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.
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.
Iron Druid series has become my own special
sort of cotton candy – it’s light, fluffy, I know it’s bad for me, but I enjoy
it a lot anyway. While it’s billed as series, it’s more of a serial to me – the
books have much more in common with episodes than actual novels. And there is
nothing bad about that, except that treating like a series rather than a serial
will probably mean it ends soon than it should.
Anyway, Hunted (Indiebound, Book Depository,
Amazon) is the most episodic entry in the series so far. It picks up directly
after the cliffhanger ending of Trapped
(my review, Indiebound, Book Depository, Amazon) and consists entirely of
Atticus and company fleeing from a few Greek and Roman gods trying to kill
them. Yes, it still has the same humor, the fun wish-fulfillment action and all
that. And of course the ending is something of a cliffhanger for the next
episode, Shattered, which I’ll happily consume when it is released.
My only real
complaint (keeping things in the context of my opening sentence), is that
Hearne does a truly terrible job of writing the point of view of Granuaile.
They read like a 13-year old girl’s private essay of life where she is trying
like hell to sound profound – or perhaps a 14 year old boy’s imagining of such.
They do not read like the point of view of a grown woman with full agency and
independence from male imagined feminine ideals. If the points of view are
going to be so bad – keep it to Atticus and the dog.
these books are nothing more than fun asides from someone who lives in Arizona
and sets events in places I’ve been. I’ll keep reading and enjoying, but keep
in mind the context of my enjoyment if you’re looking for a recommendation.