This first encounter with Esslemont’s side of the Malazan world has sure been a bumpy ride. For every Temper there was a Kiska, basically *grins*. I don’t think I need to re-emphasise my dislike of the young naive character. She was an effective tool in Esslemont’s hands to help any info-dumping go smoothly and feel realistic, but, by all the Gods, she got annoying damn quickly.
My over-riding impression of the novel is that is was basically a novella to start with, and got padded out to fit a novel length. There isn’t a great deal of real action here, in terms of moving along the story, and the biggest scene by far is the ascension of Kellanved and Dancer, but I found myself rather confused about it rather than thrilled.
At times the prose was weak when it should have been exciting, with clumsy exposition and characterisation.
With that said, I did enjoy a lot of what was on show here. I loved the horror aspect of the novel - something that we haven’t seen from Erikson in the same way. Anything involving Temper, especially the flashbacks with Dassem and the final showdown between him and Jhenna, was just brilliant. I also enjoyed seeing an entirely different perspective of Tayschrenn compared to Gardens of the Moon - I join other people now in finding him entirely intriguing. Definitely more to come.
My favourite character from Night of Knives was definitely Temper - from his grizzled resignation to his flash of pride to the potential of what is yet to come. How about you? And why?
In summary, this will never be my favourite part of the Malazan series, but I have not been deterred from Esslemont’s future works. I think this was a slightly simplistic read in comparison to Gardens of the Moon - however, I do firmly believe that Esslemont can only improve going forwards, and I’m looking forward to Return of the Crimson Guard when we hit that as part of the re-read.
So, onto Deadhouse Gates.... I am apprehensive, pleased, excited, and already confused :-p
Thursday, 18 November 2010
Night of Knives by Ian Esslemont: