I'd heard that fans of George R.R. Martin, Brent Weeks, and Joe Abercrombie should try Steven Erikson, so that's what I did. While I enjoyed the fine worldbuilding and characters, I had a really hard time investing in it all. It was hard to follow just what was going on, and while I liked most of the characters, none of them really grabbed me. I liked it enough to try the next books in the series, but not anytime soon.
Avid book lover and listener. Nuff said for this purpose.
The book is well written, no doubt about that! Maybe the second time around it will be even better. One certainly needs a PDF or the book or at the least a list of characters to keep up unless you have the time to give it your 'full' attention and I mean no other distractions.
The names/characters are difficult and some so similar unless you get a grip on them early on you're going to be confused in latter half of book. I've read (listened to), many, many, fantasy books and haven't had a problem keeping track of who's who however, with the flow of Gardens of the Moon being at times attention grabbing followed by (to me anyway), an almost tedious, laborious pace my mind wondered, then I wondered what was going on. Had to back it up and figure it out. Perhaps that was because some characters had monikers as well as names i.e. the Assassin, the sorceress, high Mage etal..and more than one might have the same moniker. You don't have to be a genius to keep up with this book, but you do have to be able to focus attention the entire book.
This book is different yet in the same vein as some other fantasy books but honestly I didn't enjoy this first in the series as I have with others. Not to say the series won't turn out to be as good maybe even better than others, I'll reserve judgement until (or if), I read the following books.
Its getting harder and harder to find a fantasy series that's not geared towards pre-teens. I'm happy to say this is one such series. The story is great the narration superb and this is just book 1. I highly recommend it.
The authors mastery of the English language is impressive. The prose was beautiful. Unfortunately the story meandered and was highly symbolic in places. It reminded me of a Salvador Dali painting-dreamlike in quality with a lot of symbolism. I'd say that Erikson is not a very good storyteller but a wonderful poet.
Ralph Lister is a great Narrator. I don't think that I could have gotten through the novel without him.
This book has a huge cast, a complex and unfamiliar magic system, and a vast, old, mind boggling world. While I will normally listen to my books at 2x - 3x speed I had to slow this one down to 1X and even then pause some times to try and catch up to what was going on. Even then I spent the first half of the book feeling fairly confused and, to be honest, not particularly attached to any of the characters. So, if you are willing to commit to a book, I think this one can be a real gem, but unlike a lot of other books out there, I found this one to take effort. By the last half of the book I only found myself occasionally trying to remember, for example, who Toc the Younger was.
I expect that I'm going to go back and listen to this again, just so I can pick up on everything I missed the first time around. I'm not sure I would be willing do this with every book I read or listen to, but every once and a while a book that completely alters what I've come to expect out of a fantasy novel is probably a good thing.
I found the writing style hard to get used to at first, but towards the end of the book I found myself really into the story. I would definitely recommend the book but say that you have to stick through at least the first book to get used to it and the second book to get into the story.
I wish I had seen David's review (09-21-13) before I picked up this title. It sums up my sentiments very well. I also agree with another review which pointed out that there is not enough of a break between scenes/chapters to let the listener know there has been a transition. Other than this flaw, the narration was very good.
I must confess that I am a bit challenged in keeping track of names/characters, so I can't fault the book on its complexity. However, the lack of action and suspense was perhaps even a bigger issue for me. Had there been regular fight scenes and close calls, I might have made it through to the end. As it was, scene after scene with dialog between characters who were almost as confused as I was became very tedious.
If you enjoy multitudes of characters and factions with much scheming, then this book is for you. If you prefer forming a sense of connection with a smaller group of characters in a faster paced story with action, then I recommend passing on this series.
The story in my opinion could have been set up better it takes a while to understand all the players I almost turned off twice to skip it and mark it up as a lost cause. I am glad u kept going as once I began to put the pieces together the story got better and better . I am now looking forward to the next book I. The series
Some of the parts are great, but I had to seriously concentrate to get the story. This is the first time this has happened for me, so then I blame the author.