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Stonewielder (2010)

by Ian C. Esslemont(Favorite Author)
4.03 of 5 Votes: 5
0593064445 (ISBN13: 9780593064443)
Bantam Press
Malazan Empire
review 1: Esslemont has improved drastically as a writer in this book. The pacing is better, the characters are more well-rounded and interesting, the scenes are less vague, and the confusing usage of pronouns has lessened. There are still some instances of where the author needed something clearly understood, and then explained things in an awkward or unrealistic fashion through the use of thoughts and dialogue. But this is a minor quibble. Overall, the vastly improved writing has a big impact on my personal enjoyment as there are fewer distractions.Now what about the story? Not too shabby, but there are issues. Some of the characters and their stories are fantastic. The everyday Malazan soldiers, with the primary viewpoint of newcomer Suth, are fantastic. The rebel Malazan... mores are also great, with great attention, complexity and detail given to Ussu, the loyal mage who uses terrible powers for what he feels is the greater good. Other strong storylines revolve around the Chosen who guard the Stormwall, the journey of the Crimson Guard, and the Shadow Warren travels of Kiska, “Jhevel” and “Warran” (even if this thread is disconnected from the rest of the novel). And the characters of Ipshank and Manask are great additions to the Malazan world, even if they are basically support and comic relief.Unfortunately, the storylines surrounding Ivanr and Bakune don’t do much. Both are potentially interesting characters and the threads start off well, but ultimately don’t accomplish much in the end, either in terms of actual or emotional impact. Even worse, the characters of Greymane and Kyle are relegated to sideline characters by not giving them POVs (to make them more enigmatic?). While this could work, it means that when we finally get their viewpoints when they make choices at the end (a wide reaching choice for Greymane and a personal choice for Kyle), there is no resonance or emotion due to zero connection. This also results in a lot of unanswered questions in regard to the Stormriders and The Lady.Despite my mixed reactions to the storylines and characters, there were some incredible scenes, such as the naval battle, the army’s landing on the shores, and the final sweeping chapter. And ultimately I enjoyed the vast majority of the book, even if some of the potential resonance was lost.4 stars overall.
review 2: I don't believe a single book from the Malazan world, whether from Ian Esslemont, or Steve Erikson could ever rate less than 5 stars. Lets face the facts that both these Canadians (interesting how much good sci-fi and fantasy comes out of our little country.) are amazing writers in there own right, and having come together has showcased their brilliant world building talents. But the buck doesn't stop there. each character in the Malazan world is crisp clean and 3d. You may not like a character or two, but you can't help but believe in them. less
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Typical Malazan book. Either Eriksons or Esslemonts. Maybe too much of good endings.
Excellent ! A good read indeed. :)
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