☆ Read í Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson ↠´ My second read leads me to believe that this is a series that only gets better with re reading I find myself needing to bump my rating this time to 4.
44 so it isn t full 5 stars this way I have space to bump it the next time I revisit it A buddy re read with the folks at FBR Because once is never enough when it comes to MalazanTell me, Tool, what dominates your thoughts The Imass shrugged before replying I think of futility, Adjunct Do all Imass think about futility No Few think at all Why is that The Imass leaned his head to one side and regarded her Because, Adjunct, it is futile4 A buddy read with the Epic Fantasy Warriors at BBB Because we need to get our Evil Magic On How the hell does a person do a review on a book like this This is the first book in a series, which in scope rivals WoT, SoIF, and TBC I have found that on such books with multiple POV s and story arcs and multi directional story lines, it is almost impossible to even try an attempt at delving into the plot So I don t think I am even going to tryThrough the gamut of life we struggled for control, for a means to fashion the world around us, an eternal, hopeless hunt for the privilege of being able to predict the shape of our livesThis little quote should give you all some idea of the tone of the book it is dark, it is bleak and it is violent With the first pages we are thrown into the action, no knowledge of what is going on or who the bad or the good guys are We meet some of the main characters right away and see them later growing and changing through the years This is where it really reminded me of TBC, where we hit the ground running as well, and all the characters had the potential to do good or bed equally I think this is what makes this type of writing so compelling you never stop wondering about the true intentions of the characters and the potential for betrayals and backstabbing are infinite But this is also what makes the characters so human and relatable, since in real life we are all faced with gray choices no black or white, no true right or wrong They usually try, just like us, to do what they think is wright, until deeper understanding and seeing the bigger picture shows them which side of history their stories will be told onSuch is the irony of life, Kruppe proclaimed, raising one pastry filled hand over his head, that one learns to distrust the obvious, surrendering instead to insidious suspicion and confused conclusion But, is Kruppe deceived Can an eel swim Hurrah, these seeming muddy waters are home to Kruppe, and his eyes are wide with wonderKruppe turned out to be my favorite character, with his excessive flowery speech, spewing hyperbolies and riddles, and the obvious than he seems place in the story But I digressSo, this is the tale of the Malazan Empire, which looses its Emperor in the beginning of the book and now, nine years later, the Empress Laseen is trying to take over all the free cities on the continent of Genabackis, and two of them seem to be giving the Empire a hard fight After a very questionable takeover of the city of Pannion Seer, where the Empress made obvious that she does not give a damn about who and what she destroys, as long as she appears to be the winner, killing off thousands of her own troops using mages and demons to do so, as well as keeping the disgruntled survives under her thumb As one of her enforcers she uses Adjunct Lorn, my second favorite character of the book She was the job and she tried so hard to kill the person inside of herself, in order to be able to keep on being the job I was fascinated by her and looked with anticipation for every moment she got some page time So, the Empress of this militaristic Empire, sends a team to try to destabilize and do as much damage as possible to the free city of Darujhistan in order to prepare it for a takeover Even better if they can take it over with subterfuge or bribary, but they should be ready to do anything that is needed to accomplish their goal Thus we get to meet the The Bridgburners lead by Whiskeyjack, the resident mage Quick Ben, Tattersail, the warrior mage lady, and the newly added Captain Paran, who seemed to be the character around whom most action seems to be happening I would not call him the protagonist, because in this format I don t think there is a protagonist at all There are many characters on the side of the Empire, but it would be impossible to name them allNo soul can withstand the sun s bones of light and reason dims when darkness falls so we shape barrows in the night for you and your kin Forgive my interruption, then, said I The dead never interrupt, said the mason, they but arriveThe Free City of Darujhistan is described as a beautiful and prosperous city state where a number of colorful characters live First and foremost is the son of the city, the loquacious Kruppe, possibly a thief, who together with the members of the Thief Guild and the Assassins Guild tend to hang out at the Phoenix Tavern Crocus is a young thief apprentice who unfortunately gets noticed by a god and his life takes on a very severe turn They also have a City Council as well as a mage shadow council, The Alchemist being their leader, who seem to be the true strength behind the power in the place Those are the Human players This is where this book becomes complicated We not only have humans, but we have a bunch of other races, ascendant beings, gods and Elder gods There are levels of magical warrens, which are the places that give magical power to the adepts who have the affinity to them All of the supernatural beings seem bored and all of them entertain themselves by entering into wars, games of power and influence, and of course, the lives and politics of humans They choose individuals as their pawns and strive to affect the narrative in such a manner as to harm or diminish others of their ilk I am sure, that almost I got the gist of the story and understood what is happening, there were details I either completely missed or went over my head However, I am not discouraged and am sure that things will crystallize as the series developsThose whom the gods choose, tis said, they first separate from other mortals by treachery, by stripping from you your spirit s lifeblood The gods will take all your loved ones, one by one, to their death And, as you harden, as you become what they seek, the gods smile and nod Each company you shun brings you closer to them Tis the shaping of a tool, son, the prod and pull, and the final succour they offer you is to end your loneliness the very isolation they helped you createSo, overall, this story strongly reminded me of TBC and I feel that this made it easier for me to keep up with the action and not get lost in the forest from the get go I loved the world building and the characters were perfect for such a volume of action and developing legend for the series Once past the middle of the book it read much quicker and it took a reader friendly form It all comes down to familiarity, which is always harder in the cases when the world and its systems are completely made up and new to us It is an Epic and Militaristic Magic and Gods world and if any of this sounds interesting to you, you should definitely give it a go Only be prepared and in the mood to concentrate, because it does not spoon feed you information and full attention to detail is needed I personally am looking forward to the next volumeSelf righteous wrath had planted corpses in the ground than an empire could lay claim to,Mow I wish you all Happy Reading and may you always find what you need in the pages of a good book full review now up5 5 Buddy read with my soul sister and my pals at BBBAmbition is not a dirty word Piss on compromise Go for the throatSo I have stared at my phone screen for approx 96 hours trying to think of a review for this and I m still left speechless, so I have vomited up some words for y all to enjoy, if you want a proper review check Eriksons GR page there s only 3,000 of themToo many regrets Lost chances and with each one passing the less human we all became, and the deeper into the nightmare of power we all sankWhat even was this confusing mess of a book I ll tell you what it was a goddamn masterpiece I m not even lying when I say that if you haven t read this you are missing out, if you call yourself a fantasy fan but you haven t started this series, well you must have something wrong with you This was an epic ride and the actual bible of badassery I love everything about this book Erikson is clearly a genius to think of something so complex and unique I was extremely apprehensive going into this book due to some statements from a few friends, apparently this book is confusing and the weakest of all ten If this is the weakest then the rest must be so amazing that they are illegal to read, due to causing heart attacks from badassery overload I ll be the first to admit I did find it confusing, but around page 50 I was able to follow the storyline, it s exactly what I expected from a world so large The POV s switch back and forth and there s honestly like a 100 main characters, so yes it did get extremely overwhelming but the plot was so good that I didn t give a damn if I was confused, hell half the time I had no idea what was going on but I was okay with it because it was SO GODDAMN GOOD Like it even had a puppet sorcerer Not even joking that s how strange and epic this book is.
But what really drew me in was the immense world building with so much attention to detail, the details weren t over kill so I enjoyed reading all the descriptions so unlike me I could imagine everything vividly while reading I also need to talk about that perfect and clever writing, Erikson is so fucking talented that it s ridiculousHigh house shadow, and a knife in the dark A new game s begun, or the old one s just turnedThe characters well there was many and when I say many I m not even joking A few stood out to me and I m currently storing them in my book boyfriend harem My favorite of all was Toc the Younger, I really have a thing for disfigured men I just find them so goddamn precious so i adored my one eyed solider fanart by Zsoszy on deviantart Toc the Younger, last representative of the Claw on Genabackis, one eyed and half his face scarred by fireI also love the marshmallow aka Kruppe I loved his POV I also loved his third person talk.
Rake was probably the most badass character ever createdAnomander Rake, Lord of the Tiste Andii, who are the souls of Starless Night Rake, the Mane of ChaosOne thing I found extremely annoying was in the ebook edition Toc s name on nearly every page was spelt incorrectly Here s a few examplesLorn smiled You ll be sharing it for the next few days, Toe the Younger We ve a long walk to Pale Six, seven days, Toe said I expected you to be mounted And anotherToe s frown deepened, then he sat forward, his every muscle tensing And againAnd I was, for a time Tell me, Toc the Younger, am I speaking to a Claw, or to a soldier of the Second Toe s eye narrowed That s a tough question And againToe s expression was grim Honestly my expression would be grim if I was called toe aswell Sometimes I thought it was a new character named toe, but it was in reality just horrible editing Get your shit together editors And if my screaming and fan girling isn t enough to get you to read this book then your the one who needs to be punched Recommended to all adult fantasy fansPreview Okay so this book promises lots of blood, death heart shattering goodness.
BRING IT THE FUCK ON Like I have HUGE expectations this better contain badassery.
If this meme is incorrect I will punch someone New note The meme was actually incorrect so now I feel stabby I was not shocked or saddened enough in this book and that was my only issue.
The Malazan Empire Simmers With Discontent, Bled Dry By Interminable Warfare, Bitter Infighting And Bloody Confrontations With The Formidable Anomander Rake And His Tiste Andii, Ancient And Implacable Sorcerers Even The Imperial Legions, Long Inured To The Bloodshed, Yearn For Some Respite Yet Empress Laseen S Rule Remains Absolute, Enforced By Her Dread Claw AssassinsFor Sergeant Whiskeyjack And His Squad Of Bridgeburners, And For Tattersail, Surviving Cadre Mage Of The Second Legion, The Aftermath Of The Siege Of Pale Should Have Been A Time To Mourn The Many Dead But Darujhistan, Last Of The Free Cities Of Genabackis, Yet Holds Out It Is To This Ancient Citadel That Laseen Turns Her Predatory GazeHowever, It Would Appear That The Empire Is Not Alone In This Great Game Sinister, Shadowbound Forces Are Gathering As The Gods Themselves Prepare To Play Their HandConceived And Written On A Panoramic Scale, Gardens of the Moon Is Epic Fantasy Of The Highest Order An Enthralling Adventure By An Outstanding New Voice Here we go This is my first review for Steven Erikson s highly acclaimed epic fantasy series Malazan Book of the Fallen Malazan has been in my TBR for one year seven months now I ve heard countless amazing things about the series but the sizes, the spreading words of mouth on the complexities, the need for extra focus, the commitment, and the elitist assholes of the series made me postpone starting it for a long time Despite hearing amazing things about the quality of the series, it required me a promise to finally plunge myself into starting this grand tale I told my girlfriend I will propose to her only after I finished Malazan Book of the Fallen she has agreed to it and so here we are It s safe to say that my expectations for this series are unreasonably huge and no, I don t plan to change that for many personal reasons Did the first book live up to the expectation though The masterpiece quality aspect remains to be seen but the scope truly lived up to it, especially remembering that Gardens of the Moon is just the introduction to the series Gardens of the Moon is the first book in Steven Erikson s Malazan Book of the Fallen series Empress Laseen rule the Malazan Empire with an iron fist After laying siege to Pale, she set her gaze upon Darujhistan, the last Free Cities of Genebackis This is pretty much all I can say about the actual main plot without spoiling anything In fact, as a warning, I ll tell you this My future Malazan reviews will consist of none or barely of what the plot is about The main reason behind this is that there are way too many things going on inside the storyline that it would be practically impossible for me to summarize without writing a short story This is a GRAND tale and from what I ve read, it seems like GotM is merely an appetizer for what s to come Like everyone said, there s no benign compromise from Erikson here Readers are immediately put in the middle of a gigantic war without any proper backgrounds However, was the story itself hard to follow Not really Now, I don t claim to understand everything that happened here I extremely doubt any Malazan virgins can Reading it for the first time, I noticed that some of the events happening in the book needed the power of hindsight in order to be fully appreciated Some things just won t make sense yet and that s okay, you re not stupid If the elitist of the series call you stupid for not liking the book or not understanding it, you ll know that they re the close minded idiot you should avoid interaction with I mean it, I have never encountered a rabid bunch of man child in any adult fantasy novel series than the one I ve seen in the fan base of Malazan the Hounds from house Shadow literally bite their cock and gave them malicious rabies If anyone said that Malazan isn t the best fantasy series out there, they have this compulsion to throw insults at the speaker otherwise the veins in their cock will explode and literally kill them That said, I absolutely loved the plot and the theme that Erikson put into GotM there was a lot of theme going on here but my favorite themes were the constant decrease of humanity because of drowning in war or power, the other theme is that when gods meddle, humans became pawns in their supremacyToo many regrets Lost chances and with each one passing the less human we all became, and the deeper into the nightmare of power we all sankStarting the book, you ll immediately encounter a huge amount of characters in the drammatis personae list This should give you an idea of how big the scale of the book will be There were than ten POV s to follow and there were than one hundred names to remember Remember, this is only the FIRST book of the series merely an introduction As intimidating as that sounds, this is also where Erikson deserves a huge praise because despite the myriad number of characters, he managed to make sure that each of them has their own personality fleshed out Their crumbling of beliefs, their responsibilities, the motivations, and their inner voices were distinct to read One character in particular doesn t even have a POV to follow and yet managed to be the main highlight of the entire book for me Yes, you know who I m talking about The mane of chaos, the lord of the Tiste Andii, the badass two handed magic sword wielder, Anomander Rake Suffice to say that he instantly made it to one of the coolest fictional characters I ve come across so far There s one thing I need to say on the characters names This first book alone contained some of the most memorable and ridiculous names I ve ever heard Whiskeyjack Sorry Quick Ben Toc the Younger and Toc the Older Seriously, how do Erikson and Esslemont even came up with these name I imagine their conversation went probably something like this Erikson What should we name these characters Ian, get me a whiskey Esslemont Jack D as usual, Steve Erikson Yeah, Quick Benedictine too Esslemont Sorry, Ben is out giant light bulb burst out of their head E E That s three names right there brother Whiskeyjack, Quick Ben, Sorry Someone knocked on the door loudly and silently TOC TOC TOC and toc toc toc Erikson Toc the Older Esslemont And Toc the youngerHe s loyal to an idea, and that s the hardest kind to turnWhen it comes to the world building, I don t even know how to properly talk about them other than saying that it s intricately complex and TRULY epic in scope Almost all of these were an introduction to the world of Malazan and yet it s much bigger than most fantasy trilogy already Hundreds of thousands of histories, many races, deadly and mysterious magic system, the Deck of Dragons, the Ascendants, there s a LOT of information to absorb here and honestly, if you re not a fan of extremely detailed lore and world building, this book probably won t work for youNo matter how benign the original rulers, no matter how generous the nobility, the word of Empire, weighted by might, twisted the past into a tyranny of demonsLet s also take a look at one of the action scenes in the book just to give you an idea of how huge in scope the battle was.
Picture Gardens of the Moon by Marc SimonettiThe scene in the picture above depicted the Siege of Pale that happened at chapter 2 it s that early The scale of this chapter alone was at least equivalent to your standard trilogy climax sequences Sorcerous conflagrations, a floating fortress, giant ravens, heck the second chapter of this book alone could easily be equivalent to the final battle out of any normal fantasy trilogy Here s another artwork on what kind of imminent battle and destruction to expect.
Picture One of the interior artworks inside GotM Subterranean edition Artwork by Michael KomarckWith all the ambitions and epic scope, it saddened me to say that I can t give this book a 5 stars rating For those of you who don t know, I rated my books based on characterizations and how much emotions the book I read sparked in me than anything else Unfortunately, GotM is slightly lacking on that part due to a few imbalance characterizations It s not a surprise really, there are a myriad amount of characters here some POV was just inferior compared to others For example, the assassin s war storyline bored me a bit because I don t or haven t really care about some of the characters On the other hand, characters from the Bridgeburners, Paran, Tool, Tattersail, and Anomander Rake deserves a standing ovation Also, one other issue I had was that some of the battle scenes concluded too quickly that they felt anti climactic to readOnly if you fail at all else, son Taking up the sword is the last act of desperate men Mark my words and find yourself a worthy dreamFor the virgin of the series, there s a huge chance that the fanatics, the sizes, and the complexities of the series will most likely intimidate you and it s absolutely okay to feel that way Even if you re an epic fantasy fan, it doesn t guarantee that this will be a book or series for you all those negative and positive ratings were given for valid reasons It took me a gigantic promise in order to finally plunge myself into starting this massive tale However, if you re ready to chain yourself to both Erikson s and Esslemont s ambitious tale, Gardens of the Moon will be the first avenue to test your imaginations to its limit I now move forward to open the Deadhouse Gates, a book that every fan of the series said will destroy my soul, make me cry blablabla and I fucking hope it doesAmbition is not a dirty word Piss on compromise Go for the throat Steven EriksonYou can order the book HERE You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions I began my journey into the Malazan series in a similar manner that I m sure some others have I was sure I d fall on the side of those who didn t like this The reviews are so polarising, and so many people talk about how difficult this series is I don t have the time or energy for that, but all of my friends are reading or have already read this Am I really going to be the only one who hasn t Then I thought maybe I ll just read the first one, this world sounds so interesting, I feel like I m missing out And what do you know In my opinion, it is not as intimidating as some people make it out to be and I think you ll not only enjoy it, but love it I ve been told that Gardens of the Moon is often thought of as the weakest in the series If that s the case, then I m in for enjoying the rest of the series.
To be honest, I only experienced the wow this is overwhelming feeling that lots of people talk about when bringing up getting into the Malazan universe for about the first 50 100 pages After that, the author does such an amazing job at placing clues, leading the reader where he wants them to go without holding their hand or spending 1,000 pages telling you about the world The world was rich There were histories upon histories, incorporating beings of immense power I felt that Erikson did a fantastic job at portraying the various power levels of individuals, explaining their weaknesses and still making you fell in complete awe at the creatures and beings that call this world their home I just wanted and of the Lore I want information about the Bridgeburners, the magic system warrens, on the different races such as the T lan Imass and the Tiste Andii I wanted a guide or something that I can take to work and read instead of doing real work.
I didn t feel like there was a main character This wasn t the coming of age tale of some hero or the story of how a legend came to be, rather this was the story of the entire world and the pieces that came to play on it, all moved by their masters and the forces that willed them Characters that you met were already who they had become, and I was able to easily understand and appreciate them without needing to be detailed their entire history The entire book felt fast paced Plots upon plots upon plots were woven as all of the puzzle pieces collided chapter after chapter It was such an exciting writing style to be able to see all of your favorite characters converge together Speaking of favorite characters, I have a lot of them.
Anomander Rake, Lord of Moon s Spawn, Son of Darkness, Knight of Darkness.
I felt his power when reading of him Erikson did an incredible job with all of his scenes and portraying such powerful characters I could almost feel the pressure of the sword when looked upon, and hear the wagon and the chains If there s one character I want to read and about, it s Rake.
Quick BenProbably the second character I want to know about Seven warrens can be used by him at one time and he is an ex High Priest of Shadow Where is this guy s past and how do I get my hands on it He was funny, exciting and powerful.
WhiskeyjackHere is a man who has become so numb to death and killing that he no longer questions it It s always, I wouldn t say fun, but interesting to read about characters like this and how they handle themselves I would say that occasionally I thought of him as similar to how I felt about Dalinar in the Words of Radiance.
ParanParan s story is probably the one you read about most, as he is in the beginning and you follow him throughout I think it s pretty awesome that he now carries Lorn s Otataral sword and I hope to learn about how the anti magic works in future books Tattersail Tattersail smiled The only death I fear is dying ignorant Holy crap Did that really happen Did she kill her body to and become a baby again She is far powerful than I thought she was initially and was very good at playing the part Can t wait to read about what happened with her and if she will be reuinited with Paran.
There are dozens of others that I loved Kalam I want to see his anger unleashed , Sorry What is going on with that witch inside , Crokus Tossing the coin in at the end was pretty awesome , Rallick Otataral inside of his skin How powerful is he now , Tool Lots of feeling and emotion for a supposed three hundred thousand year old creature , Toc The scratchy eye and visions through the Warren Where did you go my friend , Lorn I loved her chapters, though I am not sad to see her go If she truly stays dead And let s not forget Kruppe I had mixed feelings about this guy At first I couldn t figure out who was playing who, but towards the end I started to see his real power and motives and ended up with positive feelings about the fat, dreaming bastard His third person talking perspective is kind of annoying, but funny.
Gardens of the Moon is a great book that you will enjoy reading, as long as you like Swords and Sorcery style fantasy anyway This is the type of fantasy I want to read For some, it ll be too demanding I understand this This book is not for everyone, but it most certainly is for me.
Now these ashes gave grown cold, we open the old book.
These oil stained pages recount the tales of the Fallen,a frayed empire, words without warmth The hearthhas ebbed, its gleam and life s sparks are but memoriesagainst dimming eyes what cast my mind, what hue mythoughts as I open the Book of the Fallenand breathe deep the scent of history Listen, then, to these words carried on that breath.
These tales are the tales of us all, again yet again.
We are history relived and that is all, without end that is allDark times have set upon the Malazan Empire Nine years ago, the Emperor Kellanved was murdered and his most loyal followers purged by a ruthless and ambitious woman called Surly, formerly the Commander of the Claw, now known as Laseen, thronemaster Under the rule of their new empress, the Malazans have spread their empire across the known world, and now the war rages in distant Genabackis With the Siege of Pale coming to an end, Laseen s attention turns towards Darujhistan, last of the Free CitiesThe first tale of The Malazan Book of the Fallen takes place almost exclusively in the cities of Pale and Darujhistan, and their immediate surroundings Yet despite of that, the book manages to encompass an enormously wide range of different characters and storylines, all occurring simultaneously And not only that, but all the time, the reader gets subtle hints that are easily missed about events yet to come Of course, Steven Erikson has become rather infamous for all this.
The characters were pretty standard There were a few I enjoyed greatly most importantly Adjunct Lorn, Kruppe and Anomander Rake , another handful I liked well enough, and a whole lot I found to be completely one dimensional and uninteresting Not that I m complaining, mind you, for such a situation must be expected from a book with as many characters as this one.
The writing style is a matter for debate I know many people like it and I ve also heard that there is a lot of development throughout the series , and while I wouldn t call it bad, I cannot say that I liked it either Erikson s style, as stated by the man himself in the introduction, is both fast paced and dense That made this feel like a book I should have been able to read a lot faster, but where I had to force myself to go very slow in order to avoid missing anything So sometimes reading the book caused a minor headache, not because it was confusing I actually don t think it was , but because I had to read it like I would a university textbook Looking away from all that, though, the writing itself is okay Not particularly impressive, but still good The chapter introductions, however, were simply amazing I always like quotes and excerpts from in world texts introducing chapters, and when those come in the form of poetry, it s even better.
Let me talk a little bit about the setting then, which is by far the greatest strength of this book The continent of Genabackis is a land of many different nations and cultures, and it seems that each and every one of them has a developed history From the Moranth to Darujhistan to the lands of the Pannion Seer, Erikson has created a setting that s astonishingly enjoyable to read and learn about Add to that the Tiste Andii, the T lan Imass, the Jaghut and all the other non human races, and the fact that there s a whole world out there waiting to be explored and nine books to do it, and this reader for one is definitely happy with the latest fantasy universe he s been given the chance to see.
I also felt like there was an advantage in having read the whole Chronicles of the Black Company before venturing forth into this series Glen Cook is according to Erikson his most important source of inspiration, and it is already quite easy to see connections between the two series in this first novel Genre wise Erikson follows in Cook s footsteps and both the setting, the writing and the characters are similar to the ones found in the world of the Black Company.
So in the end, I really liked Gardens of the Moon There were intriguing stories, fascinating legends of old, epic duels between powerful wizards and mythic creatures appearing from the realms of the gods I did not enjoy it as much as I hoped I would, but pretty close to how much I expected I would It is still far too early to see if this series will become one of my favourites, but I certainly intend to find out Malazan Book of the Fallen reviews1 Gardens of the Moon 2 Deadhouse Gates 3 Memories of Ice 4 House of Chains 5 Midnight Tides 6 The Bonehunters 7 Reaper s Gale 8 Toll the Hounds 9 Dust of Dreams 10 The Crippled God I am jealous of many of my Goodreads friends working their way through Malazan, so I have decided to do a re read alongside them I will do the recommended reading order this time too including ICE s books x
Now THIS is what I call a pleasant surprise I m very tempted to jump right onto book two butFirst order of business recharge brain battery Let s DO THIS If only I hadn t put on that little black dress Perhaps that would ve saved this one for me I mean, not only did I put on the little black dress, the one cutjusttothere I did the hair I put on the heels too Everyone who has that little black dress or is dating someone who does knows what heels I mean You guys have been in that mood where you really just want to go out paint the town red like you re Sinatra and are just, as they used to say of kings, in the mood to be pleased, right Whoever your date is that evening will probably have to make very little effort for you to have a good time, and indeed you re just fine with being the entertainment I would like to state here and now that I showed up for my date with Steve Erikson with the hair and the dress and the heels in this mood And it turns out he s that guy The one who will manage to irritate you no matter how many times you try to grin and change the subject, no matter how many broad hints you might help him out with As with most dates you ve gathered information on solely from the internet and well meaning friends, he turns up late, it turns out he has lied about his height, is awkwardly insistent on telling you excruciatingly uninteresting stories the entire night while not asking you a single question about yourself, and then is confused when you do not want to see him again.
Seriously, I PUT ON HEELS FOR THIS, ERIKSON Somehow that s always the most insulting part, isn t it Everyone told me you were great This was supposed to be my happy fun vacation time with a happy fun book that I could geek out with my friends about and finally have something to talk about with them that did not involve Foucauldian analysis, Marxist delusions, academic drama or a thesis of any kind But nooooo Instead someone s evil twin shows up and now I have to awkwardly tell all these people I like that I do not like their favorite book.
It s just that this isn t a good book And not even that it s not good in some literary way It is clearly not good in that way, and it isn t meant to be I don t hold it to that standard It does seem to me to be trying to be good in a old fashioned way typical for fantasy it just wants to tell a rollicking good story But I mean it is a bad story I like stories That s why I read fantasy, in large part I like that feeling of the archetypal coming to life in an interesting way that shows the inner workings of the recurring characters that I see everywhere in my reading I like that sensation of a campfire at night and a bard repeating the history of a people, with flickering flames and drama and shadows and pronouncements that you can only take seriously in that setting and which you d feel obliged to laugh at in the morning This is a bad story It s cool that Erikson doesn t need to spend a hundred pages explaining every detail of his world to us and given how complicated it is, thank GOD for that , but the reader shouldn t have to stop reading many times in order to try to straighten out what s going on, who are these random people that keep showing up, how does this new demon or magic fit into anything, and most importantly, all important, why on earth should I care Erikson definitely did not manage to make me care It s largely a function of the fact that there is such a huge cast of characters, and he spends so little time developing any of their personalities When there is some sort of inner reflection by a couple of them, or feelings , it seems shunted in there to give his epic quest one of the elements an epic is supposed to have it feels like he s impatient with people being, you know, people, and would rather get back to telling me about this super cool magic battle with a demon he just invented that just popped out of nowhere It was almost like people were necessary vehicles for him to create his fantasy world, but that cool names, and Houses and ranks Son of Darkness, Knight of Darkness, Queen of Light were the real point of the whole thing People are there for him to be able to have fights Honestly It seemed like it was kind of constructed like an RPG game a lot of the time Here is an action sequence After this, your hero may explore this world and pick up coins and treasure to increase his value, there is an epic quest, but you can choose to get sidetracked by a bunch of others that involve various gods and spirits Then in between each quest there s that part where the game stops to give you an expository scene that advances the plot and you just watch, and then you take control back and go on to the next action sequence Eventually you come back to the big quest and kill off the Big Bad and YAY YOU WIN I can certainly see the appeal of this construction as a game, but I think as a book it doesn t work so well, at least, not for me.
It certainly didn t help that in addition to the off putting construction and the poor character development, the dialogue was absolutely laughable incredibly stereotypically exactly what satirists make bad fantasy writing sound like , the plot was ridiculous, he pulled a new thing out of his ass every five pages because well because His world building was incomplete, too It felt like you could never trust it because he could just change it on you a minute later because he felt like it He doesn t hold himself to any rules It s like when you re trying to make up an excuse on the fly for why you were late for something I forgot my keys, and then I got caught in a traffic jam, and then I passed that and there was some truck that had dumped bunnies on the roadway and I had to help save the poor things, and then I was almost here when all of a sudden Elvis appeared from the dead, riding an elephant and well that s why I m late and its totally okay There s no suspense because the main characters are sure to be resurrected the alternate dimension rebirth had me laughing so hard I was crying , and the bad ones are either off screen, introduced late, or dumb There s some attempt at shades of grey with one character the Adjunct but he tells me what the point is, straight out, about five times, just to be sure that I get it, and its not that interesting a point anyway so it kind of ruins it I liked the climactic end battle, but I swear to you even while that battle was going on, he was introducing new magic and people and not just going with the hundreds he already had after 600 pages of setting things up If an author feels the need to do that instead of relying on the payoff from the 600 pages he already has not good news Not good news at all.
I don t know, I almost kind of feel bad saying all this It feels like I m making fun of someone who s just so excited to tell me about all this cool stuff he thought of that he forgot to put it in a coherent order It doesn t mean that the individual ideas he thinks of can t be cool, he just hasn t figured out the other stuff he needs to make it interesting as well as cool But still lest we forget HEELS, ERIKSON HEELS.
Yeah, still not over that Next date, if there is a next date I m sensing some peer pressure coming my way from my crafty friends , I m showing up in sweats, half tired and in the mood to watch reality TV Something tells me things might go better that way.