Coming on the heels of my first foray into the Malazan empire (Gardens of the Moon) is Blood Follows, a short novellaMore Reviews @ The BiblioSanctum
Coming on the heels of my first foray into the Malazan empire (Gardens of the Moon) is Blood Follows, a short novella revolving around events outside the main story. Blood Follows takes place in the town of Lamentable Moll in a region called Theft. Emancipor Reese has lost yet another job as yet another of his employers dies an ill-fated death. Mancy’s, as he’s called by his friends and wife, latest employer becomes the 11th victim to a serial killer stalking the streets of Moll. Having no recourse but to find another job as quickly as possibly–lest he face the wrath of his wife–Mancy answers a warded notice for a manservant to two eccentric necromancers, the scholarly Bauchelain and the large, quiet eunuch Korbal Broach.
I read this as a gateway story while I gear up to read Deadhouse Gates, which is the second book in this Malazan series. Bauchelain, Korbal Broach, and Mancy are only background characters in the main novels, as I understand, so reading about their misadventures before the rest of the novels doesn’t really break anything in the story. This novella proves to be much like Erikson’s main offering, but on a smaller scale. Despite the short length, the book introduces quite a few cast of characters. However, given the short nature of this story, they’re not explored with the same depth. In fact, you pretty much have to make up your own mental image of most of the characters in this novel aside from the three men mentioned. There are some characters who beg for a deeper exploration while some just fall totally flat. That may or may not be a problem depending on your approach to short stories.
The plot, while basic, is entertaining enough. The description for this book makes it sound much more dramatic than it actually is, such as saying there was chaos among the people when that’s hardly noted at all in the story. There were ghastly things going on in the story, but nothing ever really felt urgent. I didn’t feel the sense of tension in this story that it was trying to convey. In fact, the murders almost feel secondary to what’s going with the characters in the story, and one of the big reveals in this story just seemed pushed out there without even a real hint that this is what was going on. Mainly, the interest in the story comes from readers meeting the necromancers and their new manservant, and the witticism found throughout this story. The joking nature gives this a sort of dark humor feel which is wildly different from the mostly serious endeavor that is Gardens of the Moon, and for that, I found this story enjoyable....more
Libby "Baby" Day is the only surviving member of a brutal murder that claimed her mother and her two older sisters. Her brother, Ben, stands accused oLibby "Baby" Day is the only surviving member of a brutal murder that claimed her mother and her two older sisters. Her brother, Ben, stands accused of the murders--based largely on Libby's testimony, which she admits early is a lie, and his uncooperative behavior--and has spent twenty-five years in prison for the murders. Libby has spent these years living on a trust fund created by sympathizers for her while living in a perpetual state of self-destruction. However, her sympathizers have largely moved on to other tragedies, and Libby's money has dried up. In desperation, Libby begins helping a group known as the "kill club" to investigate the circumstances surrounding her family's death and her brother's possible innocence.
The murder of Libby's family has left her ambitionless, lost. She doesn't want to work and doesn't want to "try" to lead anything that might resemble a normal life. She's spent the past decades barely bothering to keep her own utilities on. She's grown into a selfish woman who tries to use her misfortune to continue her sorry existence. While this might not endear her to many readers, I can understand her turning out as she did. Everyone doesn't grow from their tragedies, or at least, they don't grow in ways that would be deemed positive. Libby doesn't have many redeeming qualities, but her life view, her attitudes, were bred out of a necessity to protect herself. It isn't until she starts investigating her family's deaths at the behest of the kill club that she starts to actually have an aim in her life as she works past her painful memories in her own way.
This is the first book that I've read by Gillian Flynn. I have watched Gone Girl finally, but I still haven't read the book. I started Dark Places on a whim after two of my friends flailed over the book. I also remembered catching a quick glimpse of the end of the movie, and curiosity got the better of me with this story. (I've since watched the whole movie.) This started a bit slow, but it finally hit a stride with me a few hours in. This book is told from three different perspectives--Libby's, her mother Patty's, and her brother's Ben. The latter two tell the story from the past on the day of the murder. What a journey this story is. Aside from the mystery aspect, there are so many things being touched on here from abuse to poverty. It's a dark, depressing story revolving around people who didn't have much going for them in 1985 and certainly don't have much going for them now. This also captured the sensationalism that follows cases like this fairly well.
I follow a popular-ish case in the media involving a man who was convicted of his ex-girlfriend's murder in 1999 when they were seniors in high school. He recently had a hearing to see if he'd be granted a new trial after 16 years in prison--a decision that the judge is still working on after five days of testimony in early February. Parts of this book made me reflect on just how true it feels to real life as far as people putting a sensational slant on such a tragic event. I have watched supporters of the man convicted of this murder express dismay toward the family because they still maintained the system worked. It hasn't been as nasty as the portrayal in this book, but this book certainly captured the culture of amateur sleuths while showing how painful/traumatizing this can be for families that live through these tragedies. People often forget about the victims or try to pooh-pooh their feelings with cases like these.
Narration wise, the narrators for this book did such a wonderful job with the story, and I liked that there were three different narrators (with one additional narrator for a single chapter told from a completely different character's POV, which I felt could've been skipped or written into either Libby's or Ben's parts) for each of the characters. However, I can't rate this higher than a 3.5 because some parts of this plot was just too unbelievable for me to let go. A perfect storm led up to the murders with one terrible thing piling up one after another, which I largely accepted, but then the big reveal at the end had me shaking my head like: "This book is doing way too much right now with this."...more
Last year, the first book in this series, The Cloud Roads, was easily one of my top reads for 2015. Wells presenRead more reviews @ The Bibliosanctum.
Last year, the first book in this series, The Cloud Roads, was easily one of my top reads for 2015. Wells presented a wonderfully creative world with races who fall outside of human norms. This year, I said that I was going to continue this series. I want to finish up the main trilogy as well as the short stories in preparation for the upcoming fourth book in the series, The Edge of Worlds.
Readers are introduced to the Raksura in The Cloud Roads, a shapeshifting race that possess both a draconic form and a groundling form. They are a matriarchal race of people with complex court laws. In this story, we meet Moon, a Raksura who’s spent most of his years living among groundlings after the destruction of his court when he was a young child. Because of Moon’s ignorance of much of the Raksuran mores, following him through this book is perfect. The readers experience the world as Moon experiences it, learning as he learns, which means that nothing feels like filler.
Book 2 picks up almost immediately after The Cloud Roads. After an attack on the colony, the Cloud Indigo court moves back to the place where their lineage started, a mountain-tree nestled in the forest. Upon arriving there, they soon find out that the tree is dying because its heartseed has been stolen. This leads them to seek out the assistance of another Raksuran court. The neighboring court is unable to provide them with another seed. However, they are able to help the colony scry for their missing seed which leads Moon on a dash to retrieve it.
I am still charmed by this story of the Raksura and the world they live in. Wells introduces new and fascinating races such as the waterlings in this installment, continuing this flair that feels fresh and original. Raksuran politics continue to be a complex weave of laws. While in-fighting was common in the last book, in this book, they have to contend with another court, which sheds even more light on how Raksura are expected to behave with one another. Readers learn how tenuous the ties between various courts can be and how the smallest things can be perceived as insults and power plays to force a rival’s hand.
I appreciate that Moon is still learning and still wary, even though he is now the consort to the sister-queen of Cloud Indigo. Readers are allowed to continue this journey with Moon as he shares his uncertainties, triumphs, and losses. There are always new things for him to learn. He doesn’t automatically want to know everything about Raksuran politics. In fact, much of the culture makes him uncomfortable. He concedes that he should be learning things about the court, but he continues to live outside their societal norms for a consort. It doesn’t help that the mentor-like person who brought him to the court is allowed the freedom to do as he pleases due to his age, which Moon is emulating in his own way. Moon becomes very aware of how he differs from other consorts when visiting the neighboring court. Where Moon is quick to protect what is his, he finds that other consorts are little more than arm decoration. Moon has never lived a pampered, spoiled life, and he doesn’t intend to start living one (but he does give a little when it really counts).
Wells also introduced more magic into this world. There are tastes of it in the first book via the mentor-caste in the Raksuran court who can heal, have visions, and perform augury (more like divination/scrying than reading omens due to birds’ flight patterns). In this book, groundling magic is introduced, especially as one character struggles with the fact that he’s no longer a mentor but is starting to exhibit strange powers more like groundling magic. However, the magic in this world is subtle and downplayed, and it never detracts from the Raksura who are the heart of this story.
Chris Kipiniak continues to narrate this series, and I don’t think there’s anything that I can say about his narration that I haven’t said in my review of The Cloud Roads. His characterization of Stone and Moon continues to be two of my favorite voices in the series. I may not be overly impressed with his female voices, but I’ve gotten used to how he voices women.
I enjoyed this book maybe only slightly less than the first. There’s a bigger spot in my heart for the first one. Maybe because of the way it completely enthralled me with this new setting and characters, but this book is a fitting continuation of the story that balances politics, action, and story in the world the Raksura inhabit. A part of me wishes I’d read these books sooner, but another part of me is glad that I started later, as there is plenty more for me to read and I don’t have to anxiously await a next book....more