Archive for Steven Erikson

Impressions of: Gardens of the Moon

Friends are people you trust, people that try to be nice to you. Friends are not people that make you read a book that gives you a headache.

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Doesn’t it need a few more plants to be a garden?

A friend of mine told me to read this book, he said it was awesome, better than food, that I would either love or hate it (take note here dear readers, this last piece of information is a good indication that something might be iffy with what you are being “sold”).

But he was wrong, oh, so very wrong. I didn’t hate or love it; I just liked it, a 6/10. Now I don’t think it was a bad book, it had moments of brilliance, especially a character introduced later on, called Kruppe, he was fantastic. In fact, many of the characters in this book are interesting and fun to read about, even if we don’t get to know them enough to call them acquaintances. Then where is the problems/lack of excellence that makes it into a 6/10 instead of a 10/10?

There are four main problems in this book, according to me, the first is: What the heck is even happening?!

I am able to find the thread which is this book’s main plot (even though it took a while) fairly easily, but at the same time we get to know about 3-4 other bigger plots, that are on a world level, while the main plot of Gardens of the Moon is on a group/country level. Mostly group. Furthermore, there is the problem of characters acting all “YOLO” and doing whatever they please for seemingly no reason, but to be fair it isn’t very common.

The second problem: Where did that come from and stop pulling things from Uranus!?

When I read this book one of my most common thoughts was “where the hell did that/this come from?”. If I had a dollar for every time I thought that I would have at least 50$, which wouldn’t get me a ticket to the Bahamas, but the next town over and a change of scenery is always nice. However unserious that was this is a real problem I believe. The reader shouldn’t constantly feel like almost anything could jump out behind the next corner, at least not in this kind of book. Had it taken place in a surreal dream world, than by all means, throw crazy at me all the time, but this is a serious, albeit fictional, world with what I guess are strict rules.

Problem number three: Who was that again?

Okay, this one is also one of the strengths of the book and the world but when you are first introduced to this universe it is annoying beyond belief. What am I talking about, I’m talking about names. Everybody and their grandma have about 20+ names which the author decides to switch between now and then. Sometimes it’s used to great effect when you think it is a completely new character we’ve been following but is actually someone we know just going by a different alias. Alas, it can be cool and the world is kind of sort of built around this practice but it is irritating when you have to learn over 9000 names just to follow the basic happenings from one page to the next.

Fourth of the problems: I know nothing about this place!

Right from the outset I understood that this is a grand and complex world that the story will take place in. A bit too grand and complex one might say. This is the mother of all the problems, at least all the ones I have called out. As you read the book, the grandeur of the world slowly dawns on you and you see that there are bigger things at stake and far from every card has touched the table. Big and complex worlds are not bad in and of themselves, but when you as the reader are thrown right into them with little to no explanation it makes your brain fry. It’s overwhelming. Normally you as the reader have a mug that can be filled with new information. This mug can hold about 10-11 ounces of new information, and then you need to drink it and contemplate over it during a sunset in a rocking chair. Sometimes Gardens of the Moon gives you the right amount of information, sometimes it gives you a tsunami.

Even though I have problems with the book I still feel like I should give the next one a chance. However, if that one doesn’t get a good grip on me then I’m out here.

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