Tag Archives: Steven Erikson

Reflecting on Gardens of the Moon

Have you ever read a book that left a big impression on you even a few years after you read it? One of those books for me is Gardens of the Moon. I read it four years ago, but when I think about it, I remember the incredible worldbuilding, cultures, and characters.

The world is unique. It’s been developed from the ground up, and has a fully fleshed out history. There are so many different cultures spanning continents. And Malazan Book of the Fallen does span several continents. It’s a global story that lasts for many volumes. I’ve only read two. The characters are colourful, imaginative, and far too real. Even though they may be a completely different species than humans, they feel real when I read the books.

I did a review reflecting on my memories of the book on video. Take a look.

I think you get the message that I love how this world has been developed. I want to get back in it and spend more time there. And you know what? This is a book that I want to reread sometime in the future. I can’t say that for many books.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below.

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Happy Canada Day! Some Canadian Authors for You

July 1st is Canada Day in Canada, and we’re celebrating Canada’s 149th birthday!Today, my family will be visiting a carnival with many rides, then later watching fireworks at night. It’ll be a busy day! It’s supposed to be very warm, too.

Have you ever read a Canadian author? I made a video all about Canadian authors. Here are five for you to check out.

Have you read any of these authors? What Canadian authors would you recommend? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review – Deadhouse Gates

deadhousegatesDeadhouse Gates

Author: Steven Erikson

Series: The Malazan Book of the Fallen #2

Genre: Fantasy

Published 2000

Review Copy: Paperback bought new

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Goodreads Description

In the vast dominion of Seven Cities, in the Holy Desert Raraku, the seer Sha’ik and her followers prepare for the long-prophesied uprising known as the Whirlwind. Unprecedented in size and savagery, this maelstrom of fanaticism and bloodlust will embroil the Malazan Empire in one of the bloodiest conflicts it has ever known, shaping destinies and giving birth to legends . . .

Set in a brilliantly realized world ravaged by dark, uncontrollable magic, this thrilling novel of war, intrigue and betrayal confirms Steven Erikson as a storyteller of breathtaking skill, imagination and originality–the author who has written the first great fantasy epic of the new millennium.

Review

Deadhouse Gates is the second novel in Steven Erikson’s epic fantasy series The Malazan Book of the Fallen. This continues the story that began in Gardens of the Moon. It moves away from Genabackis and on to another continent in an area called the Seven Cities.

There are some familiar faces, but also many new ones. I find that one of the strengths of this book is the characters. It is very character-driven, and has many strong personalities. The cast of characters is very large. Felisin is the younger sister of Ganoes Paran from the first book, and is a major focus here. She has a very strong personality and incredibly defiant. Heboric Light Touch is an intriguing ex-priest who shows some very interesting abilities. We also get to meet Fiddler, Crokus, Apsalar, and Kalam again. They’re all from the first book. Kalam has a focused mission, so we spend a lot of time with him, and I really enjoyed reading his part. Apsalar is going through a lot of changes, while Crokus and Fiddler watch on. These three are still together from Darujhistan. The Wickan Coltain is a military leader, and his quest to bring the refugees of the Seven Cities is the main focus of the story. He’s a rather unconventional leader. The Imperial Historian Duiker is also a major character who is both an old soldier and an observer of the exodus. He is also an acquaintance of Heboric’s. The pair that impressed me the most were the half Jaghut Icarium and Mappo the Trell. The relationship between Icarium and Mappo was absolutely fascinating, and their friendship was powerful. And finally, although she played a small part, Ganoes Paran and Felisin’s older sister Tavore is now that Adjunct. She’ll likely play a much larger part in later books. They were my favourite characters in this book. I loved those two. There are many more characters, but these were the ones that had the greatest impact, I thought.

The world that Erikson created is vivid and realistic. I felt like I was there with the characters. The worldbuilding involved in this series is extensive. The desert of Raraku felt dry and dusty. I could imagine I was there. The way Erikson describes the scenes painted a realistic picture in my mind. The towns and cities all had their own unique character, the landscapes were amazing, and I felt like I could experience the weather. Excellent job.

The story was a bit different than what we saw in Gardens of the Moon. This time, we had more of a journey rather than a battle in one location. I felt like a tourist at times seeing many new places, since they kept traveling. The main focus was on Coltaine’s Army protecting the refugees from the Seven Cities as they were pursued by the rebel commander and former Imperial soldier Korbolo Dom. It was called the Chain of Dogs, which is shown on the maps in the book. There were many battles and many deaths. Kalam had his own mission to go straight to the Empress. Felisin had her sights on her sister Tavore, but she had an even greater destiny. Mappo and Icarium had their own journey, but there was something very interesting about their mission, and it had more to do with Icarium’s sad past. And finally, there was Apsalar, Crokus, and Fiddler’s journey, which led to a few surprises. Many paths crossed, many separated, and many joined together. It was like these story threads were woven together. It’s very intricate and complex, but very compelling.

The Malazan series is proving to be a very good series, and this second installment was incredibly enjoyable. I loved immersing myself in this world, even though it was treacherous and filled with war and death. The thing about this series is it’s dark and gritty. You should expect major characters to die unexpectedly. It’s war, and it isn’t pretty. But what a story it is. I would give this 5 out of 5 stars. It was just that good. Highly recommended.

My Favourite Author Is Better than Your Favourite Author

I was surprised when I saw this article.  I had no idea this was going on.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, because fans can be very aggressive online and bash anyone who disagrees with them.  I can understand a little bit, because I’m a sports fan, and I’m a very loyal fan of the Edmonton Oilers.  However, books are a different kind of thing.

A Game of Thrones

vs.gardensofthemoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

In one corner, we have the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, the series that spawned the Game of Thrones TV series.  He is George R. R. Martin.  In the other corner, we have the author of Malazan Book of the Fallen, a Canadian author who goes by the name of Steven Erikson.  They’re both authors of epic fantasy that have very similar themes.  They’re both violent, militaristic, epic war fantasies.  They’re both incredibly long.  They’re both gritty and dark.  But there’s one big difference.  A Song of Ice and Fire isn’t finished yet.

I have read the first two books of A Song of Ice and Fire, and am currently reading the third.  I’ve read only the first Malazan book.  Although they’re similar in theme, they are totally different in atmosphere.  I find myself getting immersed into both worlds very easily.  I also find myself getting confused with characters if I’ve left the series for too long between books.  I’ve forgotten most of the character names for Malazan, and there are many.  They both have huge casts of characters.  They’re both pretty amazing series.

But the fans seem to be at war with each other.  They seem to think the authors are competing against each other, as well.  But according to that article, it’s far from true.  Erikson and Martin have talked to each other several times and are rather surprised about their fans’ behaviour.  I’d have to say I am, too.  In the world of epic fantasy literature, there’s room to enjoy both series.  You don’t have to insult others because they like a different book than you.  Since I like both, I can’t understand this feeling.  I’ve read books I don’t like, but I don’t declare war on the people who do like them.  Honestly, it’s not worth it.

So, if you are one of these crazy fans, I have one thing to say:  They’re just books.  Just enjoy them.  Your personal tastes are just that, personal.  You don’t have to get upset if someone has their own personal tastes.

Personally, I really enjoy Gardens of the Thrones by Steven R. R. Martin.

Book Review – Gardens of the Moon

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson is the first book of the epic fantasy The Malazan Book of the Fallen. It’s a lengthy series, so it’s quite an undertaking to read all of it.  And I’ve only just started.

This book was a difficult one to rate.  It’s Steven Erikson’s debut novel, and I could see some flaws early on.  However, my attitude toward the book changed dramatically as I continued to read it.

Gardens of the Moon takes place mostly on the continent of Genabackis amidst a campaign of expansion and domination by the Malazan Empire.  The world was developed for a GURPS campaign by Erikson and his friend Ian Cameron Esslemont, and Malazan Book of the Fallen is a novelization of that world.  The world is completely original.  Unlike other fantasy novels, the cultures and races are unique to this series.  There are no elves, dwarves, ogres, and so on.  Instead, you get the Tiste Andii, T’lan Imass, Jaghut, and more.  Humans are the main race, however.  Wizards and gods take a major role, as well, but they’re not exactly what we would normally expect. Overall, the world is incredibly imaginative.

The ensemble cast of characters is vast.  Ganoes Paran is kind of the hero, though he doesn’t seem to be very heroic.  He’s a soldier thrown into a situation he wishes he wasn’t in.  Tattersail is a powerful mage with many insecurities.  Lorn, the Empress’ Adjunct is also an incredibly flawed character.  Sergeant Whiskeyjack, Kalam, Quick Ben, Crokus, Rallick, Kruppe, and more make some very colourful characters who aren’t always what they seem to be.  That’s one thing that made this book so interesting to read, the reader doesn’t know what to expect from the characters.  They are very well developed through the book, and we never quite know who are really the good guys and who are the bad guys.  With few exceptions, the line between good and bad is blurred very much.  While the characters are strong, it was very confusing for the first quarter of the book.  There were so many characters that I had a hard time keeping everyone straight.

The story has two sides to it.  In the beginning, I found it difficult to follow.  I had no idea what was going on.  But as the plot moved along, things became clearer, and I could understand what was happening.  Basically, it’s a large empire trying to conquer the biggest city on the continent of Genabackis.  But it’s not that simple.  There are many individuals who change their positions, the “good” seem to ally themselves with the “bad,” and so on.  It was incredibly unpredictable.  That should be expected, since this was based on a GURPS role playing campaign.  That’s what made much of this book so amazing to read.  You never knew what was going to happen.  Main characters die, sometimes unexpectedly.  We never know more than the characters know.  It’s like we’re going along with the ride, joining in the action.  It makes it much more exciting.

Like I said before, this was a difficult book to read.  For the first quarter of the book, I wasn’t impressed.  It was maybe going to get three or three and a half stars at that point.  But the rest of the book was a solid four and a half to five stars.  So, what do I rate it?

Four and a half stars.  Recommended to any fantasy fan, especially those who want something new and refreshing.