Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

January 21, 2014
Gardens of the Moon by Steven EriksonGardens Of The Moon by Steven Erikson
Published by Random House, Tor Books on 2009-07-28
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 768
Source: Purchased

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Bled dry by interminable warfare, infighting and bloody confrontations with Lord Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, the vast, sprawling Malazan empire simmers with discontent. Even its imperial legions yearn for some respite. For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his Bridgeburners and for Tattersail, sole surviving sorceress of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, still holds out - and Empress Lasseen's ambition knows no bounds. However, it seems the empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister forces gather as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand... Conceived and written on an epic scale, Gardens of the Moon is a breathtaking achievement - a novel in which grand design, a dark and complex mythology, wild and wayward magic and a host of enduring characters combine with thrilling, powerful storytelling to resounding effect. Acclaimed by writers, critics and readers alike, here is the opening chapter in what has been hailed a landmark of epic fantasy: the awesome 'The Malazan Book of the Fallen'.


Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson is on an undeniably epic scale with battles, betrayal and all the rest of that good stuff. Oh, and a very healthy dose of magic. It’s also a very interesting book in how it divides readers into that those that love it and those that don’t. There is never going to be a book that is guaranteed to make all readers happy, but there are some that are more likely to have a wide range of reactions. This is definitely one of those books, a marmite book. Reading along with a group reinforced this and also gave opportunity to see (and understand) the other readers’ reactions.

One of the key things that really divided those readers who love this book and those who found it a chore to read is the reader’s expectations about how much they needed to understand and/or connect the various ongoing storylines. Gardens of the Moon takes no mercy and no time with the backstory, it just drops you in and shows you what is going on through various points of view. There are no info dumps in this book, no extraneous information, just the story that is unfolding, and in the process, you learn the larger story.  But it can be a slow process. This works for some, but not for others. What I may find mysterious and intriguing, another reader would find strange and random. It’s the same story, but I am completely fine with not understanding the big picture and letting the pieces fall in place as the story progresses. Go with the flow. If you can’t do this, you’re not likely to enjoy Gardens of the Moon.

Now, it might be a hard book to read, there is a ton going on, many pieces to fall in place, but is it worth it? Should you try to figure out if this is a book for you? Absolutely, give it a shot and keep in mind that you will have to just take the story as it comes. There’s no hand holding and no spoon feeding for the reader. For those that can handle the way Erikson unfolds the story, it is a very fun read and I can understand why it has such a large set of devoted readers. It features war, spies, assassins, magic, and oh yeah, meddling gods. You can’t forget about them. I also really enjoyed the range of characters. There is so much in this book that makes it worth reading, that it seems to me, you have to at least try.



  • Nathan January 21, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Before I read a lot of fantasy I tried to read this and failed miserably. But I picked it up last year and wondered why I had so many problems the first time; it really doesn’t do anything more complex that several other series I have tried.

    I enjoyed it quite a bit despite some silliness in the over-the-top nature, but somehow have never quite got around to grabbing the second book.

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) January 22, 2014 at 10:23 am

      What? Did you just call a book with a possessed puppet silly and over the top? *shakes head* 😉

      I don’t plan on going straight into book 2, will see if I get motivated to pick it up and continue the series or not.

  • Hanna @TheWaystoneOwl February 2, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Wow, sounds different from the usual fantasy books I read, which have quite a bit of info dumps in some places. Sounds interesting. Great review!

  • Tina Glayzer May 17, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    I absolutely hate it when movies do this no back story crud, but when books do it I find I am much more patient! Maybe because I know the book has as much time as it needs to develop the story and if you just wait it out, it will be put together in the end. In movies they seem to always try to cram way to much into the amount of time they have. Thanks for the heads up, this one is on my reading list!
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    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) May 17, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      Hope you enjoy it! I really want to read on in the series, just keep getting distracted by other books.