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Mr. Kevin Powell (South Wales GB)

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Night Of Knives: A Novel Of The Malazan Empire
Night Of Knives: A Novel Of The Malazan Empire
by Ian Cameron Esslemont
Edition: Hardcover

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book that could have been really great, 10 Jun 2007
Was this book just a copied idea sanctioned by the originator? Not at all! It turns out that the entire pantheon of the Malaz universe is a joint creation between two writers, Erikson and Esselmont.

So it's a book of which I expected much, but which unfortunately delivers something less. I wonder whether I would feel as disappointed if I have not read Eriksons books first. They are all superb! This inevitably colours any comparison between the two writers. But I agree with the other reviews. The pace is fast and furious and it's a lively read. I enjoyed it enough to know I'll read it again at a later date. But I'll reserve judgement on Esselmont as a writer until after another book in the series.

So why the disappointment? For a start, its far too short. It might only portray the events of a single night, but that is no excuse for lack of depth. Eriksons writing contains lots of interwoven threads; there are only really two in this creation, where there could have been several more. I cannot be more specific because that might spoil the read.

There are plot errors. The best example is in the way a character arrives and departs the novel: by sea, and with some Imperial clout. This is a device to introduce the reader, and some of the books characters, to the fact that something is happening at an Imperial level in the relative backwater of Malaz Island. This then drives the principle players forward. However, some of the other personae clearly arrive by magic, and when the seafarers identity is resolved, it's obvious that this individual has more than sufficient authority to have done the same. Then there is the matter of why Kellanved did not use the T'lan Imass for protection!

Finally. Should either author ever read this review (unlikely as it is!) I have a request. There's a better book waiting to be written to start the world of the Malazans explaining how Kellanved discovered the existence of the empty Throne of Shadow, and the means of possessing it. plus: how Surly took advantage, how the Claw destroyed the (better) Talon, the domination of the T'lan Imass by Kellanved, I could go on and on, and it would be such a fascinating read.....
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