Enter into Neth Space and you will find thoughts and reviews of books and other media that fit the general definition of speculative fiction. This includes the various genres and sub-genres of fantasy, science fiction, epic fantasy, high fantasy, hard sci-fi, soft sci-fi, new weird, magical realism, cyberpunk, urban fantasy, slipstream, horror, alternative history, SF noir, etc. Thoughts are my own, I'm certainly not a professional, just an avid reader avoiding his day job.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Mini-Review: Blood and Bone by Ian C. Esslemont
Blood and Bone by Ian C. Esslemont (Indiebound, Book Depository, Amazon) is his
5th effort in the overall Malazan
sequence by Erikson and Esslemont and the penultimate book in the entire saga
of the two authors – excepting of course a few novellas, Erikson’s prequels, and
whatever the future brings. If that first sentence isn’t enough to convince
you, at this point these books are for the fans and those that have read all
the others. So, in many ways, this review is nearly pointless anyway…but I
ways, the writing of Blood and Bone
is the best effort yet I’ve seen out of Esslemont, an in my opinion it’s a huge
improvement over Orb, Sceptre, Throne
(my review, Indiebound, Book Depository, Amazon). However, in retrospect, while
the craft was technically superior to his other work, it seems that it does
suck some of the life out of the story. When reading the book I felt I was on
autopilot – if someone had asked me what happened 10 pages earlier or even if I
cared about what was going on, I don’t think I’d have had an answer for them.
Combine this with Esslemont’s insistence on being over-subtle (which is a kind
way of saying he doesn’t fully explain what should be explained to the
detriment of the story), and the book as a whole was failure. I think the
biggest take-home lesson is that I simply prefer Erikson’s writing to Esslemont’s.
This is unfortunate, because I think thematically the culmination of the entire
Malazan saga in the final book – Assail (Indiebound, Book Depository,
Amazon) – should be spectacular. But I have zero confidence at this point that
Esslemont will be able to pull it off to my satisfaction. But I’ll read it
anyway – I’ve come too far not to.
parting note – I did enjoy how the deadly slog of slow death that soldiers
experienced in this book was through a jungle. In Malazan we’ve seen that story repeatedly in desert environs – it was
a pleasant juxtaposition to see death by jungle in this book.