Monday, July 14, 2008

Yorkshire Soul Could Fail At 'A Book A Week' Shock !

It is this man's fault, blame him entirely. That bloke is Steven Erikson, author of the mighty Malazan Book Of The Fallen series. In January I thought I would take volume 6 of the Malazan series to read on holiday, but on starting the book I realised that I had lost touch with the plot and characters. Eighty or so pages in to The Bonehunters I realised that I wasn't understanding anything that was going on, so I thought I would read the preceding volume again to refresh my memory, but with the same problem.

I ended up taking volume one, Gardens Of The Moon, to Spain with me and re-read that, and then all this year I have been making my way steadily through Erikson's incredibly well plotted and fantastically detailed fantasy world vision.

The thing about these books is, each one is bigger than The Lord Of The Rings, Erikson just does not do short books, and yet the plot weaves and dances through the book, it is rare that the books appear over wordy (although I'd have to admit that The Bonehunters could have been trimmed a little). The numerous plots, sub-plots and distractions are taut and intense, you have to pay attention, a character or incident that may have seemed transitory in volume two may suddenly take on world shaking significance by volume five.

Erikson also delights in the wholesale slaughter of his characters, this is no Harry Potter series, there appear to be no guarantees that any character, no matter how central or seemingly important, will reach the end of the book. I remember literally gasping when Coltaine was killed towards the end of Deadhouse Gates, the Wickan general was one of my favourite of all fantasy literary creations, but no-one is forgotten in Erikson's world, and his death echoes through volume six until its drawn out and blood soaked climax.

So, here we are in week 29 of 2008, last year I managed to get through about 75 books in the year, this year I am behind the pace at only 28 books read so far, but it is Steven Erikson's tomes that are to blame, had I been reading normal books I would be well ahead, as this shows....

1 Steven Erikson novel = 3 Tom Clancy's or 5 Kathy Reichs' or 7 Terry Pratchett's or 15 chick lit books

(Photo by Aiden Moher, Aiden meets Steven Erikson)

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