Review: Night of Knives, Ian C. Esslemont

Rating: 4 out of 5

It’s been a while since I immersed myself in the Malazan world, and while I remembered it was a complex environment, it was a bit of a surprise just how complex and enjoyable it was. Returning to this now, I figured the title would refer to one specific event—which it did, and it was very enjoyable to read about this ‘Night of Knives’ where Kellanved and Surly meet each other.

Yet, I wasn’t that taken in by all of the main characters here. Temper was particularly annoying, putting his nose (feet) into things it didn’t belong while managing to make every situation worse. The would-be assassin girl, Kiska, was a bit more to my liking but her ability to break every promise she made didn’t endear herself to me. The fisherman, little as he did participate, was cool though, and Artay also made for an interesting point of view. Lubben’s appearance was also heartwarming. Edgewalker is also present to offer some witty ripostes.

Despite me disliking, to a degree at least, both of the major characters, the story itself was great. The confrontation, Surly against Kellanved, is something that is part of the Malazan lore since the very first book. As such, looking at those events now, with the assistance of some magery and assassin-combat, was a great continuation into the world. However, it should be cautioned that as this book covers just one day and night, if the accession of Empress Laseen does not interest the reader, they’d be better off avoiding the volume.

Overall, a solid part of the Malazan books, but not the most outstanding member of the group.

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