Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Books: Dust of Dreams

Yesterday evening I finished reading Dust of Dreams, the latest book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson. The Malazan books have been some of my favorites over the last few years, while I read through years of the previously released books in the series eventually catching up to current last year with Toll the Hounds.

The books and series are somewhat uneven. The settings and characters change frequently often to things that seem completely unrelated and irrelevant until eventually things come back together. Sometimes that 'coming back together' doesn't even happen in the same book, which can be frustrating. But when you look at the series at a whole, and some of the individual books, there is a lot to reward your patience.

Unfortunately, despite being the 9th book in a 10 book series, Dust of Dreams fell into the 'random people and no sensible backstory' trap and ended up being quite disappointing. It took much longer to read then other books have because I found it confusing and fairly boring overall. It also leaned much more heavily on symbolism then previous books and that only added to the feeling like I didn't know what the hell was going on. Which was crazy since I had read Toll the Hounds fairly recently and immediately before this book had re-read books one and two in the series (and greatly enjoyed the re-read), so I was familiar with what had happened up to that point.

I suppose part of the problem was that after Toll the Hounds my expectations were pretty high for Dust of Dreams, even though I knew that it went back to a group of characters that are not my favorites.

Now, the good thing was that the book ended strong, very strong, with a cliffhanger leading into the final book. My hope is that Erikson can resist the urge to add new characters and plot lines in the last book, focus on the characters that we've had close to ten thousand pages to grow to love, and wrap things up. Or, he might decide to write about 7 new characters wandering through the desert slowly starving to death while reciting poetry. Cause, you know, that worked so well in Dust of Dreams.

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