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Title: Blood and Bone
Series: Malazan Empire #5
Author: Ian Esslemont
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
Prince K’azz, leader of the Crimson Guard, takes his remaining forces to Himatan, a jungle ruled by Ardata, Queen of Witches. He makes the journey to prevent Skinner and the Disavowed from recovering a fragment of the Broken God. Skinner has a history with Ardata and ended up using her and leaving her. She is now considering K’azz as his replacement. K’azz must also reassure his remaining Guardsmen that he has a plan and isn’t simply swinging in the wind.
A mixed group of rogue Malazan soldiers and wizards are also seeking the shattered fragment simply to deny it to the Broken God. They end up working with the Crimson Guard just to survive and in the end the fragment becomes its own being and goes off and becomes a new god. The Malazans and the Guard go their separate ways and the Disavowed are returned to the fold while Skinner is consumed by Ardata for spurning her.
A nation state of Thaumaturgs begins the invasion of Himatan as well. They pretty much empty their country of talent in a bid to recover the fragment. They end up losing their army through attrition to the natural forces of Himatan and the leader of the army chooses to go home at the end and rebuild his country.
A loose coalition of tribal forces are gathered together by an enigmatic Warleader and promised riches beyond belief in an invasion of the Thaumaturg capital. The Warleader turns out to be Kellor and his goal is to get more of the magic ingredients that he makes his life extending candles out of. The tribal armies are slaughtered while delivering slaughter and the survivors must make peace with the survivors of the Thaumaturg’s army if they are to have any chance of keeping their conquest. A melding of cultures is about to begin.
I enjoyed this quite a bit more this time around than I did back in ’13. I hardly noticed the soapbox philosophizing, but that was more because I simply glossed over it and paid it no attention.
I do have to admit, I wonder why these are called Novels of the Malazan Empire when they seem to be more about the Crimson Guard than anything. The Malazan Empire is touched upon and is kind of the “behind the scenes” force that drives the Guard on, but really, these should be called the The Chronicles of the Crimson Guard or something.
I thought about giving this a 4star rating just like I did in ’13 but decided to up it that valuable half-star because I enjoyed this more than I did last time. Re-reading things can be truly fulfilling sometimes. After I read the next Malazan Empire novel, and if I like it as much as the previous ones, I’ll probably end up buying them in hardcover. While I doubt I’ll re-read the Malazan Book of the Fallen again after my current re-read of the series, I can definitely see reading this series yet again in a few years.