Torture is going on right now. People are being maimed. Others will live with pain and trauma for the rest of their lives. But one thing you do have a choice over: I wrote it for them. And I ask the same of you. Read it for them. As my wife said, whatever we feel is as nothing compared to what the victims have, and will, go through. And in the grand scheme of things, our brief disquiet seems, to me now as it did then, a most pathetic cry in this vast wilderness.
I almost cannot believe I am finally at the threshold of the conclusion of the Book of the Fallen. The Crippled God, here I come! This review can also be found at Booknest View all 21 comments. Sep 27, Jody rated it it was amazing Shelves: Full review now up! Dust of Dreams , the ninth book in the Malazan book of the Fallen, is another epic tale that brings me one step closer to the conclusion of this amazing series.
The Bonehunters have settled into the city of Letheras, but Adjunct Tavore Paran has other things in mind. She intends to march the Bonehunters into a desolate part of the Lether continent known as the Wastelands. With allies close at hand and abroad they will need all the help they can get against the threat they are a Full review now up! With allies close at hand and abroad they will need all the help they can get against the threat they are about to face. Erikson did a great job a mixing things up and keeping me on my toes. I really enjoyed this style. He uses this style a lot in the end sequence of his books, and it worked great throughout Dust of Dreams.
The characters in this book are awesome as with all Malazan books. I certainly enjoyed the new characters and have grown fond of the characters that have been with me for most of this journey. Even though I should know better than to get attached to anyone this close to the end. Gods, Elder Gods, ascendants…. The end sequence was amazing and really left me anticipating what will happen in the final book.
I would have to say some of them are blurry at best. But as the dust settles and the combatants lick their wounds the end draws near. Dust of what we might have been and what we cannot help be. Statues are never mute. Their silence is a roar of words. View all 13 comments.
Just a little bit more of setting the right pieces on the board. Just a bit more of listening to those selfish secrets and mysteries characters are trying to protect - until comes in Fiddler, kicking with his rusty, old helmet, and everything starts to reveal itself. After eight books in the "I am throwing away Words. After eight books in the main Malazan Book of the Fallen series, and twenty four books overall - an end. And like Fiddler himself, you'll weep for asking too much. He saw a recurved Rhivi bow gripped in one bony hand, and he realized that he knew this rider. This Herald of War.
To challenge their fate, the unknown and the gods themselves. But, they are exhausted. And worse, they are bored. Adjunct Tavore Paran seems distant more than ever, and soldiers are starting to lose their faith in their commander. For the first time - after the Fall of Aren; after their first victory was taken away from them in Raraku Desert; after they had paid a heavy price for their real first victory beneath the walls of Y'Ghatan; after their own Empress took away the truth from them on the streets of Malaz City; and after they have finally made the peace with themselves that on distant continent of Lether nobody will witness their true birth - Bonehunters are on the brink of mutiny.
And they have yet to start a deathly march. To nothing but their death. While Malazan Army doesn't know what is it in Kolanse that Adjunct is hurrying to, other, ancient, forces in this world have a pretty good guess what awaits them there. So the run begins. Worldbuilding, History and Lore. Should you hold to such a belief, then by any path of reasoning that follows, you cannot but conclude that your one god is cursed, a thing of impossible aspirations and deafening injustice, whimsical in its cruelty, blind to mercy and devoid of pity.
And, oh my god or gods in this case? So far, everything we have seen from them was physical superiority and monstrous brutality; this horde-like behavior against anyone who opposes them. And to be honest, in their badassery, they gave the sense of exactly that for which they were introduced to: We have also learned that they were extremely intelligent species and we were led to believe that they were pretty much extinct.
The K'Chain Che'Malle have returned to the world. Not so much in their purpose - their purpose is to survive - as much as in the terms of their faith. Now, humans tend to believe how Elder God K'rull is responsible for releasing magic into this world, when he cut his veins; but Che'Malle's believe that life itself is magical as is everything in it. When we grip hard to choke off the wind pipe.
When we do all this, we watch, with intimate compassion, with profound understanding, the light of life leave our victim's eyes. We see the struggle give away to acceptance, and in our souls, we weep. But, in this battle of opposition between life and death, they form a balance. Balance that should not be compromised. Now, if you remember, in this world there's something called Otataral. A rare, reddish ore, that negates magic. Che'Malles have on multiple occasions failed to move themselves from their stupor, so they have to turn to the only thing that was left to them, the only thing they still believe in: And in that freedom they chose human Destriant to show them their way.
We might as well weep. Ten thousand pages long. No one will hear it. And the way you'll express your powers is through: Children of the Snake are refugees running from 'Quitors', species that have ravaged their homeland. Somewhere along the way, in their exodus, their own parents tried to eat them when hunger struck, but they managed to escape from them and now there are children running across the wastelands.
Soon to be very hungry. And through that poetry she would reflect on hardship they were going through. And even more importantly, she would find the meaning of words they have lost in that wandering; she had to create new ones in order to communicate about them. And yes, through your expressed emotions words can have power; if your words are eloquent enough they can have power. But how can you make words, in this world, stop a physical or a magical threat?
To go even further, how can you yourself impose physical or magical power as a response - and not deviate from what we already learned of basic functioning of this world's magic and not introduce this as something that is far-fetched even in Malazan world? Her purpose in the story of the Snake is to show how incredibly powerful words can be even in the hands of a destitute child.
Her words and her poetry are not only potent weapons against threats and foes but also as having the potential to reconstitute the existence and reality of the Snake. HALT in the breathless moment! Without giving away any of the spoilers, I'll be very brief, because it's really hard to write about this topic.
I won't be going into specifics, but I hope that you'll understand in-between the lines of which topic I'm talking about. It's extremely important to read this chapter. Be that on your first or fourth read, like mine. It is excruciatingly painful chapter to get through and on your first read you'll be shocked. Maybe you'll feel tempted to skip those pages - especially if you are a rereader - or to simply put book down and start cursing this author because, damn it, this is fantasy, and you're looking for an escape or a safe haven just for an hour or two from the real world.
I completely understand if you decide not to, but I would like for you to stay. At least so that you could understand why Erikson did what he did and why he wrote this chapter and what he actually tried to achieve. There's a message here that Erikson tried to convey. There are certain monsters in this world. They walk among us. They talk to us, they smile at us, they behave just like everyone else. And we would never know, we would never see for what they are, until it's too late.
We then catch them, sentence them and they rot. But, that's an ending to an already tragic tale. But, there are other kinds of monstrosities that happen in real world. Same in their nature. In these monstrous, backdoor, societies that exist in our world, sometimes society itself is so monstrous that they willingly participate. As part of their religious or cultural zeal.
As part of their customs. They have existed through history, and they exist even today. And as it is in human nature to be shocked, to feel disgusted, to condemn and resent them - it is also in human nature to look away. To turn their heads. Thank God, it didn't happen to me.
If this entire series is about anything at all - it is about compassion.
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And here, in this scenes, in this chapter, Steven implores you more than ever to show it. Which will just briefly bring me back to this monster Karsa Orlong again. While parts of the story he is in are indeed interesting mostly because of the characters around him , Karsa Orlong himself is not. For me, he is not a bad-ass warrior. He is not an amazing character. I am unable and unwilling to define him by anything more than by his first act in the beginning of his story. I am not going to look away. Am I reading too much into this? Let's try another paragraph then: Deconstructing The Siege of Pale Aftermath Scene I love his commentary on realizing just now that maybe we were overwhelmed with mini info-dumps.
Anyhow, as for the quoted paragraphs above: View all 18 comments. Jun 23, Deborah Obida rated it really liked it Shelves: Book 9 and I still love this series. Steven Erickson adapted a different method here, instead of his usual, that a book ends with all strings tied, this ended in a cliffhanger, the worst kind so prepare yourselves, this has a few new characters, apart from those almost everyone that survive the first 8 books are in this and the rest will be in The Crippled God cause this book is the first part of the conclusion to the series.
I still don't know who is alive or who is dead cause the book ended du Book 9 and I still love this series. I still don't know who is alive or who is dead cause the book ended during a major battle. This book is as interesting as its predeccessors, its action packed, great dialogue amazing plot,sub plot etc. The races and creatures in this book is mind blowing. I just cannot wait to see the convergence in the final book, I hope its as good as everyone says, cause I have one problem with this book, despite everything it was too slow paced, compared to the previous books.
World building and Writing I don't think anyone can surpass Steven Erickson when it comes to world building, am sorry Brandon Sanderson but after nine books and still the world just keeps getting better, no mix up or anything, perfect depiction and all. The writing is still great, the conversations between the Bonehunters always crack me up. Characters and Plot Technically there are no spoilers here but if you are spoiler sensitive or haven't read the first 8 books, I suggest you don't read this cause I'll mention character names. The Malazans Mainly the Bonehunters, Tavore and her armies, are on a match to Kolanse to do the most craziest thing ever, thery didn't even arrive before battle met them on the way, I lost some favourites there, but some still survived,I think.
Lastora did the shadow dance and I just cannot get it out of my head, that scene is amazing, Fiddler and Gesler are still trying to keep everyone together even though Tavore is still nonchalant about almost everything. The Letheriis Tehol and Bugg was just in the first half of the book and even that was sparodic, and I enjoyed every single scene.
Brys was more in this, of course the convergence will involve him, even though I have no idea what his role will be, but one thing is for sure, he wasn't brought back before a major convergence for nothing, The Barghast Oh how I hate them now, the only person I like is Hetan and Cafan, the rest can go and die for all I care, they went too far this time. The Snake Is just a term used for a group of children who have being through the worst in life and still manages to move on, I wish am as strong as these children.
View all 8 comments. Jul 19, Conor rated it it was ok Shelves: After struggling through most of Toll the Hounds before a strong finish went some way to redeeming the book for me this one easily surpassed it as my least favourite Malazan to date. Also for the first time in this se After struggling through most of Toll the Hounds before a strong finish went some way to redeeming the book for me this one easily surpassed it as my least favourite Malazan to date. Also for the first time in this series Erikson failed to deliver an awesome ending. There were a load of different plotlines in this one as usual, many featuring new characters despite this being the 9th book and all those books being bricks in the series.
I wish Erikson would have forgotten about introducing new stuff at this juncture and instead focused on the characters and plotlines already established. If he had this one and Toll the Hounds could have been combined into a very good installment, rather than a mediocre book and a shitty book. My favourite plotline in this one was easily the one which featured the Malazans, Brys and Tehol. The early stages had interesting stuff going on the reading of the Deck of Dragons was really cool but the middle stages and on seemed to lose direction.
Maybe this was intentional as a major plot point is that no one in the army knows why they are marching into an empty,barren wasteland but the lack of action and constant air of boredom, depression and frustration didn't make for fun reading. However this storyline also lost it's way about half-way through and was overcome by inaction and philosophizing although the Bolkando Queen remained a cool character. The Barghast plotline also provided some really cool, tactical battle-scenes as well as intriguign plots and schemes for power but it was undermined by the fact that I only cared about 1 character Tool that was involved.
I also found the scenes with Hetan to be both horrifying and hard to understand in the context of how Bargast culture had previously been established view spoiler [ so it's socially acceptable for Barghast women to be warriors, leaders and openly sexually active but there was also a load of misogyny and male-on-female domestic violence ingrained in Bargast culture? I find it hard to understand how these 2 elements could co-exist with apparently neither effecting the other.
Some ghosts were hanging out in a city shaped like a dragon, a woman was looking for humans to command a bunch of dinosaurs, 2 guys who could morph into dragons were wandering around etc. Amazingly all of those plotlines were mind-numbingly boring with virtually no action and lots of philosophizing that failed to advance the plot.
You'd think with all of that cool stuff some action would pretty much write itself. But you would be wrong. A battered, cynical veteran I have survived this grueling campaign and march on to a final, fateful convergence. At which point one more name shall be added to the Book of the Fallen. View all 4 comments. May 23, Michael Britt rated it really liked it. On one hand, this is the first Malazan book where I was wanting it to end. On the other hand, that battle at the end almost completely made up for how boring this book was. I know it's essentially Part 1 of 2 for the end of the main series, but knowing that still didn't help.
We get some truly awesome POV's. The K'Chain Che'Malle definitely stole the show. We get to see they're way more than what we saw from the Kell Hunte Real rating: We get to see they're way more than what we saw from the Kell Hunters previously. I got the impression they were just dinosaurs with swords for hands. But they're way more than that, even the Kell Hunters. I'll leave that discovery to you. They were definitely the stars of the show, though. When I look back at the story, I don't see how I got bored. The story is very strong. So maybe it was just how drawn out it seemed at times.
This book is very philosophically heavy. I think that's where it got bogged down for me. Trying to remember everything that's happened up to this point and trying to remember what's going on with the newcomers was a bit much. I honestly gave up trying to get things straight in my mind quite a few times. I hated doing that, but it was just too much. I'm sure I probably missed so much in this novel, but I just didnt have the mental strength at times.
Maybe it's just me, but I feel like the violence in this one, especially that one scene, was ramped up. This was a pretty brutal book, at times.
Malazan Book of the Fallen
I really wish I could say more about the revenge scene at the end, but, ya know, spoilers lol. It's well known that Erikson likes to "bring people back" so I loved the line that was spoken, near the end, where a character says, "doesn't anything stay dead around here? This one definitely makes Crippled God look extremely promising.
The very last line of dialogue got a fist pump in the air from me haha. This is in no way a bad book, just a very long and drawn out book. I feel bad for this being my first 4 star Malazan book, but it was too much of a slog to get 5 stars from me. View all 7 comments. Feb 14, James Tivendale rated it really liked it Shelves: I found this Malazan book the most difficult so far. Originally I made it half way through and had to give up. Once again so many new factions, people an I found this Malazan book the most difficult so far. Once again so many new factions, people and plot threads. Also, the pace seemed like a bit of a grind.
I tried again and the 2nd time I took it slower, re-read certain sections and abused the dramatis persone section every five minutes.
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I think you get out of Malazan what you up in and when I upped the effort I got the reward. Negative - I didn't really care much for the Snake even on my re-read. Nothing seemed to happen. It was worth going back to and I have started The Crippled God and the pace starts nearly as frantic as this one ends. I am up for a hell of a thrill ride I imagine!! View all 3 comments. Oct 11, seak rated it really liked it Shelves: There's a warning at the beginning of Dust of Dreams from the author himself explaining that until this point in the series, there has never been a cliffhanger, but in order to finish this insanely huge series, the penultimate volume in the Malazan Book of the Fallen is the first and only to do so.
Throughout the book, I was prepping myself for lots of buildup with no payoff in the end. Every other ending to every other Malazan book has blown my mind more than anything I've ever read. Erikson's e There's a warning at the beginning of Dust of Dreams from the author himself explaining that until this point in the series, there has never been a cliffhanger, but in order to finish this insanely huge series, the penultimate volume in the Malazan Book of the Fallen is the first and only to do so. Erikson's endings are the best in the business and easily make it worth the thousand plus pages it takes to get there.
So, knowing that there would be a cliffhanger, I assumed there wouldn't be any mind-blowingness going on at the end. Well, I'm happy to say that I was wrong. It is epic, tragic, brutal, and lovely all rolled into one. Nothing but the usual. Now, that's not to say that a cliffhanger doesn't exist, I'm just saying you don't have to go through the entire book not expecting a great ending While I had a bit of a hard time with Toll the Hounds although I still loved it , Dust of Dreams goes back to Erikson's normal style, which really just means Toll sans narration.
We're introduced to more new tribes and peoples and the final setup is underway. The Bonehunters have been hanging out in Letheras since they rousted the Tiste Edur and Tehol Beddict has been put in charge as king Awesome! I have to admit, I have a huge man-crush on Brys great name btw. Adjunct Tavore has decided the Bonehunters need to head east toward the Wastelands and even further and no one knows why Their allies, the Perish Grey Helms and the Kundryl Burned Tears, are busy getting things ready in the east of the Letherii kingdom, but things aren't going too well with the Bolkando stirring things up.
We also tag along with the Barghast, led by their Warleader Onos T'oolan or Tool , who's now no longer T'lan Imass - just Imass now, who are really ancient Barghast ancestors. The Barghast despise his leadership as they prefer their more barbaric traditions to his more civilized way of thinking. This is a minor spoiler, but: It's interesting to note that Dust of Dreams actually begins before the ending of Toll the Hounds if you were wondering.
The Malazan Book of the Fallen is the most confusing thing you'll never forget. Under the definition of "epic" in the dictionary, you'll find The Malazan Book of the Fallen series. Erikson puts you right where the average soldier is, just do as your told and you'll end up all right, you don't need to know all the details just yet. Add to this the feelings of jubilation when you figure something out, this series will blow your mind. Go back to the previous books if you need to.
I love this book already. Sep 20, Andrzej Kaczmarczyk Thanks for the unwarning. I love the serie, but after Toll pages of Kruppe , I am not sure I'll muster the courage to pickup pages. Maybe I Thanks for the unwarning. They finally reach its end and find themselves at Kharkanas , which is deserted.
Malazan Book of the Fallen: Dust of Dreams 9 by Steven Erikson (2010, Hardcover)
The dead have found me in my dreams Fishing beside lakes and in strange houses That could be homes for lost families In all the pleasures of completeness And I wander through their natural company In the soft comforts of contentment. The dead greet me with knowing ease And regard nothing the forsaken awakening That abandons me in this new solitude Of eyes flickering open and curtains drawing. When the dead find me in my dreams I see them living in the hidden places Unanchored in time and ageless as wishes.
The woman lying at my side hears my sigh Following the morning chime and asks After me as I lie in the wake of sorrow's concert, But I will not speak of life's loneliness Or the empty shorelines where fishermen belong And the houses never lived in never again That stand in necessary configurations To build us familiar places for the dead. One day I will journey into her dreams But I say nothing of this behind my smile And she will see me hunting the dark waters For the flit of trout and we will travel Strange landscapes in the forever instant Until she leaves me for the living day But as the dead well know the art of fishing Finds its reward in brilliant joyous hope And eternal loving patience, and it is my Thought now that such gods that exist Are the makers of dreams and this is their gift This blessed river of sleep and dreams Where in wonder we may greet our dead And sages and priests are wise when they say Death is but sleep and we are forever alive In the dreams of the living, for I have seen My dead on nightly journeys and I tell you this: Silchas Ruin discusses Rud Elalle 's parentage and future with him.
He tells him he will take him to meet Korabas , the Otataral Dragon. Sandalath Drukorlat , Withal and the Nachts have travelled through the warren of Rashan to the shore, but the Shake have already left on the Road of Gallan. They follow, and are immediately attacked by a Forkrul Assail. The Nachts transform into Venath demons and kill the Forkrul. Kalyth is becoming more of a Destriant. She has a dream-vision of Whiskeyjack and the Bridgeburners.
He explains that they have taken over Hood 's role of Guardian of Death's Gate. Two of the Kell Hunters are killed. Kalyth summons the Bridgeburners to help them but gets instead some undead Jaghut who kill their pursuers. Sinn and Grub continue to travel through the warren. Sinn discusses their origin; she implies that they are both different, that Grub's Chain of Dogs experiences, and Sinn's in Y'Ghatan , somehow recreated them. The ghost's companions are exploring the K'Chain Che'Malle keep. The newly-woken drone, Sulkit , comes to meet them. Surprisingly he can sense the ghost.
The ghost is recovering his memories, which are of cruelty and killing; he had killed even his own wife. The Khundryl invasion meets the Bolkando defenders near to the capital. While they are routing the forces trying to surround them, Warleader Gall meets with Queen Abrastal who commands the Bolkando troops. The Queen agrees to the Khundryl demands for restitution and decides to accompany their army through the Wastelands. Onos Toolan is dead. He has a vision of an alternate past where the Ritual of Tellann didn't happen; instead the Imass dwindle and die out.
He then encounters Toc Anaster, also dead, who denies him entry through Hood's Gate. Torrent wakes from a dream of Toc. Olar Ethil tells him that she will leave him for a while. She also claims to be an Elder God, known by many names including Eran'ishal and Burn. The Akrynnai have beaten most of the White Face Barghast clans. Sceptre Irkullas , their leader, sees the battlefield and corpses destroyed by the arcane storm, and decides to try to make peace with the Barghast. News of the death of Onos Toolan reaches the Barghast camp and triggers a night of madness.
Aspiring leaders kill their rivals. Tool's wife Hetan is hobbled and raped. His children are attacked and would have died but for the intervention of Toc Anaster who kills their assailant. He takes the children to Setoc for sanctuary. Errastas the Errant has summoned the Elder Gods to a meeting on an ancient, dead world. They are unhappy, considering the meeting to be premature. They warn Errastas that things are happening about which he is unaware, and that he cannot control.
Errastas also becomes aware that Sechul and Kilmandaros themselves have plans. The meeting breaks up, Errastas leaving with Sechul and Kilmandaros. The Bonehunters and their Letherii escort are en route to D'rhasilhani , first on foot, then by barge. In the Wastelands, a number of long-'dead' T'lan Imass return unexpectedly to un-life.
They believe they have been summoned by the First Sword , Onos T'oolan. Toc Anaster carries Tool's children on his undead horse, accompanied by Setoc. They come to a mound. Toc goes hunting and kills an antelope. While he is butchering it he is suddenly surrounded by the 14 undead Jaghurt. They chat, and Toc mentions the newly-arrived T'lan Imass.
While Toc is away, the boy has summoned an undead Ay. Toc returns, and recognises the Ay as the ghost of Baaljagg. The remaining Barghast clans have merged into an army, which is pursued by the Akrynnai army. Tomorrow they will meet. Trailing the Barghast is Cafal , who has arranged with Bakal for Hetan to be spirited from the camp and brought to him; he will take her away and hopes to heal her.
Cafal and Bakal are killed and Hetan wanders off alone to die. In Kharkanas, Yan Tovis and Yedan Derryg enter the Citadel , its centre of power; the passage of years hasn't been kind to it. They debate whether the Shake should try to live in the city, or go to the nearby First Shore. Outside, they find the two Shake witches rendered unconscious by some external force.
They ride to investigate the Shore. When they arrive they discover it is the border between the realm of Dark and a sea of Light. The beach itself is comprised of fragments of bone that date from the fall of Kharkanas. Yan and Yedan exchange lore previously known separately by the Queens and the Watch. The Fall and the departure of those who became the Shake was caused when Mother Dark turned away, and so did Father Light. Gallan was a mage who created the Road as an escape-route; the exodus was ordered by Silchas Ruin when almost all of the Tiste Andii had been killed.
Sandalath and Withal have continued along the Road to Kharkanas. On arrival Sandalath is at first overwhelmed and collapses. She soon recovers, and explains that Mother Dark has returned to the city. In Kalse Rooted the travellers are recalling more of their previous lives.
But the hunter that the travellers had feared has arrived; it is Taralack Veed. He finds Nappett first and kills him; then others. Three are left, together in the Matron's chamber where Sulkit has now fashioned an enormous throne. Veed arrives and kills Rautos. He then tells Breath and Taxilian that the ghost is Icarium Lifestealer.
It then seems to the ghost that Veed and the others disappear one by one, absorbed into him. He realises that the throne is a machine that he had once designed. He sits on it. The Barghast and Akrynnai armies face each other and are about to engage, when the Senan , Onos Toolan's old clan, turn and leave the field. The battle starts without them. As it nears its conclusion, another arcane storm arrives, killing all involved with ice. The darkness gathers; out of it strides a figure: Errastas, Sechul Lath and Kilmandaros are briefly toppled by the noisy arrival of Draconus.
On recovering they realise that the release of Draconus from Dragnipur implies that Anomander Rake is dead. Errastas and Sechul depart to investigate.
Dust of Dreams, The Malazan Book of the Fallen 9 by Steven Erikson
Mael then arrives and discusses the situation with Kilmandaros. He suggests that Draconus wishes to precipitate a crisis that will finally resolve the situation with the Crippled God. The Snake approaches a city of crystal. Badalle suspects, correctly, that one of the children, Breyderal, is a disguised Quitter. Of the twelve Forkrul Assail Adjudicators and Inquisitors who set out to follow the Snake only four survive, and they are in poor condition; the hunger and disease that has killed so many children has affected them too.
They see ahead the city that they cannot enter, so they attempt to kill the children before they arrive, using their power of voice. Badelle manages to turn their power back against them, and they retreat. Onos T'oolan encounters a thousand T'lan Imass. They had originally believed that he was their summoner, but now realised he was not. The second, Return of the Crimson Guard , investigates the fall-out in the Malazan Empire from the devastating losses of the Genabackan, Korelri and Seven Cities campaigns following the events of The Bonehunters. Esslemont's third novel, Stonewielder , explores events on the Korelri continent for the first time in the series and focuses on the often-mentioned, rarely seen character of Greymane.
The fourth novel, Orb, Sceptre, Throne , revisits Genebackis once again in the wake of Erikson's Toll the Hounds , and features several well known characters seen in Erikson's novels. Further comments by Esslemont and Erikson have hinted that Esslemont's fifth novel, Blood and Bone visits the continent of Jacuruku and the sixth, Assail , set on the continent of Assail, will serve as a closing chapter and coda for the entire series.
In a general review of The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature , edited by Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn , Erikson fired a shot across the bow of "the state of scholarship in the fantastic as it pertains to epic fantasy,"  taking particularly to task James's opening lines in Chapter 5 of that volume. Erikson uses a handful of words from that chapter as an epigraph for a quasi-autobiographical essay in The New York Review of Science Fiction.
James's sentences read in full:. Tolkien said that the phrase 'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit' came to his unconscious mind while marking examination papers; he wrote it on a blank page in an answer book. From that short sentence, one might claim, much of the modern fantasy genre emerged. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings —5 henceforth LOTR looms over all the fantasy written in English—and in many other languages—since its publication; most subsequent writers of fantasy are either imitating him or else desperately trying to escape his influence. Erikson writes, "But epic fantasy has moved on, something critics have failed to notice.
In my youth, I sidestepped Tolkien entirely, finding my inspiration and pleasure in the genre through Howard , Burroughs , and Leiber. As my own gaming experience advanced, it was not long before I abandoned those tropes Accordingly, my influences in terms of fiction are post-Tolkien, and they came from conscious responses to Tolkien Donaldson 's Thomas Covenant series and unconscious responses to Tolkien Cook 's Dread Empire and Black Company series.
Magic in the Malazan series is accomplished by tapping the power of a Warren or Hold , from within the body of the mage. Effects common to most warrens include enchantment of objects investment , minor healing, large-scale blasts and travel through warren across great distances in a short period of time.
Other effects are more specific to each warren. For example, Thyr is the warren of light, Telas is the warren of fire, Serc is the warren of Air, and Denul is the warren of healing. The specific uses of this power can vary depending on the ingenuity of the user. Only a minority of humans can access warrens, usually tapping and working with a single one, with High Mages accessing two or three. Two notable exceptions to this are the High Mage Quick Ben who can access seven at any single time out of his repertoire of twelve due to his killing of and subsequent merging with the souls of eleven other sorcerers , and Beak who can access all the warrens although he seems to have a cognitive disability.
Certain Elder races have access to warrens specific to their race which seem to be significantly more powerful and cannot be blocked by the magic-deadening ore otataral. Examples of this phenomenon are Tellann, representing fire, for the T'lan Imass, and Omtose Phellack, representing ice, for the Jaghut. Further, three aspects of Kurald for each of the Tiste races: Alternatively, a more basic form of magic can be harnessed by using or capturing natural spirits of the land, elements, people, or animals. A form of this method is also utilized when the power of an ascendant or god is called upon or channeled, although in most cases this is also linked with the warren of that being.
Some characters within the Malazan series are able to veer into animal form shapeshifting. Characters which veer into a single animal are called Soletaken. A D'ivers can veer into a pack of animals. Prominent examples of D'ivers include Gryllen rats, also known as the Tide of Madness and Mogora spiders. They are similar in that they are used to get information about present and future events. They are used separately on two different continents and both are not known about contiguously except by very rare people such as Bottle, a squad mage in Tavore's 14th Army.
The difference between these two is marked by the progressive evolution of magic. As magic evolves, Tiles and Cards become active or inactive. Usually the two do not overlap, except in a few instances where elder realms have become active the Beast Hold, mentioned in Memories of Ice and Midnight Tides.
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The Deck of Dragons resembles a Tarot card deck in that it consists of cards that divine the future. The difference is that a real Deck of Dragons adjusts itself to the changing circumstances of the pantheon. If an entity ascends or dies, the deck will change to reflect this fact. Not all cards are active on all continents; for example Obelisk is referred to as inactive on Seven Cities until partway through Deadhouse Gates. As an alternative and older version of the Deck of Dragons , the Tiles of the Holds are also used for divination. Their use is restricted to the continent of Lether , where the influence of the Jaghut warren Omtose Phellack halted the evolution of magic in a less developed state.
The Tiles of the Hold are cast rather than read.