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  1. #1
    Nobody in Particular kcf's Avatar
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    The Crippled God by Steven Erikson

    Well, I figure it's time to have a dedicated thread to The Crippled God now that it's out pretty much everywhere. I'll get things started with an excerpt from my review.

    While Erikson has been building to this conclusion for 10 books, books 8 and 9 (Toll the Hounds and Dust of Dreams, respectively) really start to lay out the true scope of the series. In Toll the Hounds we start to appreciate the price, the toll that is being paid by the everyman and woman in a tapestry of events designed to force a conclusion. In Dust of Dreams the resulting suffering of the price is so overwhelming that nearly all hope is lost. In my review of Dust of Dreams I said: “I can hardly imagine anything close to a happy ending for this series.” Erikson answers this in The Crippled God – he gives us hope, he gives us sacrifice, he gives us salvation. And yes, for some, he even gives us a happy ending.

    Erikson is often criticized for being overly nihilistic in his writing. Yes, things can be dark and yes his characters often come to hard times and wonder if there is a point to it. But to call Erikson’s writing nihilistic is to miss the point entirely. As I so often find with Erikson, quotes from the books say it much better than I could ever.

    Hedge was waiting, seated on one of the tilted standing stones. ‘Hood take us all,’ he said, eyeing Fiddler as he approached. ‘They did it – her allies – they did what she needed them to do.’
    ‘Aye. And how many people died for [it]?’
    …’Little late to be regretting all that now, Fid.’
    ‘…They used all of us Hedge.’
    ‘That’s what gods do, aye. So you don’t like it? Fine, but listen to me. Sometimes, what they want – what they need us to do – sometimes it’s all right. I mean, it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes, it makes us better people.’
    ‘You really believe that?’
    ‘And when we’re better people, we make better gods.’
    Fiddler looked away. ‘It’s hopeless, then. We can stuff a god with every virtue we got, it still won’t make us any better, will it? Because we’re not good with virtues, Hedge.’
    ‘Most of the time, aye, we’re not. But maybe then, at our worst, we might look up, we might see that god we made out of the best in us. Not vicious, not vengeful, not arrogant or spiteful. Not selfish, not greedy. Just clear-eyed, with no time for all our rubbish. The kind of god to give us a slap in the face for being such shits.’
    …’Ever the optimist, you’
    This exchange sums up so much of what the series is about, and it certainly isn’t nihilism – in fact I think you could say it’s the exact opposite. This really is a tale of doing the right thing, saving the world, and finding meaning in life along the way. Only Erikson doesn’t sugarcoat anything – he makes you take a good, long, hard look at yourself in the mirror and face the ugliness in humanity and civilization. And through all the bad, he still sees something worth saving.

  2. #2
    The Crippled God hits number 4 on the Sunday Times bestseller list in the UK!

    Patrick

  3. #3
    Registered User Aktunka's Avatar
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    Mine was supposed to arrive today through my Amazon Pre-Order but I got an email saying it won't be here until the fifth. At least my Wise Man's Fear arrived on time I want to read The Crippled God first, though.

  4. #4
    Nobody in Particular kcf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aktunka View Post
    Mine was supposed to arrive today through my Amazon Pre-Order but I got an email saying it won't be here until the fifth. At least my Wise Man's Fear arrived on time I want to read The Crippled God first, though.
    both are awesome in their own ways. Of course TCG is the end of a series. But you could easily read TWMF in half the time.

  5. #5
    Just finished this one. It was epic! If DoD was the setup, TCG was just one giant payoff. One thing that bothered me tho was how fast paced it was, unlike the slower TH and DoD. It reads like an editor went to town with it and removed half of the content.

    Seriously, I wouldn't have minded if Erikson had used a hundred pages or so for the epilogue.

    The Crippled God hits number 4 on the Sunday Times bestseller list in the UK!
    Nice.

  6. #6
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    I´ve read the first chapter and half the second but I´m reluctant to go on. I just don´t want it to finish...

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by wag_epal View Post
    Just finished this one. It was epic! If DoD was the setup, TCG was just one giant payoff. One thing that bothered me tho was how fast paced it was, unlike the slower TH and DoD. It reads like an editor went to town with it and removed half of the content.

    Seriously, I wouldn't have minded if Erikson had used a hundred pages or so for the epilogue.



    Nice.
    This is encouraging. I thought that aside from the first chapter and one awesome revelation at the end of chapter 2, it had a really slow start. I'm 22% of the way through now and it's gotten more interesting.

  8. #8
    Registered User Werthead's Avatar
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    The Malazan Book of the Fallen #10: The Crippled God

    A hundred and fifty thousand years ago an innocent god was pulled out of his home realm and scattered across the world. His spirit was chained to prevent him from destroying the world in his insane rage. Since then, the world has known misery and fear as, every few millennia, the Crippled God has tried to escape his prison.

    The former 14th Army of the Malazan Empire, the Bonehunters, now marches to resolve the problem once and for all. But for Adjunct Tavore and her battered troops, who have already crossed a world and toppled an empire, this will be their greatest challenge. The heart of the Crippled God has been imprisoned by the formidable Forkrul Assail, the most lethal of the Elder Races, who are tapping its energies so they may pass judgement and destroy humanity once and for all. The Elder Gods are playing their own game, one that will either result in the destruction of everything or merely the annihilation of the warrens of sorcery. And amongst the Bonehunter's most stalwart allies, treachery and doubt is growing.

    In a remote corner of a forgotten continent, the fate of the Crippled God and the entire world will be decided. Unthinkable alliances will be forged, ancient secrets will be unveiled and many will die before the end is reached and the Bonehunters fight the final battle of their desperate campaign.

    The Crippled God is the final novel in The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Steven Erikson's monumental epic fantasy series that began twelve years, three and a half million words and 11,300 pages (roughly, in paperback) ago with Gardens of the Moon. In that time Erikson has reached the heights of writing two of the very finest fantasy novels of the last decade (Deadhouse Gates and Memories of Ice), but there has been some growing scepticism over later novels in the series, which have tended to open up more confusing storylines then closing down or clarifying old ones.

    The Crippled God has been billed as the second half of Dust of Dreams, the previous novel, with Dreams described as all set-up and Crippled as all-resolution. That's something of an exaggeration: Erikson spends the first three hundred pages or so setting things up and clearing his throat rather than cutting to the chase, but at the same time that's less than some of the other books. We still get lengthy philosophical discussions between lowly grunts which are rather unconvincing, but frankly the people for whom that's a major problem will have dropped the series long ago. Fortunately Erikson is somewhat less obtuse in this novel than in any previous ones. On occasion he even resorts to - gasp! - actually telling us what the hell is going on. This new, more reader-friendly Erikson who respects traditional narrative techniques a bit more than previously takes a little getting used to, it has to be said.

    The Crippled God is also the book that stands alone the least well out of the series, understandable as it picks up after a huge cliffhanger ending. Erikson seems to enjoy the fact that he doesn't need to do (by his standards) as much set-up as normal and throws in everything including the kitchen sink and the kitchen itself into the mix. Previews and author interviews suggested that quite a few storylines and character arcs from previous novels would not be addressed here, which is mostly focused on the Crippled God, Otataral Dragon, Jade Statue and Bonehunter arcs, so it's a surprise that as many characters and events from previous novels (including some of Esslemont's) show up as they do, and most of the few who don't are at least mentioned.

    There's also a growing circularity to events. A reread of Gardens of the Moon and Deadhouse Gates before reading this one might be valuable, given the number of characters and events from the start of the series that are brought back into play here at the end (though events from quite a few other books, most notably The Bonehunters, are also heavily referenced). This appears to be Erikson's way of showing the readers that the Malazan series wasn't as incoherent and chaotic as it has often appeared, but there was a masterplan all along. He mostly pulls this off very well, with some storylines and characters which initially appeared very random now being revealed to be integral to the series.

    Erikson's biggest success in The Crippled God is with avoiding the nihilism that has occasionally crept into previous books by emphasising the overriding theme of the Malazan series, which has always been compassion. Heroism and self-sacrifice, amongst common soldiers and gods alike, abounds in this book. Erikson pushes forward the message that true heroism is reached when it is performed unwitnessed (which recalls a line from Babylon 5: "Here, in the dark, where no-one will ever know.") with no singers or writers to celebrate it later. There is tragedy here, as each victory only comes at a tremendous cost, but less so than in earlier volumes. With everything on the table - the warrens, the gods, the world, humanity and ever other sentient being on the planet - the Bonehunters and their allies simply cannot afford to fail, even if it means crossing a desert of burning glass, facing down betrayal or forging alliances with old enemies, and Erikson has the reader rooting for them every step of the way.

    His prose skills are as strong as ever, and in fact are strengthened by not having as much time to pontificate. There's a clarity to Erikson's writing here which is refreshing. There's still some knowing glaces, enigmatic pronouncements and other techniques apparently designed solely to drive fansites nuts for the next few years, but less than in prior books. Erikson's battle mojo is also back in full swing, with the engagements described with an appropriate amount of chaos and desperation.

    Character-wise, Erikson is back to being a mixed bag. Some of the soldiers are ciphers but others come through very strongly (Silchas Ruin's motives and actions are a hell of a lot more comprehensible now). The Shake in particular are much-improved here. Ublala Pung serves as great comic relief, and, whilst they don't appear as such, the presence of both Tehol and Kruppe are felt, lending much-needed moments of sunshine amidst the darkness. Erikson's choice of which characters to build up in depth and which to skim over during the preceding nine books makes a lot more sense here as well, as it's some of the best-realised and most intriguing that bite the dust here. Characters die, and, mostly, it hurts when they go. If one in particular doesn't trigger at least a lower-lip tremble amongst most readers, I'd be shocked.

    There are weaknesses. After all the set-up, the actual grand finale is appropriately epic (eclipsing even the gonzoid-insane conclusion to Dust of Dreams) and Erikson chainguns down a surprising number of still-unresolved storylines, more than I think most were expecting. At the same time a number of other side-stories are still not fully resolved (though most of these have already been earmarked down for Esslemont's novels and Erikson's future trilogies). Depending on the reader, this will be either okay or infuriating. More problematic is that we go from the grand convergence to end all grand convergences though the multiple epilogues to the final page in a very short space of time: there is little time spent on the aftermath and a few more mundane questions about what happened to certain characters are left unanswered. There is also the problem that, at two key points in the narrative, Erikson reaches outside the scope of The Crippled God to basically tap other characters from several books to do something vitally important to the resolution. It's not deus ex machina - it's all been set up quite well, in one case from nine books back - but it does feel a bit odd that everything comes down to relying on a character who is only in the novel for two pages.

    There's also a fair amount of scene-setting for Esslemont's next few books (particularly the next one due later this year, set in Darujhistan after the events described in The Crippled God) which is a little incongruous, though it does feel good to know that the world and the saga will continue. Erikson resolves enough that a primary fear - that this is merely Book 10 in a 22-book series rather than a grand finale - is averted, but not enough so that there won't be some grumbling.

    Particularly well-handled are the final events in the book. Some may accuse Erikson of sentimentality here - though he's never been as dark and nihilistic as say Bakker - as he gives a few characters some happy endings and closes the vast circle that began so long ago, but it is a fitting and affecting ending.

    The Crippled God (****½) marks the end of this crazy, awesome, infuriating, awe-inspiring, frustrating series, but fortunately not the end of this crazy, awesome, infuriating, awe-inspiring but frustrating author's career. The Malazan Book of the Fallen bows out in fine style. The novel is available now in the UK and USA.

  9. #9
    I admit, I wasn't sure he could do it. But that review gives me a lot of confidence that I will be satisfied.

    Reading it will be quite a moment for me - the Malazan series have been my favourite books for something like eight years (my entire adolescence). I know that the series was a bit erratic, and to my mind Erikson's vision sometimes exceeded his skills of execution - but I think there's something to be said for reaching and failing, when what you are reaching for is so grand.

  10. #10
    I am only about 25% done, but I was impressed when...
    Spoiler:
    Hood shows up and chomps a Forkrul Assail in the face. However, the story of the Spire and the heart of the Crippled God seems like a reverse "deus ex machina"... we have heart nothing about it unitl this book, and all of a sudden it is the major threat!


    that's all for now. I will also add that the prose in TCG is much more managable than DoD.

    Number Ten Ox

  11. #11
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    I was in tears a few times reading the crippled god. There are loads of revelations in this book which is nice but I want some answers to questions that arose during the epilogue.

    Spoiler:
    Crokus featured in the epilogue and he got his girl (apsalar/sorry) and everything was nice but wasn't Crokus killed by renagade Tlann Lmass a few books ago?

  12. #12
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    how is there not more talk about this book?

    This has been an amazing series that alot of people seem to have read and enjoyed at least part of. Its mentioned in almost any recommendation thread by someone and its characters are memorable and stand out against characters in other series.

    Have people stopped reading the series as the 7th, 8th and 9th ones have come out or have they just not gotten their hands on the 10th one yet? Personally I haven't had a chance to read it yet but it is the first one that I want to get as soon as I am able to.

  13. #13
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    I'm guessing people are feeling like me. I'm still reeling after finishing the last book. The pure scope of the series is breathtaking, subplots, ammount of "main characters", plots within subplots... Although we got alot of answers it still feels to me like there are about 100 questions I'd like to ask Eriksson. But its true, there has been to little discussion but since it's a book that takes awhile to read and given that it hasn't been out long maybe people havn't finished reading it=)

  14. #14
    I'm still halfway through because I don't have much time to read. It is awesome though. I've seen a lot of people on other sites say "wait, this book is out??" Since Erikson is pretty good with deadlines you don't hear a lot of people whining about when the next book is coming out (Rothfuss, GRRM) and Wise Man's Fear's release overshadowed The Crippled God since people bitched about it for so long.

    I honestly think delaying a book for several years helps first week sales. The complainers are a lot louder than the content fans, so everyone is aware of when these books are coming out.

  15. #15
    Saturn Comes Back Around Evil Agent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arinth View Post
    how is there not more talk about this book?

    This has been an amazing series that alot of people seem to have read and enjoyed at least part of. Its mentioned in almost any recommendation thread by someone and its characters are memorable and stand out against characters in other series.

    Have people stopped reading the series as the 7th, 8th and 9th ones have come out or have they just not gotten their hands on the 10th one yet? Personally I haven't had a chance to read it yet but it is the first one that I want to get as soon as I am able to.
    Yes, I stopped after Book 7. I have every intention of continuing and finishing off the series, but probably not for another year or so. I have so many books to read right now, and Erikson books are a massive undertaking for me. I read slowly these days, and don't have much time for it, so an Erikson book usually takes me at least a month! Book 3 took me ten weeks!

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