Gardens of the Moon

Reviewer: Katherine Ray

Author: Steven Erikson

Published: 1999

Reviewed: 2007-07-05

Publisher: Tor

This book has been on my "to read" list since sometime last fall when
two other keyholders were obsessing over a later book in the series.
They told me that the series is awesome, wonderful, and I should read
it. I wholeheartedly agree.

Gardens of the Moon is the first book in the Malazan series, or as it
is officially written, "The First Tale of the Malazan Book of the
Fallen." The premise is a familiar one, there's an empire (the
Malazan Empire), and it's expanding. The main characters are the
people who are on the front lines of this expansion.

There are humans, gods, and ancient races of peoples, magic,
anti-magic, assassins, soldiers, thieves, nobles, and fisherfolk. The
book progresses at a stunning pace, and I had difficulty putting it
down, and no difficulty picking it up again.

There's a fair amount of action. The fight scenes are vividly worded
and explicit. For example, somewhere near the beginning of the book
Erikson writes, "the long dagger slid like fire into his chest. A
second blade sank into his side even as blood gushed up inside to fill
his mouth." But the book is not just fight scenes. It has lots and
lots of scheming and plotting. It has love and lust without the sex
scenes, and quite a few friendships. The reader is not all knowing.
The perspective shifts about, but some important facts remain hidden
to pop out at the most opportune time to keep the momentum of the
story going.

I can easily see how this story could continue for seven books, and
still be good, seven books into the series. I look forward to getting
my hands on the second one.