Stonewielder is Ian C. Esslemont’s newest entry into the Malazan universe. His first two books (Night of Knives and Return of the Crimson Guard) were both at least partially written some time ago and then set aside before being published. Stonewielder is thus the first completely new and recent work of his.
Esslemont co-created the Malazan universe with Steven Erikson. I’ll be writing more about all of that later, but for now, I’ll assume some familiarity with the universe. This review is fairly spoiler free.
I enjoyed Stonewielder and thought that it showed a decent improvement in style over both Night of Knives and Return of the Crimson Guard. There are still a few too many characters with similar names (Bakune, Barune, …) but that’s fairly minor.
I probably enjoyed the continuation of the Kiska storyline the most. The use of Warran was amusing.
For further amusement, the Manask character is well done and quite funny.
I also really liked the naval battle between the forces of Malaz and Mare. The solution to the problem brought back some echos of Roman history for me. Nok (the Malazan admiral) needs to read about a corvus, though.
We find out quite a bit more about the Koreli and the Stormwall. The motivation of the Stormguard is more clear now. The motivations of the Stormriders is still hazy.
All in all, well done. I’m looking forward to going back to Darujhistan in Esslemont’s next book.