Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Bled dry by warfare, the vast Malazan empire simmers with discontent. Sergeant Whiskeyjack's Bridgeburners and surviving sorceress Tattersail wanted to mourn the dead of Pale. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities, holds out, Empress Lasseen’s ambition knows no bounds, and the gods intend to intervene.
This book has been on my list for a long time, and I really wanted to like it. Everyone said it was so good, an absolute must read. I hate saying I was disappointed. It was just kind of. . . meh.
Before the fans of this book set fire to my account, I did give it three stars, so there were things I liked. I'll start with those.
My absolute favorite thing is the magic system. The idea of drawing power from distinct pathways (warrens) is not only easy to imagine, but has set limits from the get go. Erikson utilizes the Warrens to their full extent. I really enjoyed it. That said, many of the scenes involving magic felt a bit extraneous or pointless for most of the novel.
Which leads into many of the issues I had with the book. First, it failed to hold my interest. Many things just kind of happened with hardly any explanation. I spent most of my time questioning the relevance of events than just going with the flow. I had a hard time keeping track of characters and what role they played. It was all very convoluted. Even with the climax, I felt that much of the book was a little pointless. I could have missed something, but I don't feel like double checking at the moment.
And the names, face it, they were terrible. Tattersail? Sorry? (I would make fun of Whiskeyjack if I didn't meet someone with that as their honest last name.)
The writing itself wasn't terrible, but it wasn't the best either. There was awkward phrasing and stiff dialogue, but for the most part it was a tad wordy. If you aren't picky about the writing, it's passable.
I gave this book three stars because most of what the book tries is a little more original than some fantasy, but it stumbles a bit on the execution. The world building is a bit spotty, but what is there is consistent and makes sense within the context. Feel free to check out this book. The magic system is cool. I just hope you aren't as disappointed as I am.
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