Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 6, The Bonehunters
Steven Erikson’s sixth installment in the Malazan book of the Fallen, The Bonehunters brings us yet more heart rending, yet addictive suffering and tragedy.
And more new characters, always more characters. I was hoping that, more than halfway through the series he’d be focusing more on established characters, but what was I thinking? With roughly a thousand pages per volume there is plenty of room for new perspectives, new abilities and someone else’s insight.
What is interesting here is that we are in a known location in the world. We are just given new eyes with which to view it. Multiple books have taken place in these settings. The introduction of new characters is the spice of life for readers of the Malazan books.
We see some old friends again too. But they are not the same. No one is the same anymore. While I always like seeing character growth, I know most of theirs is due to trauma and loss from the prior five books.
Having gone through fierce battles, confronted the worst of humanity (and the gods), and all of the trappings that go along with them, the still-surviving characters have aged, changed their opinions and have started slipping, or conversely hardening—they are showing their wear and tear. Despite this, the humor still gleams through the darkness.
These old friends may have gone through a lot, even before we met them. But now we’ve followed them through some adventures and get some of their jokes and references as well. Erikson does not fail to shed light on old stories for the reader with the good memory. Not only does this provide word count for him, but it serves to connect the character arcs across books and time itself.
As the sixth volume of a ten part series, I’m satisfied with where we are. The plot is arcing along strongly, with several sub plots spent and newly started, leaving the characters wounded in all senses of the word, and scrabbling toward the hell that we can see is coming.