This is not a review. This is me gushing about the fact that The Bonehunters did not disappoint. However, you should avoid reading this series, if you are not interested in the following:
It Has Dragons:
The book had two ghosts who haunted lizard skeletons, were compulsive liars, had a secret agenda, and were actually dragons! This is how they talk:
“Beauteous mistresses, curvaceous, languid, sultry, occasionally simpering…”
It Includes Practical Concerns:
An assassin who would be wearing concealed weapons on her person,
“a score of aches from knife pommels and scabbards attested that they remained strapped about her person…”
It Could Make you Think:
You’d be reading and suddenly, there’d be words that just make you stop and read them over and over again!
“A single god, no matter how benign, is tortured into a multitude of masks, each shaped by the secret desires, hungers, fears, and joys of the individual mortal, who but plays a game of obsequious approbation.”
It Rewards its Readers:
“And gods run when they see a Bridgeburner.”
If you have stuck with this series so far, then you will reap the rewards with one-liners and zingers like the one mentioned above.
It is Unique:
This is a world where gods are as good as their worshipers.
“Mess with mortals, Poliel.” he said, wheeling his horse round, “and you pay.”
Old deities fall and new ones ascend all the time. There are layers upon layers of complications that you won’t even grasp at until much much later. This is why, the books can still manage to surprise and delight readers re-reading them for the 7th or 8th time!
Oh, the Humor can Earn you Stares if Read in Public:
Part of it comes from insane situations. To be able to inject humor into situations that’d otherwise leave a reader weeping is one of Erikson’s amazing qualities. You might think that a person about to die cracking a joke is unrealistic but this is military humor. As we follow soldiers who see things that would drive any other person insane, they use this kind of gallows humor to keep themselves functional. The other part comes out of love — or hate — for the characters.
“Saw your mouth moving — some kind of spell or something? Didn’t know you were a mage…” “I’m not. I was saying, “I hope this works”.
It has Well-Written Female Characters:
Firstly, there are a lot of them. Just in this book, there was the Empress, her Adjunct, the Adjunct’s lover, a drunk captain who was bad at her job when sobered up, the trouble-maker soldier who loved throwing knives at people, the deity who was going around possessing people, the assassin who murdered most of the empress’ team of elite assassins by herself, and so on. They’re just there…within the story, just as you would find them in real life.
You Will Feel Pain:
Erikson can clue a reader into the significance of what is happening and how it is related to what has already happened with just one sentence. This one made me cry:
“You fight for the Wickans and for the Khundryl Burned Tears this night. We choose to witness.”
If you love epic fantasy, then the MBotF is one series that you just cannot miss! A recent story on Medium puts it beautifully, “Trust me, I tried to make it sound less pretentious. But I gave up. It is pretentious. It is audacious in its ambition. And that’s a good thing.” You might want to check it out because it also includes a Steven Erikson interview!