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Book Review:
Steven Erikson, Gardens of the Moon

by Jerry Wright

GOTM Cover
Gardens of the Moon(Book One of The Mazalan Book of the Fallen)
Author: Steven Erikson
Publisher: Tor Books
Hardcover: June 1, 2004
Length: 496pp
ISBN: 0765310015
Price: $24.95

What a wild ride. When I was offered the opportunity to review Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. "Erikson... Erikson... Nope. Not a name I'm familiar with." So I went on the net to see if I could find anything. And wow. Did I. This guy has reviews saying he's the next best thing to Tolkien and reviews saying, "What's all this brouhaha? I give it one star."

So which is it?

Depends on what you like. If you like complex, gritty books where you have to think about what is happening, where the characters in the story act like people with complex motivations that are not revealed except through actions and conversations, where those who we thought were evil are revealed to perhaps have good motivations, and those we thought were "on the side of the angels" turn out to be destructive and bad, or not... Then you'll be captivated by this book.

If you don't like big complicated books with plots within plots within plots, then run, do not walk, away from this book. Erikson is fascinated with Time, with conflicts raging above a land where history is 300,000 years deep, where gods, Gods, and ghods are either trying to stay alive, trying to escape, or just meddling because they can.

The characters in this book are manifold and deep. And Erikson lets you find out about the characters by following them around. Imperial Captain Paran, the Adjunct, Tattersail, Crokus, Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his band of "Bridgeburners", and the incomparable Kruppe are just a few of "the good guys". And the bad guys are fascinating too. Or is Anomander Rake, non-human enemy of the Empire of Mazalan, a bad guy or a good guy?

This book starts you out by dumping in the deep end of the pool, as one review said, and you'll thrash around for a while, but never fear, the book is quite rewarding. Of course, this is Book One of a projected 10 book series, of which five have already been written. Tor is to be commended in bringing out a book which many have said is too complicated for American readers. Sure, some want more Robert Jordan (a good writer in search of an editor) or Terry Goodkind, or even David Eddings, but this author, gritty and violent, but clean, oddly enough writes circles around them.

The other four books are available from Amazon UK, but wait. Reward Tor for their willingness to take a chance on a writer who could, just possibly, be writing a saga for the ages. --Jerry

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