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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Toll the Hounds
An exhaustive review for this has already been given, so I'm just going share a few of my thoughts.

For me, this is the best book yet in the Malazan Book of the Fallen. It is certainly the most intricate so far with more characters and happenings than ever (at least it seems that way). It moves along through the first three parts at a fairly sedate pace laying...
Published on 2 July 2008 by Washington Irving Washington

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars *zzzzzzz*
I was extremely disappointed with this novel in the series. Every other book has been a 5 star, with maybe a couple of 4 stars' so far. In fact I read them all again a second time while I waited for this book to come out. This book is one of the hardest I have ever read...due to it being so ludicrously boring. Far too much of it focuses on groups of miserable characters...
Published on 18 Oct 2011 by Dan Ormisher


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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Toll the Hounds, 2 July 2008
An exhaustive review for this has already been given, so I'm just going share a few of my thoughts.

For me, this is the best book yet in the Malazan Book of the Fallen. It is certainly the most intricate so far with more characters and happenings than ever (at least it seems that way). It moves along through the first three parts at a fairly sedate pace laying the ground for an earth shattering final part. As mentioned in another review, at times in this book Erikson adopts a different writing style, in which he is actually speaking to you of the events occuring at the time. It's pretty much exclusive to the goings on in Darujhistan, and I rather enjoyed it, though I don't expect we'll be seeing it again. The book is filled with a sense of melancholy (a result of the focus given to the Tiste Andii and an unloved child called Harllo), and it gets downright tearful in places. Comic relief is provided by the incomparable Iskaral Pust, and, of course, Kruppe.

I loved this book and cannot wait for the concluding volumes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars *zzzzzzz*, 18 Oct 2011
I was extremely disappointed with this novel in the series. Every other book has been a 5 star, with maybe a couple of 4 stars' so far. In fact I read them all again a second time while I waited for this book to come out. This book is one of the hardest I have ever read...due to it being so ludicrously boring. Far too much of it focuses on groups of miserable characters (e.g. Clips' Tiste Andii troupe), that are an absolute chore to read about. There are three main story arcs, two of which (Clips' group and the Cult of the Redeemer/Dying God) are absolutely pointless, add nothing to the main series arc, and particularly in the case of the redeemer, seem to be extremely underdeveloped.

There are a few highlights, Karsa gets some page time which is always a bonus, and I genuinely loved the stuff with the little boy in the mining camp (can't remember his name). But unfortunately the interesting characters don't get enough story time.

However, don't give up hope, as I am glad to say I am halfway through Dust of Dreams so far and it is a definite return to form. Throughout my life I will read this series again and again, but I think each re-read will definitely miss out this pointless and boring book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Calm Before the Storm, 10 Aug 2011
By 
David Ford "Genre junkie" (Cheltenham) - See all my reviews
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This is a series that has always confounded traditional expectations, and even at this late stage continues to do so. With the main plot built to a crescendo both in terms of epic action and breathless tension... Erikson chooses to pause and take stock before delivering the conclusion.

This is a much more low-key, intimate book than recent installments, with the story more personal and effecting than is usual.

We rejoin a few scattered Bridgeburner survivors, as well as Crokus and his disparate group as they come full circle to the city of Darujhistan. Their travails may not be as mammoth as some in the series, but they are perhaps just as important.

Erikson continues to juggle dozens of characters with skill, and still manages not to disappoint with a finale that sees many of the most powerful figures in the series come together in a clash that ends in a very important death or two...

The writing is as good as ever, and I get the feeling that the small pause provided by this novel will be more than welcome as the grand finale of this already impressive series begins.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow-paced, but funny and thematically well-developed., 1 July 2008
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Another year, another book in Steven Erikson's enormous Malazan Book of the Fallen series. Toll the Hounds is the eighth (of ten) novel in the series, but given that the final two books are one immense story split in half for length, it is also the penultimate chapter of this series.

The continent of Genabackis, two years (or so) after the war between the Pannion Domin and an alliance between the Tiste Andii under Anomander Rake, the mercenary companies under Caladan Brood and a Malazan army under Whiskeyjack and Dujek Onearm. In that war half a dozen major cities and the floating fortress of Moon's Spawn were destroyed, and the final Pannion refuge in the city of Coral was devastated and occupied by the Tiste Andii. The city is now cloaked in endless night and known as Black Coral. The shattered remnants of the Bridgeburners - Mallet, Spindle, Picker, Bluepearl, Blend and Antsy - have settled in Darujhistan to run a bar whilst a shadowy group of mages awaits the long-prophecised coming of a Tyrant who will conquer it. From the west Cutter, once a Daru thief named Crokus, is returning home with a motley crew of adventurers from across the world, whilst in the south of the continent three separate groups of travellers have arrived on missions of their own. In night-shrouded Coral, Anomander Rake broods and his sword, Dragnipur, drinker of souls, becomes restless...

Toll the Hounds takes us back to where the series began in Gardens of the Moon nine years ago, Darujhistan of the blue fires, and it is with a tremendous sense of nostalgia that reader is reunited with many favourite characters from that novel and Memories of Ice, not to mention a few more familiar faces as well (some of whom get spectacular entrances). This time around the novel is not as packed with dizzying revelations and huge battles as the previous three volumes in the series, but rather than take this opportunity to shave off a few hundred pages from the book, Erikson instead takes advantage of this to paint the city of Darujhistan in much greater depth and detail than any other city in the series, moving between numerous 'lesser' POVs among the common folk of the city and events both huge and mundane in their lives. As a result Toll the Hounds is much slower-paced than any other book in the series. To a certain extent this may invite the reader to groan, but Erikson compensates for the lack of incident with deeper characterisation and motivation than ever before.

Toll the Hounds is also the Malazan series' most thematically-developed and tightest novel, with notions of family, responsibility and the role of desire all coming in for examination. Unfortunately, Erikson hasn't lost or scaled back on his tendency to have ordinary commoners spouting out philosophical arguments like Proust, but this late in the day the average reader of this series will be prepared for it. To make up for this Toll the Hounds is the funniest book in the series by some margin and, oddly given his much greater presence in the prose style (Kruppe is recounting the narrative to two other characters, and most chapters in the book open and close with Kruppe's short commentary on the events), the divisive character of Kruppe is kept to the background and only comes to the fore in a few short, memorable scenes.

As usual, events build to a huge finale and whilst the scale of those events is not in the line of the vast battles in Reaper's Gale or Memories of Ice, the significance of these events is much greater, and the stakes are definitely raised higher as the final two volumes of the series approach. Excellent humour and some major deaths and some huge revelations make Toll the Hounds essential reading for fans of the series, and if Erikson fails to overcome his standard faults, at least he doesn't exasperate them or introduce new ones with one notable exception: the timeline, which has been very problematic on occasion, is completely shot to hell in this book with several characters appearing who are much older than they should be.

Toll the Hounds (****) is available now in the UK from Bantam Books. Tor will publish the US edition in September. Ian Cameron Esslemont's second Malazan novel, Return of the Crimson Guard, which sets several characters up for the events in this book, is published in August in the UK (no US date set as yet). The ninth novel in the series, Dust of Dreams, should be published in approximately one year's time.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Alan Kirkham, 11 July 2009
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Alan Kirkham - See all my reviews
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I am a fan of Mr Eriksons Mazalan Book of the Fallen series and have spent many a sleepless night unable to put the previous books down. Having said that, I was somewhat disappointed on this latest installment. This one actually had me falling asleep while reading!

I think the problem is that the story line was too converluted, the writing too 'flowery' in places and, as a result, I lost track and lost interest for the first 2/3 of the book.

But I did persevere and in the last third, the multitude of storylines started coming together and my understanding and interest was re-invigorated.

To summarise, 'not bad but, tried too hard'
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5 of 6 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, 3 Mar 2009
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

Addendum Nov 15/08
For anyone who wished to continue to satisfy their "Malazan" addiction, or for that matter, want to read a Malazan story that's a little less confusing and has more action than the last book by Erikson, may I humbly suggest the newest novel by Ian C. Esslemont, 'Return of the Crimson Guard'. A book with a riveting story and some fantastic action; and written with a simplicity of language that I've started to miss with some of Erikson's latest books (especially 'Toll the Hounds')
IF your a 'Malazan' fan, you'll not be disappointed.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow and probably the weakest book in the sequence, 15 Feb 2009
By 
R. M. Lindley - See all my reviews
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Oh dear, Toll the Hounds feels like a wasted opportunity. Erikson has tried for something different here - the book is told in the voice of Kruppe, and whether you like the style depends on how you find the Eel of Darujhistan.

I can understand the need for Erikson to do something different after 7 lengthy volumes, but for me this did not work. Kruppe's mannerisms are tolerable in small doses, but stretched to this extent just begin to grate.

I also felt that some of the new themes introduced here (such as the Dying God and Seerdomin/the Redeemer) felt underdeveloped, and would have been better either left to fill a book of their own (with a slower build to the horror of kelyk) or edited out completely.

There is still some great comedy of course, and when the end sequence *finally* begins it is of course excellent, albeit...rushed.

So, certainly not up there with Memories of Ice or Deadhouse Gates and not even as good as Midnight Tides/the Bonehunters.

However, this still does not drag the whole sequence down from its coveted Best Fantasy Series of all Time, Ever post.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves, 7 Sep 2009
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`Toll the Hounds is part of `The Malazan Book of the Fallen' series. Click on my name and check out the Malazan Listmania for the recommended reading order of the books by Erikson and Esslemont.

In the middle of yet another re-read of the Malazan series, I have just finished 'Toll the Hounds' and simply have to write about it.

Yes, this is definitely a book of two halves for me. The first halve for want of a better word is boring. The pace feels slow, the action lame and the characters at the centre of things don't stir me the way those from previous books have done. That's the bad news.

Enter the second half of the book. From the very bottom of Malazan reading experience to the very top over the space of a handful of pages. A tour de force of writing excellence containing story line drama of hitherto unimagined proportion. The most intricate weaving of separate threads into one found anywhere in this series so far. It reeled me in, hand over fist and at the end of it, I came out feeling I had just left an emotional roller coaster ride. The constant change of scenery in the final chapters, commented upon by some as undesirable, is a plus in my opinion. It gave me a real sense of all the events happening almost simultaneously and instilled a dreadful certainty that a hiccup in any one would have a devastating knock-on effect on all others.

If you are following the Malazan series, don't be put off by the mixed reviews. My guess is that people got so caught up in the lame first half that they were unable to appreciate just how much is happening in the second one. Having read 'Dust of Dreams', the next one in the series, and after my re-read of the rest, I am beginning to see how 'Toll the Hounds' fits into the overall story arch and it is plain that the events described will be vital to the understanding of the final book. As is Erikson's style, this one, too, is peppered with throw away comments and observations that will come back to haunt the reader. Yes, the first half is slow but why mind a starter of stale breadcrumbs when the main course full fills every desire of your palate.

If you have not yet read any of the Malazan books, than whatever you do, start with book one 'Gardens of the Moon' and none other. This book really won't mean much to you without some pre-knowledge. The Malazan series is ideal for people that like a re-read or those with pretty good recall. The author does not coddle his readers. Yes, there are obvious big events and immediately recognisable 'light bulb moments', but the series has more of an undercurrent than the Bristol Channel and half the fun is to spot them before a later event points them out.

Four stars because the one for the first half is set off by the second half deserving a five star plus rating.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Compelling, 23 July 2008
Toll the Hounds, is not just dark and compelling, it also easily ranks in the top 3 of all the the tales of the Malazan Book of the Fallen so far, and not only because of its spectacular, if somewhat confounding finale.
There are some gripes about this being too slow paced, and yes if one were in it for the big battle scenes and non-stop action, well, I can see how this would not be to one's liking.
So then what makes it one of the best tales so far for me? First of all our reunion with some major and some lesser characters from Gardens of the Moon and Memories of Ice and the return to a Darujhistan as we have not seen it before. Erikson finally takes his time for some serious characterisation, developing plot lines that add to the texture of the cities of Daruhjistan and Black Coral, or in fact the entire setting, making its feel more real and richer than I have ever felt before. As reviewer Whitehead already mentioned, this is also a tale with core themes of love, redemption and sacrifice in the face of betrayals, depressions and just plain visciousness, not to say evil.
There are also great insights into the Tiste Andii, and especially Anomander Rake's background. But also we get closer looks at Kallor, Traveller and Caladan Brood, making them more real than ever before.
As with most of the other installments in this series it was really hard to put down but for the first time I was forced to do so because of the impact some moments had on me, forcing me to come to grips with and realize what just had happened.
All in all this is a more than worthy installment and I can barely wait for Dust of Dreams.
4 1/2 stars.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Since Memories, 10 July 2008
By 
David Barrett "Ret" (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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It surprises me to find such negative reviews for Toll the Hounds, easily the best book in the series since Memories (although The Bonehunters gets an honourable mention, as do Tehol and Bugg alone). For series fans we see the return of key characters and unfinished events from Gardens of the Moon alongside the returning power players on Genebackis from Memories of Ice etc. Although the pacing towards the middle can be a tad slow (although nothing compared to Reapers Gale) the book is interspersed with action scenes and towards the end reaches a crescendo of plot points that may be the most staggering to date. What it lacks in the militaristic scale of Deadhouse/Reapers it gains in character development and the closure of some long lingering questions of the series.

A mention is required of the style used whereby Kruppe almost narrates events from behind the scenes. Whilst not the best of Eriksons writing it serves a purpose of enhancing Kruppe's character, always and deliberately the greatest enigma of the series, and coupled with some bits of genuine straight talking from Kruppe (unimaginable!) this definately feels like his book. Humour comes back from Iskaral Pust, Kruppe, the introduction of some ex-Mott Irregulars known as the Boll brothers and Scorch and Leff, albeit it not on the laugh out loud scale of Tehol/Bugg. There are touching side stories from Harllo/Murillio and Barathol/Chaur and there's an almighty fight at the end converging some of the series most powerful protagonists. There's even a sinister story thread involving the Tiste Andii coming from Letherii (Clip, Nimander etc) which is probably the creepiest piece Erikson has ever written. The tone shifts back and forth effortlessly although it still remains clear that action and humour are the series strong points.

All in all I had a superb time reading Toll the Hounds and it felt like a nostalgic trip back the the events and locations of Gardens of the Moon that originally dragged everyone into the complex and rewarding world of Malazan. You may need to jog your memory on some characters, and certainly the storyline involving the Dying God requires a bit more effort to get through than the rest, but if you love the previous Genabackis stories and the mentioned characters there's no reason this book won't stand up to the exceedingly high standards already offered by Erikson.
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Toll the Hounds (The Malazan Book of the Fallen)
Toll the Hounds (The Malazan Book of the Fallen) by Steven Erikson (Mass Market Paperback - 26 May 2009)
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