This was my second read of Gardens of the Moon, I had read the book in June 11 so it was relatively fresh in my memory. I remember when I was half way...moreThis was my second read of Gardens of the Moon, I had read the book in June 11 so it was relatively fresh in my memory. I remember when I was half way through this series thinking to myself, i cannot wait to start this again. I was less than 5 pages into this re-read when i realised just how much I was going to enjoy the story with the knowledge I had.
Erikson is a brilliant story teller, There are a number of 'Epics' out there, to be honest, there probably needs to be another honorific that transcends Epic. This story, you have to factor the whole story when discussing the Epicness of this, is unlike any other i have read. You'll read much about how hard it is, how lots have tried and given up, how Erikson loves his descriptive prose etc etc But at the end of the day, what Erikson does is create a world with lots of shit happening in it. He then opens a portal and drops you in it. There is no backstory, there is no slow introduction of characters, it is here and now and you'd better start concentrating.
I remember when Twin Peaks first came out, I remember half of my friends thinking it was the best thing they had ever seen, there was bizarre stuff, mysteries, weird clues and it didn't get resolved at the end of the hour, hell there was a possibility it might not get resolved. The other half of my friends hated it, absolutely hated it with a passion. There was not many fence sitters. The haters did not like the fact that, sitting on their couch, relaxing with a glass of wine and then having to work hard to gain enjoyment/ nah! not their idea of entertainment. Malazan Book of Fallen is a lot like that.
Erikson will not give you any free passes with this book, he will tell you what is going on and start to slip in clues about why it is happening. As the characters unveil plots and gain information, you gain it too. There is no God view here. So why does this make a brilliant book? Why does this become more than an epic? i'll tell you why, because you feel a sense of achievement as you read this book, your mind is being forced to work and not just process words flowing across a page, having the story spoon fed to you. Why the hell did an Elder God just suddenly appear after hundreds of years of inactivity? Did you not remember the discussion about sanctifying temples? Yeah, neither did I at first.
Erikson has the ability to create a world that seems very much real. Characters who develop personalities that you can identify, he needs to be able to do this because by the end of the story you know 500 characters and be able to describe each one. There is a downside to this realism. The book can be very violent, if you want descriptive world building you get descriptive battle and gore. It can be grim at times, but this is a shitty grim world. You have a army marching across the world conquering. Hundred thousand troops marching from one place to another is not a Contiki tour of Europe, this is a nasty world where the population live in fear of war and death. Being in a conquering army is a awful life most of the time, there are moments of brightness, but Erikson doesn't hide the badness of it all.
I always recommend this series to people, I know most won't stick with it, that's ok, I understand not everyone wants to invest in the story like you have to do with this. But when I meet people who have read the books....happy times, you will NEVER have a moment where you have nothing to say to each other. You'll find you can talk for hours on the subject that is Malazan.
If you are planning on reading this book and would like help in understanding the story. The group The Fallen, has a discussion thread chapter by chapter, in fact some of the threads are longer than the bloody chapters themselves. it is likely that if you have a question, it has been asked and debated to death here. The group is VERY strict on spoilers, so each thread is chapter specific.
I really really wanted to like this. But have tried twice to read it and can only get a third of the way through before I am bored with it all. Maybe...moreI really really wanted to like this. But have tried twice to read it and can only get a third of the way through before I am bored with it all. Maybe now that I have read some heavier epics I might have the patience to work through it. I like his work, why oh why can't I enjoy this book?(less)
I went into reading this book with absolutely no knowledge of what I was about to read. I had been struggling to find something new to read and needed...moreI went into reading this book with absolutely no knowledge of what I was about to read. I had been struggling to find something new to read and needed something different. A Goodreads friend threw this suggestion at me out of left field, so I promptly brought it and started. Gods you got to love the kindle.
Imagine my surprise that within 20 minutes I was completely and utterly absorbed into a story of Barcelona in the 1930' and 40's. Within an hour I had lost all sense of time and was completely immersed in this fascinating story of books, mystery and love. Er, mystery and love? me? hmmm, can't find a tag for that one in my list. Within two hours I had recommended it to three friends, they all said "well yeah, duh, its a great book, can't believe you havent read it yet". Within three hours I brought a copy for my mum, then went and brought a copy for my mother in law. What!?
It's great when a book takes you completely surprise, you have no expectations, you just start reading and you fall head long into the story. So what makes this book great? There a some authors out there who don't write a novel, they tell a story, this is one of those types of books. Set in Spain in the miserable 30's and 40's it tells the story of a young boy whose father owns a book shop. His love of books leads him to finding a book written by an author few people know about. trying to learn more about this author leads our young protagonist on a journey of love and pain. With the horrors of the Spanish civil war, suspicion, torture, secret police and mystical ghosts, this story has it all. But the story itself is not the thing that has you deep into this book, it is the telling of the story, you hang of every word, you visualise the characters and streets and the houses and..... just everything. It's like sitting in your chair whilst your dad reads to you again, telling you a story, whilst you sit with wide eyes, listening, excited, sad, horrified....hating the fact that you realise that its now 1am and you really really need to go to bed. Not that my dad let me stay up till one in the morning when he read stories.
I could go on and tell you about the plot, but I am not, just go read the book, my meagre attempts at describing the book will not really explain how lost I became in this story. This is a translated story, from Spanish to English, (I assume), I wish I understood Spanish, because this book is beautiful in English, I can't imagine what it was like in its native language.
Damian, thanks for the recommendation dude! You could not have picked a better book for the funk I was in last week, awesome!
1: Being Vague, rambling plot with no little believable storyline 5: Ripping yarn, clever, thought provoking
My least favourite of Gaimans work. I start off by saying that. Which, mind you, is not a simple, did not like, I usually enjoy his books, so even though I am marking this his weakest, it is still 3 stars. If there were half stars though, it would probably be two and a half. The story itself was..... well it was enough to build a book around. There was nothing new or really interesting, nothing quirky, which is what I come to expect from Gaiman, so I plodded through it hoping for a change in tempo. It has the usual suspects of bad guys, gods and strange happens, but not in his usual style. I am finding it hard to review, it feels like I am struggling to articulate the story, which I think says it all. It is just a story with nothing to really tell you about. Sorry Neil.
1: Unrealistic/unbelievable. Feel nothing for these characters 5: Fully engaged with the characters, believable. Researched.
Probably the reason why it is a three star and not two is because of the character builds. The main character Fat Charlie is well written and you really feel for the guy, there is times you feel like slapping him and tell him to “Man up”, but overall a well written role. The other main characters I was luke warm on, I thought spider was cheaply done, so stereotypical that I had zero feelings for him. Daisy also was a simple, generic girlfriend that really did not add anything to story other than being a fiancee who wouldn’t sleep with Charlie. Where I though Gaiman excelled, was with the future mother in law role, I thought that character was very well written, believable and when I start thinking of actors who could play that role, I know I have totally bought into the character.
Fluffy, Light, Solid, Heavy, Struggle
Light. It is not Fluffy, it is not Solid, so therefore it is Light. It is no brainburner.
1: Not fussed about finishing 5: Could stay up all night
Really, to be honest, I read it because I was home sick and needed something light to read. Something that would not cause me to have to concentrate to much, and because he is one of my fav authors. If I hadnt finished it whilst I was sick, its likely that I would not have finished at all.
1: Would advise you to read something else 5: Go read it now. It is THAT good
I could see myself recommending this to people who liked …........ I would have to say, I would not recommend it, I would be telling people to read his other work first.(less)