Tag Archives: book review

Book Review – Stonewielder by Ian C. Esslemont

This is the third book in the Malazan world. The previous ones by Ian are Night of Knives and The Return of the Crimson Guard.

Beware, this post will/may contain spoilers.

I’m now roughly 41% through the book (reading it on my Kindle) and I must say that the writing style is fairly similar to the Stephen Erikson books. OK, there’s a bit of change in how the chapters are ordered with the books.

The plots centers around the continent of Fist (also called Korel).Supposedly they would all come together in the end as there aren’t any additional books planned after that would initially appear to be in the same series, but here’s where we might be mistaken. As this book is not directly after The Return of the Crimson Guard (supposedly a few year after, but not directly, there are some gaps). Some of the important characters are common between the books.

http://the-void.co.uk/book/interview-damn-contrarian-steven-erikson-conversation-094/ if you want to know what’s happening after the Malazan Empire, apparently there’s going to be books about the huge Toblakai Karsa Orlong!

Back to the Stonewielder. The Mael priest is now the Emperor and has managed to persuade some highly influential (and old) folks to join the cause to do something about the black stain on the Malazan empire: Korel. It appears that they’ve pretended to be Malaz but have in fact been running their own little empire. Not happy.

There’s also the famous Stormwall, which has been mentioned quite often previously in the books but not too much has been written about the setups and what happens there. I believe Traveller hung out there for a while but he escaped. One side-plot surrounds a few Crimson Guard survivors that are prisoners/defenders on the wall, there are also a few of the Crimson Guard that have been crossing an ice wasteland and later they all meet up for some nasty fighting. Good times.

Kyle with the “normal” name, (he was not a Malazan empire recruit) is quite funny. I mean a guy named Kyle kicking some ass just feels odd after dudes like Greymane, Paran, or Whiskeyjack.

I almost like this book more than the Steven Erikson books, but that I think is because they are different. There’s not as much poetry in them for one, but maybe also because the Crimson Guard are bad ass!

After this one I decided to give Erikson’s Crack Pot Trail a go, but this is one weird book. There is a narrator who is very present. At least in the beginning. This is one odd duck, but I suppose after so many books in normal ‘Malazan’ style this ought to be refreshing.

 

Science-Fiction Books

Been reading a bit, is nice to get to read something other than fibre channel :)

1.) The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison

If you like Douglas Adams this should work for you too.
It’s quite old books (first one is from ’61) but the language does not feel archaic (like James Bond books for example). Slippery Jim is quite devious and goes through evil plots like some folks go through t-shirts. The book has a quite high tempo but sometimes I couldn’t see the logic/reasoning behind what DiGriz was doing, but maybe that is justified because he is ‘smart’, arrogant and a con-man in a universe where there are supposed to be none.
There’s a few of the books, the first one was quite short and it did feel like an introduction without starting when the main character was born but with jumping straight into the action.

2.)

Second one I’m on now is one about a Doctor at the “Hospital to end all hospitals”. Gigantic one in space somewhere that could accomodate people/species/aliens/whatever from everywhere. The series is called Sector General. First one is ‘Hospital Station’ which contains 5 shorter stories. I’ve only read the first one so far and it contains a bit of drama, not very interesting main character, yet.

The book so far has focused on Dr Mara’s treatment/feeding (basically not killing it) of a baby which could seem quite boring but honestly the baby/species is described in such detail and I just want to know more. Also older books (’60s and ’70s).

20110919 Update: Just finished the 5 short stories that constitute Sector General. Altogether quite pleasing and interesting stories. Will definitely give more of these a go in the future!

Fantasy Book Review – Steven Erikson – The Crippled God – Part 4

From about 2/3 to the end:
And as usual –  there’s lots of spoilers below. If you haven’t read the book yet, I’d advise you not to read the below.

Part1
Part2
Part3 

There is actually quite a lot going on about the First Shore.
The malazans found the kids, they’re running out of water. How are they going to cross this thing? It needs to be magical!
There the Tiste comes back (Nimander).
The queen goes crazy. But as with the High Mage of Shadow (where is he by the way? Still in Darujistan?) there are some lucid comments that tell quite a bit.
Where is Silchas Ruin going? Well we have the Draconus and then the Kilmandros stuff, maybe he’s going there for a visit.

The battle is like a vinyl slowly turning into a majestic battle – soon getting out of proportions I wager. OK, we got dragons. We got some army slowly crossing the deadly desert. When are the gods entering? =)

Tehol for the King! Oh wait. Anyway, He’s funny.

I immensely enjoy the short scenes in this book staring some of the notorious characters from previous books but those that don’t have a major part of the story (yet). I also enjoy that there’s no need to describe who they are. I mean of course when they first are introduced you may not remember who they are until they’ve been around for a while, and maybe still you don’t but at least the name rings a bell right?

I’m already at 70% and this is now chapter 22. Is this book not going to be 24 chapters?? My world is shattering!

*** Reached the end:

Turned out that there was indeed 24 chapters + two epilogues including the world’s longest poem. I like that the God wrote a book.
I’m not so sure I liked the few random happy endings at the end of the book. But it sure didn’t go through all of the characters which leaves lots of openings for more stories afterwards.

Now I can finally put this series to rest :)

Fantasy Book Review – Steven Erikson – The Crippled God – Part 3

Part 3 Review

Part 2
Part 1

I think this book is easier to read than the previous ones. For some reason I kind of like all the thinking, pondering and analyzing that the characters do. They grow on you?
I wonder if it’s just the book or maybe the Kindle assists me in reading;  I’ve been reading quite swiftly (in comparison to how fast I read one of the previous Malazan ‘real’ books).

Of course after 33% there’s a lot of stuff about the bonehunters. They’re walking through the Glass Desert. Hellian is sober and thinks they’re going to Y’Ghatan. They’re not.

Fiddler is quite depressing, most of them are but there’s a good amount of stubborn exceptions that cling on to life like super glue. Urb for example, the under dog. I hope he gets her.

Mappo starts walking through the desert, he meets a D’Ivers (all the butter flies that the Snake met explained) and he is saved by Badalle. Maybe Mappo will find his meaning when he meets these kids. First I thought maybe the kids would meet with the Bonehunters, maybe they still will. But supposedly Mappo is going to find Icarium. But where is he? It’s a bit disorienting – people are going along/across the desert but there’s not any good maps (there is even a world map online if you search for it).

*Update – Aha – it is the Bonehunters who meet the kids first (or at least that’s how I interpreted  the end of the last chapter I read).

The Shake’s fighting down at the breach is also a pretty cool part. Quite a few times in the books there have been a small amount of people holding off another force trying to get through a small opening. This sword-type Husk – there hasn’t been much about these in the previous books now has there?
Take your average fantasy book and then there’s this type of sword that slices through dragons like butter – how often would that be a pretty major chunk of the story? Like how the fabled Heroes go battle some Mountain Troll and get the sword back to it’s rightful heir? About all of them. Not in this book though!
Here the wielder finds it on the b(r)each where the big fight will be :)

Why

One personal reason why I’m writing these review posts as I read the book is because my memory sucks and I don’t feel like rereading the series again sometime soon :) 10000 pages is a lot.

Artwork

There’s some pretty awesome artwork for the Malazan books on deviantart – do check them out!

Kindle

Two more things that are awesome about the kindle: a) it is better in direct sunlight than in the shadow and b) there’s a built-in dictionary that works even offline.