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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Steven Erikson is the first fantasy writer that, after six installments, seems to be able to escape the pitfall into which numerous others (i.e. and foremost Robert Jordan) have fallen. This is probably due to the fact that he knows where his story is leading and that he does not write anything that substracts from the plot and from the prose needed to unfurl his so...
Published on 18 Jun 2006 by GanoesParan

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Scene-setting on an epic scale
The Bonehunters is the sixth novel in the truly epic Malazan Book of the Fallen series, but is the first one to have fallen foul of "middle-book syndrome".

The first four tomes in the series chronicled the Malazan Empire's struggles in Genabackis and the Seven Cities, which have been more-or-less resolved; and the emergence of the new Empire of the Tiste Edur...
Published 8 months ago by Rowena


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 18 Jun 2006
Steven Erikson is the first fantasy writer that, after six installments, seems to be able to escape the pitfall into which numerous others (i.e. and foremost Robert Jordan) have fallen. This is probably due to the fact that he knows where his story is leading and that he does not write anything that substracts from the plot and from the prose needed to unfurl his so intricately woven world, which by the way is one of the most epic and large-scaled fantasy worlds up-to-date, barring perhaps Tolkien's Middle-Earth.
The Bonehunters, now , is a perfect example of two of the best traits Erikson, as a writer, has in store for us. Namely dialogue and convergence. The dialogue is not only very natural it's also extremely witty and an excellent way to transfer meaning. Sarcasm, irony, wit, indeed every feeling ever conveyed, it's all in the dialogue. As for convergence, Erikson is a master of it; within each novel but what's more important, and what becomes especially clear in The Bonehunters, within the overall arc of the entire series. It's not for nothing that part 10 is called The Crippled God!
So is there nothing to remark upon? Well, yes there is, but that particular complaint might cease to exist when the entire series has come to an end and things that now seem to have the aura of a Deus Ex Machina might then be entirely self-explanatory (although the term 'self-explanatory' does not really befit the Malazan Book of the Fallen).
So from me nothing but praise for The Bonehunters and as we are returning to the continent of Lether in the next installment, I'll say "Roll on Reaper's Gale!"
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book 6, 25 April 2006
Of course, as is Erickson's wont, there are new characters (most of them introduced in the prologue, but not all).

This is a very catastrophic book. Just like at the end of Book 3. But this one follows that suit throughout. There are major battles that don't turn out so well, and trustful alliances gone awry. The latter, once you get to Seven Cities. Also, the use of propoganda shows its ugly side near the end.

Just about all the characters from Book 4 are back (Karsa, Kalam and QB, Fiddler, Heboric, Cutter, Pearl, etc...). Also, there are Ganoes Paran, Trull Sengar and his Imass friends, and of course, Icarium and Mappo (not just a two second appearance, like in Book 4). Also, this is the book that Shadowthrone is most active in. Something that you've been waiting for one of these characters to do since the beginning of the series finally happens.

As always, there are insights on human nature, and the tendency for war. But in this one, the bulk of these insights are towards the use of the concepts of gods, and what they drive people to do (with many similar tales to things like the crusades).

And finally, there's the one thing that fantasy novels should never go without. A socially conversable demon that also likes to eat people's brains.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic on a truly philosophical scale, 10 April 2006
By 
M. E. Parker (Newcastle, England) - See all my reviews
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What places Erikson at the forefront of the fantasy genre to date, in my opinion, is not just the sheer scale of what he achieves in the most complex plot and character writing I have ever seen, but in the style with which he does it. I am surprised it has yet to be brought to light, but the poetic and philosphical quality with which Erikson infuses his narrative, is simply astounding. Never before have I seen it done with such skill. Simply, there is nothing more tedious than some obscure narrative voice abstractedly droning on about the state of human nature or moral integrity - but what is beautiful with this entire series is the way Erikson employs each character as an entirely unique voice on many enlightening perspectives - many of which contradict themselves as various characters meet certain revelations. The point being is that in doing so Erikson achieves a profound insight into real thought patterns that are affected by the maelstrom of events taking place in the plot - which, as everyone else has asserted, is verging on the incomprehensible, in its quality of craft and scope.
I am intrigued to read some minor criticisms, which I would flatly refute. Yes, 'The Bonehunters' is a transitionary book - but it is also the most pivotal point in the entire series, and as such, the best written. Why? Without giving any plot away, how Erikson interweaves and conjoins disparate plot lines is indicative of immense skill. The Edur's entrance into the Malazan world is not random as the Midnight Tides ends, hinged onto the expansionist intent of the Emperor of Lether - it is one of the many plot lines that I could see coming a mile off. The book also clearly has a plot of its own which is blatantly pointed out in the title (among further sub-plots added to the foray).
In short, there are few respected fantasy authors that I have not read, and in comparison Erikson has achieved a new standard within the epic genre which I can't see being trumped.
Until, of course, the next one is published...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Tale of the Malazan, 1 Nov 2006
By 
R. S. Brar (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is part 6 of a planned ten novel story by Stephen Erikson. I was tempted to wait until the final instalment to read these books again, but could not wait so picked up a copy. The story begins with the obligatory ominous beginning where an evil being is unleashed onto the land to commit evil acts.

Once again there are many stories which interlink with each other and the overall storyline.

After the defeat of Shaik, the remnants of the rebel army are being chased across the seven cities by the imperial army. They are lead by the infamous Leoman of the flails who decides to make a last stand at the city of Y'Ghatan. A city which has ominous history for the pursuing Malazan army.

The Malazan army is led by the ever distant Adjunct Tavore. The army are unsure of her motivations and her abrupt manner and closed emotions do nothing to assist this. She is untested in real battle and the murmurs about her allegiance grow in the lead up to the siege. Tavore is an intriguing character in that she is so guarded with her emotion and motives, any flashes of feeling are extremely interesting.

The siege itself is described in detail as both sides take horrible losses. Savage clashes in the city as the Fourteenth try and take the city. Leoman's fanatical followers refuse to fall. Tavore watches on as Leoman's defence plan unfolds. Erikson description of battles, both with sword and sorcery, is easily as good as any other writer I have read. The siege is another fine example of this.

The army itself contains some old favourite characters such as Fiddler, Quick Ben and Kalam. The banter between some of the soldiers is extremely amusing, though never quite touching the comic heights of Midnight Tides.

Captain Ganoes Paran is feeling his was into the role "master of the deck", he was one of my favourite characters from the first book and it is good to see him take up a leading role here. His extremely human reactions whilst in the thick of supernatural events and facing different gods are superb. "Do not mess with mortals" is the warning.

Another side story follows the brutal Toblokai, Karsa Olong. His unrelenting violence and doubtless confidence are back in effect here. His interaction with the `children' as he terms the humans is almost comedic. There is a great scene where he encounters a lizard creature that is almost twice as big as him, his reaction is to charge in and wrestle with it.

Icarium continues his journey in this book, as more of his past is revealed, will he unleash his hidden rage upon the world? His long time keeper Mappo attempts to keep him under control.

The only down point of the story for me is the journey if Herboric and his band. This slowly draws to its conclusion, and I think that it could have been brought to an end earlier without letting down the storyline.

Another thing that Erikson excels at is building up the stories to huge earth-shattering conclusions in the book. This one is the return to the Malazan Empire for some of the characters. They slowly realise that their return will not be welcome as they once thought. The tension builds as the characters ponder on choices they will face, and they will not be easy. In fact I was outraged at the treatment of some of the characters (fans of Deadhouse gates will understand my point) at the end. After the tense build up Erikson does not disappoint with the finish. Action, twists, turns, betrayals and deaths all around.

As a firm fan of the series, it is hard to be objective, however I would comment on the following:

This is a real fantasy book and I do not think someone new to the genre would have the easiest time following the magic systems, large number of characters and races. Additionally, Erikson is not the easiest to read, though he has improved from his first book.

Overall this is a fantastic book, my only fear is whether he can keep up the standard and tie up all of the many loose ends by the tenth book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply superior in every respect..., 6 Mar 2006
By A Customer
This series is just outstanding - the sheer scope of the narrative and the skill involved in seamlessly co-ordinating so many disparate story lines is breathtaking.
This, to my mind, is the best of all the books in the series to date as we see both closure to some earlier plot lines and the introduction or expansion of many more. Tie this together with some tantalising insights into the deck of dragons and more than a few genuine surprises and this book will keep you up all weekend.
Without going into the plot I'll mention a few characters from previous novels that feature in this one :
Karsa, Icarium, Fiddler, Kalam, QBen, Apsalar, Cutter, Heboric, Leoman, Spite, Gesler, Stormy, Deragoth, Hedge & Tavore.
You really want to treat yourself to this - indeed, the whole series if you haven't started yet.
The best I've ever read (and I've read most all of them).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply awesome, 28 Mar 2006
By 
Steven Wollacott (Cirencester, England) - See all my reviews
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I have been an avid fan of Steven Erikson since I first read Gardens of the Moon many years ago. Since that time, the series has gone from strength to strength, containing two of my favourite novels of all time: Deadhouse Gates and Memories of Ice. Erikson was my favourite fantasy author, just ahead of George RR Martin. With Martin's most revent offering being a big disappointment, I prayed that Erikson's wouldn't be the same.
I wasn't disappointed. The Bonehunters is an awesome book in every way. It really gives you the sense that the series is heading towards a massive conclusion, drawing a lot of the disparate plot threads together. Although at times the plot slowed down, those phases were still filled with interesting information relating to the vast history of the Malazan world. One thing I love about Erikson is the way you have to piece the history together yourself, and The Bonehunters gives plenty enough new information to make me need a reread or two to understand it all.
There is also a lot of exhilarating action, too. The Siege of Y'Ghatan contains many great scenes and is really well written. The fight in Malaz City at the end, the scrapes that Paran and Cutter get into are all absorbing and exciting.
There are so many interesting characters in this book that sometimes it can seem overwhelming. Mappo, Icarium, Karsa Orlong, Tomad Sengar, Kalam, Quick Ben, Fiddler (my favourite), Shadowthrone, Cotillion, Apsalar, the Queen of Dreams ... the list goes on. But they all come together to deliver a dramatic conclusion to the book that will leave you dazed.
While the Bonehunters lacked the emotional impact of Deadhouse Gates and Memories of Ice, I still rank it in the top three of the series. I wanted to reread it as soon as I had finished. If you are a fan of this series, then the Bonehunters will not let you down.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It just gets better and better, 12 Mar 2006
This latest serving is superb. Many of the earlier threads now intersect with one another - in ways you’d never have predicted. I guarantee that you will go back and re-read all the previous books. It’s worth it.
This series beats them all. This is not just fantasy – the level of comedy will have you laughing out loud. No waiting 5 years for the next half written sequel here!
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid but flawed, 20 Mar 2006
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
The Malazan Book of the Fallen remains one of the most interesting and large-scale epic fantasies ever written, with multiple storylines and hundreds of characters sprawling across this ten-volume series. Unlike comparative series like The Wheel of Time, the Malazan Book of the Fallen has a series of storylines that link together rather than one continuous linear story.
The Bonehunters is the sixth book in the series and is the first to combine elements from the three major storylines of the series which have hitherto been separated. The Malazan 14th Army, having defeated Sha'ik's Army of the Apocalypse in Raraku, is now chasing the remnants of that army across the subcontinent of Seven Cities. The rebels' commander, Leoman, decides to make a stand at Y'Ghatan, an ill-omened place where the Malazans have faced devastating losses before. Meanwhile, the Malazan 2nd Army has arrived in Seven Cities from Genabackis to retake the last few cities holding out in rebellion, but it is threatened by the unleashing of a virulent plague. Captain Ganoes Paran soon arrives to help solve the problem in his new capacity as Master of the Deck of Dragons. Elsewhere, strange black ships have been sighed around the periphary of the Malazan Empire, unleashing powerful sorcery, and Heboric Ghost-Hands must undertake a journey back to Otataral Island and his destiny...
The Bonehunters is a huge, complex book with a meticulously structured plot. Many of the characters are compelling, with Erikson successfully bringing alive many characters who were just ciphers in the fourth volume, House of Chains (which in the series' convoluted timeline immediately precedes The Bonehunters), but again his habit of making too many characters similar to one another is jarring. The prevalance of characters answering questions 'with a shrug' is particularly annoying. Unlike many of the previous volumes, The Bonehunters is also a transition book. It doesn't have a self-contained plot itself, it merely picks up the pieces from Memories of Ice, House of Chains and Midnight Tides and mixes them together in preperation for the next two volumes, Reaper's Gale and Toll the Hounds. Also, the book is rather oddly divided in half. The unexpected arrival of characters from Midnight Tides in the second half of the novel happens with no set-up or foreshadowing and feels like a very artificial plot maneuvere, as do events later on in Malaz City which require major players to act seriously out-of-character in order to get the plot moving where the author wants it to go.
So this is a set-up book, but a set-up book with enormous (if unsatisfying compared to his previous efforts) battles, breath-taking showdowns and a concluding section in Malaz City which would make a great action movie.
Sadly, Erikson doesn't fulfil his ambition of toppling George R.R. Martin as the best epic fantasy writer around today with this volume, but he does satisfactorily begin tying the threads of this vast story together for the inevitably explosive conclusion.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What more can be asked?, 7 Mar 2006
By 
M. D. Williamson "MR.Person" (England) - See all my reviews
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hahahaha and they thought the Bible was Holy!. This and all of Erikson's books, are by far the best Fantasy novels i have ever read. The sheer scope and depth of these books are boundless, After just 50 pages of any of the books this Incredible Author has writen will have you totally immersed and wanting more. So basically BUY ALL of this mans books. You wont be disapointed, I assure you.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Retains the throne quite easily, 10 April 2006
By 
T. M. Smit - See all my reviews
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If you're interested in book 6 of this series, then you're obviously familiar with the Malazan Book of the Fallen and there's not much more I can say to praise the brilliance that is Erikson. This book follows several threads from books 3,4 and 5, never lets up on the action and cool little twists and revelations and this book easliy proves Erikson to be the best fantasy writer today. While George RR Martin struggles to keep one interested in his current series,Erikson leaves you craving for more. Sure, GRR Martin can write, but he seems to have lost some of his gutzpah,especially in the last novel. When I sit down to read 700 + pages, I expect to be entertained, not lulled into indifference about every single character in the book. Erikson remains king, and no one else comes close.
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