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Blood and Bone: A Novel of the Malazan Empire (Malazan Empire #5)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  1,526 ratings  ·  77 reviews
In the western sky the bright emerald banner of the Visitor descends like a portent of annihilation. On the continent of Jacuruku, the Thaumaturgs have mounted yet another expedition to tame the neighboring wild jungle. Yet this is no normal wilderness. It is called Himatan, and it is said to be half of the spirit realm and half of the earth. And it is said to be ruled by ...more
Paperback, 592 pages
Published May 21st 2013 by Tor Books (first published November 22nd 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Maggie K
I love the Malazan world, and all it's twisties and take me by surprise, it brings up things I had forgotten and re-uses them, it adds some humor to the mix, and always gives you an AH-HA moment, and there is ALWAYS manipulation upon manipulation. Free will is as solid as a snowflake.

Blood and Bone is no exception. There were parts where I was confused, and parts where I was scrambling through my Malazan collection trying to verify some memory I had.

Right off the bat, the timeline.
David Sven
Green. The colour of the Visitor blazing in the sky. The colour of the jungle known as Himatan. The colour of revenge, millennia in the making.

In this story, history comes full circle as we go back to Jakaruku. Back to the conflagration that imposed the crippled god on the world. Back to Kallor's realm. Back for vengeance as a second apocalypse hangs in the sky overhead.

I have some mixed feeling about this book. Firstly, I count about seven separate story arcs. I had a bit of trouble with contin
Story 3/5
The latest book in the Malazan World by ICE had me very excited. I was hugely impressed with the writing and story telling skills in Orb Sceptre Throne, so it was with great enthusiasm that I started Blood and Bone. I have to say that I have been somewhat disappointed. It has been a while since I gave a Malazan book 3 stars, this is 3.5 star but still, it is not a four.
The story itself has great potential. Set in a jungle environment, which was very interesting as I picked my brains try
There’s lots (well, ‘lots’ in context of the typical obscurity of a Malazan book) of useful information here, background wise. Butttt…. you know, the ending was such a kind of MREPHEPR (sound of balloon deflating) – and the buildup wasn’t anything spectacular – so put those two together and you have a pretty lackluster tale. I mean, seriously WHAT THE FUCK with the ending. I get how it’s beyond the ken of mortals (including the reader and all that) but mean…huh? I’m hoping that it’s just been so ...more
Christopher H.
Blood and Bone is far and away the best episode in Ian C. Esslemont's on-going series of "Malazan Empire" novels. For those who don't know, Esslemont and his "Malazan World" co-creater, Steven Erikson, have authored two series of books that are all interconnected and interwoven together to create, in my humble opinion, the finest fantasy series ever written. Erikson's series is ten books and is entitled "The Malazan Book of the Fallen, and with Blood and Bone, Esslemont has now completed five no ...more
William Bentrim
Blood and Bone by Ian c. Esslemont

I’m conflicted in writing this. In some ways it was one of the better fantasy I have read. In other ways it was one of the more confusing books I have encountered. A quest of sorts is taken by myriad groups for differing reasons. The book follows the parallel quests. I have to assume that anyone who read the books in the series that preceded this might have a clue as to each group and their goals. Sadly I was pretty clueless about the overall plot.

The book abou
...After the messy and disappointing Orb Sceptre Throne, this novel is a return to form for Esslemont. More focussed and less dependent on the story Erikson has already laid out, much more of Esslemont's own talent and ideas on the Malazan world shines through. I still liked Stonewielder better but that is a very personal preference. Looking at the quality of the writing and the way Esslemont handles the multiple story lines and large cast of characters, there is not much in it. Blood and Bone i ...more
3.5 - 3.75 stars

I really, really liked the previous book and so had high expectations for this one. While Esslemont continues to improve his writing and management of various story lines, the problem for me was that some of the plot lines in this book just weren't that interesting. The greatest disappointment was Jatal who started as a poet/philosopher of the horsemen clan and turned into lovesick whiner. Although this part of the story provided an insight in just how horrible the Thaumaturge so
"What was that all about", asked Dancer, rather irritated. "A warning? A warning about what?". Shadowthrone gave another negligent flick of his hand. "That? Oh, I just throw those out. It confuses them."
-- Blood and Bone

This book is pretty much what I expected from it. It shows us around in the world of malaz, introduces a few new characters (because the 200+ we already had weren't enough), characterizes a few more gods and introduces new and interesting ways to get killed.

Now, don't mistake thi
Yves Mathias
Excellent! This last installment of ICE's contribution to the Malazan series reads like an old fashioned adventure story. Compared to SE's take on the Malazan Empire the characters don't get lost in half-page-long musings and thought-trains about humanity, or war, or mortality but rather... have to fend for themselves in the dense dreamworld of Jacuruku, home to a myriad of weird and wonderful inhabitants. Hence, compared to SE, this is a rollercoaster. (Not to say I did not like those long, lon ...more
Way to go Ian!

Blood & Bone is, no doubt, the best entry in the "Novels of the Malazan Empire" subseries to date.

As for every Malazan Book it's hard to summarize the plot without resorting to spoilers so I'll just say that it's set in Jacuruku (once home of Kallor's empire) and that it involves Kallor himself, the Crimson Guard, shards of the Crippled God, Osserc, the goddess Ardata, the Queen of Dreams and a number of other cool things.

A lot of the action takes place in the jungle of Himata
Before reviewing, I will offer a note on the practice of publishers pushing back the release date on Kindle and ebooks in an effort to sell more hard covers, as has happened with Esselmont's new book. I prefer reading electronic books and would happily pay a "premium" price for ebooks from my favorite authors that overlaps with the release of the hardcover. However, when authors refuse to release *any* ebook (even a wildly overpriced ebook), it forced those of us who don't like paper to make mat ...more
This novel is very relentless and is about as close to a horror novel as possible while strictly within the fantasy genre. I like that this mostly takes place in a jungle as that allows for a very different, atmospheric experience than the typical fantasy book, and also is the source of much of the horror.

At about the halfway point, I thought this may be ICE’s strongest work to date, but then the relentless pace kept moving at the same level of intensity all the way through, and ultimately I bec
not as good as OST... but!

the depiction of jungle, its effects on ppl living or coming there... learning more of Crippled God, Kallor, Jacuruku, exciting Crimson Guard action and more and more :)))

wishing ICE the best in completing the final novel :P

P.S.: contains one of coolest death scenes I have ever encountered :P
This review is valid for the entire Malazan-series by Esslemont.

Not as good as Erikson's main series, but still: a very good spin-off with a lot of new informations and characters. I loved it and am very gratefull that Esslemont wrote these.
Charles Coyle
Probably the best of the ICE books so far. Some extremely competent absurdist humor and some really sweet scenes between the characters. Also veers into soul-crushing darkness, but any reader who's made it this far into the Erikson half of the series will basically be inured.


Technically speaking, I often evaluate fiction in terms of raw creativity. Characterization or plotting can make a book unforgettable -- but another avenue is pure unprecedented weirdness. So if an author can come up with
3.25 to 3.5 stars. A few plot threads that merit 4 stars. This book was long, and probably a plot thread or two too many. Enjoyable overall, but laggy in parts. I really liked seeing more of the Crimson Guard, as well as the Disavowed. Murk and Sour made a great pair. And Esslemont continues to have some wonderfully horrific passages in his books--the Thaumaturg experiments / defenses were creepy in an excellent way.

Got a little confused at parts where this book overlapped with Erikson's series
A variety of individuals and groups, each with their own plots, agendas and missions, all find themselves in a ruined mesoamerican-inspired city deep in an enchanted jungle, where most of the plots come to a head. Immortals fall, mortals are confused.

And so it goes. Another Esslemont book that takes the reader on multiple journeys and then tries to tie them all up at the end, not necessarily successfully.

This one really did need to have a couple fewer plotlines. There is only so many "tattered
There are a lot of problems with this book, and the foremost problem is that I really like the whole Malazan world and its unfolding history, and this book pretty much failed to deliver in a whole range of ways, and now I feel bad about not liking it more than I do. Esslemont is co-creator of this incredibly detailed, engaging and very real world which fantastically interesting and populated with fascinating characters. He surely deserves more respect than a mere 2 stars, does he not? Am I simpl ...more
So while whatever the hell was happening in Dust of Dreams and The Crippled God, and also in Stonewielder and in Orb Sceptre Throne, there were a load of people in a haunted jungle trying to do whatever it was they were trying to do in this book. Something to do with an immortal woman / god's daughter, something about stopping some people from calling down another god and something about something else. And the search for more fragments of the Crippled God. Who was being fought over at this poin ...more
Another good, not fantastic entry to the Malazan world. I feel bad rating this 3 stars, but compared to Erikson's books and even other ICE books B&B did not keep me spellbound like the others. If I wasn't comparing this to other malazan books (which to me is impossible) this would probably rate 4 stars.

The best part of this book is the setting. It is rare to find a jungle setting in fantasy books and I found the world a welcome change to the normal Roman / Nordic / Mediterranean civilization
I kinda felt as if this book really meandered for a long while for little to no purpose. Quickly ICE introduced a plethora of plotlines and gave them all a pretty common goal, reach the heart of the Himatan jungle. The problem is that, we never really know exactly why they want to get there. And with that problem, the whole novel unravels.

The writing is really top-notch though, ICE came a long way from the shaky start that was Night of Knives. It took him a while, but he's really starting to rea
c2012: FWFTB: Jacuruku, expedition, jungle, Himatan, raid. I do like the Malazan novels by Mr Esselmont. Somehow I find these a lot easier to follow than the others. This one has some really great new characters (and some old friends) and this time I enjoyed all the POVs. The humour was wonderful especially the verbal wars between Golan, the Commander of the Army of Rightful Chastisement, and Principal Scribe Thorn. I am still left with a slight feeling of having missed the 'essence' of the pl ...more
Mark Edwards
Complex and sympathetic characters, even the antagonists, make this fantasy novel a joy. The ending has some serious flaws but the journey is much more enjoyable than any the characters endure in Blood and Bone. The plot is complex with a number of sub-plots, most of which are resolved by the end of the novel but with one main thread that will lead into the sequel. The magic system of the Thaumaturg, a sort of biokinesis that controls the body, is very cool and ties in nicely with the title. We ...more
At this point, if you have read the other Malazan books by Esslemont then you have read many (or all) of the Malazan books by Steven Erikson and will read this volume. Those people will derive the most out of Blood & Bone (particularly if you have read Forge of Darkness by Erikson).

The Malazan series is a strange breed... namely because it harks back to the days when each volume in a series was self-contained. Theoretically, you should be able to pick any book by any author and read it in an
It took me some time to familiarize with the writing style of Esslemont. My introduction to the world of Malaz started with the books of Steven Erikson (naturally) and Esslemont’s Night of Knives was just something completely different. I found it not as accessible and not particularly inviting, although compared with Erikson, it contained far less philosophical banter and was more straightforward. But I think that it is not hard to see that Esslemont has developed his writing style tremendously ...more
A fantastic entry in the world of Malaz, co-created by the author, Ian Cameron Esslemont, and Steven Erikson, who has completed his ten part "Malazan Book of the Fallen" series of 10 books. It is not accessible at all (I think) to someone who hasn't at least read all of Esslemont's prior books. Knowledge of Erikson's books would make the experience richer, but may not be entirely mandatory.

This book sheds light on the ancient Ardata, who has been a mystery since the 2nd book in Erikson's series.
Andrew Wilson

In the western sky the bright emerald banner of the Visitor descends like a portent of annihilation. On the continent of Jacuruku, the Thaumaturgs have mounted yet another expedition to tame the neighboring wild jungle. Yet this is no normal wilderness. It is called Himatan, and it is said to be half of the spirit-realm and half of the earth. And it is said to be ruled by a powerful entity whom some name the Queen of Witches, and some a goddess: the ancient Ardata. Saeng grew up knowing only th

Kevin Svendsen
Another strong entry into the Malazan mythos by Esslemont. I quite liked the way he addresses concepts of 'the other' and western responses to 'primitives.' His conclusion, that mapping your own cultural preconceptions and concepts on to another society blinds you to truth about it, is presented well, and the reader isn't beaten around the head with 'western cultural imperialism sucks' as happens occasionally when this topic is addressed. He also does a nice job of showing that people are not st ...more
George Christie
another solid effort by ICE. I think this is his most SE effort. Some misdirection early going as to who the Warlord is, I enjoyed knowing only what the pot characters knew, made the reveals much more interesting than spending the book waiting for the other shoe to drop.
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IAN CAMERON ESSLEMONT was born in 1962 in Winnipeg, Canada. He has a degree in Creative Writing, studied and worked as an archaeologist, travelled extensively in South East Asia, and lived in Thailand and Japan for several years. He now lives in Fairbanks, Alaska, with his wife and children and is currently working on his PhD in English Literature.

Ian C. Esslemont and Steven Erikson co-created the
More about Ian C. Esslemont...

Other Books in the Series

Malazan Empire (6 books)
  • Night of Knives (Malazan Empire, #1)
  • Return of the Crimson Guard (Malazan Empire, #2)
  • Stonewielder (Malazan Empire, #3)
  • Orb Sceptre Throne (Malazan Empire #4)
  • Assail (Malazan Empire, #6)
Return of the Crimson Guard (Malazan Empire, #2) Night of Knives (Malazan Empire, #1) Stonewielder (Malazan Empire, #3) Orb Sceptre Throne (Malazan Empire #4) Assail (Malazan Empire, #6)

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“Who are you,’ it boomed, ‘to light a fire here in the depths of Himatan?’


‘Someone who would dare to do so,’ Pon-lor shouted down. ‘Think you on that.”
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