Where do I begin? Is this the best book ever written? No. Probably not even close, but damn does it begin an awesome story. Steven Erickson and Ian C. Esslemont created the world of the Malazan Empire as a board game back in the early 1990s. Erickson took his tumultuous empire and threw it into a series of 10 novels called the Malazan Book of the Fallen. I have to warn you, these are seriously long books. I’m talking over 1000 pages each.
That said, Gardens of the Moon introduces us to the principle (most of) characters that will begin a saga spanning continents, other realms, and a host of nasty races all warring with each other from the dawn of time. Did I mention the people that can change into dragons or the war between the old gods and the new?
We follow Sergeant Whiskeyjack and what remains of the once famous regiment called the Bridgeburners. The old Emperor is dead, slain by one his trusted companions and a great purge is underway throughout the Malazan Empire, even as they continue to conquer new lands and keep those already under their control in check.
The action is vicious. The story flows. The characters are memorable, leaving you wanting to know what happens next. Some will live, others won’t. Erickson uses magic and fantasy, but not in the usual ways. There aren’t any trolls or elves here. All of his races are unique and interesting, especially the ancient Jaghut who were tyrants that controlled cold and ice.
I highly recommend these books. You won’t be disappointed.