Steven Erikson – The Healthy Dead

While the first two novellas in The First Collected Tales Of Bauchelain And Korbal Broach (2010) by Steven Erikson still aimed to tell a dark story that is part of a greater whole, the third one, The Healthy Dead (2004) could be best described as a dark comedy. It stands pretty much on its own except for the main three recurring characters. Unlike the first two tales, this tale takes place much later and although it was the second tale written, it was a good choice to put it in chronological order, although I do expect new tales will probably be set before this tale as only the location provides some necessities.

With The Healthy Dead Erikson plays with several ideas about good and bad and that these concepts are not as black and white as they seem to be. Or to be a little more precise, don’t expect things to be as they seem to be.

As with the first two tales Erikson manages to tell a real story and this time it is a complete story that reaches its end. It is, as said before, a really standalone that does not require any earlier knowledge.

The characterization is a little less strong as before. There is still a fair sized cast of one-time side characters but they make less of an impact. Perhaps that could have been the effect of having read three novellas in a row that I’m drawing a stronger comparison which makes it seem less. No story is of exactly the same quality, especially short ones which cannot draw upon more time to present characters.

Nevertheless this is a fun story. Maybe not the strongest of the three collected novellas but still far above the average level of fantasy novels. Again I can only put forward another recommendation. These First Collected Tales are a great read and a must have for any Erikson fan.

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