Toll the Hounds by Steven Erikson
So here we are for the eighth time and it just gets better and better. I found this book to be a bit less frenetic than The Bonehunters as it seems like Mr Erikson is getting things organised for the final push. But that is by no means a reason to believe the action slows down. I guess things just seem more in control since we don’t spend any real time with the Malazan army.
The main events center around Darujistan, and more specifically around Kruppe. There is a dialogue throughtout the story of observances and asides that all come from Kruppe’s thoughts, so while we still don’t see his true nature, we see he is much more than meets the eye since he is even commenting on events in other story lines he does not seem involved in, as well as telling stories around the fire with elder gods.
And as always the unexpected twist is right there grabbing your attention. I mean who would have ever expected Karsa Orlong to find a friend and ally worthy of his respect? We all knew who Traveller was but when Anamander Rake finally called him by name it still felt shocking. And what’s this stuff about Kallor having a heart and just being a victim of circumstance? You can’t make me feel sorry for the guy who killed millions in his power struggles with the gods. Besides, he killed Whiskeyjack, and it will take more than 6 books in between for me to forget that.
Which brings me into what keeps me coming back to this series, its strength and boldness. It seems like everything I knew about magic and heroes has been redefined. It’s like the whole fantasy genre has been given a shake and put back down a bit to the left. And as has been shown again and again since that fateful day when Whiskeyjack left us, beloved and seemingly irreplaceable characters die here. But I never dreamed the list of characters we lose this time and can’t wait to see where it takes us.
This Toll the Hounds book review was written by George Roesch
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Toll the Hounds reader reviews
Dave from Michigan
Best book I've ever read, well, there's nothing to add, and beside of George rr M and the bible its a literary wonder. Steven Erikson is THE BEST fantasy author of the 20th and 21st century. And those, who don't give this book more than eight points are blind.
Dave Kuhn from USA
Interesting the bimodal distribution of reviews for this series. I found it to be the most compelling fantasy I've read in many years. I've finished the series and am going through it again... and I'm doing it for reasons that some complained about - there's a LOT going on. There are a lot of characters, the plot's are vast... and it's often a challenge to stay oriented (especially if you're reading the novels over some period of time). Having said that... there are VERY few authors who can keep a story coherent over so many books. Some authors (Like the excellent Jim Butcher) create series that are connected individual stories... and some (Jordan) try to create an expansive story spanning the series... and inevitably fail to some extent (Jordan could have skipped 4 or 5 mid-story novels and not lost anything). Erikson IMO had a mix of the two approaches and looking back from the final novel I felt he was hugely successful at telling the story of the Bridgeburners, neat and clean it is not... but the story arc is there and it's compelling.
Robin from Nepal
First of all thanks to Steven Erikson for these books. What a gripping tale. Perhaps only A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE comes close to this epic series. I have to say it is a very difficult book to come in terms with. The patience required by the readers to continue reading is appalling. The philosophies projected, the change of heart of immortals... why ideas in every paragraph can be debated... contested. Fantastic book sir! A toast to you!
Gary from USA
I have never before found myself cursing an author like I do Erikson. Stupid, irrelevant verses at the beginning of chapters, meandering plots crowded with an endless parade of characters and stuffed till bulging with filler. And finally, when something interesting begins to unfold, count on Erikson to drop it like hot coals and then wander into another subplot that takes pages of sheer pap before it even begins to make sense. I will never, NEVER again buy three books ahead just to save postage!
T.L. from USA
Yeah I'd have to agree with Shandalar from France. There have been many times in the previous books where I would get frustrated with bogged down details that had no relevance to the story or curse at the slow pace in which the plot would move along. Even more frustrating was when the plot suddenly collapsed and a string of revelation and deus ex machina's would come to fill in the gaps. But the other books were still enjoyable. In Toll the Hounds it felt like this flaw was extrapolated and all the characters seem to be philosophically rambling on and on over the same mundane problems but only worded differently. Endest Silann is one character that I hated, even Rake and Spinner pissed me off. I would speed read whever I saw their names and skip to the next chapter.
Tom from Columbus, Ohio
This is the last book of the series that I have read and I will not be reading any more. The Kruppe parts were the best part of the book for me and the Karsa parts were the worst. I know these books are very popular with a lot of people but they just never got me to care about the characters.
Shandalar from France
For the first time in this series I really got bored. A lot of pathos and exaggeration. The characters turn into caricatures. And even though the volume becomes predictable (for instance, you understand from page 10 that one of the main character will sacrifice himself in the end), it does not seem that you have moved a single step toward the end of the series. It really felt like a huge filler. I was greatly disappointed.
6.3/10 from 8 reviews
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