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review 2017-03-05 16:34
Night of Knives (Malazan Empire #1)
Night of Knives - Ian C. Esslemont


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot,, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Night of Knives
Series: Malazan Empire #1
Author: Ian Esslemont
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 308
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis: Spoilers

On the night of a Shadow Moon, when the division between our world and the world of the Warrens thins, Kriska and Temper have an adventure.


Kriska is a young thief who wants to join the Claws and get off of Malaz Isle. But nobody takes her seriously and even her aunt wants her to stay inside this night. Getting caught up in the battle between Kelenved & Dancer and Surly. Also involved in the mix is Tayschren, master mage, Surly's cadre of Claws and a group of cultists dedicated to Kelenved as a god. Kriska has to survive the night and all the terrors it holds.


Then we have Temper, a former soldier of the Malazan Army who has deserted. The desertion saved his life, as he was one of the Shields of the Swords, a might warrior protecting Dassem Ultor, the First Sword of the Malazan Empire, the mightiest warrior alive. The problem was, Surly doesn't want heros in her army and she has begun to purge them. Temper runs to Malaz Isle to become a lowly guardsman to survive. But others know his secret and on this night of Shadow Moon, Temper will be used once again, just as he was before.

My Thoughts:

Man, I had forgotten, or never realized, just how much foundational information Esslemont packs into this book. There is a lot about Dassem that I didn't realize was important but will definitely impact my read of future Malazan Book of the Fallen books. Chronologically this comes before Gardens of the Moon but I wouldn't recommend reading it before unless you're doing a re-read of everything Malaz.


There are some great battles here. Hounds of Shadows everywhere, monsters springing out of various Warrens, magical assassins fighting magical cultists, a hidden group of people trying to protect the whole Isle from some underwater threat, it all weaves together into one night of blood the likes of which the Isle has not seen in ages.


This was a short book, clocking in just over 300 pages. For a Malaz book, that is practically a short story. But as I was reading, it was dense. It had so much packed in that I felt like I had read a 500 page book by the end. I didn't mind that feeling at all, but others might and it is something to keep in mind if you decide to delve into this universe.


One downside, which is typical of the Malaz books, is that there are no real answers to any of your questions. Inferences, asides, round about explanations of Subject X which reveals bits about Subject Y. Nothing direct, nothing concrete. It is building a bridge in your mind. Esslemont gives us the materials and a rough architectural plan but it is up to us, the readers, to actually build the bridge and succeed or fail on our own. Some will see that as a weakness and others as a strength of the writing. I'm ok with it but have to admit, I'd prefer a bit more concrete facts baldly stated. Oh well, I'm not going to get it and neither will anyone who reads these books.





  1. Previous Review from 2010


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text 2016-11-30 23:45
The Expanse on Amazon Prime December 14th

 At least according to this article:


The Seattle Times


I guess my plan of waiting until I'd read another book to watch the show is going kaput. Never can tell how long things will stay on Prime. The Matrix was only available for less than a month. Of course, Grimm is still available after being there almost 2 years.




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review 2016-10-23 14:09
Caliban's War (Expanse #2)
Caliban's War - James S.A. Corey

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes. blogspot.wordpress.com by  Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: Caliban's War

Series: Expanse

Author: James Corey

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 583

Format: Kindle digital edition







The protomolecule is transforming Venus at a ferocious rate. So much so that everyone, Earth, Mars and Belters, are extremely worried about it.

At the same time someone has figured out how to weaponize the original piece of proto-crap into controllable super soldiers. All they need is children with completely compromised immune systems. But of course, things don't quite go as planned and everything begins to spiral out of control.


Now it is up to the crew of the Firefly, errr, Rocinante, a U.N. official, a Ganymedian soybean scientist and a Martian Marine to stop the badguys, save the kids and give humanity a chance to collect its breath before Venus takes everyone out.



My Thoughts:


Hot diggity! I am enjoying this series like it is a huge bowl of vanilla bean icecream. It just hits the spot. Thankfully this time around Holden isn't as much a dew'y eyed idealist and I liked this kick ass version of him better, even if he and his Belter lady didn't.


The number of viewpoints increased and I was worried that it would make things confusing or unstable. Never happened. Having the extra viewpoints of the soybean scientist, UN official and martian marine simply expanded the scope of the story.  I also felt like "Corey" summed up politics really, really well. A game to those who play.


By the end of the book Venus has become it's own player in the story and we see its opening moves. But of war, exploration or a game, we don't know. I am really looking forward to the next book when it comes through my reading rotation in about 2 months.


On the tv side of things, I figure I'll read "ahead" to the 3rd book before starting the tv series. I like the books enough that I'm actually hesitant to watch the tv show as it'll put limits of my imagining of the characters and everything. Once I watch the tv show, I'll be picturing those characters as I read the rest of the books. Sometimes that can be good but sometimes it can be pretty bad.

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review 2016-10-09 20:58
Do you remember that strange Robin Hood series on TNT?
Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France - Craig A. Carlson

I can honesty say that this is not a book I would have picked up if I had been in a bookstore.

Carlson book was part of the selection for this month’s My Book Box.

It is actually pretty good once it gets going. The first couple chapters were a bit slow, but once Carlson decides that he wants to open the diner the book does take off.

The success of the memoir is Carlson’s voice and his willingness to not try to disguise the fact that sometime he is an idiot. He is just as messed up as you are. He is a dreamer but he is a mess. And that is great.

The book will make you want to eat pancakes after reading. It will also make you want to visit Paris, but most likely, will not want to make you open a business in Paris. (Though it does bring a whole other level of understanding to an Asterix book) Carlson’s memoir does cover the period after 9/11 and the infamous Freedom Fries debacle.

Thank you, to My Book Box because otherwise I would not have read this charming memoir.

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review 2016-10-09 20:45
Holocaust (RosettaBooks into Film Book 28) - Gerald Green I know that this series was ground breaking in showing the Holocaust in its brutality. Therefore, the book is more important then my review indicates. Reading this book today, I have to wonder, why the women seemed to be blamed for so much in this book. The Nazi is pushed into serving Heydrich by his wife, the Jewish family stays because the wife wants to. When the women are not to blame, they are for the most part weaker than the men - crying and sobbing over the men more than once. I know that the purpose is to show as much as the Holocaust experience as possible, I just wish the female characters had been a bit more varied. The strong women are not given as much space (and one strong woman is blamed for her family staying), and one woman is only mentioned in passing. The book limits the roles of women to supporters of their husbands (and getting raped to save their husbands) to victims of sexual violence. That's it. I wanted more. Still the writing has vigor and is engrossing.
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