I'm not suprised if you tried reading toll of the hounds first. As much as I love Erikson I found this book jumped around to much and was not as quite as good as others. Don't give up tho, get a cheap copy of 'gardens of the moon' and if by the end of this you still don't like then fair enough.
Well, if you're judging book 8 of a series of 10 having not read the first 7 books I'm really not surprised you werent impressed as you probably wouldnt have a clue what was going on. Just ignoring the size of the series, this is a deeply complex storyline. Without reading the earlier books you wont be able to understand where the characters are coming from, the background for the plots, or even who most of the characters are. You basically need to follow the books....to expect otherwise is daft - you wouldnt read Return of the King without reading Fellowship of the Ring or The Two Towers, so why with this one ? And then people give it 1*.....says more about those people than the book and is misleading to other potential readers. Its a good book, part of a great series....its a shame you didnt understand it. Go back, read the other books and THEN judge it.
yes i have noticed a lot of 1 and 2 star reviews, many of which comment on the poor writing style etc yet claim to be huge Erikson fans. Many of these only have that one review to their name or maybe one other (trying to add credibility?). Whilst i understand that some genuine fans have been let down with Toll i think it is more of a case of one person creating amazon accounts simply to bring down the ratings. Not mentioning any names here but might want to have a look at this http://fantasyhotlist.blogspot.com/2009/06/pathetic.html