Not all of them since I’m waiting for Bakker’s one, but the Amazon shipment has arrived:
Mostly monothematic this month.
I usually buy the books in their US version from an Italian online shop, but in this case I wanted the UK versions of the Erikson’s books because they make a better product with overall better covers, and Abercrombie is also first published in the UK, so I got them together in one shipment from Amazon.co.uk.
Before They Are Hanged – Joe Abercrombie (440 pag.)
Second book in the trilogy. The first I already read and commented. This second one is supposed to be even better, and the third even better then the second (with the expectation of one epic battle as well), if you trust the usual reviewers. I do, and in fact I read Abercrombie because of the positive reviews and blurb on the forums. I wasn’t disappointed, in fact it was much better than expected and also the kind of book you continue to think about even after you are done reading. It’s just that good.
Receiving the book I was both pleased and disappointed. Disappointed because I got this huge version, while I have “The Blade Itself” as a much smaller book. This fooled me because I didn’t anticipate the difference as I thought I got the two books in the same format. Instead I didn’t. Both are “paperback”, but after a quick research I discovered that the paperback in the format I wanted isn’t even out yet. So now I have mismatched books, but it’s the same because while I could have waited to buy this book in the matching version, I wouldn’t then wait another year to get the third. I was also pleased because it’s a so beautiful edition. The image of the cover doesn’t do it justice. The words are like carved on the paper and there’s this magic circle in silver that is only visible on the picture if you squint a lot (and probably only if you know it’s there). The pages are also thicker. Looks meaner.
I have this stupid obsession over the pagecount/wordcount. Even if I know well that quantity means nothing, I still have a childish passion for huge books. So I was slightly disappointed to know this second book had “only” 440 pages instead of the 514 of the first. I want more! But then it’s not a smaller book, in fact I suspect the wordcount is about the same as there are just more words on one page. So it’s about the exact same size.
I’m tempted to start reading *right now* and I keep grinning thinking about the first book, but I’ll resist.
House of Chains – Midnight Tides – The Bonehunters – Steven Erikson (1015, 932 and 1202 pag.)
If I like to check thickness and wordcount, I can only be pleased of Erikson just by the sheer size. Soooo pretty massive tomes. And a saga of ten books, plus spin-offs. That’s another reason why I have to like him, there’s so much to read that I hope it will be all awesomely awesome. All three books use the exact same typeset, so the number of page is indicative of actual size. Not so much comparing them to other authors, as, oddly, there are just 37 lines of text on a page, compared to a standard of 40-42. So usually take about 150 pages from the total count to have an idea. Still impressive.
Erikson’s books also have the very best maps (and more than one for each book). I know the presence of a maps is debatable as there are both advantages and disadvantages, but in this case they probably help with the scope. You’ll be confused enough by the habit of Erikson of not explaining a damn thing that you don’t want to be confused by the geography and where-is-what as well. Just an example: the first book begins at the Mock’s Hold, on top of a cliff and in the city of Malaz. At the time I started looking for “Malaz” on the map for a long while without finding it. You would guess that the “Malazan” empire that gives the name to the series should be on the map. But it isn’t because it’s not even on the same continent the map in the book is about. Instead looking at other books you find out where Malaz really is, and, today in Bonehunters (book 6), I find a good map of the city itself. And while Erikson description were very good, it’s still refreshing to have a better and doubt-free look at it.
Does someone have the US version of House of Chains? Because as I expected looking at the maps online, that map is not printed exactly well, and it misses the central section. Since in the two US Erikson books I have the maps are printed better, I wonder if that map is too.
Anyway, I’m about to start from book 1. In the meantime I should also write some comments about that second book of the Black Company I just read. I can anticipate it was a bit deluding.
Oh, and the cover of Toll the Hounds is out. As I commented over there, I don’t like it much as it doesn’t present well the book. Looks too much like a spook/supernatural book. And Erikson needs something that shows the qualities of his books, so wide scope, scale, sense of wonder. Neither the US or the UK covers underline those qualities.
It also looks to much like the annoying Beast in that Witcher game.