Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

This is a guest post written by my often-spoken-about younger brother who goes by Hochssdar. You can read more of his reviews at hochssdar.wordpress.com  He’s just getting started, but I know it’s going to be great. This book, along with the rest of the Malazan series, is on my to-read list, but I haven’t gotten to it yet and he loved it so he agreed to review it. Enjoy! -Branwen

Gardens of the Moon coverThe Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.

For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.

However, it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand…

Goodreads had a better short summary than I could deliver. Having just recently gotten very into the high fantasy genre, by way of Douglas Adams fantastic Hitchihker’s Guide to the Galaxy, leading into the equally great Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, I was looking for something else to really sink my teeth into. Everywhere I looked said you gotta check out Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson. Let me tell you I was not disappointed.

I knew going in, both from what I’d heard, and the daunting list of characters that greets you after 3 pages of maps that this was going to be a huge undertaking. Massive cast of characters, huge elaborate world, and a lot going on at one time. As I started, just in the prologue a girl gets taken by two wizards after an old women makes a prophecy about what her life will be which scares her. This girl is later revealed to have the name Sorry and is in the Bridgeburners (my favorite group of characters) under the command of Sergeant Whiskeyjack. Many other characters are met along the way, one of my favorites being the high mage Tattersail, and they all weave together.

This book is not for the faint of heart, as Erikson can be a bit wordy in his prose, and being an anthropologist and archaeologist by trade, the world is very detailed, and very good. But the first half, of the book is somewhat confusing. The reader gets tossed into a 9 year old war, with mages, and a whole bunch of characters doing things at once. How the magic works, whatthe war is about, and who the people are aren’t really explained. What Erikson does is a very slow reveal of his characters through dialogue and actions. One really doesn’t know who anyone is like for awhile into the story. But if you trust the author, and just keep reading, the reward awaiting you at the end is worth all of the confusion.

One book down, nine more to go.

Hochssdar

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