The Malazan Book of the Fallen has become so complex that it’s very difficult to keep all of the storylines in order. It’s totally worth the effort, but these books are not exactly the sort that you can just pick up and read quickly. The Bonehunters is no exception and I found myself jumping back to the reference of who’s who quite a bit.
I struggle to write this review because so much that I want to say would be spoiler material for people who are beginning the series. But what I can say is that The Bonehunters was awesome! The Bridgeburners and some of their history and what made them who they are has been a theme throughout the series. In The Bonehunters we get to see something similar happen to a new troop of soldiers. It’s painful, it’s tragic, it’s tense, and gripping for the reader to be drawn into the events that lead these soldiers to become who they will be.
There are many other storylines that are equally interesting. Characters continue to unfold and we get an even better idea of how some of the storylines are interlinked. This keeps you tightly tied to the series. Erikson is not afraid to kill characters in this series. We’ve seen it before and it doesn’t seem that he’s done with it yet.
Two things really stood out in The Bonehunters. I especially liked the development and personality growth of Shadowthrone and the Rope. I also really, really liked the way that Erikson describes the hidden camaraderie and rivalry within military organizations. My favorite thing is that he’s quite willing to let his heroes be small guys who are not famous leaders.
A brief plot summary is impossible without spoiling The Bonehunters. There are battles, there is betrayal, there is humor, there is triumph, and most importantly the series takes some big steps forward towards the massive cataclysm that we have been inching towards since the Malazan saga began.