Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a delightful larger-than-life fantasy novel!
I was prepared to assume that it was going to be filled with an army of confused characters mired in grit and blood and that I shouldn't expect too much from the first novel because the series gets seriously good later.
I might have managed my expectations a bit too much, because I was delighted, instead. I've been a fan of the Final Fantasy RPGs since the first one, so I'm quite used to a lot of these tropes, plus I'm also a fan of the Cthulhu mythos, so godlings and demons raining down from the moon and infecting dreams, elder gods breaking through to the waking realm, and the dying souls of a race of immortals willing to give up everything for a final rest is all pretty much awesome. I'm ready to flip a coin and kill some doggies. :)
The admittedly large cast of characters didn't seem at all confused, either. I rooted for all of them at different times and I was very willing and able to hang my hat on the magic system with all it's Warrens and barrows and subdivisions and unique associations of interested polities. (I jest, I jest. I really enjoy the idea that magic is associated with space outside of regular space, as implied in the naming system.)
Best of all, though, other than the fairly cool poetry and very well thought-out world-building that's obviously much, much deeper than what we see here, was the fact that there was so much damn magic! I think I enjoyed learning how it worked as much as I enjoyed watching it blow stuff up. I was duly creeped out by the puppets, the abilities manifested by soul-hopping, the shambling dead, Luck, and so much more. My interest was definitely piqued and I'm rearing to go.
I'm an old uber-fan of WoT and I've tasted quite a few other series. The one thing I see the most connection between, when it comes to like/like, is Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archives. That's high praise for both series, by the way. If you like one, you'll like both, even. :)
I'm going to continue with this series with great joy.
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