I very much agree with Bryce's review. This is an utterly epic book, with some really awesome characters, powerful magic, and interesting gods. EverytI very much agree with Bryce's review. This is an utterly epic book, with some really awesome characters, powerful magic, and interesting gods. Everything and person is epic in some way, a pawn of gods, the best swordsman of their people, the traitor high mage with seven warrens, the most celebrated army unit, the most popular commander-cum-sergeant, the guy who gave the gods the finger, and mother-fucking Anomander Rake. Erikson also manages to balance the epic with the mundane, showing us peoples lives, health, opinions, and pursuits. He fills in the gaps very nicely.
My problem reading this was the same as a lot of First In a Series books. The author has been submersed in the world for so long that they do not feel the need to thoroughly and properly explain things. Sometimes this really works well, and I, as a reader, am able to keep up fairly well. This was my experience with The Darkness That Comes Before. For both books, the handy-dandy character lists and reference material was essential to my understanding. It also frees up the writer from having to info-dump the world to the reader. For Gardens of the Moon, the world is a little too big and bold to be taken in as easily as The Darkness That Comes Before. It's not quite as well crafted, and needed some straightening up.
I feel as though I enjoyed the book despite itself in some parts. The first scene with the assassins on the rooftop really pulled me in, and I knew I'd want to finish the book. Erickson's delivery of Darujhistan and the colorful cast of characters was what really pulled it from a potential 2-star to 4-star rating. I am looking forward to reading more, as I feel that since I have a grasp on the world, I'm really going to enjoy exploring it....more
I finished the first book out of this three-part omnibus yesterday. It was quite good! The depictions of the different towns and locales was especiallI finished the first book out of this three-part omnibus yesterday. It was quite good! The depictions of the different towns and locales was especially good, and Kemp really pulls you into the environment his characters are in.
The short story at the beginning, All the Sinners, Saints, does a tidy job showing off Cale and Riven without getting long winded. It neatly shows Cale's powers as a cleric of Mask, his discomfort at Riven being brought into the fold, as it were, and shows off a bit of their backstory.
I also appreciate his character-building. Cale is dynamic, and you really get a good grip on what his thoughts are while he navigates this new moral ground he's found himself on. Riven is also nicely done. I like that he isn't all 100% pure bad-guy, he has a soft spot for dogs, and I found the scene where he says goodbye to "his girls" heart wrenching. And who says fantasy can't be sweet or emotional? I am not digging Fleet very much. So far, he is a very typical halfling character. He's facing some moral dilemmas like the rest of the cast, but he isn't really grabbing me yet.
The magic is great so far! It's nice to see some magic-slinging fighters that are well crafted.
Finished the second part, and the short story between the second and third parts. The second part of the omnibus isn't as strong as the first part. The action is still there, but it doesn't feel as strong as the first part. It seems easier to write an introduction to a world, and have fun describing the characters and the world. All the stuff with the Sojourner could have been better done, and his parts were dull. During the altercation with Cale and Assoc., you really see his epic powers come into play, so I wanted to know why you didn't get a sense of how powerful he was before that.
Mags is a great character, I think. The romance between Cale and the random serving wench is a little weird, though. It just shows up outta nowhere.
The part with the dragon was really well done, too. That scene was made even better by the intentional placement of the short story about Kesson Rel, I felt.
There is an uneasy truce between Riven and everyone else for the duration of the second story, and that adds a lot of tension to the plot. The author really keeps you guessing as to when or if he will betray the group. It seems like he could go off anytime Cale throws his weight around as being the First of Mask, or anytime he and Fleet have a disagreement.
If this was a standalone book, I would probably give it three of five stars, mostly because the parts with the slaad and the Sojourner killed the momentum any time they showed up.
The author keeps using the spells really creatively. As a D&D player it is really fun to see the spells and checks play out in an adventure.
On to part three!
There is a short story between parts 2 and 3 that recounts the betrayal of Kesson Rel, the First of Mask (before Cale) and lets the reader know how the dragon in the Plane of Shadows got dragged into this mess.
Right now, I've only read two series in the Forgotten Realms: this and books 1-4 of the Drizzt series. Kemp's writing is much better than Salvatore's, and lacks the melodrama and overwrought language characteristic of a lot of Bad Fantasy. As a D&D player, Kemp's use of spells and checks really lets me see how these functions "feel" like in an adventure setting. I hope that after reading this, it'll be easier to stay in character and really dig into the world, next time my group and I sit down to play.
I'll need to ruminate on part 3 before I type something up. In the mean time...
This, the third in the Icewind Dale trilogy, is better than the previous two entries, mostly for the change in scenery. Characters, major and minor, aThis, the third in the Icewind Dale trilogy, is better than the previous two entries, mostly for the change in scenery. Characters, major and minor, are still characterized with a heavy handedness to be found in bad fanfic, characters act outside their "good alignments," and this book manages to bring a little racial fun into play with the profoundly idiotic character Salib whatever his name is. Also, I am sick of the way Bruenor talks! I had to reread sentences a few times to figure out what the hell he was saying.
However, there are redeeming points. There is some humor, finally, though I am not sure if it's intentional.Drizzt shows some depth beyond being badass, and it was interesting to see Cattie-Brie touch on the source of his tension and hound-like obsession with Artemis. She reminds the reader of what "good" means (in a D&D sense) when she asks if Drizzt wants to kill him to protect the innocent, or simply to prove himself. Drizzt himself isn't sure.
On the other hand, this message would have been much, much more effective if Cattie-Brie didn't slaughter swathes of humans all the damn time. Each character demonstrates hypocrisy in this way. The supposedly good Drizzt and Wulfgar gleefully sack the treasure trove of a harmless ghost, Bruenor hates all thieves, except Regis, and Cattie-Brie, who suddenly becomes the world's best archer, hates killing but does it anyway.
I shall persevere onwards towards Passage To Dawn....
The second volume of the Night Angel Trilogy still lacks the craftsmanship I feel Weeks demonstrated in the Black Prism, which (at the time of this reThe second volume of the Night Angel Trilogy still lacks the craftsmanship I feel Weeks demonstrated in the Black Prism, which (at the time of this review) is his latest book. I can forgive the book its momentary awkwardness for the bigger picture of utter awesomeness. This book is pretty awesome. Ezra's Wood was particularly captivating. I am enjoying getting to experience a larger part of Midcyru.
However, I hate that he introduces a brand new group/character/situation without any back story or explanation of what is happening. Some authors can pull that off (see The Darkness That Comes Before), but Bakker had a handy-dandy reference guide to characters and factions. That would be extremely helpful for this series. It's much more complicated than a story about a guy who wears black and kills things. That's not to say I wish it was just about a a guy who wore black and killed things, that wouldn't be nearly as interesting.
I'd like to nominate Elene for Most Irritating Character In a Series.
Also, I'd love to see a map. I was under the impression that the Gyre estate was very close to the city, and then was confused when Sister Arissa (I think that's her name) and Uly find Kylar on the road, when I thought they were going an entirely different direction....more
I really, really enjoyed this, though I could only give it three stars due to the writing and overall craftsmanship. I genuinely hope the other two boI really, really enjoyed this, though I could only give it three stars due to the writing and overall craftsmanship. I genuinely hope the other two books are put together a little better because I loved Weeks' characters.
----- On my first re-reading, and I have decided to give this another star. I must have missed a lot of little details and things that really make the story shine. ...more
This book is really awesome. I'm an animal person, and Fitz's connection with animals is really well described! I find that I can sympathize with himThis book is really awesome. I'm an animal person, and Fitz's connection with animals is really well described! I find that I can sympathize with him very easily because of that trait. I also love Hobb's characterization of his relationship with Molly.
I read this and Dragonbone Chair at the same time, so forgive me for comparing the two. This book lacks the political maneuvering and dizzying array of nobility, which is to my preference. It makes up for the political complexity with an intricately characterized cast. ...more