Mount Readmore Book Review, 2017 23/100
Malazan: Book of the Fallen, Book 1 ‘Gardens of the Moon’ By Steven Erikson
Audiobook Edition, Narrated by Ralph Lister
Finished on 2/27/2017
Genres: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Grimdark, High Fantasy, War Fantasy
1 Girl Assassin, 1 Experienced Sergeant, 1 Fate Favored Thief, 1 Fate Favored Captain, and about 1 Million Other Characters out of 5
Boy howdy, talk about In Media Res. Gardens of the Moon exults in its own worldbuilding and doesn’t hold your hand long enough for you to learn what that worldbuilding is. I was confused from the moment that I started listening to this audiobook, so confused that even frequent visits to the Malazan Wiki was of little help. This was an intense book, and if you aren’t paying close attention for a few minutes you’ll miss key pieces of information pertaining to the always developing plot.
I think I liked this book. It’s difficult for me to be certain because there’s still so much I don’t understand about what was going on. This isn’t Epic Fantasy, this is EPIC Fantasy (the scope of the book isn’t just world-spanning, it spans dimensions and timelines). This isn’t High Fantasy, this is HIGH Fantasy (the use of magic exists in every breath and motion of the book). Each and every character is powerful, each and every occurrence is a threat to the world.
If the last book I read (‘The Salt Roads’) was a bit short of plot, this suffers from the opposite problem. So much happened in this book that there is no way I can possibly recount the happenings of this novel. It is possible to have too much of a good think, but I think Erikson made this overabundance of plot work in this book.
The characters were pretty good. No character committed the unforgivable sin of being boring, and there were a lot of characters so this is an accomplishment. Unfortunately only a minority of characters really changed in response to the plot. I think character development is important in fiction, so this is a bad thing.
If I were to describe this book, I would call it concentrated Epic Fantasy genre: complex plot, lots of characters, strange magic and endless history. I think I enjoyed it. If you’re willing to be horribly confused, give it a whirl.
Finally the audiobook narrator did a fantastic job. The characters were all distinct from one another.