Monday, March 03, 2008


About halfway through Steven Erikson's Bonehunters, I wondered if the Malazan saga was superior to Martin's Song of Ice and Fire. In the end I decided Martin wins over all with superior characters, writing, editing and emotion. Erikson is ahead of Marting on world creation, over the top plotting and action sequences, but he really needs to shorten these books.

The first 200 pages of this book elicited a number of "huh?"s and "what?s" as I tried to recall the backgrounds of the characters being referenced and the meaning of their various actions. Once the book clicked, it was excellent, but that was a really long ramp. (spoilers ahead)

This book makes clear that which was hinted in prior books. The conflicts among the human nations are really the manipulations of the gods as the pantheon is threatened by an enemy. The gods (and the elder races) begin to take sides and there is carnage aplenty. It is to Erikson's credit that he can keep this key development under wraps until after the half-way point in the series. I wish Erikson would provide some graphical representation of the relationships between the various factions as it becomes quite hard to follow just why so and so is sent on a mission to kill this other person.

Erikson also begins to answer the questions of which of his many badasses is the biggest badass. It would appear that Apsalar is actually the superior to Kalam in assassination. Icarium is looking like he may be the tops, although Karsa Orlong is certainly a contender. And what of Amonander Rake? These questions have raised debates in the fantasy fan world.

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