Review of ~ Ian C Esslemont – Night of Knives (Malazan Empire #1)

7/10

This is a very good book!

Following two main character point of views. One being Temper – an old school elite yet uncredited serviceman for the Malazan empire and Kiska – a youth urchin spy with ‘the talent’ of magic somewhere within her. Kiska was very mysterious – a bit whiny and kept getting caught by people throughout her sneaking antics – but I think she was an omnipotent device to show the unfolding events. Temper was just a no fucks given veteran. The best parts for Temper was his lack of desire for recognition for the extraordinary feats that had been/ are accomplished by him – but also his flashback sections with Dassem Ultor (who people will know from the main series).

Some people do not rate this book compared to the Malazan: Book of the Fallen. I think if you miss this out then you are missing so many crucial layers that make the world the best envisaged in fantasy. I understand how it can knock Malazan die-hards off balance as they are used to going from 900+ page epics following 40+ point of views to a more linear story revolving around one chaotic night.

The mystique created by Dancer and Kellevand frequents throughout this novel and is truly fascinating. It is the story about one night, where magic, worlds, accession and races all discombobulate and at the same time collide. Hounds, warrens, zombies, storm-riders etc… This is a fast paced book. Well written. It might not showcase the linguistic acrobatics that Erikson sometimes presents – but does Erikson really know what all those complex synonyms and semantical equivalent words mean anyway?

I actually think if prior fans hadn’t already ascertained the diamond tinted loving of, and egotistical disgust of anything that isn’t Erikson Malazan – they may enjoy this story more as a new-comer.

Esslemont has recently released Dancer’s Lament which is revelled by all Malazan fans and carries on with the structural devices initiated here. I think this is a great first book from Esslemont and can’t wait to read the rest. He works the Malazan world well and creates wonder – let’s hope it continues. Peace x
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