Another Steven Erikson "slim" novel, and yet another terrific addition to his magnum opus, The Malazan Book of the Fallen.
While the previous five volumes of the series were more or less self-contained, The Bonehunters is a transition book. Finally, some would say. Yet the scope of Erikson's undertaking is so vast that it took the author nearly 5000 pages to reach the point where the countless plotlines could begin to crossover. As a result, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
Some people complained about the cliffhanger endings of many chapters, as well as the fact that there is no veritable resolution as the reader reaches the last page. Personally, I didn't have a problem with either. Looking back, so much occurs in The Bonehunters that I was well satisfied with my reading experience. The story is moving along at a much quicker pace in this volume -- notwithstanding the siege of Y'Ghatan -- and Erikson provides many tantalizing hints of things to come.
I was curious to discover how it would all unfold. Transition books habitually set up a lot of things which will have an impact later on. And The Bonehunters certainly delivered in that department. Honestly, I was not expecting this much in terms of converging storylines. Hence, on numerous occasions I found myself putting the book down and shaking my head, grinning like a simpleton. The author's broadness of vision never fails to astound me. Steven Erikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont are twisted freaks, no doubt about it!;-) God love them for that! For my money, the Malazan novels are about as good as it gets.
What makes The Bonehunters so enjoyable, at least in my opinion, is the fact that there is a little bit of everything within its pages. Some events were expected and lived up to their promise, such as the siege of Y'Ghatan. And yet, the surprises are what really did it for me. Paran's active role as Master of the Deck, Bottle's mysterious powers and knowledge of the Holds, the Nameless Ones' desperation and plans for Icarium, the appearance and involvement of Spite, the ascension of one of the main characters, the revelations concerning the Aren massacre, the T'lan Imass war on the continent of Assail, the Tiste Edur presence and their endeavors to claim both the First Throne and the Throne of Shadow, Shadowthrone's direct involvement in a major convergence, Tayschrenn's secret plans, Adjunct Tavore's capital decision, Karsa's future ahead, the return of Korbolo Dom and Mallick Rel, and the list goes on and on and on.
However, if you believe that this novel answers many of our questions, think again! For every answer the author provides, it raises yet more questions. I think Erikson just enjoys making us suffer! It's been a long time since I was this addicted to a fantasy series.
Many events occur at once at the end, with no resolution to really speak of. Erikson leaves a multitude of plotlines up in the air, and I simply cannot wait for the sequel.
We've known that Reaper's Gale will take place on the continent of Lether for a while now. At first, I believed that the book would center on Fear Sengar's quest to find Scabandari Bloodeye's imprisoned spirit. Well, with The Bonehunters coming to a close, it's evident that Erikson plans to throw quite a party on Lether. Hell, I'm salivating at the very thought!:-)
To anyone who has yet to give the Malazan series a shot, I encourage you to pick up the first two volumes, Gardens of the Moon and Deadhouse Gates. If, at the end of the second book, you are not hooked on this incredible saga, it means that this series is not for you. In my opinion, this will probably be the best 20$ you have ever invested!
The final verdict: 9.5/10
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