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The Bonehunters (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 6) Hardcover – September 18, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
The weighty and grim sixth installment of Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen (chronologically following 2006's House of Chains, with references to 2007 tie-in Midnight Tides) is named for a newly minted company in the Malazan 14th Army, forged in a daring and nearly fatal effort to escape a city destroyed by fire by burrowing through its skeletal underbelly. The Bonehunters' return from the dead is a theme that appears throughout this volume, as the prophetess Sha'ik dies and is reborn as a plague maiden, warriors recover from hideous wounds, and seer Ganoes Paran strikes a bargain with the dread god Hood that just might end up saving the world. Erikson brings the bulk of his enormous cast together in one volume for the first time, an effort designed to keep fans engaged as myriad plot lines tangle and sprawl over an increasingly bleak and war-ravaged landscape. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The fourth Malazan Book of the Fallen is aptly titled. The Malazan 14th Army warily combs the ruins of the Seven Cities Rebellion for what may be left of its dead, meanwhile straining what's left of its morale. The Crippled God has joined the pantheon, and at least half his numerous fellow deities are trying to expel him. A war of the gods impends, and while it will cost the usual high price in collateral damage among humans, Erikson will handle it with originality and strong impact, given that even the sympathetic characters are becoming people you wouldn't want holding your IOUs. Green, Roland
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So much happens and there are so many story arcs, lines and characters that I seriously had a hard time keeping up. What I can say is that again people I really liked died :(, people I really hated lived and there was not a happy ending for anyone in the story.
I think I lost interest a little in the middle of this book. It really isn't the books fault all the stories are just so dense and full details that go with other details that you really have to pay a lot of attention and I just didn't have the time I needed to devote to that. I mean if you have to read a forum after ever chapter to understand the implications of that chapter it starts to feel more like homework than fun.
I am taking a series break. I'm just really more excited about rereading The Stormlight Archives and some other things that aren't quite so dense right now. I really want to finish the series but my mindset isn't where it needs to be to do that now.
It was so nice being back with characters I loved: Icarium, Greyfrog, Iskaral, Cotillion, Mappo, Fiddler, Stormy, Gessler, Bottle etc - and so many characters that I had a change of heart towards: T'Amber, Tavore, Scilara, Karsa, and Trull.
All I can say without being spoilery is that I laughed, I cried, I loved it.
It also continues the adventures of Icarium and Mappo Runt, as well as giving some glimpses into the reasons why Icarium is the way he is. Poliel, the mistress of plague, is doing her thing throughout the seven cities, while Karsa Orlong travels the world, meeting many interesting people and monsters, and then brutally killing them all. Despite this, Karsa manages to be one of the more engaging characters in the book (and this si despite stiff competition).
The Bonehunters also sees the return of the Hounds of Shadow, which I personally loved, as well as answering some questions about them and the Deragoth, which also make an appearance.
One of the slower and more evenly paced plotlines was Ganoes Paran learning more about his duties as the Master of the Deck, travelling around and meeting several Jaghut.
Apsalar's journeys, now on her own because she left Cutter and the others, is an interesting one for the contrast with those she meets, sepcifically Shadowthrone and Cotillion. While Shadowthrone seems to become more insane each time we meet him, although how much of this is an act is impossible to tell, Cotillion becomes if anything more human, being more empathetic to Apsalar and her troubles. Considering that the two ascended gods are the closest of friends/allies/employer-employee/I-don't-really-know this contrast is a fantastic way to add depth to them in a different way to the occasional philosophical musings that Steven Erikson often employs. To be clear, this is far from the only character development that Erikson employs, and I find those mental tangents very interesting, but I think this change is very skilfully done.
We also finally get a good look at Empress Laseen near the end of the book, which nicely grounds a lot of the implied context throughout the series, as well as seeing the Tiste Edur finally join the story in a way we can at last understand.
Like the other books, this one is a little slow to start, but by now you should have a good grasp of how everything works and a knowledge of everything that has happened previously, so this isn't a problem, especially considering how quickly the pace picks up, dividing the characters and bringing them together is all sorts of combinations that left me wondering what was happening next in the rare occasions that I managed to put this book down (I sometime need to eat, sleep or go to the toilet). Fortunately for me I read this while on holiday and so devoured it in less than a week.
I've read 7 and they are all about the same...the 1st third of the book is getting to know the characters...then the last 2/3 is worth reading. Then you start all over.