Stonewielder by Ian C Esslemont
Even after all of this time I still get frustrated and baffled that people don't seem to realise that an author is not beholden to his readers. What frustrates me even more than that is when a reader feels that they can judge the book on a perceived lack of content; unless the book is the finale in a series and the author has died, you have very little ground to attack the author from, accusing him of leaving story threads undone, for all you know they're coming up in the next book.
The real lesson to be learned here is never go onto forums full of passionate fans of a series.
However there are other lessons, more focused on our task at hand, that can come from reading a book like 'Stonewielder' by Ian C. Esslemont, the third in his 'Malazan Empire' series of books that run in and around the main 'Malazan Book of the Fallen' series by Steven Erikson.
I do want to agree with some aspects of the criticism I have found myself reading; Esslemont is not as accomplished a writer as Steven Erikson is. His storytelling ability and editorial control is simply not as refined as what goes on with his writing partner. The overall handle on the story is there, similar to Erikson, but Esslemont is not able to draw as much out of every sentence as Erikson is.
Having written that leaves me feeling a little frustrated, because I dislike having to compare authors. But in a situation like this – where two authors are both writing in the exact same sandpit – it is both unavoidable and necessary.
A Malazan book, no matter the author, is always going to have a) a huge load of story-threads and b) a handful or more story-threads left hanging at the end of the novel. If you haven't worked this out yet, then you're simply not paying enough attention, and if you are expecting otherwise, then you simply don't learn; don't learn that it isn't up to you to decide what story-threads are resolved when.
Stonewielder picks up the story of Greymane and Kyle and the unfortunate history Malazan has with the Korel subcontinent. There is a lot of unanswered story here, about where the Stormriders come from and why they can't seem to turn left or right (you'll see).
But additionally there is also a lot of new ground covered, opened up and explored. While there are questions surrounding the origin of the Lady, her story is covered rather well, and with a few revelations brought about through the closing chapters of the book really, leave you surprised.
I think that Esslemont has the character driven story down pretty well too. Everyone I was introduced to through this book had the real feel of a Malazan character. From those in command down to the lowly soldier, I felt that Esslemont had the same handle on his characters that people so commend Erikson for. I specifically enjoyed Suth and Devaleth, the way that they were introduced and woven through the story.
In fact, the way that certain characters were left behind on missions, sent on other missions, while others went to the front and they went to the side; it all wove in and out really well, telegraphing the importance of a particular storyline and diminishing the importance of another even while it kept your interest and attention.
Stonewielder is probably not a book to pick up not having read others, like 'Return of the Crimson Guard', 'Dust of Dreams' and 'The Crippled God', but it is a great addition to those books, complementing them as well as being an enjoyable read all on its own.
Joshua S Hill, 8.5/10
Enter the universe of Malazan, where many a story unfolds and strife is easier to find than water in a well. After finishing their business elsewhere, the Malazan Empire finally focuses its eye on the Cult of the Lady, a fanatic religious cult that has spread among the lands of Korelri. Their numbers dwindling, the Stormguard keep up their valiant effort to keep Korelri safe from the abyssal Stormriders, as they have for hundreds of years. Yet while all their attention must remain on defending the Stormwall, Malazan forces are moving behind their back, plotting, conquering.
Stonewielder is a stand-alone novel of the Malazan Empire, part of the world created by Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont. In the typical Malazan fashion you're introduced to more than a dozen storylines throughout the book. This, in addition to the elaborate world with all its countries, factions, religions and magics, makes it a very hard read. You follow characters throughout the world that all have something to do with an event, in this case, the eradication of the Cult of the Lady and the nonstop attacks by the demonic Stormriders. Because you get so many viewpoints on these events, you really get to experience war and uprisings like never before. Sadly enough the overdose of storylines makes it very hard to sympathize with the various characters, time doesn't stand still after all and you only get tid-bits of the action and struggles they experience. It's fun how you're looking at major events from all these angles but the lack of depth and compassion means that you don't care for either side. The sporadic moments of humor and philosophical arguing were the only things that kept me interested a little, along with a craving to know what the hell is going on. Like I said earlier, you get only little information, and all the how's and why's are a real mystery. Countless things happen, and you can grasp from the way the people react and how it's told that a major event is taking place, but you just have no clue at all what's going on! I'm sad to admit that without this huge sense of mystery I would've put this book down very early on.
Koen Peters, 6/10
All reviews for: A Novel of the Malazan Empire
Night of Knives
A Novel of the Malazan Empire: Book 1
The empire is named for the tiny island and city of Malaz, now a sleepy, seedy backwater port. Tonight however, a once-in-a-generation Shadow Moon brings demon hounds and d...
Return of the Crimson Guard
A Novel of the Malazan Empire: Book 2
The return of the Crimson Guard could not have come at a worse time for an empire exhausted by warfare and weakened by betrayals and rivalries.Into the seething caul...
A Novel of the Malazan Empire: Book 3
Enter the universe of Malazan, where many a story unfolds and strife is easier to find than water in a well. After finishing their business elsewhere, the Malazan Empire fi...
Orb Sceptre Throne
A Novel of the Malazan Empire: Book 4
The tumult of great powers colliding has passed and the city of Darujhistan and its citizens can at last get on with what matters: trading, bickering, politicking and enjoy...
Blood and Bone
A Novel of the Malazan Empire: Book 5
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 another expe...
A Novel of the Malazan Empire: Book 6
Tens of thousands of years of ice is melting, and the land of Assail, long a byword for menace and inaccessibility, is at last yielding its secrets. Tales of gold discovere...
Have you read Stonewielder?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Stonewielder reader reviews
7.3/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen
Bled dry by interminable warfare, infighting and bloody confrontations with Lord Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, the vast, sprawling Malazan empire simmers with discont...
Chronicles of the Black Company
Darkness wars with darkness as the hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must. They bury their doubts with their dead. Then comes the prophec...
On the world of Kuf, the Macht are a mystery, a seldom-seen people of extraordinary ferocity and discipline whose prowess on the battlefield is the stuff of legend. For cen...
Shadow Ops series
Army Officer. Fugitive. Sorcerer. Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with magical talents. Untrained and panicked, they summon storms, raise the d...
The Rigante Novels
Born in the storm that doomed his father, Connavar grows to manhood among the mist-covered mountains of Caer Druagh, where the Rigante tribe dwell in harmony with the land ...
The First Law
Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body...
The Ascendants of Estorea
The Estorean Conquord has stood for 850 years. Its Advocate, Herine Del Aglios, knows that she presides over the greatest civilisation in history. But she wants more. And i...
The Drenai Novels
The Legend Druss, Captain of the Axe: the stories of his life were told everywhere. Instead of the wealth and fame he could have claimed, he had chosen a mountain lair, hig...
The Aspect Emperor
R Scott Bakker
A score of years after he first walked into the histories of Men, Anasurimbor Kellhus rules all the Three Seas, the first true Aspect-Emperor in a thousand years. The masse...
Chronicles of the Raven
The Raven have fought together for years, six men carving out a living as swords for hire in the war that has torn Balaia apart, loyal only to themselves and their code. Bu...
Prince of Nothing
R Scott Bakker
A score of centuries has passed since the First Apocalypse and the thoughts of men have turned, inevitably, to more worldly concerns... A veteran sorcerer and spy seeks new...
The elves have fled to Calius, seeking to escape the overwhelming power of the demonic Garonin. A desperate last stand in their own dimension saved the race, at the cost of...
Legends of the Raven
The Raven travel to a new continent in search of mages to help the ruined college of Julatsa rebuild . . . and find themselves in the midst of an ancient curse - a curse th...
The People of the Black Circle
Robert E Howard
Conan the Cimmerian: he rose from boy-thief and mercenary to become kingof Aquilonia. Neither supernatural fiends nor demonic sorcery could oppose the barbarian warrior as ...
Priest of Bones
'Sixty-five thousand battle-shocked, trained killers came home to no jobs, no food and the plague. What did Her Majesty think was going to happen?'Tomas...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Forced by necessity into a life of piracy, Senlin and his eclectic crew struggle to survive aboard their stolen airship as the hunt for his lost wife continues. But the Tower of Babel is proving to be as difficult to re-enter as it was to escape.Hopeless and desolate, they turn to a legend of the tower, the mysterious Sphinx. But help fro...
The Wolves of Winter
Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive in the endless white wilderness beyond the edges of a fallen world. L...
Paris was supposed to save Hallie. Now... well, let’s just say Paris has other ideas. There’s a strange woman called The Chronometrist who will not leave her al...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...