Friday, January 11, 2008

Gardens of the Moon: Volume One of the Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson

496 pages
Bantam/Tor (1999, 2000 UK)

I'll start by saying that this book is very difficult to review. I really don't know where to start in regards to defining the plot of this book. It's mainly about the battles among the invading Malazan Empire, the mages of the city of Darujhistan, and Lord Anomander Rake who is the lord of Moonspawn, a floating fortress. All of which want control of one of the last remaining free cities (Darujhistan).

Right from the start, this is a very confusing book. I consider myself well-read in the fantasy genre, but this one is on the edge of being beyond understanding and comprehension, even more so than The Lord of the Rings. Too many leading characters, too many different factions of warriors and their leaders lead me to scratching my head constantly wondering 'When will this make sense?' I persisted through it to the ending in hopes of finding out why so many fantasy aficionados put this series of books on such a high pedestal. After some blog and forum reading, many do say that this book is confounding and that the initial book of the series makes sense later on after reading subsequent stories. Who knows if I'll make it to book two?

I don't have much to say about Steven Erikson's alleged modern day masterpiece. It wasn't a bad book, just too much going on for my likes. I'm sure all of these pieces fit into a greater puzzle, but it's just not a great way to start a series. I will say that the book picked up in the end, becoming a page turner that I literally didn't want to put down, but it would have been better if the entire book followed that pattern. The series is definitely high fantasy, which I do like, it's gritty and violent and isn't afraid to be so. While the book isn't large, I think it would have been better if it was fleshed out in two books, making it more understandable and a better overall read. The Deadhouse Gates is the next Malzan Book of the Fallen, maybe one day I'll read it. [2/5]

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