Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

This entry is part [part not set] of 4 in the series Malazan Book of the Fallen

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Book One in the Malazan Book of the Fallen Series
Publisher: Tor Fantasy; ZZZ edition (December 28, 2004), Mass Market Paperback: 666 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 9780765348784, ISBN-13: 978-0765348784, ASIN: 0765348780

This is a unique fantasy style and although it is complex it is still interesting. The story takes place on the Genabackis continent in the world created by Steven Erikson. There is war, fighting and battles. There are also intrigue and hidden agendas by many of the players. There are many characters, but the main ones are the Bridgeburners, they are a specialized army unit in the Malazan military and have been given a very difficult job. The story follows them as well as many others throughout their challenges in the book.

Steven Erikson is the author of the Malazan Book of the Fallen Series which comprises 10 books and 4 novellas.  Gardens of the Moonis the first book in this long and complex story-line.  The genre is fantasy and the multifarious story takes place in a non-technological age with the use of magic involving many different peoples. There are the human people of Genabackis who are descendants of the T’lan Imass. There are T’lan Imass a group of people who are one of the founding races that underwent a ritual ( so long in the past that it predated the ascension of humans) that has made them immortal . There is the Jaghut, a race that was so dangerous the T’lan Imass undertook to completely annihilate them and it was this that brought about the ritual. The Tiste Andii, a non-human elder race that is very powerful and has use of magic. There are also Gods, who are called Ascendants. There are others as well. Some individuals have access to magic.  The magic is accessible through warrens which are pathways that exist outside of the world and are believed to have been created by the Dragons. The Deck of Dragons, which is a deck of cards that is associated with the Ascendants, can be used to foretell the future.  Soletaken are humans or creatures that can change their forms into animals.

It took me a long time to figure out what was going on in the beginning of the story, but once I did, I was hooked.  Basically, the Empress wants to dominate the world and is currently focusing on the free city of Pale using the Malazan 2nd Army under High Fist Dujek, but there is treachery.  Also, Anomander Rake, a Tiste Andii and Lord of Moon’s Spawn (a floating fortress and hence the name of the book), is assisting Pale making the battle difficult if not impossible to win. The book focuses primarily on Whiskey Jack and his Bridgeburners., who are Dujek’s army.   The tactics and relationship of the Bridgeburners is interesting to read.  I loved the introduction of the characters.  I felt that Ganeos Paran assignment as Captain to the Bridgeburners was interesting.  As the story unfolded, so did the development of some of the characters. 

The book had a good ending, with some resolutions, but it also introduced some new characters and new threats. Since it is a series, there is lots left to happen. I am curious to see where this is all heading.  If you enjoy reading fantasy and want to luxuriate in a long story then I recommend this book to you.  Keep in mind this is not your typical fantasy, but if you are willing to give it a go, I think you too will be hooked.

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