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 digress.
In many 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.
And a 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.

1 comment:

Jesse said...

And you don't think Erikson attempts to be overly subtle? ;)


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