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Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

(166 ratings)

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Submitted by Mark Russell 
(Oct 27, 2005)

Let it be known that Iím not an avid fantasy reader, but after reading the first books of Tolkein(LOR)and George Martin(ICE & FIRE) I was left wanting more. After finishing this book Iím not sure if I really want to invest anymore of my time in this series.


The book contains far to many characters and hence character development is very weak. I didnít really know anything about any particular character, and hence felt no loyalty or loathing for any of them. I mean Lorn, Adjunct to the Empress. What is she supposed to be doing? Does she have any powers? She's portrayed as a powerful figure but then gets bumped off by the crimson guard (who are they?) and finally 2 fat ladies! Paran seeking revenge for his love Tattersail. Come off it, they only spent one night together in the sack .

Some of the action scenes are very poor in their description. ďHairlock shrieked one last time and then the hounds were upon himĒ A major character killed off in one sentence!

The plot. What exactly is going on? Did he need 702 pages to explain it, I mean confuse me.

The Good

Well at least Erikson is original. Mad puppets, Warrens, Moon Spawn. No orcs or elves in site. The guy has a fantastic imagination.

I have to give credit to Erikson in the fact that I actually did finish this book, which is more than I can say for another well known fantasy author. Take a bow Robert Jordan.

Iíve been told that the second book is better. To be fair the first books arenít always the best.

Donít get me wrong I did enjoy parts of this book but at times found it a very tiresome read. The question is can I be bothered to read the second book. I think I will after a long break but if that doesnít clinch it I will call it quits on this series.

Submitted by Meghan Sullivan 
(Aug 26, 2005)

Gardens of the Moon is a pedantic quagmire that leaves the reader wondering what the *bleep* is going on. Worse, the author is condescending, as he never bothers to EXPLAIN the world he has created. In fact, this book is all about tell, not show. Which leaves me with more questions than answers. Like what IS an Ascendent? They appear to be gods, but when mortal characters run into them, they act like it's no big deal. Not only that, but these gods are not omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, or omni...well, anything. So what seperates them from mere mortals, especially since the author claims the gods can die? And what's the difference between High House Death, High House Shadow, and High House Dark? It all sounds like the same thing. What is the Deck of Dragons? Is it a seperate entity from the gods? Or a god unto itself? And by the way, just who IS Hairlock? Does he have any kind of background story? Who is Tattersail? Why are the Bridgeburners so notorious? Why should I care if Whiskeyjack is eliminated by assasins? Etc. etc.

Yet it's not just the lack of explanation that chaffes me. The author also contradicts himself. For example:

"Both Hounds froze, heads hunching towards him, as if seeing the hatred in his eyes. Paran felt his heart grow cold at their avid attention. He was slow to realize he had bared his teeth."

Um, Okay. So which is it? Is he scared or not? Because he can't be both. And if I read the words "he/she swung his/her eyes around" one more time, I'm going to scream!

It can't be denied that Steven Erikson has a superior perspicacity (despite his odd pattern of repetative phrases like the one above), and a vivid imagination. However, that does NOT translate into good storytelling. I'll probably read the next novel, in the hopes that eventually I'll figure this story out. If I don't get a clear idea of what's going on by then, it's not likely I'll be getting the third.

Submitted by Aidan Walters 
(Apr 30, 2002)

This is the start of a great series. I was recommended this book by a friend and it is fantastic. The first 100 pages of the book are very difficult to get through but if you do you will find one of the best fantasy series ever written, ( in my mind only, Song of Ice and Fire and the Wheel of Time are better). The set is dark fantasy and the batlle scenes are actually believable, this is very rare indeed. The world and characters are all well rounded, noe of the usual brave, fearless duty bound warrior crap. I strongly recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy and i can not wait for the 4th book in the series, House of Chains to be released

Submitted by benji 
(Jan 04, 2002)

Gardens of the Moon is both challenging and complex. It is, however, very rewarding and superior fantasy writing and as such is deserved of everyone's attention. the first time I began the novel I ended up frustrated and put it down after one hundred and fifty pages.....as I hate not finishing a book I eventually reread and completed the book ..this time remaining absolutely SPELLBOUND!

It is written with such a pace, and gritty realism that comparison's to most other fanasy authors becomes mere time wasting. The magic system of this world is both inventive and realised and although the novel works relatively within the norms of the genre, both the ideas and writing style are as fresh and welcome as the ending of the'Wheel of Time'series will be!

Submitted by Gcapdupuy@aol.com
(May 28, 2001)

Well, I'm French so don't blame me for my write. About The Garden Of The Moon, which appeared in France recently, I've discovered a fantastic world and a fantastic writer, I mean Steven Erikson. In this book, Erikson use of all secrets of fantasy and manage to made them into a wonderful melting-pot. I've found that the characters are very good, they aren't totally black or white, just grey. Even The Son of Darkness isn't an evil man... I mean not too evil(For the moment as I have read the fist book only). Moreover, Erikson manage to describe an entire world with his history, his belief and his own laws without boring us, which is a good perform. I'm waiting the second book with impatience and I only hope that they will be better than the first. Just an advise : Read this book.

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