Duffy Pratt's Reviews > Gardens of the Moon

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Sep 11, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, shared-world

In most fantasy worlds, the author starts with a fairly ordinary situation, develops the world and the magic underlying the world gradually, and then develops the situation from there. Along the way, there typically is a good deal of repetition. In some multi-book series, the repeated explanations of how things work, or where the characters stand, becomes tedious at best.

Erikson goes to the other extreme. The situation at the start of this series is far from normal, even for the Malazan world. The characters don't even get introduced to the reader. Rather, like a play, they appear onstage, and we have to make of them what we will. And the magic system is far from clear. Indeed, its not entirely clear how well people in the world understand it, even while they are using it.

All of this makes for a very steep learning curve, and makes this book almost impossible to understand on a first reading. "Isn't enjoyment a kind of understanding?" So said a poetry teacher of mine in college. And fortunately, I found enough enjoyment in this book the first time through to continue in the series. More and more, I'm thinking that this is far and away the best fantasy series I've read. (And it ranks up there with the Palliser series by Trollope, and the Marlowe books by Chandler, as a favorite in any genre.)

My impression of this book improved dramatically on re-reading. The first time through I was alternatively amazed and confused. This time, most of the confusion is gone, and I would have to say that I was alternatively amazed and moved. The striking thing for me is how fully Erikson has a grasp on each of his characters, and how he had this incredibly complex web in his head from the start. Read this book/series if you like fantasy, if you like tragedy, if you like originality, if you like dark humor. Stay away if you need spoon-feeding and have little tolerance for being confused. These days, its rare for me to re-read anything at all. I have perfect confidence that this book, and probably the whole series will get at least a third reading. It's that good.

9 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Gardens of the Moon.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

David Sven Good review. Totally agree with the reread being a different experience.

John Perfect review. Now I must re-read. Book two is even better. :)
The whole series - amazing. I usually fully agree with your reviews, Duffy. Thanks for sharing!


back to top