Read Toll the Hounds by Steven Erikson Online


In Darujhistan, the city of blue fire, it is said that love and death shall arrive dancing. It is summer and the heat is oppressive, but for the small round man in the faded red waistcoat, discomfiture is not just because of the sun. All is not well. Dire portents plague his nights and haunt the city streets like fiends of shadow. Assassins skulk in alleyways, but the quarIn Darujhistan, the city of blue fire, it is said that love and death shall arrive dancing. It is summer and the heat is oppressive, but for the small round man in the faded red waistcoat, discomfiture is not just because of the sun. All is not well. Dire portents plague his nights and haunt the city streets like fiends of shadow. Assassins skulk in alleyways, but the quarry has turned and the hunters become the hunted. Hidden hands pluck the strings of tyranny like a fell chorus. While the bards sing their tragic tales, somewhere in the distance can be heard the baying of Hounds...And in the distant city of Black Coral, where rules Anomander Rake, Son of Darkness, ancient crimes awaken, intent on revenge. It seems Love and Death are indeed about to arrive...hand in hand, dancing. A thrilling, harrowing novel of war, intrigue and dark, uncontrollable magic, "Toll the Hounds" is the new chapter in Erikson's monumental series - epic fantasy at its most imaginative and storytelling at its most exciting....

Title : Toll the Hounds
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780765310088
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 832 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Toll the Hounds Reviews

  • TS Chan
    2019-01-12 12:15

    Upgraded, refreshed and spoiler-free review.In a series replete with epic endings, this eighth chapter of the Malazan Book of the Fallen contains, to date, the most epic one of all. It is with much joy that I can finally, upon rereading, upgrade this book as one of my favourites. Before I start my review proper, I’d like to point out that reading Return of the Crimson Guards from the Malazan Empire series prior to Toll the Hounds is relevant to the timeline, both from an event and character standpoint. The plot in Toll the Hounds digressed from the central arc of the Crippled God and was no less captivating because of it. While the past few books gave readers an in-depth view of the Tiste Edur of Shadow, this one brought focus to the Tiste Andii of Darkness, of whom we were only given small morsels of information so far. A mysterious race, given to excessive introspection and deep melancholy, the Andii is led by an utterly enigmatic and supremely great leader, the Son of Darkness. There is still so much fascinating history to be discovered about the Tiste Andii that Erikson’s current series, The Kharkanas Trilogy, is being written to address this. Anomander Rake, Lord of the Tiste Andii, Son of Darkness, is in my view, one of the greatest fantasy characters that I’ve ever encountered. Even more amazingly, is how Erikson elevated him to such lofty ideals without ever having his own point-of-view, as if the very enigma from doing so made him ever more compelling and charismatic. What we did get were the viewpoints of other characters, be it his people or other races or even gods and ascendants, and their highest regards for him.The chaos in you, yes, a fire on the promontory, a beacon piercing the profound entropy we saw all around us. And yet, so few of you proved worthy of our allegiance. So few, Lord, and fewer with each generation, until now here you stand, virtually alone. The one who was worth it. The only one.There is much skill in creating beautiful yet subtle symmetry in storytelling. A skill that Erikson has in spades as evident from his narrative. Toll the Hounds can be called as the penultimate volume in the Book of the Fallen as the next two books, Dust of Dreams and The Crippled God, form a two-part finale. This vast, sweeping and intricate tale begun in Darujhistan in Gardens of the Moon and had now come full circle with a convergence of mind-boggling proportions. The word 'epic' will not even begin to describe the confluence of almost all the major, or biggest, or most badass characters, descending upon the unwitting citizens of the City of Blue Fire. I cannot sufficiently praise the brilliant writing commanded by Erikson to tell the tale of this fateful city, in the form of the most engaging and unique voice of that little round man in a red waistcoat, Kruppe. The storytelling literally serenades the reader with a combination of poetic, elegant, graceful and, at times, alliterative turn of phrases. Arrivals. Glory and portent, delightful reunion and terrible imminence, winged this and winged that and escapes and releases and pending clashes and nefarious demands for recompense over a single mouthful of spat wine, such a night! Such a night! ----------------------------------And this was a night like any other, a skein of expectations and anticipations, revelations and perturbations. Look around. Look around! On all sides, day and night, light and dark! Every step taken with the firm resolve to believe in the solid ground awaiting it. Every step, one after another, again and again, and no perilous ledge yawns ahead, oh no. Step and step, now, step and step. The ratings for Toll the Hounds are probably the most divergent of this series, as the pace was very slow for a significant part of the book with a greater level of dense philosophical commentary and seemingly overindulgent introspection. In fact, my initial read suffered because of this aspect. However, being in the right state of mind as I tackled my reread and having gained a newfound appreciation for deep ruminations, I experienced a significant improvement in my level of enjoyment while reading this tome. From themes of mortality and morality; servitude, sacrifice and salvation; redemption and restitution – it was so pervasive and pondering in the narrative that I do acknowledge that pacing suffers but I was so thoroughly immersed in it this time that it no longer was an issue. While the climaxes of the preceding books tend to commence around the last ten percent or with two main chapters remaining, we are treated to a doubly extended climactic ending in this volume. The reason for this was mainly due to there being more subplots and arcs; all masterfully intertwined towards the aforementioned convergence that was most poignantly expressed in the voice of Kruppe. And the ending set the stage for the two-part finale to come.The Book of the Fallen is so named for its heart-wrenching and tragic tales. These span from the small and personal ones to the immense and epic. Was all this grief and suffering for nought? For in the words of one of the greatest of all, 'There is no struggle too vast, no odds too overwhelming, for even should we fail - should we fall - we will know that we have lived.'This review can also be found at Booknest

  • Jody
    2019-01-03 06:34

    It has been over a week since I finished Toll the Hounds, so I have had plenty of time to think about how I wanted to review this. Personally, I thought this was the weakest book in the series. Now, before you go all berserk on me I have my reasons, and let me emphasis that while I say it is the weakest book in the series it is also a great book by any other standards. But putting it up against all the other Malazan books it just fell a little short for me. Let me explain!There were a lot of sections in the book were not much happened. With books this size I understand there isn’t going to be action from beginning to end, and I am used to the (non-combatant interludes) in these books, but it just got to me in this one. I actually felt a lack of interest at certain times, and I believe this contributed to me taking so long to finish it. I just had no desire to pick it up as much as I did the other books. Maybe it’s just Malazan overload from the past few months, but I don’t think so. Also, I had a hard time figuring out exactly what was going on in some areas of the story. Erikson has a way of befuddling the mind sometimes, and I found that happening a lot to me in this book. I think back to some scenes and still have no clue what he was trying to achieve. Now, knowing how Erikson writes, this may all come to pass with the next two books and I will probably be sticking my foot in my mouth by the end of the series, but until then….OK! Now that I have gotten my complaints out of the way let us move on to the positive side of the review and other thoughts. I was so glad to be back in the city of Darujhistan and with characters that got me to fall in love with this series way back in GotM. There is Murillio, Anomander Rake, and of course the linguistic genius who is always a step ahead of everyone else, Kruppe.‘Whatever happened to common decency? To decent commonry? What’s decent is rarely common – that is true enough, while the obverse is perverse in all prickly irony, would you not agree? Kruppe would, being such an agreeable sort.’While there were other characters I would like to mention, I can’t due to spoilers for those of you who haven’t made it this far yet. Erikson has a way of tying in events or little phrases that relate back to previous books that I really enjoy. A joke between characters, a dark omen that finally came to pass, or some reference back to an event that you just hope to catch. This makes these books enjoyable to read, but can also seem impossible to notice with the amount of information in each book. Here is one I happened to stumble upon. See if you can see the relation back to GotM.‘Love found and love lost. A certain desperation that still spins like a coin – which way will it fall? Question as yet unanswered, a future as yet undecided.’As with all Malazan books you’re going to have your share of heartache, and a great convergence at least once in every book. These two things are sometimes intertwined and other times not. While I enjoyed the convergence in this one it was definitely overshadowed by the heartache I felt. It is not uncommon to have these emotions battle with each other in this series, but in this book it was no contest.‘The soul knows no great anguish than to take a breath that begins with love and ends with grief.’I know I said earlier this is the weakest book in the series, and I will stand by that. There are always going to be weaker books in any series. Having said that, I did enjoy this way more than it frustrated me. I was definitely caught off guard by the problems I had with it, and I think that is why I feel the need to explain my complaints as much as I have. Toll the Hounds is a vital addition to this series, and one I am sure I will look back on as an intricate piece of this vast Malazan puzzle when I am done. Sadly, it did not make my 5 star cut, but of course I encourage all of you to read it and decide for yourselves.4 stars ****

  • Ivan
    2018-12-24 12:16

    At this point it's impossible to talk about the plot and characters without spoilers so I won't even try.When I started this many people have said that it's slowest and worst of the Malazan books for 2/3 and they where right but I can't say I was bored. Erikson knows how make interesting character and and luckily I have good memory since there are lot of characters we haven't seen since books 1 and 3 and I was thrilled that some small events caused ripples that can be seen here.Now that last third was something. We all know Erikson is absolute master when it comes to writing epic finale but this is where he outdone himself. Convergence of powers in this book is of proportions yet unseen in Malazan world involving gods, ascendants, elder races and mortals and not all of the characters involved get out of it alive and some don't even live to see it. Putting Malazan series on hold until further because I need some time to recover.

  • Conor
    2019-01-12 13:22

    3.5 Stars. The painfully slow pace for much of this installment made it the weakest Malazan book in some time, although the typically awesome ending went some way to redeeming it. The return to the city of Darujhistan was cool and I was glad to see some familiar faces (the retired Malazans and the regulars of the Phoenix Inn were both awesome) but these plot-lines were especially slow for much of the book, which was a shame. Although the scene where the Malazan's were attacked in their bar by a small army of assassins was one of the most intense, shocking and ultimately emotionally charged ((view spoiler)[ tears for Mallet(hide spoiler)] ) in the book and possibly the entire series. I also liked how the Murillio/Harllo/Cutter plotline wove together, with a pair of duels being the highlights (view spoiler)[ and Murillio's death was almost on par with Mallet's in hitting me right in the feels(hide spoiler)] . I found Nimander and friends' quest to be one of the more interesting plotline for most of the book although I only started to care about any of the characters a good bit into it. That plotline had a cool resolution that tied it nicely into the overall scheme of things. For some reason I was annoyed by all the comic relief sections in this book: Leff and Scorch, Iskaral Pust (who I normally like) and the entire Trygalle Trade Guild all massively annoyed me, especially the latter who's sections wasted 2 really cool characters in Gruntle and Mappo and seemed to drag on forever. I normally enjoy Erikson's comedic diversions (see Tehol and Bugg) so I don't know why these ones annoyed me so much, maybe it was because the pace of the book as a whole was slow enough without additional diversions. While the Karsa sections were also pretty uneventful (and the whole "why Karsa wants to destroy civilisation" thing was beaten to death) I still found those sections to be enjoyable. Because Witness. Also Karsa's interactions with Samar Dev were really well written to show subtle development in both characters and his bro-mance with fellow badass Traveller was awesome. I found the new characters of Seerdomin and Spinnock Durav to be interesting, although Endest Silann was a regular Buzz Killington. Despite that I found the Black Coral sections to be pretty interesting, owing in large part to the ominous presence of Anomander Rake and the tension built up by his mysterious plans (view spoiler)[ His death at the end of the book was a shocking and brilliantly executed twist that had a really important role in the story(hide spoiler)].Overall this was one of the weaker installments in the Malazan franchis but one that still had plenty of stuff going for it. Hopefully the series picks up again with the next book and Erikson is able to deliver his accustomed awesomeness down the stretch.

  • Evgeny
    2019-01-05 09:06

    Back in Darujhistan things are back to normal with a lot of parties competing for power, money, influence, or just trying to stay alive. The rules of the game are simple: all means of achieving a goal are fine. A number of people came back to the city and they have no idea what to do in there, which leaves a lot of time for them to ponder on philosophical questions. Meanwhile, in Coral (Black Coral now) Anomander Rake does ... well... something - I still have no clue what he did there.I rate this book 2.5 stars rounding down to 2. This was really painful to read. First and foremost, there were a lot of POVs in the book. The author keeps switching between POVs literally on each page which affected my reading pattern the following way: go to the next page, scan it quickly to figure out which POV I read at the moment - it was NOT obvious - go back to the beginning of page and read it carefully to the end. Repeat until finished. Everybody is a philosopher in Malazan universe, which means for every POV switch we have almost full page of deep (or not so deep) thoughts and a couple of lines of action by the end of the page. I finished the book, and still the motivation of the majority of characters is still a mystery to me. I mean, a lot of inner thoughts, some action - and not a word about what motivated this particular character to act the way he acted. I had to read three fourths of the book to finally get some vague ideas of what was about to happen, which by that time begin to bother me. This is 'Show, do not tell' idea taken to the extreme. By the time I finished the book I realized the people in the whole series have no clue what preventive measures are. They all know beforehand that the bad things are coming to them, and nobody lifts his finger to do anything in advance, no kind of preparations until shit really hits the fan. As soon as it happens, people finally start acting - in the very last moment, doing great sacrifices; most of these sacrifices could be easily prevented if somebody bothered to do something (fairly obvious and logical things, too) before the crisis started.Another problem: the whole book is a tale of Kruppe (who, by the way is really boring in this book except for exactly one scene). In each chapter the beginning and the end is told in typical Kruppe manner of speech, but the middle is told in normal way as if the author keeps forgetting is was supposed to be Kruppe who tells the tale. All in all, one of the weakest book in the series. The only emotion I had after I finished it was relief like one after a great physical effort (which it was - sort of).

  • Jenna Kathleen
    2019-01-13 13:23

    I'll be honest, the first part 60~70% of this book felt pretty dragged out to me. The stories were all over the place with seemingly no way to come together, and I think knowing a lot of the characters at the beginning (for once) made most of the book pretty easy to follow compared to previous books. It was great to finally feel comfortable starting a Malazan book and not being thrown into mass confusion, and it was even better to see characters I love, but the chaos and confusion of starting a Malazan book is something that has really grown on me and made the series very unique.That being said, this was still a fantastic book and the last 25~30% of the novel was one of the best endings of the series. I think the more story lines seem distant and separate from one another, the more amazed I am at how it all comes together at last. I really cannot express how great that ending was. Throughout the first long 70%, I was just hanging on to my experience that Erikson always delivers, and oh man, he knocked it out of the park with this ending.My favourite story lines were Karsa and Traveller, Cutter (still angry about this name) and of course, the one and only Anomander Rake. I especially loved Rake's POV because throughout the series he is always a major player, but one that tends to lurk in the background as we hear about things he does from other characters.

  • Kaitlin
    2019-01-19 08:09

    Giving this a 4.5*s overall, the ending was brilliant!! Full review will go up soon as it's 2am here and I stayed up to finish this!__________________This storyline is rather a dramatic one when it comes to the overall world of Malazan. For the majority of this (monster) book I was enjoying the different threads and characters (we saw some of my favourites reunite and take leading roles) but it was a slow mover at first. I would say that the first two thirds are thoroughly too slow for my liking. Whilst they didn't bore me at all, which Reaper's Gale and Deadhouse both suffered from, I still found that this leviathan was a (lot) too long overall for what actually happens (this is the major reason that this isn't a 5* book).We follow all sorts of characters and threads in this book but one of my favourite aspects was that Kruppe (the loveable, rotund and rather crazy man that he is) is narrating the whole book as we go and we get various sections from is pov which talk in detail about some of the elements we might have lost from the story were it not for Kruppe's telling.There's a section, for example, where a lot of deaths happen but they don't relate much to the plot and they are not any of the major characters and so it could have been left out entirely, but in order to get the true horrors of the event across Kruppe's narration of these 'normal' people from all walks of life dying tragically was terribly moving.Moving on to some of the other characters and plots I liked, we meet Harllo in this book, he's only 5 years old and yet he's one of the sweetest characters we have yet to encounter in the Malazan books and my heart broke for him as I read of everything that he had to go through in this book (it's not exactly nice!) The story follows him and all the wrongs that are done to him but he's also (unknowingly) one of the major turning points for some of our long-term major characters and his adventure causes them to act too, bringing mayhem.I also cannot help but to smile when reading about Iskarul Pust and Kruppe because they're both so funny and bizarre and you could never predict what will happen with them or what they will do/say next. They are some of the best, nutty characters I have encountered in a storyline, and I have to say I cannot fault the way that Erikson writes them as they fascinate and beguile me :)I also think that Kadaspala (another truly mad character, delusional and yet brilliant) is worth a mention for the part that he plays within the story because he's chained within the sword of Dragnipur, and as one of the first to be so he's gone utterly loopy. He's also filled with vengeance and raw hatred, and has a talent for tattooing... His dialogue was wonderful to read.Then we have the storyline of Cutter and later Challice. I have to say that the progression of Cutter form when we first met him way back in the first few books is phenomenal, but not necessarily in a good way. He seems so vastly different from the character of innocence that we knew back then and in this story he definitely shows his grit.Challice, meanwhile, annoyed me throughout this book with her simpering and whining as she really didn't stand up for herself and she let others do her dirty work for her. I didn't like her story much, although I see why it's included, but I thought she did bring some interesting moments.Karsa, Anomander and Traveller are all characters who fall under the 'extremely-epic' bracket for a multitude of reasons, not least their prowess and fire. All three of them are solidly blunt, extreme and energetic character who have a lot to face, a lot to bear or a lot to learn. I particularly liked seeing these character meeting within this storyline as that added a lot of dramatic tension.Barathol and Chaur's storyline may seems a little less important than many of the other more 'epic' ones but for me it was actually a really touching one and seeing their plight and the way that they were being treated throughout this really did catch on my heartstrings at multiple moments!Also we see a fair bit of the Hounds of both Light and Shadow in this book and my goodness they're all monstrous! Throughout this book we see a rise of two Gods, the first one is Hood who has been an eternal force, plucking all the strings and engineering the EPIC ending of this storyline. I have to say that Hood is a character it's easy to overlook because he does seem to have his own agenda and yet he's also very good at hiding it and so when BIG revelations and moments happen with him it's pretty impressive.We also see a rise in the followers of The Crippled God who has been an ever-growing problem for many of the characters within this world and seeing his power increasing is certainly unnerving.So overall, I liked a lot of this book, but it was certainly far too long for what it was and what happened, we could definitely have removed around 300+ pages and I think the effect would still have been there. However, I managed to push through the slower sections of course and I did ultimately ADORE the ending which was truly shocking, amazing and filled with so many surprises that I am still trying to wrap my head around it. For the ending and the interest that this brought me, it has to be a 4.5* rating overall. And, I look forward to reading the final two Erikson books after I have read the next two Esslemont ones :)

  • Amanda
    2018-12-20 12:20

    Wow, so that was the eighth book. I almost can't believe I have read so much of this series. Then again its taken over my life for over a year now and I still have two books to go on the main series and then there are all the other books and at least one complete reread to go...Okay, so general consensus on Toll the Hounds is that it is very slow and bogged down in the political. I didn't really get that. Then again, it took me three months to read due to lack of time so I guess I was forced to savor it. It is a gem of a book! What I did find a bit strange is that the book here and there is all of a sudden narrated by a certain character. It had the feeling of a first attempt at a different style which was both confusing, refreshing and a tad sophomoric.Then there was the stuff that happened. Strangely enough the deaths don't always get me (death in an Erikson book is never run of the mill) but there were some quite powerful scenes.Kruppe is getting annoying though. Now I am pained as to what to do next. Dust of Dreams and The Crippled God are like one book, taking a break in between those two would be madness. So do I force a break now or continue on (which will mean 9 months consecutively reading pretty much only Malazan)? #bookproblemsEDIT: I of course immediately continued with Dust of Dreams. Not sorry I did!

  • Stefan Bach
    2018-12-29 07:17

    Who's going to wait 8 more months for this to come out... Book cover and interior art are done by none other than Marc Simonetti.An amazing artist whose work you probably remember by this:(G. R.R. Martin's Iron Throne)Subterranean, you're not fast enough... but everything is forgiven if you do justice to that one scene. Just that one. Please.

  • Emma
    2019-01-14 07:11

    This is the only book in the series that feels long, too long maybe. Of course all of the disparate strands are necessary to bring us to the seriously epic convergence in the last quarter. And yet, I leave it without being overwhelmed with emotion, no weeping buckets or stress palpitations. Without getting too spoilery (put a tag on just in case), (view spoiler)[I think this is all down to the ending being chosen. He set himself on this path and saw it through to the end. We may mourn, but he is reunited. It engenders a smile more than tears. (hide spoiler)]

  • David Sven
    2018-12-25 09:09

    I can't say I enjoyed this book as much as the previous book in the series. There seemed to be an excessive amount of introspection and self indulgent musings(yes, more than usual) touching on the usual Steven Erikson favourites ie politics and religion.Still, when the characters were done playing with themselves (some literally so) we get the customary, second to none, explosive action scenes that keeps me coming back for more.The story takes us back to Darujhistan, which is a pleasure to revisit, especially as we get to meet back up with some of our retired veteran Bridgeburners. But even in retirement it appears trouble has a way of finding them out - and look out when it does.We also get to see a lot of Kruppe who is never short of words and good for a laugh. Iskarel Pust winds up here as well with his worshipping bhokarel in tow - and if those two ever meet up imagine all the words that are going to be spraying then.Anyway, its festival time in the city of emerald lights and everyone is in party mood. Meanwhile, Death is on the march to our unsuspecting city and Traveller is on his way to have a word or two with Hood, and with him is Karsa Orlong and we know how well Karsa and civilization get along, and former high King Kallor seeing the opportunity presented has no intention of staying away to cash in on the conflagration. And Shadowthrone generously donates The Hounds of Shadow to the party and we all know the Hounds and civilization mix about as good or worse than Karsa.Will the good (and bad) people of Darujhistan survive this latest convergence? Is anybody looking out for them? Well there's Baruk, and there's Kruppe, a handful of Malazan's.Fortunately or unfortunately depending on where you are standing there is more at stake than the survival of a city. You see, Chaos is winning the race to catch the Gate of Darkness bound up in Dragnipur - and if that happens then all the universes and warrens turns to crap (apparently), and that is something the Son of Darkness, Anomander Rake, just wont abide.So its a showdown at the hoe down and there will be lots of blood, brains, guts, severed limbs, slit throats, throw in a few explosive devices and oh . .don't forget to watch out for the undead dragon.And when everything's turning to custard don't forget to smile as you load your crossbow and sing "Who let the dogs out woof woof woof woof woof."Reread ReviewNot much to add except that I appreciated this book a lot more the second time round. Even the "excessive introspection" I hated initially made more sense this time and even added to the enjoyment. Rerating this to...5 stars

  • Shobhit Sharad
    2019-01-02 10:06

    I'll start by saying that this book was an absolute treasure-box for wonderful quotes, about anything and everything that torments the structure of our society and which troubles each individual's mind. After having read a series like Wheel of Time (and loving it), I have no problem with stretched out books, where there may be less action, and more of people living their regular-fantasy-lives, provided it is well written and I connect with the characters. Both of these conditions were amply fulfilled in this book. I loved these characters in Book 1, and it was so good to see them again. And the writing has improved many-folds, as compared to what we started with (only if there was less of the musings).I am not going to comment about the story itself because if you are at this point into the series, you wouldn't want to risk knowing anything beforehand. Besides, many people have already done that. I'll just be a fanboy and say there is some serious god-vs-god action at the end. And a lot of characters, whom I didn't find likable, developed a whole lot (Scillara is an example), and I changed my opinion about quite a few of them.I finally feel comfortable with the world. It is, yet, impossible to get everything that's happening because it is a vast world, and there are spinoff series, but I no longer sit puzzled at what just happened.It'll be a while before I go to the next book but I know I'm going to devour it. And finally, “There is no struggle too vast, no odds too overwhelming, for even should we fail - should we fall - we will know that we have lived."-Anomander Rake, Son of Darkness

  • Tammy
    2019-01-11 12:31

    One of the most important aspects to a good reading experience is Trust in the author. I trust Erikson to deliver, it’s been 8 books now and he hasn’t let me down once. This installment had a different style but once I got used to it, I had no problems.Toll the Hounds has a host of awesome characters; gods, ascendants, humans, dragons, Hounds…needless to say the convergence in this one was a beast!Some of my favorites? Iskaral (so funny!), Karsa, Rallick, Nimander, Bellam Nom, Torvald, Murillio, Traveller, Kallor, Spinnock, Endest, Cutter, Barathol. Kruppe. The Lord of Death, Hood. So many others!But one man stole the show: Anomandaris Dragnipurake, Son of Darkness. What else can I say about this series that I haven’t said before? But for this book I say this: It was a tale well told.

  • Rob
    2019-01-04 07:33

    Executive Summary: To me this book lives or dies by its characters, if you liked the people from Darujhistan in Gardens of the Moon you'll likely enjoy this as much as I did. If not, you may find this one slow.Full ReviewThis book provides an interesting contrast with Reaper's Gale for me. A lot more happens in Reaper's Gale, yet I enjoyed this one a lot more.So why is that? The characters. The worst thing a storyteller can do is have characters you don't care about. I don't mean dislike. Robin Hobb writes great characters that I love to hate.Normally Mr. Erikson does as well. For many of the characters in Reaper's Gale, I just didn't care. It made me bored.Maybe it's because it's book 8 and Mr. Erikson decided he couldn't afford to keep dumping 20 new characters on us, but the beginning of this one didn't piss me off like many of the others.With this book we return to some old favorites, some of which we haven't seen for a very long time. We're also introduced to a very small number of new ones that quickly fell into that "love to hate" category for me. You know a writer is doing a good job when you start hoping he'll kill someone off.The chapters alternated between Darujhistan and people outside it. The Darujhistan were far more enjoyable for me, but those other chapters became moreso as the book went on.I feel like I've come home again to the Phoenix Inn and caught up with old friends. Plus, the stage is set for an epic meeting of Kruppe and Iskaral Pust! Something I've been waiting for a very long time, and man does it not disappoint!Of course not everything is a happy reunion. Forces are converging and the hounds are gathering. I'm always impressed at how Mr. Erikson can blend a story of gritty realism with the fantastical and occasional levity to keep your sanity in check.I can see people finding this book slow if they don't enjoy the characters. But as usual, Mr. Erikson writes a great ending that even though who do will suddenly find the book impossible to put down.We're in the home stretch now, and just 1 book that was so long that it was split into two left to go!

  • Gordon
    2019-01-01 08:14

    Blech. I think that's a word, at least it's onomatopeiac. Anyway, that's how I feel about Toll the Hounds.I waited a couple of days to write this review, just so I wouldn't be too negative, but I think it's only reduced my invective.Anyway, after slogging through the 600 or so contract-filling pages I made a concerted effort in the last week to polish this guy off. And succeeded. But it's the weakest Erikson yet. It has hundreds of pages of filler and attempts to add colour (the humour of Kruppe and the Magus of Shadow is, umm, pathetic?) and attempts to be literary (I don't care what the effing ox thinks, ok!).Characters do things randomly, some characters are omniscient (and perhaps omnipotent) but then choose not to do things until the last 50 pages (could have done it 550 blessed pages sooner), some characters die with feeling, some randomly, some scenes are so set that they lose all context (I could spoiler to death here the world's most meaningless duel when a simple suicide would have done, and the fight itself was glossed over after technically being the most complex to occur).Basically bad. Not awful, but bad. I would 2 star it with my normal ranking but 2 star in goodreads is "ok" which I think is too generous, so 1 star it is.I was reluctant to start Toll after #7 Reaper's Gale but I persisted. But before I do #9 I'll definitely be reading reviews and getting advice. I don't even mind it might be bad if I get to see the overall story progress, it's just that the Erikson books are such a damn time commitment I'm unwilling to do it in this case.The end?

  • Twerking To Beethoven
    2019-01-13 13:28

    I am in absolute awe of the complexity found in the Malazan "Book of the Fallen", both in characters and in plot. Few sagas in this genre come close to the level of engagement and depth in the characters moving throughout the series. It's hard to write a review of a single book since it should be viewed as a whole (and that's something you peeps already know). But "Toll the Hounds" is perhaps one of the most emotionally gripping books thus far. Since it is book 8 in a series of 10, and my cravings for more gets ever stronger, I'm beginning to fret over the fact that it's closing to an end. Amazing.

  • Zayne
    2018-12-31 07:27

    Another amazing installment in the Malazan series!In Toll the Hounds, we're brought back to Darujhistan where this whole series started, reacquainting us with some old favorites from Gardens of the Moon as well as bringing a huge cast together from the entire series. Powers are converging onto Darujhistan: Gods, demons, powerful warriors, and crazy priests. But what is it they seek from this City of Blue Fire?I feel like the strongest part of this novel was the cast. The cast was everything in this book. Although it was dull at times, I looked forward to reading about some of my favorites like the retired Bridgeburners, Karsa Orlong, Gruntle, and the Noms.This book started out strong and ended even stronger. I came into this book hearing how awfully slow it is, and after the first 400 pages, I still didn't feel it slow any. I was thinking I could plow through this book...until I hit about midway. It started slowing down considerably. I had to pick it up little bits at a time, and force myself to read sometimes. I think it might have been the Tiste Andii parts that got to me. They were so melancholy and dull, which I found disappointing because I was looking forward to knowing more about these mysterious people for the entire series. But with 300 pages left in the book, it picked up yet again. And I mean it picked up! I could barely put the book down. With so many forces converging onto Darujhistan, it was just crazy encounter after encounter, fight after fight. It was one crazy roller coaster ride, and I enjoyed it the whole way through. The last parts of this book definitely redeemed this installment. I can't wait to read the next one!

  • Mike
    2019-01-15 12:12

    Wow...Just... wow.That ending just blew my mind.I mean, Erikson has already spilled a ton of ink across a nearly countless number of characters and plot lines. His plots are intricate, inter-related and have a very deep history. Some characters will pop up in one book and then won't be seen for several more (or, more likely, die; not that that would preclude them from impacting the story). They may only make a brief appearance or end up getting caught up in another character's plot. However, they all have a unique voice and motivation that drives them. Their actions make sense within their own character context and nothing feels forced. So when something like a dozen different plot lines converged in the last 15% of this book in such a natural and profound way I was floored. Heck, even the sections from a dumb ox's POV (yes, you read that correctly, there were sections from a run of the mill ox's point of view) came together wonderfully with the other narrative threads by the end. What Erikson ended up doing with the convergence reconstructed my mind, reseeded it with explosives, and blew it again. The sheer audacity Erikson showed was truly breathtaking. Considering there are still two books I am super excited about what is yet to come.Sadly the other 85% wasn't quite up to the same level as the last 15%. It seemed a bit meandering at times with Erikson mostly repositioning some characters to set up the amazing last bit and foreshadowing events. Don't get me wrong, it was still good, but it was clearly building up to some spectacular and more served that purpose than standing on its own.There really wasn't an over arching theme in this book as some of the previous installments have had. Karsa continues to rail against the decadence of civilization, a topic that I severely disagree with. It's easy to rail against civilization if you are... well... Karsa. A god defying, near magic immune tank of creature. But for most of us there is strength in a specialized society that can produce things like doctors and farmers and glasses makers (for us near sighted folks). There are obviously some risks with civilization, but nothing good is easy. Don't like corrupt politicians or an unjust economic system? Change them, don't burn down the house to kill some cockroaches.This book did bring me the meeting of two of my favorite eccentric/wacky-but-scary-powerful characters: Kruppe and Iskaral Pust. And it was just as magical as I imagined it would be. No single quote from their encounter and... "epic" battle can do it justice. Sufficed to say it was a brilliant culmination of both characters' eccentricities and seeing them play off against each other by itself was worth buying this book. It was glorious. Glorious!With that being said, I found this installment a little light on quotes until the end that really caught my attention (hence the lack of progress updates). Below are some of the ones I enjoyed:Don't tell this to a historian: "Crone, the inconsistencies in this text are infuriating.""So what? Show me a written history that makes sense, and I will show you true fiction."A new forest metaphor for everyday use: Nowhere and anywhere are a state of mind. See this forest around us? Isit a barrier or ten thousand paths leading into mystery and wonder? Whichever you decide, the forest itself remains unchanged. It does not transform to suit your decision."Good old Iskaral Pust brought his A game this book: "Oh, he mustn't linger. No no no. too much rage, too much grief. The giant oaf cannot linger, or worse, malinger. Malingering would be terrible, and probably against the law anyway."Well that is depressing to reflect on: A single regret could crush a thousand proud deeds, and Barathol Makhar had more regrets than most mortals could stomach.A little to true in our own world: "Necessity, now there's a word to feed every outrage on decency."Something all cat owners should keep in mind: Hah! Brilliant cat! Why, if he met it again he'd kiss it - but nowhere near where it licked itself because there were limits, after all, and anywhere a can could lick itself was nowhere he'd kiss."Kallor and Hobbes would certainly have a interesting difference of opinion: This willingness of otherwise intelligent (well, reasonably intelligent) people to parcel up and then bargain away appalling percentages of their limited lives, all in service of someone else. And the rewards? Ah, some security, perhaps. The cement that is stability. A sound roof, something on the plate, the beloved offspring each one destined to repeat the whole travail. And was that an even exchange?It's the Ciiiiiiiiiiiiircle of Liiiiiiiiiiiife: Creation demands destruction. Survival demands something else fails to survive. No existence is truly benign.Probably happens to him all the time...: "Why is it that Master Quell seemed indifferent to unleashing an undead dragon into this world?""Well, hardly indifferent. He said oops! At least, I think that's what I heard."What would they do, indeed: He glared at the white Hounds. It's just a sword. what will you even do with it? Chew the handle? Piss on the blade?I love the mules in this series: Iskaral Pust rode like a madman. Unfortunately, the mule beneath him had decided that a plodding walk would suffice, making the two of them a most incongruous pair.Good wisdom even for a world without dragons and ascendants: Hate was a lie that in feeding fills the hater with the bliss of satiation, even as his spirit starves... Life was a negotiation between the expected and the unexpected. One made do."Why politicians give speeches, not hold conversations: The lie of wisdom is best hidden in monologue. Dialogue exposes it. Most people purporting to wisdom dare not engage in dialogue, lest they reveal the paucity of their assumptions."As I have said before, this series is, in my mind, the epitome of epic fantasy. It does so much so well and does so with an almost effortless manner I am constantly in awe. The many, many, MANY narrative flows merge and flow together in wonderful and unexpected ways. The world feels real, with consequences (some terrible and permanent) and high stakes. I am deeply emotionally attached to so many of characters and care about what happens to the rest. It will be both sad and glorious when I get to the end of this series.

  • Carmine
    2019-01-16 09:10

    Guardare al domani "Non esiste lotta troppo dura, né differenze troppo schiaccianti, poiché anche se falliremo, se dovessimo cadere, sapremo di avere comunque vissuto."Intensa riflessione sulle nostre contraddizioni, sulla perpetua tendenza a quell'autonomia etica e morale che, nei fatti, disattendiamo ciclicamente con l'alzare lo sguardo al cielo e sperare che qualcuno ci guidi senza giudicarci, il commiato da Genabackis è una silenziosa e soffusa presa di coscienza sul dolore e la dignità di viverlo in ogni forma.Come possiamo anelare a comode redenzioni di facciata, impersonate dalla magnifica figura del Redentore, se poi non riusciamo a districarci dall'eterna maledizione del perpetrare a ripetizione errori dalla scarsa lungimiranza, qui incarnata da Kallor, rappresentante ultimo di un'umanità autodistruttiva senza più nulla da perdere?E perché, al contempo, dovremmo cedere di fronte alle nostre debolezze e alla nostra incapacità di accettare il cambiamento, quando magari è proprio il cambiamento stesso a costruire le fondamenta per un futuro migliore?

  • John
    2019-01-18 06:29

    A recent column by Orson Scott Card enumerated four qualities that he felt defined true greatness in novels. Briefly, they are 1) clear writing 2) memorable, powerful characters 3) "pivotal moral and philosophical issues of universal concern," and 4) "such a thorough experience of the culture in which it is set that readers experience and comprehend it as reality, regardless of how far removed from it in space and time they might be." I bring this up because I think thatSteven Erikson, in his Malazan Book of the Fallen series, is working toward the kind of greatness to which Card's criteria point. Whether or not he's always successful is another matter, but he has it in his sights. Toll the Hounds is volume eight in what is projected to be a 10-volume work of epic fantasy. Each novel is, itself, epic in scope: this volume, in a quality paperback edition, clocks in at 829 pages, and though not all entries in the series are quite this long, several are and one or two are longer. That cast here is, as usual, huge. Some of the characters and locales from previous books return here, others do not. At times, the cast seems too big. Some readers will complain about the rapidity with which Erikson shifts point-of-view, but I don't have a problem with that per se. Certainly, I haven't felt it as much of a problem before now. If there's a subtle commentary implicit in the works of writers like Erikson and George R. R. Martin with their large casts, it's that stories on an epic scale that have only one main character are unrealistic. For anything as big as the world-shaking events that high fantasy shoots for, the decisions and motivations of one character just aren't sufficient. One person may be crucial to success or failure, but chances are that another and another (and another and another) also were. As much as we like to tell history as the shaping of great individuals, it's simply not true. The history of World War II is not simply Churchill, Roosevelt, Hitler, and Stalin, much less any one of them. They're necessary but not sufficient. This kind of fantasy acknowledges this complexity. Toll the Hounds, for instance, culminates in essentially two places with convergences of a large cast of characters in one and a smaller cast in the other. The pages leading up to that point are essentially the stories of how each of those characters arrived at the decisive moments (as well as some side-tracks along the way). In order to get all of these characters' stories in, such shifting of p.o.v. is necessary. At times in this volume, though, I felt like it got to be too much only because it often felt like we weren't getting to know all the characters well enough to care about them as much as the story seemed to indicate we should. I felt the same problem in some earlier volumes, and it's perhaps unavoidable to a certain extent when following armies around--it's hard to keep all the characters straight, much less to care about them. In Toll the Hounds, however, we aren't following armies, and so it seems like Erikson should be able to invest more in these characters, but we flit around so much that it's hard to do. Another author might have made 4 or 5 novels out of the various storylines here, and taken the time to show us these characters more deeply. On the other hand, Erikson might have cut some of the storylines to offer a sharper focus on the ones that remain. However, as these characters converge by the end, it's easy to see why Erikson included so many--and how could he have added more characterization to an already-long novel without overburdening it?Nonetheless, I think Erikson is aiming at greatness and coming relatively close. Certainly, his work engages with philosophical issues: at times it seems to do so a bit heavy-handedly, until you step back and realize the depth and variety of the exploration that occurring. Certainly, the cultures here are rendered with a depth that makes them feel more real than reality: at times alien and strange, at times eerily similar to what we see or have seen in our own world, they're always deeply thought-out and rendered accordingly. Certainly, there are characters who command places in our memories, even if some we feel we should like to have known better.Of course, as the eighth book in the series, I can't really recommend this novel to readers who haven't read the first seven in the series: even having read them, I felt that I suffered for not having read them more recently than I have, but they're so long that I'm holding off on a complete re-read of the series until the whole is finished.

  • Lee
    2019-01-20 09:23

    Story: 5/51: Being Vague, rambling plot with no little believable storyline5: Ripping yarn, clever, thought provokingToll the hounds is the eight book in the Malazan series. I haven’t read many series this long before, those that I have, had felt like pulp fiction by this stage, where we are just going through the motions of a story with lots of little side plots to keep the author in business. NOT Malazan; Book of the Fallen, this still feels like I am reading the original story and it has taken Erikson this long to get it all down. The story is gripping, without doubt one of my fav’s of the series, there seems to be less side stories in this and more building the convergence of characters. At one stage I had to stop reading as I felt that I was reading faster and faster ( i already speed read) because my excitement was getting to a level where I need to know what was about to happen. (I have to say that is very rare for me). The story brings a lot of favorite characters together in a story that is well paced at the start, then turns into a huge climatic (anti?) finish. What I love about SE is your interpretation of the story will be different to mine. Some will be unhappy with the way it ends; because they expected more. Some will love it because it surprises them again (that’s me, I love the non-hollywood story), but one thing you can always guarantee with SE, is you never knwo what is going to happen on the next page. Characters: 5/51: Unrealistic/unbelievable. Feel nothing for these characters5: Fully engaged with the characters, believable. Researched.This is easily five stars for me. Some of my favourite characters all converging together, dream world. I am a big Iskareal Pust fan, so having him with a major role in this book made my day. Some of the other characters really begin to shine/change/die and you get a real sense of Eriksons brilliance at character development. Kallor is a major surprise with some humanity chowing, he cries in this book, and not in frustration, wtf?! We are introduces new characters that are brilliantly written and have cruical roles in the outcome of the sotry, causing me to blithely announce on groups that I know what this character will do at the end of book, to which I then look foolish as said character dies next page. LOVE it Erikson, I love the way I have an average of predicting 1 in 10 what is going to happen. Read Weight: HeavyFluffy, Light, Solid, Heavy, StruggleHeavy, every Malazan book is heavy, I am sorry, but if you aren’t prepared to invest in the Malazan world and characters, you’ll probably hate the series. It requires concentration and immersion. Engagement: 5/51: Not fussed about finishing5: Could stay up all nightHave to say, I don’t think that I have ever given a Malazan book a 5 in this catagory before. Usually they are just to big and demanding to read for long periods. But the story in this one, had me wishing for train delays.Recommend: 4/51: Would advise you to read something else5: Go read it now. It is THAT goodIf you have read the previous seven you are already committed and you won’t need me to tell you to read this. If you haven’t read the first seven, then reading this will give you no entertainment. There is so much history of the characters/world you need to know to read this, do yourself a favour, go buy Gardens of the Moon. It will change the way you read.

  • ScottHitchcock
    2018-12-25 08:19

    Originally published in 2008 I think SE had had enough of George Bush and went a bit overboard on the social-economic and political agenda the first 75% of the book. I love that SE puts so much compassion and addresses current issues in his books but there’s a difference between weaving it into the story and standing on the pulpit and preaching. It was still a good book through that 75% but lacked action and as stated some of the side stories were just to preach. Then the last 25% and in particular the last three chapters and chapter 23 in particular were WOW. Considering how epic some of the other convergences in his books have been it’s hard to top them and yet not hyperbole to say this was the best ending of them all. So many epic players smashing into each other at the end. I even figured out two of the big story lines in advance and yet the way they went down was still shocking and so epic. Just another amazing masterpiece when all is said and done.

  • Chris Berko
    2018-12-26 11:09

    One of my favorite Malazan books. I loved the philosophical ramblings and appreciated the slow burn build-up. A lot of reviews complain about the wordiness of this one but maybe because I think a lot of it makes sense and I agree with most of his view points that I don't mind the extra time spent exploring ideas and beliefs. This one to me, more than the others, brought together characters and threads in such a a way to finally see and appreciate the time and planning that must have gone into this amazing sequence of novels. I've read a ton of books by an eclectic bunch of authors but I have never experienced anything close to this before. Not only the awesomeness of the story but the characters and the emotions and I swear as soon as a pick any one of these books up I forget I'm reading from a page, I "see" Erikson's writing more so than anyone I've ever read. I also read this one quicker than any other Malazan book for whatever that is worth, literally could not put it...Great entertainment that's worth the investment and I'm already sad there are only two books left in this particular series.

  • Dara
    2019-01-08 08:05

    It's getting harder and harder to review these Malazan books. Toll the Hounds is the 8th book in the series so spoilers are kind of inevitable but I'm going to try hard not to post any.Toll the Hounds takes us back to Genabackis, the location of Gardens of the Moon and Memories of Ice. We are reunited with characters from those two books such as the retired Bridgeburners, Kruppe, the Noms, Murillio, Chalice, and Anomander Rake. There are also some old favorites: Karsa Orlong, Samar Dev, and Cutter to name a few.There are a lot disparate threads in this installment and I was often left wondering how they'd all come together. The philosophical and religious introspection in the middle sections distracted from the rest of the story. I was often wondering if the various storylines actually had a conclusion or if Steven Erikson used them to muse on who deserves redemption and what it really means to be free.This book has a very slow start. I stopped reading it for a few weeks because I couldn't seem to care about what was happening (or lack thereof), in particular Nimander's journey with Clip, anything to do with the GotM characters, and the Trygalle Trade Guild. It all had a great payoff though.This was a 3 star book for me until the last section. The convergence happens and a lot of big events take place. There's quite a few deaths, characters fall in love, and people find redemption. The last quarter of the book is 5 star by itself. I'm constantly amazed at Erikson's skills - he wove all of the plotlines together so effortlessly. There was tragedy and comedy ("I shall call him Tufty.") and neither felt out of place. I think this will be much better on a re-read because right now, I'm anxious to see how it all ends. I'll enjoy it more when I know how it ends. As for now...3.75 stars out of 5.

  • Terence
    2019-01-09 11:24

    Addendum (upon second read): After near 800 pages of unrelenting despair and gloom, bombarded by a litany from any number of characters about the uselessness of life, Toll the Hounds ends on a decidedly hopeful note - yes, Anomander Rake is dead but the Tiste Andii have their god back; yes, Darujhistan has been devestated once again and many lie dead. But (if on a less cosmic but no less important note) Harllo is back with his mother, Barathol has Scillara, Picker has Blend, Chaur is safe in the Finnest House until a High Denul healer can be found, and Iskaral Pust is finding justification for two wives. And, returning to the cosmic scale of things, the Redeemer is safe, his High Priestess returned (maybe to find some solace with Spinnock Durav) and the Crippled God has been denied both the Redeemer and the power of Darkness.I sense an upcoming Ragnarok in Books 9 and 10 but if you remember the Norse myth, the end was just the beginning of a new cycle of creation.I read the first seven entries in Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen before discovering GoodReads. So, when adding them to my shelves, I neglected to explain my 5- and 4-star ratings. A "failing" that I intend to redress in this, my review of the eighth volume: Toll The Hounds.In the early years of the new century, I had avoided Gardens of the Moon. I'm not sure why. Perhaps I was wary of starting another "monster" fantasy series. I was frustrated/disgusted/bored by the interminable "holding pattern" that Jordan's Wheel of Time had fallen into; and, while I enjoyed Martin's Song of Fire & Ice well enough, it hadn't captured my imagination. Moreover, neither series had any characters I cared about (excepting Martin's Arya). I was rereading old favorites, which is not a bad thing by any means, but I was "hungry" for a new voice.And my prayers were answered (doubly so, as I also discovered Bakkers' The Darkness That Comes Before - from drought to flood)!In 2005, the Science Fiction Book Club had a grab-bag special or a two-for-one offer and I acquired a relatively cheap copy of Gardens for my perusal. I was immediately hooked. Here was a fully realized world with interesting characters (my immediate favorites were Whiskeyjack and Tattersail), fast paced and a well thought out physics of magic and cosmology. Erikson also had a pretty good ear for names (not great, though - some clunked like a wagon with square wheels). I was hooked, and subsequent volumes rarely disappointed. I only wish that I had discovered the series after volume 10 so I could read them all together.Toll The Hounds takes us back to Darujhistan for much of the narrative.I sympathize and understand critics who bemoan the size of these volumes (my edition clocks in at 829, about average). We appear to have returned to Dickens' day when authors were paid by the word and wrote their overwrought works to milk it for all it was worth. Erikson (and his cousins, Jordan, Martin, Rothfuss, etc.) make Tolkien's stuff read like a Fredric Brown short story. He could easily chop out 100-200+ pages in each volume without losing much in the way of plot or character development. (It's amazing, upon rereading Lord of the Rings, just how much information Tolkien could cram into each chapter, though one hardly notices.) A number of subplots could have incarnated as novellas or a collection of short stories as he did with the characters of Bauchelain, Korbal Broach & Emancipor Reese.But I forgive Erikson, at least, because I so enjoy visiting his wondrous creation. He and his colleague Ian Esslemont have created a truly distinct, fresh world. Erikson's Achilles' heel is that he's in danger of losing control of the narrative and not giving enough time to the truly immense cast of characters he's created, skimping on the more interesting and important storylines and not developing them enough to keep the reader interested. Two examples that immediately come to mind as I write are Crokus/Cutter, whose relationship with Apsalar/Sleepy is ever only sketchily laid out, and that of Trull Sengar and Seren Pedac. If you're not reading closely enough, that whole affair can pass you by. (Trull Sengar is another favorite character of mine and I was sorry to see him die (it seems all my favorites die - both Whiskeyjack and Tattersail are killed). Happily, though, death is not an insurmountable barrier in Erikson's world since Tattersail is reincarnated as Silverfox and Whiskeyjack makes an appearance in Toll as the leader of Hood's army of the dead. Perhaps, Trull will return as well.)All that aside, Toll settles a lot of plotlines from previous entries and it's clear that the series is finally coming to a climax as the Crippled God marshalls his forces to destroy his fellow Ascendants and end his pain (one way or another). It's definitely a must-read for anyone who's followed the fortunes of the Empire et al.I would also recommend the Wikipedia entries on the series as I found them to be invaluable in keeping track of characters and what had gone before without having to reread the actual books.

  • Duffy Pratt
    2019-01-16 10:14

    6/30/2012 - First off, I doubt anyone will be reading this review to decide whether they will continue with the series. If you are, then make up your own mind, but read on at your peril: There may be SPOILERS.Perhaps the most annoying characters in this series so far have been Kruppe, the pastry eating fence who is pleasantly pleased with his own turn of phrase and thus tends to repeat himself repeatedly. And Iksarial Pust, the high magus of Shadow, who thinks he is pretending to be insane, but actually happens to be insane (I think). If you told me that half of a book would be narrated by Kruppe, and that the climactic moment of the book would be an anti-climactic standoff between Pust and Kruppe, I'd be tempted not to read. But Erikson pulls all of this off, and more, and he does it beautifully in what I think is probably the tightest construction of any of the books in the series so far.There are so many threads in this novel that its breathtaking how easily Erikson manages to interweave them, and ultimately to bring them all together in a way that is both satisfying and understandable. Not only that, but here he has both cosmic and intensely personal stories standing side by side, and he doesn't give short shrift to either. The personal is at least as important as the cosmic. And this book has a conglomeration of fairly happy endings despite the carnage that comes with the Tolling of the Hounds. Harllo returns how and is accepted by Stonny. Cutter finds a kind of separate peace and sails off with Spite. Picker returns to Blend. The Tistii Andii see the return of their god. And so on...The amazing thing is that, with the exception of Karsa and Gruntle, this book really did not have too many of my favorite characters in it. The Bridgeburners at Krul's Bar were all minor players for me before this book. Cutter has been a little annoying. Torvald Nom was minor as well. (And how did Erikson resist putting Karsa and Torvald in the same town and not have them ever in the same scene?) Toc is here, but he is very minor as is Whiskeyjack. I always thought that Rake was a promising character, but so distant that it was hard to feel much of anything for him. This is the one point where I'm not sure Erikson pulled off what he was aiming for. The immensity of Rake's foreplanning, and also of his sacrifice, are mindblowing. But they aren't at all touching. Frankly, I find more to like in the undead Jaghut tyrant's desire for an undead kitty to keep him company.) But Erikson managed to raise some of these characters (or new ones) to favorites; Harllo is great, as were Spinnock and Seerdomin. Traveller/Daseem took on a whole new level. Even annoying Kruppe and Pust ended up favorably as characters in my estimation (well, at least Kruppe).I don't often comment on my rating, but I have to note that this is the first 5 star ranking I've given for a book I've read since joining Goodreads. As much as I liked some of the earlier entries, I think this is easily the best book in the series so far (and that's saying quite a bit). At this point, I think my only real reservation about the series is the enormous complexity and the WTF moments that that complexity sometimes yields. It's the only series I've ever read that I looked forward to re-reading while in the middle of it. But I also have some fear that if I actually started to understand some of the details better, I would also be able to start poking some holes into it. That's probably just me fearing that Erikson could not really have planned this all out so well, and the WTF moments simply have to be a kind of magician's misdirection. But who knows, maybe I'm wrong and maybe there actually is a kind of magic in this writing.ON REREAD -In earlier books, Erikson had done tragedy and elegy, and done them both amazingly well. Here, he takes on a harder thing. More than anything, this is a book about redemption. Almost every story line has the possibility of redemption as a key aspect. And we get lots of different flavors of redemption (or the failure of redemption) in the various endings: from the tragic fall of Challice, to Kallor's stubborn insistence to neither change nor learn, to the touching union of Barathol and Scillara, to Seerdomin's amazing self-sacrifice to a god he does not even worship, to Rake's cosmic reunion with Mother Dark. The only thing I would like to amend from the earlier review is that this time around I was more personally moved by Rake. I'm not sure exactly why, but perhaps its because I had a better understanding of what was going on with Dragnipur in the first place.Having re-read the first eight books, I still think this one is the best of the series, and that's saying a lot.

  • The Crimson Fucker
    2019-01-17 11:18

    Toll the Hounds! fuck! i haven't write a review in ages... still! i need to give this shit a try! god damn this shit its good! as some of y'all know and by some i mean 2... i've been re-reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen series! not only because its awesome... but also cuz i'm broke and i aint got no money for new shit! so suck it!!! here is my review:I know I joke a lot about world domination! the big ol' fantasy of me taking over and imposing my will over everything that lives in this sad ball of fucked up that we call our home planet... but deep down i have huge issues with tyranny! i think it be retarded! still! its fun to imagine my sexy self as Supreme Dominator! dressed all sexy, with a red cape and awesome leather clothes like Neo! giving some retarded orders from my Fuzzy Throne (its big and pink and fuzzy! just like my inner me!) screaming crazy shit like "i'll finish what y'all started!!! i'll end y'all holy wars!!!!!" guaaaaa! but again... those thoughts are there just for my own amusement! nothing serious! Then you start reading about the real Tyrants in Erickson's world! and you get sad and shit! i hate feeling sad! and i hate feeling shit! maybe Tyranny ain't as fun as i imagine... maybe all it does is spread misery all over the place... enter Kallor!!! that High King! cursed to rise and fall... damn it! i'm already feeling it! the "alfonso, nobody cares about what you think is "deep shit" from those nerdy fantasy books you read! shut up! shut up! shut up! nobody cares!!!!" but this time... this time a nerd will have it his way!!!! i will talk about Kallor! and you gonna like it!!!! fuck you! where was i? oh yeah! Kallor! he this dude who was into dominating people! cuz let's face it! its fun! tell me you dont wanna wear funky capes and sit in fuzzy thrones and i will think you crazy! so... back to Kallor! (i really wish i could stay focused on one subject!!! it will make so much sense!) [meh! i lost interest! maybe i'll come back and finish this review later! now i need to go and cook dinner!!!! y'all suck!!!

  • Paul
    2019-01-07 07:11

    Long Spoiler Video Review(14m): eighth Malazan book brings readers back to Darujhistan, a setting we haven't been since Gardens of the Moon. We see how our retired Bridgeburners are doing while running a local tavern built upon the temple of K'rul. The ship with Cutter, Spite, Pust, Barathol, Scillara, and Mappo arrive in the Darujhistan harbor. On the way to the city, we have Karsa, Samar, and Traveller joining together along with the Hounds of Shadow. Also, Kallor is heading towards Darujhistan as well. One of the largest conversions in the series of powerful characters heading to the same city creates a great sense of tension and an amazing payoff near the end of the book.Also, we have a group of Tiste Andii traveling towards Black Coral to meet up with the other Tiste Andii living there, including Andomander Rake. The group, led by Clip, have many different reasons for visiting the Tiste Andii lord. Nimander is an unwilling leader for this group of Tiste Andii and he is fighting his destiny. We get a lot of backstory in this story with the Tiste Andii but their side story takes second place to the convergence happening in Darujhistan. Bad things happen to our Bridgeburners and some of the plans that many of the gods have been cooking up come to a head in this book. What I find interesting was how characters that didn't know each other end up becoming good friends because they are like individuals, all survivors. Power attracts power in this 8th Malazan book.My largest complaint about this book is that some of the characters feel like archetypes of philosophical worldviews. This is one of the issues I have with Malazan. The large powerful gods are more about ideas than an actual character. Yes, having these characters representing worldviews creates amazing writing and passages, but this book takes it a little too far. As much as I love this series, the books can be a slog, and they are always better after I finish them than during the actual reading. The more philosophy in the books, the more it slows down. Still, the reveals and consequences at the end of this book are so epic that I can't help but love the book. 4/5 19/25 Possible ScorePlot - 4(Strong)Characters - 4(Strong)World Building/Setting - 4(Strong)Writing Style - 3(Good)Heart & Mind Aspect - 4(Strong)

  • Lars J. Nilsson
    2019-01-13 07:16

    This is I'm afraid the low point of the Malazan series. And had this been book 2 or 3 it is possible I wouldn't have continued reading the sequels, and would have been very disapointed. Here's my problems:1) Occasionally narrated by Kruppe, a character. This is the first time in the series any character gets to narrate, and to introduce it in book 8 feels strange. Also, Kruppe isn't fit to tell a story straight, I found myself so exasperated by the style that I frequently skipped entire section.2) Length. I mean, really, where's the editor? I understand fantasy epics are supposed to long, and that the audience expect it to be long, but this is ridiculous. I can without thinking pick out 4 entire story threads that have *nothing* what so ever to do with the main story and could have been cut immediately.3) The disjointed start. Call me slow but it took me about 300 pages before I had any idea what the book was about. Also, it switches view point furiously in the beginning, which made me loose my interest, again finding myself skipping entire sections.4) Repeated dialogs and forced humor. Does every Malazan marine have exactly the same reparté? And also, the humor in the earlier books was a side effect, here it appears as if Erikson was trying to force it.Other than this, the book still shows why the Malazan sequel is the best fantasy being produced out there.The ending is awesome.So yes, I will continue reading, but I really, really hope that this book was the exception of the series.

  • Kalin
    2019-01-18 07:16

    Впечатленията ми в хронологичен ред:~ Дотук се редуват мрак, смях, тих ужас и доста размисли за вярата (и верността – брачната ;). Ето един, който ме нацели във верния момент:П.П. Частите, в които разказвач е Крупе, са върховни. Даже взех да подозирам автора, че е намерил своя mouthpiece – или поне любимия си глас. ;)~ Като казах за брачната вярност... Тия дни – покрай разни родни вести за корупция в особено безочливи размери – си мислех за правосъдната ни система. Доколко справедлива е тежестта на наказанията, когато става дума за убийство на един човек и когато става дума за „незаконно присвояване“, демек крабжа на стотици милиони, която вгорчава живота на стотици хиляди, на хиляди го съсипва, а на няколко десетки – непряко – го отнема. (Защото например изведнъж се оказва, че здравните им осигуровки не са стигнали до нужната им болница – някой ги е „присвоил“ по пътя – и сега трябва сами да доплащат, или направо плащат, за лечението си, а те не могат – не им стигат пари, понеже някой е „присвоявал“ от данъците, които иначе биха повишили цялостния стандарт в държавата, а оттам и заплатите... Пример.)И ето какво ми отговаря моят любимец Крупе:‘Kruppe asks this: witness two scenes. In one, an angry, bitter man beats another man to death in an alley in the Gadrobi District. In the other, a man of vast wealth conspires with equally wealthy compatriots to raise yet again the price of grain, making the cost of simple bread so prohibitive that families starve, are led into lives of crime, and die young. Are both acts of violence?’The High Alchemist stood looking down at Kruppe. ‘In only one of those examples will you find blood on a man’s hands.’‘True, deplorable as such stains are.’ (...)‘There are,’ said Baruk, ‘countless constructs whereby the wealthy man might claim innocence. Mitigating circumstances, unexpected costs of production, the law of supply and demand, and so on.’‘Indeed, a plethora of justifications, making the waters so very murky, and who then sees the blood?’‘And yet, destitution results, with all its misery, its stresses and anxieties, its foul vapours of the soul. It can be said that the wealthy grain merchant wages subtle war.’ (...)‘And so the poor remain poor and, mayhap, even poorer. The employed but scarcely getting by cling all the harder to their jobs, even unto accepting despicable working conditions – which in turn permits the employers to fill their purses unto bulging, thus satisfying whatever hidden pathetic inadequacies they harbour. A balance can be said to exist, one never iterated, whereby the eternal war is held in check, so as to avoid anarchy. Should the grain merchant charge too high, then revolution may well explode into life.’‘Whereupon everyone loses.’‘For a time. Until the new generation of the wealthy emerge, to begin once again their predations on the poor. Balance is framed by imbalances and so it seems such things might persist for all eternity. Alas, in any long view, one sees that this is not so. The structure of society is far more fragile than most believe. To set too much faith in its resilience is to know a moment of pristine astonishment at the instant of its utter collapse – before the wolves close in.’(view spoiler)[В превод на Валерий Русинов:— Круппе пита ето това: виждаш две сцени. В едната гневен съсипан мъж пребива друг до смърт в задна уличка в квартал Джадроуби. В другата мъж с огромно богатство крои със също толкова богати съзаклятници да вдигнат отново цената на зърното, като направят простия хляб тъй недостъпен, че цели семейства да гладуват, да стигнат до престъпен живот и да умрат млади. И двете ли са акт на насилие?Висшият алхимик изгледа Круппе мълчаливо, после каза:— Само в единия от тези примери ще се намери кръв на ръцете на мъжа.— Вярно, тъй осъдителните петна кръв. (...)— Съществуват безброй схеми, на чието основание богатият би могъл да претендира за невинност. Смекчаващи обстоятелства, неочаквани разходи в производството, законът за търсене и предлагане, и прочие.— Наистина, множество оправдания, с които водата се размътва — и кой тогава вижда кръвта?— И все пак стига се до нищета, с цялото й присъщо отчаяние, стрес и тревога, с всичките й мръсни наслоения в душата. Може да се каже, че богатият търговец на зърно води коварна война. (...) — И тъй, бедният си остава беден, може би дори още по-беден. Работещият едва се справя, вкопчил се още по-здраво в работата си, готов дори да приеме най-жалките условия — което на свой ред позволява на работодателя да тъпче безогледно кесията си и да задоволява скритите жалки пороци, на които е подвластен. Може да се каже, че съществува негласен баланс, по силата на който вечната война се сдържа под контрол, за да се избегне анархия. Вдигне ли търговецът на зърно цената непомерно високо, то като нищо може да избухне революция.— В която губят всички.— До време. Докато не се появи ново поколение богати, за да започне наново хищническите си попълзновения над бедните. Балансът е рамкиран от неравновесия, тъй щото тези неща да могат да устояват цяла вечност. Уви, при всеки поглед в перспектива човек вижда, че това не е така. Структурата на обществото е много по-крехка, отколкото вярват повечето хора. Да влагаш твърде много вяра в устойчивостта на обществото означава да познаеш чистото изумление в мига на пълното му срутване — преди да скочат вълците. (hide spoiler)]Но можем да стигнем и по-далеч.Много по-далеч.(view spoiler)[Тия дни пак ме обзема желание да изтупам плаща, да заточа старите остриета... Не го правя, понеже мили, усетливи приятели са ме предупредили, че влизаме в обострен период. От ония, в които рушим лесно. И все пак пръстите ме сърбят, плешките ме сърбят, сърби ме... (hide spoiler)]~ Ето тук, покрай заяжданиятаконструктивния диалог с Ники Теллалов, обяснявам смисъла, който влагам (и виждам) в идеята за stewardship, „стопанисването“ на света ни.А ето тук бате Стивън ми нашоква репата. С много любов. За още повече. ;)~ Изборът на Крупе като „всевиждащо око“ е изключително интересен прийом. Позволява преплитането и прелитането между нишките на персонажите и на темите – та дори по-небрежните читатели да усетят мрежата. А най-хубавото е, че от Крупе лъха топлина: огромното му тяло сякаш е необходимо, за да побере колосалния капацитет за емпатия, разбиране и състрадание.Дали пък само едно всевиждащо и всеусещащо око има силата да ни разбира и приема?...(Нещо ми е тъжно тия дни.)П.П. Послушайте... След предния Малазан – и няколко тежки спойлъра от мои другари – пред финала на този направо тръпнех. Колко ли мои любимци щяха да се сурнат в месомелачката този път? Колко ли оправдано – осмислено – щеше да бъде?Е... отдъхнах си. Новопадналите не само бяха малко – а и този, който рухна с най-светотресящ трясък, го направи с вселенотресяща цел. Ериксън продължава да преплита темата си за convergence (как ще се каже това на български?) – не само като срещи на събития и персонажи, а и като надграждане/задълбочаване на мотивациите защо нещо съществува или се е случило въобще.(Признавам обаче, че подходът „чета Малазаните за кеф – в тъмни доби, градски транспорт и изобщо в паузите“ ми играе номера. Знам, че пропускам най-различни смисли... и дори не си правя труда да се върна и да ги проследя по-концентрирано. Например не ми е ясно откъде идват силите, обсаждащи колесницата в меча Драгнипур; или защо тя представлява притегателна точка за тях.)Най-голямото ми притеснение остава, че (view spoiler)[влечението на автора към трагедията (за което се оспойлих лошо в едни негови размисли) някъде ще се изражда в самоцел. Най-податлив за момента ми се струва Кътър. Нанадолнището, по което той се свлича, дотолкова ме вбесява, че искам да вляза в книгата и да му зашлевя два радикални шамара, барем се освести... Къде остана онова момче, което някога възпламени дълго дрямалото ми романтично сърчице? И като стана дума – йей! Намерих превод на for that matter! :D – как ли я кара Апсалар? (hide spoiler)]А Крупе... Крупе е прекрасен.Няма да казвам повече – да не разваля магията.23.12.2014: Понеже Малазанската поредица успя да промени погледа ми към литературата (например: разбичквайки напълно категориите „първо-, второ- и третостепенни герои“; или зачерквайки дебело глупотевините „добри“ и „зли“), искам да дам поне една оценка „пет звезди“: amazing, или казано с мои думи – „животоформираща“.Избирам да я сложа тук, понеже... Крупе. ;)