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Toll the Hounds: Book Eight of The Malazan Book of the Fallen Mass Market Paperback – August 4, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 164 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Book eight in the intensifying Malazan series (following 2007's Reaper's Gale) sees the grinding, bloody clash of newly created deities against longstanding, increasingly powerful Gods. The Crippled God, born in the city of Darujhistan, and the Dying God, who bleeds a poison that enthralls and addicts his followers, both vie for a place in the formal pantheon, using humans and the goddess-descended Tiste Andii as pawns in their unholy, greedy game. Warrior-hero Anomander Rake subtly manipulates the factions from the sidelines. Finally, the gods' slaves and representatives and the common people of the Darujhistan meet in one dark, thunderous, transformative night. This is a praiseworthy entry in the massive series encompassing multitudes of characters, complex plot lines and grotesque violence, but it's not lightweight in tone or in heft, and new readers will be entirely at sea. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The eighth Malazan Book of the Fallen actually brings back some of the earliest volumes’ power. As the city of Darujhistan bakes in the summer heat, a mysterious robed man, obviously some sort of mage, wanders its streets. The question of whether he will survive the thieves, assassins, and wizards, local and striking-from-afar, should hold readers despite the extremely high page-count. Erikson may not keep up the pace throughout, but his knack for well-drawn exotic characters, no matter how fleeting, and mastery of world building cannot be denied. Add this one for saga mavens. --Roland Green --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen (Book 8)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 1280 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Fantasy; Pocketbok size 2008 edition (August 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765348853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765348852
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 2.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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Format: 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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Format: Paperback
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.
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