Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

Five hundred heavy pages of epic fantasy, and there are no less than ten books in the series--eight already printed, two more forthcoming. I suppose it was inevitable that sooner or later I'd come across this one. Frankly I'm surprised the author didn't drop me a post card or something.

The first few chapters were confusing as hell, but the characters were immediately interesting and the world was presented with a vastness from the outset, so I hung on. A hundred pages in, and the new themes and new characters and new motivations were still dropping from in with every section. It wasn't until about two hundred pages had passed that I started to see where the author was going, and another fifty pages beyond that before some of the major players' motivations became clear and the plotting stabilized.

Now, I hear what you're saying, but bear with me. I was complaining about this to my wife (who just loves hearing my impromptu book reports, believe me!) when something became clear. The twists and turns of the characters, the hidden information and sudden reveals: they were put there to keep the reader off balance because that's what the characters were suffering from too. Betrayal is a big part of the plot here, and hiding that surety from the reader is a good way to help draw them into that world of intrigue. Did that major character really mean what she just said? Sure she's been fitting action to words so far, but...

There are dragons and shadow hounds, high and low sorcery, love and murder... oh, it's just chock full of epic goodness. And like I said, there are nine more after this. How can you go wrong?

B&N link

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