Steven Erikson – Blood Follows

I had been a bit in doubt about writing separate reviews for a collection of novellas. After reading them I decided it was worthwhile to write separate ones, especially as they are long enough to write something substantial about them. And besides, I’ve been writing many reviews for very long books, so it doesn’t hurt to add several short ones. The collection I am talking about it The Collected Tales Of Bauchelain And Korbal Broach (2010) by Steven Erikson, of which the first novella is called Blood Follows (2002).

In Blood Follows Erikson takes the reader to a yet unexplored part of the Malazan world and reintroduces three characters that readers of the novel Memories Of Ice will recognize quickly. This is the story in which they get together. Due to this the story has moderate but nowhere too slow pace. One could see it as Erikson finding his way in the novella form, as he has been writing huge tomes before. This especially because he sticks to his familiar style of multiple character viewpoints and adding many little details that create the feeling of a great depth to this story of limited length. Fortunately for the reader he has to stick to one storyline so everything that is happening is related to each other and will draw together in the end.

A thing that is a little different from his Malazan novels is that dark comedy plays a larger role. One could compare it so TV shows like the Addams family. A bit morbid with a touch of cruelty and nastiness, but never too evil and certainly not black and white. Erikson certainly had fun writing this and the reader will do so too.

Even though there are no less than three antagonists, Erikson adds a large cast of side characters to the story. Any other author might have trouble giving all those sufficient space to prevent them being two dimensional or unsubstantial but Erikson avoids this with ease.

The story itself is not very substantial. It are the details that make it much more than it seems. The story is just an episode, mainly to present the three characters who will be the core for this series of novellas. Knowing that there is more to come, especially with some anticipation of events to come that Erikson presents, the reader will be quite satisfied. Much recommended.

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