking and head bobbing, only to go at the agonizingly slow pace of the mule he but rides, to eventually be met by Kruppe on his warmule. This scene made the whole book worth it as I giggled and laughed out loud.

But there is also the serious and ever violent side of Erikson's writing that is present. The merging of gods, young and old, and ascendants and the power struggles inherent to such meetings. We see Black Coral, home of the Tiste Andii and Anomandor Rake. There are many deaths of characters you've read a lot about, which of course makes way for new players in the struggle for control.

I think this of all Erikson's books accomplished the most in furthering the plot. There was a true convergence of power struggles that yielded a vast amount of possibilities as new powers came into play as the final battle came ever closer. I think that this is one of my favorites of Erikson's books so far, and the only reason not a 5 star is because of how agonizingly long it took for the characters to take on their character, and for how long it took for the plot to finally begin to take shape. Regardless of all that, I would certainly recommend and cannot wait for the next installment to be published.

4 stars.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 95% Self-Reflection...Boring, December 7, 2011
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This book is basically 95% self-reflection. Here is an example:

Nimander takes a step > 5 pages of Nimander talking to himself, making vague statements about some moronic "truths" that noone cares about and that are not important to the story > Nimander takes another step >

Cutter grabs his knife > 5 pages of Cutter self-reflecting about some bimbos > Cutter pulls the knife out > 5 more pages of nonsense.

This was definitely the slowest and most boring book that I've ever read. Nothing really even happened in it. All those pages could have been condensed into a single chapter. I really wish the author would get back into the story. The only interesting part was the last 1% of the book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars extraordinary, December 14, 2008
This review is from: Toll the Hounds: Book Eight of The Malazan Book of the Fallen (Hardcover)
Unlike some other reviewers I found this to be one of Erikson's best books. Although the "action" for most of the story is slow, I found it a pleasure getting to know certain characters more thoroughly, Karsa anyone?...Rake!!
Steven Erikson seems to have finally placed all the story lines and characters in a more coherent way than in last books. The use of krupe as storyteller was a good companion to the story. Anyways its a great read, and essential for any fantasy lover.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Solid Entry, October 8, 2008
This review is from: Toll the Hounds: Book Eight of The Malazan Book of the Fallen (Hardcover)
I will say this first off, the book starts slow. But if you have read any of his works, that goes without saying. Outside of Gardens of the Moon, they all pretty much build up and up to a grand earth shattering climax.

I thought this was a better work than Reaper's Gale, Midnight Tides and Deadhouse Gates (which is probably my most disliked of the books) and a bit short of the others.

Many of the old characters are back and better than ever in this epic. Rake, Gruntle, the Rope, Karsa amongst others. Erikson weaves the tales of all the characters with his usual aplomb.

True, at times, the book could flag some in its pacing (its 832 pages for crying out loud), but the last 275 pages of the book more than make up for it. That portion of it alone, makes it a worthwhile read.

In the end it has everything you have come to expect in one of his books. It has tragedy aplenty, it has passion, triumph, tribulations, it pretty much runs the gamut.

I would give it a solid 4.5 stars and recommend it for any who has already read the previous books. For those who haven't, go back to Gardens of the Moon. You'll be hopelessly lost otherwise.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fantastic chapter in an amazing series, October 3, 2008
By 
J. Mullins (Wichita, KS USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Toll the Hounds: Book Eight of The Malazan Book of the Fallen (Hardcover)
Regardless of your taste in genre, Erikson's ability to develop literally dozens of characters, each with different and fully realized personalities, and place them into world's and cultures as vast and complex as our own makes this book worth getting to know. It's an insight into laughter and despair, hope and futility...it's an insight into our own lives in a way that leaves you entertained and wanting more.
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Toll the Hounds: Book Eight of The Malazan Book of the Fallen
Toll the Hounds: Book Eight of The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson (Hardcover - September 16, 2008)
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