The plot of Gardens of the Moon is interesting, and draws the reader into the book. However, it is distinctly separate from the overall plot of the rest of the series and, again, this stands out. While the Malazan Book of the Fallen series has a generally epic scope into which every novel weaves a significant theme, Gardens of the Moon feels more like a bad prologue to the rest of the series. While the impact of the book on specific characters is apparent, and significant, throughout the series, the plot of the book itself is very different – and much smaller in scope. That being said, when taken as a stand alone novel, the plot is interesting, effective, and well-developed throughout the book. However, with the exception of introduction to certain characters, Gardens of the Moon is not necessary to the larger Malazan Book of the Fallen series.
The pacing in Gardens of the Moon is excellent. There was no point at which I felt bored, or questioned why I was still reading the book. The plot and characters develop well and the reader does not feel rushed into events either.
|Malazan Book of the Fallen||Gardens of the Moon • Deadhouse Gates • Memories of Ice • House of Chains • Midnight Tides • The Bonehunters • Reaper's Gale • Toll the Hounds • Dust of Dreams • The Crippled God|
|Novels of the Malazan Empire||Night of Knives • Return of the Crimson Guard • Stonewielder • Orb Sceptre Throne • Blood and Bone • Assail|
|Kharkanas Trilogy||Forge of Darkness • Fall of Light • Walk in Shadow|
|Path to Ascendancy||Dancer's Lament • Deadhouse Landing|
|Bauchelain & Korbal Broach||Blood Follows • The Healthy Dead • The Lees of Laughter's End • Crack'd Pot Trail • The Wurms of Blearmouth • The Fiends of Nightmaria|
Again, I wind up comparing Gardens of the Moon to the rest of the series here. Though Erikson does a great job of presenting Darujhistan, and small portions of Genabackis, in this book, its limited scope significantly impacts the depth of the world that he can present. While his later books often present large portions of one or more continents, along with the myriad of cultures found in them, Gardens of the Moon is generally limited to a single city and some of the surrounding lands. While this city is very well presented, the world of this book pales in comparison to the world presented in the rest of the Malazan Book of the Fallen.
Let me first say that Stephen Erikson’s writing is generally excellent. While his sentence level writing runs the verge between excellent and merely good, his paragraph structure more than makes up for this lack. This being said, Gardens of the Moon was written long before it was published, and this shows to a certain degree. While the writing in this book is very good, it could be better (and gets better in his later novels).