Tuesday, July 22, 2008

No. 20 - The Bonehunters

by Steven Erikson

Started: July 22
Finished: August 19

Notes: I've been neglecting my fantasy reading of late, so this is a good place to get back into it. I've never read anything by this author, but he comes highly praised. At more than a thousand pages, it might take me a while to finish this one; but maybe not. Also, this is the sixth book in a series, but I'm starting here any way; I figure if the writer is good enough, I shouldn't have too many problems catching on to what's happening.

Mini review: This writer might, just might, be my favorite of the more modern action fantasy writers. When the events in his stories turn to battle and such, this writer is great at keeping your attention. On the downside, I feel he has way too many characters and makes it difficult to keep up with all of them; more of my feelings on this can be found in the comments to this post. Despite there being so many of them, this writer does have some great characters that could easily deserve novels of their own. I will be reading more of Steven Erikson's works.


cindy said...

ty, what kind of noise does a bunny make? or do they not make any noises? i guess that they chortle maybe. shouldn't they make some kind of noise? let me know. =)

von Darkmoor said...

Bunny noises?!?!? Whered'd that come from? And what kind of blog is this, anyway?!!?! ;)

Seriously, dude. When you said you were reading Erikson it never entered my mind you weren't starting at the beginning. Dude, how could you? At least you did pick a decent book to start with. It probably ties in 2nd, maybe 3rd for me thus far in the series.

You should be fine reading it, as each book is self-contained - but you miss so much back information, nuances, history that just flesh things out more, at the very least subconciously, for your better enjoyment as a reader.

Guess I'll just settle for the fact you're finally reading The Man.

Ty Johnston said...

What's wrong with bunny noises? For more, see cyn's blog.

As for the Erikson book, I really, really wish you'd said this was the 4th or 5th best in the series. There are a lot of things he does extremely well (I'll get to those when I'm finished), but there are also a handful of things he does I find completely annoying and hurtful to his storytelling capabilities. I see a lot of potential with Erikson, enough to get me to read more, but there at least a couple of semi-major things I wish he'd do differently.

And, so far, my favorite character? Hands down, Karsa. Gotsta be Karsa. Nearly makes Conan look like a wuss. Goble's Calthus could learn a thing or two from Karsa, as could any number of my own characters.

von Darkmoor said...

Numbering, here's how I rank the first 6 Malazan Books of the Fallen:
1 - Memories of Ice
2T - Midnight Tides
2T(3) - Deadhouse Gates
3T(4) - Bonehunters
3T(5) - Gardens of the Moon
4(6) - House of Chains

If'n you'd read 'em in order, you wouldn't be complaining now. That's like the guy who first arrives during the intermission and then complains about not liking the acting in the second act. Odds are, he doesn't grasp the point since he didn't see it from the beginning.

And Karsa? Yeah, your thoughts are good, headed in the right direction. Dude's integral to the whole story, but you're missing much of what makes him by picking him up now. He's in books 2, 4, & 6, but book 4 is his story. It's also my least favorite book thus far, for multiple reasons.

Let me advise you though: don't be dissing my guy after one book picked from the middle of his series. Would you do something like that while reading the Two Towers?!

Ty Johnston said...

Hey, I ain't dissin' yer guy. He actually does a lot of things I like. I think his prose is some of the best I've seen in modern action fantasy, and he has a solid plotting and interesting characters. His world's background is also quite interesting with enough mystery and backstabbing that you never know who you can trust or who are the good or bad guys (if such a distinction can even be made in the overall story here).

My faults with him aren't (I don't think) related to where I've started in the series. My main fault with Erikson is that he has too many characters, and to add to that, he hardly ever sticks with one character longer than a page or two, so the reader has little chance to get to know and care for the characters. Yeah, I'll admit if I'd read the first five books this MIGHT not be as much of a problem, but I still think he would be better off with half as many characters (which would still leave him with a TON of characters) and he stuck with individual groups or single characters for at least a half dozen pages or so before jumping around. AND, he has a habit of not getting back to a particular character for a hundred pages, and by then I've forgotten all about them and what they're into and what they're about.

The first few hundred pages I kind of slogged through, with the exception of Cotillion and Karsa's scenes, but when it finally got around to the siege ... whoa, nelly! The story took off like fire for the next hundred pages. Since then, the story has kind of come in bits and spurts ... hot for a while, then cool for a while, but mostly it's worked pretty well.

I also like the nice touches of humor here and there, realistic without being over the top.