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  1. #1
    Embrace the Future GhostShell's Avatar
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    Question Gardens of the Moon: I'm Having trouble...

    I've been told tons about Erikson and the blurbs of his stories have me drooling every time i spot the books in a store, so finally i decided to bite the bullet and buy the gardens of the moon.

    I know people who really enjoy this and I have heard much about how amazing it is HOWEVER!!!...I'm finding it hard to start, i keep starting the first page and quickly getting bored and confused, i'm liable to skip ahead a few pages till something starts happening but it worries me when i get this feeling as early as i am in this book.

    I've seen threads like this, (eg. wayne batson is going through similar problems), but i've heard so much and really want to get started on it but after the horrors of trying to start eye of the world (jordan) and getting nowhere with his writing style, i'm worried that i'm not going to enjoy the book. Forget the series, its the first volume i'm worried about, does the book itself get interesting, cause i don't want to work hard at reading it for nothing.

    Any hope, guys and girls?
    Last edited by GhostShell; April 15th, 2006 at 05:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Looking for my niche
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    EVERYBODY seems to have this trouble. I actually threw the book back at my friend shouting,
    "I am sick of these bloody authors with their stupid made up names that sound strange just for the sake of it"

    There are no infodumps in Erikson, and no gentle introduction to the story, so it is easy to feel a little overwhelmed at the start. The best way to approach it is just to accept that things are happening that you do not YET understand. Do not try to analyse the first 200 pages, because the answers you seek are not available within the first 200 pages. Believe me, having read the books, the start of Gotm makes perfect sense to me now.

    I really would recommend you stick with it, imo the Malazan series is by far the best there is at the minute, ASoIaF doesnt even come close. One of its greatest strengths is its scope for re-reading. I have read the whole series 3/4 times and I am discovering new info every time I read. There are throwaway lines and seemingly inconsequential scenes within Gotm that really blow your mind when you discover them after you have read more of the books, and when you understand the world better.

    In the MBOTF, Things have happened, things will happen, just sit back and enjoy the ride.

  3. #3
    Saturn Comes Back Around Evil Agent's Avatar
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    As Tempo said, everybody has trouble with Gardens of the Moon. And many people seem to say the 2nd book, Deadhouse Gates, is much better and is where the series really takes off.

    Personally, I liked all of Erikson's books, though I found GoTM confusing at first. The best advice is probably to read at least few hundred pages, before drawing any conclusions.

    But then again, your post makes me wonder if a huge series is really for you? You said you keep getting bored and flipping ahead, and mention that you had a terrible time trying to get into Jordan. All of these really big epic series (Jordan's WoT, Martin's aSoIaF, Erikson's Malazan, etc.) take a long time to get into, and contain huge amounts of characters, backstory, and plot threads, by nature. What other type of stuff have you read and enjoyed?

  4. #4
    Embrace the Future GhostShell's Avatar
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    Talking

    I don't think its a thing of large series. In the last few years:

    A song of ice and fire (haven't read feast yet)
    The Dune Trilogy
    The Elenium Trilogy
    Chronicles of the Raven
    The Riftwar Saga

    Big series don't bother me, in fact i'm rather hooked on the broad and sweeping. But i meant that i keep thinking about starting on say page 5 of gardens of the moon, because the way he writes is a little strange to me and quite confusing. In the first few paragraphs i found myself going: "WHAT?". I was just worried that the series would not be as good as everyone has said. Dragonlance was suggested to me and while good, it wasn't up to eddings's and feist's level, which i had recently finished.

    So far i hear that i should just grit my teeth and bare it until it starts making sense, but is really worth the slog?

  5. #5
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    I read Gardens of the Moon for the first time a couple of weeks ago and i also had alot of trouble in the beginning but it does get better about halfway through, by then you at least figure out who is who, what they're doing and with a few of the characters have a basic outline of their motives.

    Keep going, it is worth it!

  6. #6
    Looking for my niche
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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostShell

    So far i hear that i should just grit my teeth and bare it until it starts making sense, but is really worth the slog?
    Yes, yes it is. Hell yes.

  7. #7
    Embrace the Future GhostShell's Avatar
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    Talking

    Thanks guys and gals, i'll keep at it them. Fingers crossed.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by GhostShell
    Thanks guys and gals, i'll keep at it them. Fingers crossed.
    LOL, where were the threads like this when I first read GotM? I was seriously thinking I was mentally handicapped for suffering through such confusion at first.

    It's been a while, but I believe I started to get the hang of things after the first hundred or so pages as well. It is a very good book and series so far and you will develop a real attachment to a number of the characters. Even though I was confused at times in the beginning, there were certain scenes and characters I took an immediate liking to.

    However it must be said, no matter how good many think the series is, it is an acquired taste.

  9. #9
    an aquired taste that feels like a drug after a while... I myself like to read 2 very different kind of books... either epic stuff like Erikson does or really easy stuff when im not in the mood to think like Butcher's serie or the first books by Hamilton... I must say i never ever read anything as interesting and mind numbing as Erikson's serie and neither have I ever read another author who could keep me coming back for more all the time... must say the only author who comes close in my mind is Frank herbert and his Dune series... feels like the same kind of epic proportion and interesting new world and ideas

  10. #10
    Tolkien Disciple Wayne Batson's Avatar
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    A GotM epiphony!

    Ghostshell, I posted a thread a lot like yours a LOOOOONNNNNGGG while back when I started reading GotM. And I was like what is the big deal? I thought it was average and borderline poor. I thought the writer was just throwing out odd names and hinted at motives like so much fertilizer. Half way in I felt like I was on the outside of a 250+ page inside joke.

    I'm almost finished, and now.....

    I've seen the light! I'm finally starting to care for these characters. I'm finally starting to care that Darujhistan survives! I'm finally identifying bad guys to wish demise, and good guys to root for.

    I was really slammed by {SPOILER ALERT} the part where all the world powers are converging on the Gardrobi Hills--power draws power, right? Wow! I'm starting to enjoy the powerplays and even the backstabbing that's going on. I'm happy to see WhiskeyJack and Paran on the same side again. And well, Anomander Rake is just one serious Bad dude.

    Make that "epiphany" above. DOH!!

  11. #11
    Embrace the Future GhostShell's Avatar
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    Good to know i'm not just wasting time.
    Thanks a bunch people.

    Had to avoid your spoiler alert though, wayne, i'm not nearly far enough in to recognise names in this book.

  12. #12
    I like what I like... Richardb's Avatar
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    For two years I have struggled with wanting to love these books... and simply not being able to love, or really even like them.
    I have picked them all up multiple times. I have read some cover to cover, and others I sort of skim through.
    And I just don't get it. Don't love them. Still want to for some reason, but don't.
    I have always known within 20 pages if I am going to love an author... up until now. I love some of the starts of these books, and still don't chose to finish the books.
    I really don't understand it. The books just never hold me after initially pulling me in. Am I the only one with this problem?

  13. #13
    Tolkien Disciple Wayne Batson's Avatar
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    I can totally see why you feel that way. I think most readers have a sort of internal sense of whether they will like a book or not by the first chapter or so. I also think for something like GotM that has so many critics and fans ooohhing and ahhhing about it, a reader feels a kind of pressure--almost an obligation to like the book. Else feel inferior as a reader. There can be a kind of fantasy snobbery, I think among people who read certain books, no?

    In retrospect, I'd have to say that I thought GotM was intriguing but not compelling. I'm curious about some of the mysteries, but I'm not breathless to read Deadhouse Gates.

    IMHO, GotM has tons of creativity. I love the variety of characters and how well, developed they are. The author is very skilled and subtle. This is truly adult fantasy. But on the other hand, for all it's subtlety and skill, I think it can leave the reader feeling unsatisfied. There are so many loose ends and so many "rules of the Malazan" universe that come up kind of haphazardly that it's very easy to become overwhelmed or worse, skeptical.

    GotM reminds me of Van Halen III. I'm a fan of rock music. Big fan of classic Van Halen. Van Halen lll was technically a brilliant CD, but it just didn't sound good. It was complex music, but lacked melody. Appreciated by other guitarists but getting no love from fans.

    My .02.

    WTB

  14. #14
    Registered User Werthead's Avatar
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    I've never really had this problem. I picked up Gardens of the Moon, understood that stuff was going on that wouldn't be explained until later, and just accepted it. Enjoyed the book, enjoyed the others. No problem.

    MBF does reward on re-reads, though. Some of the stuff at the start of GotM is not fully explained until the end of the third novel.

    Other authors do this as well. When I re-read A Song of Ice and Fire for the first time, I was amazed at the number of things that leapt out that didn't seem important first time around. Martin is possibly even better at this than Erikson, since it isn't quite so blatant (for example, the identity of Loras' lover, the mystery revolving around Lyanna Stark, the conspiracy between Varys and Illyrio etc).

    Rereading The Wheel of Time does throw out some nice information that you don't understand first time around (Rand getting the Crown of Swords of Illian, which he does in Book 7, is first shown in Book 1 in a 'viewing' by Min), although the prospect of wading through the tedious later volumes makes the task less interesting.

  15. #15
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    The main problem I have with reading GotM (Halfway through it right now) is the same problem I have with learning algebra. While I can easily understand what's happening in the story and how it's happening, I'm left completely confused as to -why- it's happening, and the person explaining only bothers to explain once.
    I keep turning back the pages to figure out "wait, -what's- Ganoes doing in Pale again?" or "wait, what's Anomander Rake trying to achieve by positioning Moon's Spawn at that point?"
    However, my confusion isn't enough to keep me from finishing the book- in fact, that's the very reason I want to finish it and see what happens next One of the main interest factors of MBotF lies in Erikson not being very clear about political triggers or character motivations.

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