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Night of Knives by Ian C. Esslemont
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You know the feeling that after a book ends, you feel sad, because you don't want to leave the characters and the world yet? I had that after finishing 'The Crippled God', the last part in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson. I had three novella's about Bauchelain and Korbal Broach to entertain me a bit longer, but now I have no Steven Erikson works left on my shelves to read. Enter Ian C. Esslemont, Steven Erikson's friend, who, together with him, designed the world of these books. And he has written books too, taking place in that same world. So, I didn't hesitate and picked up the first one of his 'Novels of the Malazan Empire'.
According to LibraryThing this novel takes place chronologically before everything in the Malazan Book of the Fallen (including the Bauchelain novellas). It is one night in Malaz, the city that gave the empire its name. It is the night of a Shadow Moon, when the line between warren and real world is very thin. It is the night of a fight for the throne, but between whom and for what throne? Some known characters are in this novel, such as Kellanved, Dancer and Surly, and some new ones, like Kiska, a young thief who'd do anything to get out of Malaz and Temper, an old soldier who is just trying to keep his head down as guard of the Hold.
Esslemont is no Erikson. Not in plot nor in writing style. But if you keep that in mind, this is a pretty enjoyable Malaz novel, that takes you back to the world of warrens, Jaghut, magic, gods, House's etc. The fact that this is the story of one night is pretty interesting, and keeps the book short (a measly 298 pages in my mass market paperback edition). I was actually craving more, more about the warrens, more about the factions fighting in this one night. However, it was still good to be back in Malaz, and I am glad that more is still being written by both Esslemont and Erikson in this world. Four out of five stars. ( )
  divinenanny | Nov 14, 2013 |
Malaz Island, the island that named a great empire, is little more than a sleepy back-water until this night. This is the night of a Shadow Moon, a once in a generation event that threatens everyone on the island as the borders between realms become thin. Demonic hounds roam the night and it is rumored that the Emperor himself will return this night to the chagrin. As factions gather within to draw battle lines an ancient presence begins its all out assault on the island and its people.

Night of Knives is written in the world of the Malazan Empire drawing on events mentioned in Gardens of the Moon. The story is told from two vantage points: Kiska, a young and naive thief, and Temper, a war weary veteran. The two points of view contrast nicely. I really enjoyed reading Temper's perspective, especially the flash backs to his old army days, though the Kiska sections became annoying quickly, which was probably the point. It is not the most well written novel I've read. Some parts felt like they were padded to add length to the book while others felt rushed.

This book is primarily for people who are already fans of Erikson's series and they should enjoy being filled in on history only lightly touched upon in the books. I'm not sure I would recommend it to someone otherwise. ( )
  Narilka | Nov 12, 2013 |
A closer look into the world of the Malazan Empire is revealed in Ian C. Esslemont's Night of Knives. Unlike the books written by Steven Erikson (of which I am a huge fan) this book was tightly paced while maintaining an epic feel. The characters are as always grey and the world is a dangerous place. I cannot reccomend this book enough to anyone looking for an epic ride and a very well fleshed out world that seems to only get bigger in each volume. ( )
  Kelsomar | Apr 5, 2013 |
One thing I can say is that Esselmont does a good job of capturing the feel of Malaz that Erikson has already created. I didn't really feel like I was reading someone else's work (even if the word potshards doesn't appear once in this book). As far as a collaborative work goes "Night of Knives" is a winner. ( )
  finalcut | Apr 2, 2013 |
This is a good book. It isn't a great book. It sorta falls in the middle.

What I liked: the pace of the action. It's pretty steady throughout the book. I also like how the plot is centered around a single night in Malazan history, a very important night indeed. I liked the main characters (Temper and Kiska) and thought they were explored fairly deeply. The ending was satisfactory on the whole, seeming to wrap everything up nicely. I absolutely loved Temper's backstory, and his relationship to the Malazan Empire as revealed through the tale.

What I disliked: too often I found myself going, "do what?" There seemed to be a lot of moments in the story that seemed random and mismatched. Some of the encounters and Kiska's travels through the warrens seemed unnecessary to tell her tale. I was often confused whenever someone reached out and snatched her from behind and tied her up. What side are they on? Who are they? Why are they here? There wasn't a definite Side A vs. Side B struggle going on here; it often seemed like pure chaos, and it was hard to keep track of. And yes, I think Kiska got captured more times than a Robert Jordan novice smoothes out her skirts in a single volume.

That aside, there can be a positive said about the confusion. It was a confusing night, the Shadow Moon. Kiska was clueless, and so were the readers that followed from her perspective. As she learned what the hell was going on, so did we. So ultimately, that worked out. Esslemont just isn't as intriguing a writer as his co-conspirator in the Malazan world, Steven Erikson. Steven confuses us too, but his narrative makes it forgivable, most of the time.

So all in all, I enjoyed it and it was a quick read. If you're a Malazan fan, it's a must read. If not, skip it......
( )
  Texas_Reaver | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
If you have made the commitment to undertake The Malazan Book of the Fallen, it will in all likelihood be the most challenging and rewarding reading experiences you will ever undertake. I couldn't imagine, after having tackled that endeavor, you wouldn't want to take some time to read this small, enjoyable, and enriching entry into the Malazan Empire.
added by sdobie | editSF Site, Dominic Cilli (Oct 1, 2009)
 

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Ian C. Esslemontprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Erikson, StevenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553818295, Mass Market Paperback)

It gave the Empire its name, but the tiny island and city of Malaz is now a sleepy, seedy backwater port. However, this night things are a little different. This night its residents are bustling about, barring doors and shuttering windows. Because this night a once-in-a-generation Shadow Moon is due and threatens the good citizens of Malaz with demon hounds and other, darker, beings…

And it was also prophesied that on this night the Emperor Kellanved, missing for all these years, would return. As factions within the greater Empire battle over the imperial throne, the Shadow Moon summons a far more alien and ancient presence for an all-out assault upon the island. Indeed, the cataclysmic events that happen this night will determine the fate of the Malaz and of the entire world beyond.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:26 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

It gave the Empire its name, but the island city of Malaz is now a sleepy back-water port. This night its residents are barring doors and shuttering windows - a once-in-a-generation Shadow Moon has arrived and threatens to bring among them demon hounds and other, darker beings.… (more)

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