Gardens of the Moon | Steven Erikson

I’ve often flipped through Erikson’s books while browsing the fantasy section at my local bookstore. This month I took the plunge and started book 1 of 10 core novels in Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series.

The Malazan idea was birthed when Erikson and I. C. Esslemont (who is publishing a five book series set in the same world) developed the world for role-playing games. Through many twists and turns, that world became the publishing juggernaut that is Malazan.

The first book of the series is both praised and criticized for the same thing: it’s incredibly involved. The new reader has to try to understand a host of characters from human to ancient to divine. Add to this the complex military history of the world, it’s mythical origins, and a bewildering magic system and your brain can start to spin.

I found the whole thing mentally invigorating.

Armed with warnings of the books thorniness, I read it at a reasonable pace while paying attention to the various characters. The depth of realization gives the book life that make other epic fantasy series feel flat.

I’m told that the next two books in the series give clarity to many elements of this first book. I can hardly wait.

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