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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good addon for the Malazan series
I've read all Erikson's Malazans book's so far, and find them to be among the best fantasy books out there at the moment.
The only drawback is keeping up with the complexity and scope of it all. Keeping places,time and people(especially people) apart is a chore if it's a long time between reading the book's, and that's a problem in this book aswell.
Although...
Published on 13 May 2008 by L. W. Gulbrandsen

versus
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but
The good news is that this is definitely a book of the Malaz. Esslemont and Erikson are doing a good job of sharing their world. And we do get new pieces in the puzzle :)

The bad news is that Esslemont, while close to Erikson in style and narrative, does not have the same touch with his characters. Wry humour, witty exchanges or character motivation are...
Published on 12 Dec 2006 by R. Amundsen


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but, 12 Dec 2006
The good news is that this is definitely a book of the Malaz. Esslemont and Erikson are doing a good job of sharing their world. And we do get new pieces in the puzzle :)

The bad news is that Esslemont, while close to Erikson in style and narrative, does not have the same touch with his characters. Wry humour, witty exchanges or character motivation are lacking. I get the feeling that Esslemont should try and develop a bit of his own style, which does shine through in the passages at sea. Perhaps a collection of Malaz short stories?

It's not bad, trouble is that it is too close to Erikson while not being Erikson.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good addon for the Malazan series, 13 May 2008
By 
L. W. Gulbrandsen "Wild Norseman" (Oslo, Norway) - See all my reviews
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I've read all Erikson's Malazans book's so far, and find them to be among the best fantasy books out there at the moment.
The only drawback is keeping up with the complexity and scope of it all. Keeping places,time and people(especially people) apart is a chore if it's a long time between reading the book's, and that's a problem in this book aswell.
Although short in comparison to other Malazan books, and also somewhat confined in terms of places and people, Esslemont's Night of knives does expect you to be familiar with the Malazan universe. I would at least have read the first book of the series to get some understanding of things.

Other than that, this is an interesting sidestory to Eriksons main plot, also including characters we have met before. Fast paced and well written,
it kept me guessing at the outcome,(couldn't remember how things turned out from Erikson's books). An entertaining read, if not epic like the Malazan novels.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid debut, but lacking Erikson's humour, 3 Sep 2007
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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The Malazan Empire is expanding in all directions, consolidating its control of the Seven Cities subcontinent whilst its armies fight a grinding war of attrition on Genabackis against the Crimson Guard and their allies and an ugly stalemate develops on the continent of Korelri. The Empire's expansion has carried the glory and centre of attention away from the place where it was founded, the island of Malaz located off the coast of the Quon Tali continent. The empire was born on Malaz Island, but the empire has grown up and moved out of home. Yet, on the night of a mysterious convergence known as the Shadow Moon, this backwater city once again becomes the centre of attention...

Night of Knives is set in the same world as Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series, which now encompasses seven novels and three novellas with at least three more novels to come. Ian Cameron Esslemont and Steven Erikson created the world jointly in 1982 and expanded it over many years of gaming and storytelling. Whilst Erikson was published first - his Gardens of the Moon first appeared in 1999 - the plan all along was for Esslemont to expand on the universe with at least five of his own novels. As Erikson himself says, this isn't fan-fiction but a new chapter in the same world created by the person who created such characters as Caladan Brood and Anomander Rake, who have already achieved iconic status in Erikson's hands.

To start with, Night of Knives shows every sign of being a more viable place to start reading the overall Malazan series than Gardens of the Moon. Esslemont's style is more traditional and the plot is much slighter than in any of Erikson's books. However, Esselmont's rawer style (this is his first novel) soon tells, as he fails to set up several key events in the novel ahead of time. Thus some plot elements seem to emerge from nowhere. Whilst the book promises to tell the story of what happened between Surly, Kellenvad and Dancer on the night of Kellenvad's disappearance, this key event takes place off-page. We are also promised a major clash between the Malazan mages and the enigmatic Stormriders, but again this takes place off-page. The Stormriders themselves, a most fascinating race that was intriguingly set up in Erikson's novel The Bonehunters, are also given short shrift, making the ending of the book even more frustrating. In fact, the largest and most important revelation of the book will mean nothing to those who have not already read the main sequence (although it may clarify events in House of Chains). In short, you probably don't want to make Night of Knives your first stop in the Malazan series. If nothing else, the revelations about one character could seriously undermine some cunning plot misdirection tricks Erikson employs in the first and third volumes of the main series.

That said, Esslemont possesses a solid gift for creating interesting new characters. Temper and Kiska are likeable protagonists, and there is nice line in humour in the book, although it falls short of Erikson's much drier and funnier wit.

Night of Knives (***) is a solid first novel which does nicely expand on many plot elements hinted at in Erikson's novels. Esslemont can clearly write and it will be interesting to see what next year's Return of the Crimson Guard brings, which will apparently be both longer and will directly tie in with the main series (being the story of what happened on Quon Tali whilst the Bonehunters were sailing to Lether).
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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
By 
Mr. Kevin Powell (South Wales GB) - See all my reviews
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A promising start, 1 Aug 2013
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As a fan of the malazan book of the fallen series I was left in a rut once I finished the crippled god, I was happy to come across these sets of books by ice. I looked forward to learning a bit more about those events and characters that get a half a page mention in the mbof. I enjoyed the read and the story to NOK I just wish the book itself was longer, I understand that the book is based upon one night on Malaz island but after reading the 700 average pages in the mbof books I felt a little bit half full. But over all a good read and on to the return of the crimson guard I go.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not up to scratch, 17 May 2009
By 
A Johnson (Latmer, Bucks United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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If it wasn't for Steven Erikson this might pass, but he has set the bar high for quality and depth and this book while almost getting there once or twice, fails overal. There just isn't enough depth of character or detail to get you believing. Also the characters are set with almost zero historic context or positioning. To be honest if this was the night of the knives then i would prefer to imagine it from glimpses in the actual series....sorry
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a great start, 3 Jan 2009
By 
Mr. Iain Ormrod "ares_tor" (Jersey) - See all my reviews
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I admire Esslemont for his part in the creation of the Malazan empire and I was pleased to see his first book set in this world arriving. However after several bad reviews I admit to putting off reading Night of Knives as I was worried I would be disappointed. I have finally read the book and must say I am very critical. It must first be noted that he must be compared to Erikson, it cannot be avoided, which is a very hard billing to live up to. Erikson writing style and characterisations are of the highest quality and sadly Esslemont doesn't come close.
The story is split between two main characters, Temper and Kiska. It is Kiska's character in particular that really disappointed. She failed to grab my attention and I felt throughout the book that the motivation for all her actions was lacking. Considering the situations she found herself in, it really wasn't possible to believe the justification given that she would do anything to get off the island.
His writing style lacks the depth and the wit that Erikson has shown throughout the Malazan series. Esslemont, while writing in third person, has an annoying trait of making the characters ask themselves questions as part of the prose. Should I ask a question now? Maybe I should ask a second one too? This started distracting me from the story, in one particular sequence there were 9 such questions over two pages. The fact that I noticed this shows how the writing failed to draw me in to the world.
So is it all bad? Well, no. With experience Esslemont can improve, it is not easy to sparkle with your debut and his books. He also obviously has the mind and imagination to produce great ideas. I will be buying Return of the Crimson Guard and I would not be surprised if I am reviewing that more positively.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great prequel to the Malazan series., 5 Sep 2008
This is the very first of Esslemont's prequel Malazan novels, and here is a bi of the story.

This story tells how Kellanved and Dancer came about becoming the rulers of house Shadow and how Surly usurped Kellanved to become the ruler of the Malazan Empire, there are some other great characters with different stories, my favourite is Temper who served as a bodyguard to Daseem during the nemours they fought together we also have Kiska, a young woman with dreams of becoming a Claw and mage.

All of these characters find themselves pitted against each other on the night of shadows, a night where the realm of shadow is let loose on the people in Malaz City, anyone caught outside faces certain death from other worldly forces or from the assassins of the Claw who will try anything to stop Kellanved and Dancer from ascending to the throne of shadows.

I really enjoyed this book, it is well written and has a great story, however it just doesn't have the skill and writing style that Erikson's books have, but this book are still well worth reading and will be an able prequel in the Malazan series.

I hope this review was of some help to you.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent addition to the Malaz... how much?!, 13 July 2005
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This review is from: Night of Knives (Hardcover)
This is a good and enjoyable story that adds even greater depth to the Malaz world, written by a man who helped Steven Erikson develop said world in the first place. The style is very similar of course, and it's nice to have a novel that's not quite as huge as the Book of the Fallen ones so I don't lose too much of my life to reading it. My only problem is the price, 35 for a book signed by a man I'd never even heard of and a first time author?
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great beginning, 18 May 2008
By 
Adam Foster (Helsinki, Finland) - See all my reviews
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The Malazan world certainly is deep enough to support two writers, and I was delighted to find this book as enthralling as Erikson's earlier work. The style is different, but equally good and more suited to the presentation of a tighter storyline. I cannot say whether it works without being familiar with the others books, but if you like great writing and don't mind your brain working while reading, just get this along with as many of Erikson's books you can fit on your shelf.
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Night of Knives: A Novel of the Malazan Empire
Night of Knives: A Novel of the Malazan Empire by Ian C. Esslemont (Hardcover - 12 May 2009)
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