Literature: The Crippled God

Only the fallen may rise again.

The Crippled God is the tenth and final book of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, following Dust of Dreams.

Tavore Paran leads her Bonehunters further into the Glass Desert, on their way to reach the Kingdom of Kolanse on the far eastern shore of the continent, where the Forkrul Assail have captured the heart of the Crippled God and are about to conclude their nefarious plans. Yet still the Adjunct seems determined to march her army to certain death without giving them so much as a reason for it. Mutiny seems inevitable as soldiers die by the dozen from thirst and heatstrokes. Rumors of imminent betrayal only serve to worsen the mood, and unrest is stirring among the Perish Grey Helms, the Adjunct's longest standing allies.

The Forkrul Assail, meanwhile, find themselves facing another foe — one of whom they can make neither rhyme nor reason. Only able to guess the plans of his sister, but trusting in her nonetheless, Ganoes Paran is tenatiously chipping away at the Forkrul Assail's patience.

In far-away Kurald Galain, the Shake have rediscovered the lost city of Kharkanas, the ancient home of the Tiste Andii. They find themselves facing the Tiste Liosan, who have set their eyes on conquering the shore of Lightfall, which divides the realms of Light and Dark, and reinstating themselves into power.

Even the Gods must choose sides in the climactic battle to come, though even among allies there is mistrust and hidden agendas. And it seems the dragons are intent on roaming the world once more.

This book provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Back for the Finale: Hood arrives at the scene and starts kicking ass and taking names, starting by biting off the face of a Forkrul Assail — and them commenting on the bad taste.
  • Book Ends: Gardens of the Moon started off with a view over Malaz City and a description of the weather vane atop Mock's Hold; The Crippled God ends in exactly the same place and with another description of the vane. Additionally, Fiddler — as an old retired soldier — tells a boy how the world always needs more soldiers, echoing and revising Whiskeyjack's advice to young Ganoes Paran in Gardens of the Moon to only ever become a soldier if he fails at everything else.
  • Central Theme: Compassion.
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: It is easier to count the Characters that make it to the end alive. The Crippled God also gives the explanation on why the series is called Malazan Book of the Fallen.
  • Climactic Battle Resurrection: When Karsa kills Fener, the god of war, he inadvertedly drenches the killing field in blood and several undead allies suddenly find themselves alive again. Some of them just in time to be killed for real. The irony is not lost on them.
  • Death World: We get a glimpse of what the hold of Omtose Phellack, the Jaghut Warren, looks like from the inside. What follows is a hilarious sequence of stuff trying to kill the handmaiden every step of her way through.
  • Depopulation Bomb: The opening of Arkhast Korvalain, the Forkrul Assail Hold, is supposed to work like this, ridding the whole planet of humanity.
  • Grand Finale: The last two chapters consist mostly of climactic battle sequences, and both chapters are well above 100 pages long each. Then there are not one, but two epilogues detailing the immediate aftermath.
  • Green Aesop: Human vs. Nature is one of the big themes of the book.
  • Horse of a Different Color: The Ve'Gath serve as mounts for Gesler, Stormy and Kalyth, and are even capable of changing their physique to better suit that purpose.
  • Hyper Competent Sidekick: Felash's handmaiden is revealed to be a serious badass when she is sent into the Hold of Omtose Phellack. She has to fight for her life every step of the way, because everything there is trying to kill her. She makes it out alive, though, and brought a ship with her to top it off.
  • Keep Reading: Played for Laughs. Brys Beddict receives a letter from his brother and asks one of his aides to read it aloud, in case it contains vital information. Bad idea. In typical Tehol Beddict fashion, the letter begins with "Dearest brother, have you slept with her yet?" Cue sheepish silence in the command tent. But since the damage is already done, Brys bids his aide to continue.
  • Last Fertile Region: Estobanse province is the last fertile spot in all of Kolanse. The Forkrul Assail specifically spared the province to be able to feed their watered down bretheren. The rest of Kolanse fell victim to a decades long draught and is almost completely uninhabitable — not that the Forkrul Assail left enough people alive to populate the region.
  • The Magic Goes Away: This is the way Errastas, Kilmandaros and Sechul Lath plan to bring back the time of the Elder Gods. They free Korabas, the Otataral Dragon, and since all life is magic, every place she crosses becomes devoid of both. Errastas reasons that even if Korabas is stopped on time, the world will be too damaged to function as it does.
  • Meta Guy: Meta girl in this case. Badalle, the child poet of the Snake comments on the attitudes of some readers Erikson has observed.
    Do not flee us. Do not flee this moment, this scene. Do not confuse dislike and abhorrence with angry denial of truths you do not wish to see. I accept your horror and expect no forgiveness. But if you deny, I name you coward.
  • Metronomic Man Mashing: Hood takes out a high ranking Forkrul Assail this way — at least until it's arm falls of and he has to beat him to death with said arm while delivering a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • More Dakka: Paran's sappers are crying of joy when they are given munitions, but soon discover that the devastating Cussers are still kept for them. They realise their Fist's plan as ordered, but when they find a loophole to get their hands on said Cussers, the result is a lot more explosive than intended. They practically nuke the enemy into submission.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Onos T'oolan remembers calling Logros out on transferring the title of First Sword from him to Dassem Ultor, effectively causing the clusterfuck that Dassem's quest of revenge against Hood eventually becomes. With the T'lan Imass escaping death through the Ritual of Tellann, Hood wanted to get them for it, and giving Dassem the title of First Sword, intended as an honour, gave Hood a handle on reaching through him and making him pay in their stead, thus making of Dassem the God of Tragedy.
  • Restart the World: The ultimate goal of the Forkrul Assail is to rid the world of all humans, to start anew. The Elder Gods Kilmandaros, Knuckles and Errastas have similar plans that might even result in the ruination of the entire planet. They don't really care what exactly happens, as long as they get to rule the ashes.
  • Save the World Climax: The Crippled God is healed and freed and no longer poisons the flesh of the sleeping godess whose dreams shape reality. The complete extinction of humanity is also averted, because the Forkrul Assails' plan doesn't come to fruition.
  • Son of a Whore: Koryk, who is revealed to having grown up in a whore house. What he took away from it was that innocence is sacred, as the whores used to try to protect the children growing up among them, and a deep dislike for priests and religion, as the local priests used to make a show of stoning any sex worker they came upon on holy days.
  • Urine Trouble: In a lighthearted moment right after the mourning ceremony for the fallen, Bent sees fit to empty his bladder on Hood's boot. The Jaghut army of fourteen promptly ridicule him for it.
    Hood: This is why Jaghut choose to live alone.
  • Walking Wasteland: Rather, a flying wasteland. Korabas, the Otataral Dragon, is the antidote to magic, and since all life is magic, any area Korabas crosses becomes devoid of it and thus a wasteland. Korabas herself never asked to be what she is.