Dust of Dreams (Malazan Book of the Fallen #9), by Steven Erikson
3 out of 5 (Liked It)
On the Letherii continent the exiled Malazan army commanded by Adjunct Tavore begins its march into the eastern Wastelands, to fight for an unknown cause against an enemy it has never seen.
The fate awaiting the Bonehunters is one no soldier can prepare for, and one no mortal soul can withstand – the foe is uncertainty and the only weapon worth wielding is stubborn courage. In war everyone loses, and this brutal truth can be found in the eyes of every soldier in every world.
Destinies are never simple. Truths are neither clear nor sharp. The Tales of the Malazan Book of the Fallen are drawing to a close in a distant place, beneath indifferent skies, as the last great army of the Malazan Empire seeks a final battle in the name of redemption. Final questions remain to be answered: can one’s deeds be heroic when no one is there to see it? Can that which is unwitnessed forever change the world? The answers await the Bonehunters, beyond the Wastelands…
In Dust of Dreams, we returned to the main story and the first part of epic finale that will end in the tenth addition to the series. Unlike the previous novels, this ended without the resolution of nearly all the introduced story lines, but that was the intention. Some people don’t enjoy it when a book ends this way, but I actually like it a lot as a tool used for a series, as I’ve never minded waiting for resolutions to plots, and I’ve always preferred a continuance in main plot as opposed to separate “episodes” from book to book. One thing is for sure though, the use of it here hints at an exciting finale that will get right into the action.
Dust of Dreams was a real hot-and-cold book. When it was good, it was excellent. Once again, the action scenes were top notch, and there were sections where a lot was explained. It was especially satisfying to learn some of the schemes that have been working in the background since the first book, such as the activities of Shadowthrone and Cotillion and the other gods. Although a lot was still told in the most vague way imaginable, finally! some things began to click.
When the book was bad, however, it was shake-your-head and say “enough of this already” bad. Some smaller sections were random and beyond comprehension, therefore useless to the storytelling. I mean, being nine books through a ten book series, it should be impossible to finish a page and think “I have no idea what just happened.” There appeared to be a consistent lack of editing.
I think the author at one point ran into the problem of having too many characters, and when he felt they each needed to be checked on, they were doing nothing important at the time. In fact, a handful of events were nothing more than day-to-day activities of the soldiers. As we’ve seen before, this book did not need 1,200+ pages.
Also, the convergence events at the end of the book were not done as well as before. The action itself and the setting for the action was phenomenal, however the links between the converging characters were basically invisible/non-existent the entire way, creating a too-convenient deus ex machina.
The rating is three stars, but it was probably more like three and a half. Eighth of nine so far in the rankings. The sad part is, I’m more excited to have this done with than I am intrigued by what the ending might be. The series hurts itself by repetition, jadedness, and relentless addition, crossing the line from “a whole lot” to “too much”.
NEXT BOOK: The Guns of Avalon.
© 2013 FOTS Fantasy