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.