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For Whom the Bell Tolls
Ernest Hemingway
Tad Williams
Sorcerer & Gentleman
Elizabeth Willey
Toll the Hounds: Book Eight of The Malazan Book of the Fallen
Steven Erikson
Deadhouse Gates - Steven Erikson I always seem to be right in the middle with these novels. There's some things I hate and some things I like, and although I don't love them I still want to push forward through the series.

First I'll start off with things I enjoyed about this book. Erikson's world is large and detailed, complete with many different races, religions, and cultures, each very well done. I appreciate good world building in fantasy and the Malazan series definitely has that. Many of the characters are unique and fun to read. I'm especially pleased by some of his female characters. It's difficult to find an author who can accomplish that.

With that said, I'm wishing and waiting for him to give these great characters more depth, but it never happens. There's a skeleton of a character but no development. We never hear about these characters' hobbies, likes and dislikes, quirks, secrets. There's no background information, no family, no past relationships, no inner reasoning for doing anything. It's like these characters were plopped into the world simply to go from one action scene to the next. Because of this, I can't feel anything for them. It saddens me.

Then there's the names and amount of characters. Jesus Christ, the names. It's bad enough having hundreds of characters to keep track of, but when it becomes hundreds of characters with long names impossible to pronounce and spell, let alone remember, it makes the reading experience frustrating. There's so many things happening with so many people. I made the mistake of waiting a few months between the first book and the second. Don't do that. This is a series you have to read straight through in order to remember who is who and what's going on.

An entertaining book and I've started on the third, but I'm still hoping, eventually, Erikson cuts half of the characters out and focuses instead on making the characters he has left better.