Wednesday, April 4, 2007

A Promise Once Made Never Forgotten

Title: Gardens of the Moon
Author: Steven Erickson
Genre: Fantasy

Series: Book 1 of the Malazan Book of the Fallen

# of Pages: 494

Challenge: Chunkster, 2/3

Began Reading:
March 5 2007
Finished Reading :
April 5th 2007

Ok, so what a disgrace I am. Does it make a difference that for 2 weeks I did not touch this or any other book for that matter? Does it make a difference that this project am working on is due this Friday for an investor who may, just may, be investing well... a lot into this 'idea'?

See, even I can't convince myself.

There is no reason. Not having 2 hours sleep. Not eating. Not anything. When I went to the toilet I could have read but I didn't which is a bad, bad thing.

So in punishment I am signing up for a million challenges which are forcing me to keep me on my toes and thus ensure my tbr pile remains low ( relatively). Now back to important matters.

In high school, I was introduced to the fantasy world by W, the older brother of my then best friend D. W has my everlasting gratitude for introducing me to the world of the Wheel of Time. Though there were others in my social circle who picked up Jordan's epic, it was he who literally shoved it into my hands and said, 'Read it.'

Now one thing about fantasy that you should all know is that it creates a family. For example, for 2 years of my life I rode the bus reading my Jordan books in the morning. Another bus rider would carry his large hardbacks and do much the same as me. We never exchanged words and our identities remained anonymous until 600 days later we discovered that we have both been reading the same thing. A well of conversation began and we both regretted having lost the time of enjoying such conversations. He was in his 50s and then I was not even 17. But that did not matter of course. With Rand and Perrin and Matt and Nynaeve... age, race and status just don't fit in the equation.

What does this have to do with Erickson? Am getting there. Because fantasy is such a 'family' oriented genre, my fellow peers in class who realized that I too was becoming a 'member' began to approach me with suggestions. Most earnest of them all was N, the fellow who had the unfortunate fate of sitting behind me in Mrs. Woolgar's English class and thus listening to my every anecdote (*blush* am still that way). He begged that I read Erickson saying that he far surpassed Jordan - which I found to be an impossibility. This conversation continued for about a year and well soon after I forgot.

I did bump into him and another friend of ours from the days of youth and bliss in Indigo - the dreaded employment I had - and they reminded me that I had an obligation to fill by reading Mr. Erickson's series.

It was when I came across book 1 Gardens of the Moon in hardcover for 4.99 at Chapters that I picked it up and said to myself, 'Ok, N, gotta get back into the game.' Fantasy makes you obsessed. Case in point: last series I got into by Jacquline Carey Kushniel's Dart. Each tomme is 1000+ pages. there are 3 books. I read all of them in four. I did not work, sleep and only peed once a day... with my book as a companion. Taking N & G's words to heart, I have been scared recently - with so much on my plate - that I would be sucked in... this one being 10 volumes with 3 more editions to come.

Of course, I am sucked in because I feel madly in love with Crokus who is so chill and tomorrow am off to Chapters for a latte and Volume 2 as added weight in my bag.

The Plot: The Malazan Empire has been in Rule for a little under 200 years. The Empress has been in rule for over a decade and her stern, cold manner is how she has slowly but surly taken over city after city. She has also had intentions of destroying any trace of her predecessors rule by sending many of his garrisons that are still in duty on 'suicidal' missions. One such she is paying particular attention to is Whiskeyjack and his crew... for it seems that his newest recruit - a young girl from a fishing village - is not as innocent as one so young would be. It seems that the Shadowlord has somehow gotten involved but why? and for what reasons?

Gardens of the Moon introduces a dozen characters that you fall in love with and hate and want to throttle because they are so stubborn. It is but an introduction in a long epic that will keep you on your toes.

The Narrative: The work is written in third person but what Erickson does is weave the tail so that every few pages you change perspective if not scene. Usually, you have to read an entire chapter - as with Jordan or Martin - before you can move on to the next character. With Erickson its maximum 6 pages, usually 3 and your onto the next character. Its amazingly fast pace. One other consequence I realized was that it never made me dread any up comng chapters. I knew that if a passage did not interest me I would soon be on to the next.

Erickson, naturally, has a lot of military terminology which he seems to feel quiet comfortable with. It may be jarring at times but nothing that forces you to seek out the definition.

Favorite Part: Ouch! Is it bad when I say that Crokus decides to leave with Sorry. I literally whooped out load in public at that part.

Also, you have no clue who the good/bad 'guys' are. That definitely tickled my fancy.

Worst Part: The middle of the book... it was building up the final 200 pages of the book but there was a good 100 pages that was a little tiny bit dry.

Recommend to: Not for the fantasy novice at all. There is much left unsaid and unexplained in the book and most probably I predict throughout the series. Unlike Jordan where the inner workings sourcing the (magical) power is revealed this is not the case with Gardens of the Moon.

this book is on the Summer 7 challenge I am hosting. this summer. So feel free, after reading ********* this to jump on or off the band wagon*****


Literary Feline said...

Nessie, I loved your story about your conversations with the man on the bus. Reading itself can bring people together I have found, but I agree with you that reading fantasy, even more so.

I still consider myself a novice when it comes to reading fantasy--there are so many wonderful books out there I want to explore. Like you, I tend to get lost in the books and they take over my life. I think that is partly why I shy away from fantasy sometimes.

I have yet to read Jordan and now you have me wanting to read both Jordan and Erickson. :-)

Bookfool said...

Hey Nessie!

I'm so glad to see you back to blogging. Try not to kick yourself for not getting to the reading. Good grief, you're a busy girl and you just finished a chunkster. You should be partying! :)

Anonymous said...

This was a wonderful post and review. I was hesitant to read it being my current dislike for fantasy but I loved the story of the old man on the bus and your overall view on the fantasy genres. I might become a convert after all (but am def waiting until next year after I finish all these challenges!)

I also like when I don't know the good/bad guys in a novel but sometimes can get extremely upset if I have fallen for a character that is then made the bad guy. It's all psychological, I think.

Carl V. said...

I loved the build up, and was so worried that after all that you would end up hating the book. I'm glad that wasn't the case.

Great thoughts on fantasy creating a family. That is so true of genre fiction/film/television, etc.

nessie said...

The craziest thing guys is that it really happened. Scouts honour.

Carl I really hope that you get to read this series. Maybe ever *harhar* join the challenge for it**

Country Girl - within the Fantasy genre there are sub-genres. Maybe I can find something that has some balance. Jacquline Carey? Maybe some Phil Pullman???

Bookfool your words mean so much to me. I feel really really guilty every time I go to bed when I havent opened my tomme. It makes me shake even like I have disappointed them or something. M always tells me I am crazy.

And of course Literary Feline... Jordan is my ULTIMATE ULTIMATE fav author. I am naming all of my future children after the characters. On my fireplace mantel I have every volume published in hardcover... an investment to be sure.

Bellezza said...

I feel badly I dropped the ball on this one. I like your explanation of fantasy making family...I just couldn't get into the second in this series when the guy was dripping insects or something on page 1. However, I did post your button, and the announcement that I am greatly anticipating Remembrance of Things Past by Proust. I'm really, really excited about it. I'm glad you and Carl open doors I would've probably never even realized were shut.

Quixotic said...

I loved your thoughts on fantasy creating family. I have definitely found that to be the case in blogland of late.

This book doesn't really sound like one I'll be rushing to read, mostly because I think I have enough on my plate having just started the A Song of Ice and Fire series!

I'm not too keen on the cover shown here, for some reason - a bit offputting for me somehow.

Glad you enjoyed it though!

Kailana said...

I really want to read this series, but I can only read so many series and I am already in the midst of Jack Whyte. (If someone wanted to take him on, he would have enough books to count for your challenge, btw.) I could not read all 7 of these books in a row, though. Too long and I am not that great at reading the same author so much.

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