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review 2018-05-22 00:00
Gardens of the Moon
Gardens of the Moon - Steven Erikson Before I even started this book, I was already aware that it had a reputation for being pretty hard to understand. I knew that people liked it because it doesn't hold your hand and does things naturally. Turns out, as someone who's only started getting into adult fantasy and older fantasy, I like hand-holding. I don't like spending the majority of my time getting confused and then getting a migraine while I read.

Maybe I should have paid more attention to the details but that's hard to do when you're getting bored. To be honest, I really struggled with this book and I would have DNF-ed it if it wasn't for Darujhistan, Sorry, Tattersail, and Captain Paran. As much as I liked the latter three characters, I also realized that fantasy which leans pretty heavily on the military side of things may not necessarily be my cup of tea.

The Darujhistan crowd were really what made this book enjoyable for me. They are a fun bunch with their own quirks and their antics and arcs were very compelling. Most of them weren't really aware of the Malazans, it's more like they know they're there, but they have their own things going on. Except maybe one or two of them.

The writing serves its purpose, it's not overly descriptive and it feels functional at times. I did like how some scenes were broken down in certain chapters. It sometimes felt a lot like a movie you're reading.

The magic system in this book looks interesting but is kind of a headache to understand.

In the end, what I really enjoyed wasn't the plot itself, but the characters and their interactions. The bits which made them seem more human in their relationships, their friendships, and quests for revenge. It made them seem more relatable and less characters you see on the page.

As much as I complained about the headaches this book gave me, I'm still willing to give the series a chance someday. Maybe when I'm older and have read more fantasy. Then I'll give this book a re-read and continue.
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review 2018-01-11 03:48
Gardens of the Moon, Malazan Book of the Fallen #1 by Steven Erikson
Gardens of the Moon - Steven Erikson

There has been some high praise for this series, and I'm willing to admit that I don't have the headspace right now to get into something so high-falutin' and epic.

Or, it could just be bad. There's no way of knowing, because I do not see myself making another go at this book. I've made a bad habit letting books sit for months lately. The thing is though, MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN, unlike A Forsyte sequel, The Familiar, or a Russian novel on Da Vinci, doesn't have a hook or characters, or a thought that I can connect to and, subsequently, remember. In Gardens of the Moon I have...I have fragments of a magic system, I have some politics, and a mage named Trellis (that's not right) and some soldiers who've had a raw deal. I read hundreds of pages, there should have been something that made a strong impression.

Erikson, you need to give me something. I will go on a long journey with authors (I did namedrop The Familiar), but you've got to give me something. There are books that are worth heroic efforts and concentration and zero parts of this book made me want to make anything like that kind of effort.

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text 2017-07-25 21:11
Which Fantasy to Pick?
The Shadow Of What Was Lost - James Islington
The Way of Shadows - Brent Weeks
Gardens of the Moon - Steven Erikson
Johannes Cabal the Necromancer - Jonathan L. Howard
The Magicians - Lev Grossman
The White Rabbit Chronicles: Alice in ZombielandThrough the Zombie GlassThe Queen of Zombie Hearts - Gena Showalter
The Wheel of Time: Boxed Set #1 - Robert Jordan
The Malazan Empire - Steven Erikson
The Night Watch Collection: Books 1-3 of the Night Watch Series (Night Watch, Day Watch, and Twilight Watch) - Sergei Lukyanenko
His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik

I want to read a great fantasy series. I like it when there are lots of mythical characters/creatures. I like it where the main characters are not normal human type. I do like Tolkien, but I want something a bit grittier. I uses to read a lot of fantasy book, but lately have found myself zipping through para romance. I have recently not been enjoying them as I uses to though. 


I have most of those above in complete, or near complete series. I also have King's Dark Tower books, most of Brooks' Shanara books, a lot of Robin Hobb, and Sanderson. Most of what I have I have not read past the first book and do not remember much of what they we're about.



Any suggestions would be appreciated. I don't mind if it is something I don't have, I will get it. 

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review 2017-05-08 22:17
Review: Gardens of the Moon (Steven Erikson)
Gardens of the Moon - Steven Erikson

Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen #1

Publisher: Tor Fantasy (2005 - First edition 1999)

Genre(s): Fantasy


So... The first epic book of epicness.

I must say I am a bit disappointed. It's not that I hated it. I just thought it was too confusing for its own good. I don't mind being thrown into the action right away, with no exposition or development of the world if I'm getting a crash-course as I go. But that doesn't really happen in this book, and I feel like that is not very acceptable. The world seems to have no rules, a sketchy past and no order. It makes no sense (or very little).

The action spans over more than 6oo pages but if you really look through it, the plot is thin and can be told in about 200+. Basically you have the end of a successful campaign, the beginning of another one and this one has a lot of players and can go right or wrong. But ultimately, everything is very confusing and you don't actually have a lot of foreshadowing or complex maneuvering on the part of the characters involved to make you speculate about what is going on. It's like you're in the middle of a riot and the author throws sound and lights at you, and you're confused, but the actual riot is no more than a tame gathering.

I'm not sure I'm explaining myself very well, but here's the bottom line: the ideas seem interesting; the execution is all over the place. The book is big, but the story is small, the characters have the potential of epicness but are never more than badly developed stereotypes.

I've read quite a few fantasy books and, yeah, I've read worse. But I've also read better.

I'll eventually come back to this world, because I sense there is more to all the players than meets the eye, but for right now I'm satisfied with my taste of this series.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-02-03 11:43
Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen #1)
Gardens of the Moon - Steven Erikson

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.
Title: Gardens of the Moon
Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen #1
Author: Steven Erikson
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 688
Format: Kindle Digital edition



Synopsis: Spoilers!


The Malazan Empire, now ruled by Empress Laseen, is on the path of expansion through total war. The last Free City on the continent of Genabackis, Darujhistan, is the next city in the sights of the Empire. Wracked from within by politics and threatened without by armies and mages, Darujhistan doesn't stand a chance.


Enter Rake, Lord of Moonspawn, a floating city, sorcerer supreme. Having allied with the Crimson Guard, might mercenaries and mages, Rake allies with the lords of Darujhistan to fight the Empire, but for his own reasons.


To counter this threat, Laseen has set into motion several plans, one of which is to find and unleash an ancient terror, a Jahgut Tyrant, a veritable god of power. Laseen means to pit the Tyrant against Rake and then to take down the weakened winner.


Enter the Bridgeburners. Loyal servants to the Empire and the old Emperor, who Laseen assassinated to become Empress. The Bridgeburners are meant for extinction, as Laseen can't have anyone around who isn't loyal to her. But the survivors are crafty, powerful and full of tricks of their own. They are meant to take Darujhistan and die, but they have other plans, plans of their own.


Unfortunately for everyone, there is a veritable cornucopia of gods, ancient powers and beings so old and so powerful that they might as well be gods. When humans can become gods, gods can become extinct and power is all, nobody can predict what will result.


My Thoughts:  Spoilers!

(For clarity's sake, I read this in June 2008 and again in December 2009. That link contains both my reviews in one review as Goodreads didn't have a re-read option and when importing to Booklikes I didn't feel like going through my 2000+ reviews and fixing "little" things like that.)


That synopsis barely scratches the surface of this book. In the forward Erikson tells us straight out that he will not be spoon feeding his readers anything and that he purposefully wrote things so as to make the readers work for connections. There are no obvious connections or explanations, there is Unexplained History of both nations and individuals and you are forced to hold on for your life or be thrown off the ride.


And what a ride this is! With this 3rd read I feel like I've finally got a little bit of a handle on this world. Since I have read the whole series, now I can begin to cobble it together. It helped that this time around I wasn't expecting all the threads started here to ever be finished or to connect. I have also finally accepted that this is The Book of the Fallen, which means that this is about people dying, not people winning or overcoming insurmountable odds. And even if they do win and overcome those odds, odds are they are still going to die.


At just under 700 pages, I believe this is the shortest of this decalogy. In one way it is the hardest of the books, as you have to sink or swim in terms of the world. Everything is new and unfamiliar and you simply don't know what is going on. In another way I found it the easiest of the books, as the action is relatively straight forward, the plot only slightly convoluted and the scope is kept pretty focused. When reading this for the first time you simply don't know how big the world is that Erikson has created nor do you know that the various narrators are only telling you what "they" know. Semi-unreliable not because they're trying to lie to you but because they have a very limited knowledge. Everything you learn in Gardens of the Moon is not necessarily true.


I added the "favorite" tag because this is the 3rd time I've read this and I still enjoyed the heck out of it while reading. It was a joy to read Erikson's prose, because while he is not sparse in his writings, nor is he turgid and bloviated. He walked that razor thin line of not writing to much or to little.


One thing to note. The kindle edition that I read had several noticeable OCR errors. There was a character named Coll, whose name came out as Coil more than a handful of times. Same for a guy named Toc the Younger. He became Toe the Younger half the time. I checked my hardcover and those errors were not there. I also don't know if those errors exist in the current kindle edition. I bought these when they first came out and promptly de-drm'd them and stuck them in calibre, so any updates would not have touched them. A potential issue if you're buying digital copies.


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