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    Review of GARDENS OF THE MOON by Steven Erikson


    TOR, June 2004

    Ruled by its ambitious Empress, the Malazan Empire has sent its armies on a wave of conquest with one city-state after another falling. Not by coincidence, the armies most loyal to the overthrown Empire suffer most of the casualties. Former General, and now Sergeant Whiskeyjack has seen his company shrunk to a handful--given one incompetent officer after another. One city stands in the way of Malazan's capture of another continent--and Whiskeyjack and his company are sent to prepare for the Empire's takeover--and to die. The Empire has more weapons in its quiver--because the remaining city, Darnjhistan, has gathered powerful allies of its own. And the gods seem intent on playing a role--something that the Empress definitely intends to head off.

    Author Steven Erikson creates a complex and powerful world with morally ambivalent forces battling one another. The warren-based spell system is an interesting take on the use of magic and the rich history underlying Erikson's world adds a dimension to the story.

    I had a hard time getting into this story. The first hundred pages was tough going, with too many characters, most of whom appeared undermotivated and unsympathetic. Erikson's strong writing and the interesting world kept me going. Once the story got to Darnjhistan, however, things definitely picked up. The gods, the mortals, and the godlike powers play their games and it's fascinating stuff. If you like high fantasy, you should give GARDENS OF THE MOON a try.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 8/15/04

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