Friday, July 18, 2008

Review of Blood Follows

Blood Follows is the first of the novellas Steven Erikson has written taking place in the Malazan universe. While the novels in the "Malazan Book of the Fallen" series contain complex plots and a huge cast of characters, Blood Follows focuses on a small set of characters with a much simpler plot. In fact, the main character in this book, Emancipor Reese, and his employers, the necromancers Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, do not even make an appearance until the third book in the series. Although reading the third book adds a little bit of depth to this story of how Emancipor comes to be employed by the two dark sorcerers, it is not necessary for enjoying this book. With its whimsical dark humor and the rather endearing main character, this is a fun book that is a lot less work to read than a regular novel in the series.

Emancipor Reese has always been unlucky, particularly when it comes to employment. When mysterious murders begin occurring in the city of Moll, one of the victims is the man Emancipor has been working for. Emancipor's shrewish wife orders him to begin looking for a new job before the bells of mourning have stopped tolling for his previous employer. Instead of looking for a new job, he heads to the local pub and has a few drinks with some men who inform him where he can find a job ad for a manservant.

Emancipor stumbles to the post containing the job ad and examines the job requirements. In spite of the death ward in the corner of the paper (that he might not ignore were he a bit more sober), he decides the job is perfect - it requires travel, meaning he would have to leave his wife and children behind much of the time. Emancipor marches over to the location given for applying and is hired by Bauchelain. Little does he know what he has gotten himself into...

Blood Follows is a charming little story containing humor, intriguing hints of the larger world Erikson has created, some interesting characters, and outright creepiness toward the end. This is a very quick read at 120 pages with somewhat large print and a few illustrations. I don't consider myself to be a fast reader at all, but I read this book in about an hour.

Although I enjoy the full-scale novels in the series, they are often longer than necessary and a bit of a chore to wade through at times. This book has none of those problems - it is light, easy to read, and far better written than the longer books. Words are not wasted and it does not require that you keep track of a vast number of characters, world events and history, and plot threads.

Blood Follows is a fun, darkly humorous tale set in the Malazan world. It offers a more intimate perspective on Emancipor Reese, Bauchelain, and Korbal Broach, but is also set apart from the storyline in the series enough to please newcomers to the series.


Other reviews:
Realms of Speculative Fiction


ThRiNiDiR said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the book Kristen; the writing is a lot tighter than his novels and the humor is always on spot...shorter prose forms helps him keep his shit together :)

Great review, tnx for the link.

Kristen said...

Thanks Thrinidir. I read this one before a few years ago and needed a refresher since I now have The Healthy Dead too. It was actually more enjoyable reading it for the second time. The writing is much tighter without all the extraneous sections the novels have.