Yes, yes, I know. You’re sick of all things Malazan by now. Well, it’s my column and this just happens to be what I’m bingeing on right now. So there.
I picked up Night of Knives at the book signing we went to, and decided to give it a shot after Book 8. One of my Malazan-addicted buddies told me that he wasn’t as impressed with Esslemont’s writing as Erikson’s. I’m nearly done with it, and contemplating picking up Esslemont’s next book Return of the Crimson Guard in hardcover.
Night of Knives chronicles one night, the night that Emperor Kellanved and his partner in crime Dancer return and Ascend to the Throne of Shadow to become Shadowthrone and Cotillion of the Erikson books.* The book is 465 pages long, which given the time covered in most novels of a similar length (days to years to centuries), seems excessive. I worried about pacing mostly. I needn’t have. The novel is paced brilliantly, it rarely, if ever, flags. I was initially pleased with it, but got really sucked in about a quarter of the way into it. Esslemont’s characters are also very deep and engaging. Their pasts are revealed in flashbacks where important, or dialog, but not clumsily so.
I’m about twenty pages from the end, but I hate reviews that give away endings and such, so I’m not worried. And I don’t expect to be disappointed in the remaining pages. I’m pretty pleased with being able to get a little more background on Tayschrenn as well as Dassem Ultor, who figures HUGELY in the 8th Erikson book.
I would happily recommend this book to anyone, but certainly to anyone who has enjoyed the Erikson books. I do think you might be a little lost on the over-arching meta-plot if you didn’t know the history as established in Erikson’s books, but not to the point of not being able to understand or follow the book.
*One thing I always wonder with these books is, what is it like when people you have known, served with and under, grew up with… ascend to godhood? Neither Erikson nor Esslemont really explore that in great detail. Well, to a point. Most of the people who served with/under Kellanved and Dancer seem to view them as the same assholes they were before, just with more power. But I frequently wonder how the new Master of the Deck’s, Ganoes Paran’s, sister feels about her ascended brother.
In other news, I’m actually contemplating picking up some new DS games during the Xmas sales. So far I’m considering Ninjatown, Professor Layton, Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, Sonic Chronicles: Dark Brotherhood, Lego Batman.