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Robin Lythgoe

Author. I'd open a vein and bleed, but I'd get chocolate all over my keyboard. My world is magic—is yours?
Gardens of the Moon - Steven Erikson I have heard a lot of good things about this series. There is certainly a lot going on in 'Gardens of the Moon,' but stories of the many individuals involved are so splintered that they are difficult to follow. I am disappointed with the characterization—one fellow seems so much like the other(s) that they were confusing. We join in the middle of the story (which is good), and although I applaud the lack of long passages of exposition, the reader is a stranger in a very strange world and critical information is withheld, including the various motivations. And what is with giving characters such similar names that we can't remember who is who through this complicated weaving? Most of the names are just plain awful. Worse, they lack any kind of cultural cohesion that might help us keep track.

The aspect of world-building leaves something to be desired. A good part of the problem may be because there are so many names and places and events being tossed around, willy-nilly. The places are so huge that I wondered if the author really knew what a 'league' was. The structure of the magic is only brushed upon—apparently the "warrens" (sources) the mages use have specific flavors/abilities, but that is not reflected in what the mages do with their magic. It is amazing to have so much magic going on and still not really know what happened.

The writing style... goes from 'fair' to 'atrocious' to 'funny.' The characters exchange inside jokes the readers have no way of understanding—or make references to things that make no sense to us outsiders. Was there an editor involved in this process? There are misused words, repetitious words/phrases, terrible punctuation, wildly awkward sentences that never will make sense no matter how often they're reread...

And yet...

The revelation of vast powers at work, political and military maneuvering, and tiny glimpses into the lives of pawns of every social station was just enough to keep me turning the pages, wondering how (and if and when!) problems would be solved. The whole is complicated emotionally by having points of view from the side of the conquerors as well as those being conquered. I've heard that the second book involves the characters better, as opposed to laying out the draft of the juggernaut empire. Here's hoping...