Ralph Lister is one of the better readers on Audible, and does a masterful job of differentiating characters without making them sound silly.
The writing style of Gardens of the Moon is complex, with several story lines converging into a single night, the writer intentionally blurs the traditional notions of good and evil; giving each faction reasons for their actions other than rule/save the world. The language is complex and compelling, using a wide range of vernacular that is usually reserved to the intelligence or education and standing of a particular character, adding a depth and complexity to the cast.
The only issue is a rather confusing and slow start. The author starts with several seemingly unrelated plot lines that do not converge until very late. Many names and historical/magical terms tend to sound similar unless a listener is very attentive throughout- in reading on can go back and double check a name of a warren (the name of type of magic) for instance. It's not so easy in hearing, and thus might leave the reader slightly confused, never quite in mental control of the happenings of the story.
Overall, it was a satisfying end, and an entertaining venture. I do not, however, believe I will continue the series.
Great world building, awesome magic, but very hard to follow. I'm not sure I could tell you the plot. The performer is one of the best and I would definitely listen to something just for his voice.
I was about half way through the book before I understood what was going on. you are thrown into a world with no preamble. you get character descriptions long after they are introduced, shattering the image you have built in your mind. towards the end (no spoilers), when it is revealed what is going on, and characters race to inform relevant parties, the other party already, sometimes with no explanation, already knows everything. and I don't know but it is the book or the narrator, but scene transitions are very abrupt. suddenly, a new sentence and you are with a different character in a different situation. quite hard to follow. all that said, I'll give the second book a chance.
From the beginning, the book was confusing to understand. The author writes the story as if you understand the details of the world from the get-go and you don't get to catch up until near the end. Additionally the author and narrator jumps characters so quickly that you don't catch when the narrator is talking with another characters perspective until thirty seconds into the dialogue. The first half is a jumbled mess, with so many characters, places, and terminology to leave you rewinding often to understand what is going on. The only character I felt for was cropper, and his character saved the second half of the book.
ultimately, it's not enough to consider picking up book 2 for me
If I knew what the heck was actually going on!
Even more hesitant. And I WANT to like fantasy more!
He does a good job of reading parts differently for each character. He also does well in his pace when there's action taking place. I fault nothing of this terrible story on him.
The one good thing I can say about this book is that Erikson doesn't have to build the world where his characters reside. He also doesn't take the normal fantasy story tropes which have become so tiresome (aka, every fantasy book is Star Wars plot).
I'm not a stupid person. I like to read books; all sorts of books. I read hard sci-fi and philosophy and fairly advanced theology books. I don't say to be a braggart. I say it to add wait to the fact that throughout this entire book I had no clue what was going on or why anything was happening.
This has, in recent memory, been one of the most awful reads in quite some time. And I've just read Octavia Butler's "Dawn" which was atrocious. For those of you who enjoy this book, I'm sure it is quite fine. But even my friend who recommended it to me said it was a difficult read but it was "epic" and the rest of the books in the series are "epic". I will never find out if they are because the only way I would read them is if I was being tortured by some evil space genie and the pages were laminated so I couldn't eat them.
The one good thing I can say about this book is that Erikson doesn't have to build the world where his characters reside. He also doesn't take the normal fantasy story tropes which have become so tiresome (aka, every fantasy book is Star Wars plot). However, Erikson doesn't do a good job of telling you what's going on, who people are, what's happening, or why I should care.
He has way too many characters and there is no real main character; which was needed to have some focal point for this aggravating story line. I even went to the wikipedia page. You know it's bad when I'm about halfway into the book and I'm reading the plot synopsis and going, "Wait, this stuff has taken place in the book I'm reading?" and that's WHEN the wiki made any sense.
I got literally nothing out of this book. I tried. I tried being solely focused on it. I tried putting it down and picking it back up in small bits. I tried long sittings. This is 666 pages of wasted time that I won't get back. The only good thing I can say is that I understood so little of it that I won't be ruminating on confusion over any part of the book. Final Grade - F
The way Erikson just drops you into this dark and mysterious world is delightfully disorienting. I loved unraveling the lore along with the vast array of people and conflicts.