Thursday, October 29, 2009

Plants and Books in Print?!

I had an interesting conversation with one of the students at the university I work for today. She was telling me about how she was talking to some guy she knows that reviews movies for a newspaper (I'm not sure which) and that they were looking for someone to review books for the paper. The student mentioned my name and give him my email address; so she told me I should be expecting an email in the near future. It was pretty exciting, but I wonder if my reading interests will jive with what the paper is looking to review; since, shamefully, fantasy/science fiction isn't as mainstream as we all know it should be.

On a side note, I think I just broke the 20,000 page mark for total pages read since January 1. A few stats:
  • 59 books read (or are in the process of reading);
  • Average book size: 355 pages;
  • Average duration of time to complete a book: 5.95 days;
  • Average pages read per day: 69.45; and,
  • Percentage of reviews requested (either by Amazon Vine or publisher/author request): 44.07%
Maybe I'll see you in the papers!

Good reading,

Plants and Books

Riding Again on the Winds of Time

So the twelfth volume of Robert Jordan's epic fantasy masterpiece was released this past Tuesday, with the previous installment having been released four years ago, and the first volume published in 1990. I am about a third of the way through the book, and I already have to say that it is everything I dreamed and more.

I went to the bookstore on Tuesday over the lunch hour (I almost forgot that it came out that day!) and walking in greeted by a huge display case of The Gathering Storm books and other associated Wheel of Time books put me grinning like a child on Christmas. I decided not to take the afternoon off of work to pound through the book and opted to just enjoy the book like any other, taking it at a pace that was satisfying; although there have been times I haven't wanted to put it down.

I got home and opened The Gathering Storm and saw the familiar font... I haven't felt that great in a long time. Although portions of the book were written by Brandon Sanderson it is hard to see where the author voice changes. The style is very similar to Robert Jordan's and the story pacing so far is miraculous. I can already tell that this volume will be one of the best in recent times and many of the plot lines that had slowed in the past few books are definitely coming to an end (or at least making dramatic progress). The Dark One is definitely getting a stronger hold on reality as his prison weakens.

I'm hoping that there is some serious ta'veren weaving and pulling that occurs in this book, bringing characters together for events that seem to happen just by happenstance; something the first several books had all the time, creating scenes that were near magical. I have not read any Mat Cauthon chapters yet, and I hope that one of my most anticipated plot lines gets some progress; that being the Aelfinn and Eelfinn and Moraine. However, due to the fact that the next book is tentatively called Towers of Midnight I assume the the Tower of Genji and the White Tower plot lines will be resolved in that book.

Anyways... Was it worth the wait? Absolutely. Will it be "the one book to rule them all"? It just might be, but I'm thinking the next one is going to be even better.

Stay tuned for the review; I image I will finish by the end of the weekend at the latest.

Good reading,

Plants and Books

Monday, October 26, 2009

Amazon Stocks Through the Roof

For those of you have been following this blog, you'll remember back in January when I suggested to invest in Amazon stock (this was right around the time that Amazon was making a big announcement, which many correctly assumed would be about the Kindle 2.0). At the time, Amazon stock (AMZ) was trading at $48.40 per share. For the past month or two the price has been hovering around the high eighties/low nineties. I checked today, and Amazon stock is trading for $124.63!

That means my hypothetical investment of $4,840 would now be worth $12,463! I net gain of $7,626... Getting close to twice my initial(hypothetical) investment. I can only imagine that it will continue to go up with the holiday seasons coming up. However, the recent announcement of the Barnes and Noble Nook (the B&N electronic reader) it will be interesting to follow along the success/shortcomings of each business venture.

Good investing,

Plants and Books

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Review: The Man Who Laughs (Batman) by Ed Brubaker

Title: The Man Who Laughs
Author: Ed Brubaker
Illustrator: Doug Mahnke
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: DC Comics
ISBN: 1401216226


An Unbalanced Collection of Two Batman Stories - 3 stars - a book review

I still cannot imagine for the life of me why DC Comics published these two Batman stories together in one volume, let alone why the volume was name The Man Who Laughs (other than the title story sharing the same name). I can only wager a guess that when it was published The Dark Knight (the movie) was looming on the horizon and DC Comics wanted to get as much Joker/Batman as they could on the shelves. The two stories contained in this graphic novel include Batman: The Man Who Laughs and Batman: Made of Wood.

Batman: The Man Who Laughs introduces (again) the Joker, Batman's number one villain and a fan favorite from the beginning. While the story is familiar to most (especially those outside the comic world who have seen the original Batman movie), it is portrayed in an excellent, very straightforward fashion. There is not a lot of depth to the story; but the visuals and characterizations are what make this story strong.

Batman: Made of Wood was originally a three part story in Detective Comics, revolving around an unsolved mystery. Not only does the Joker not appear in this arc, but the Green Lantern makes an appearance. The story itself is a typical murder mystery with a retired Jim Gordon playing a major role as well. The depiction of Jim Gordon is perfect, in my opinion. In a collection titled The Man Who Laughs, one would expect the Joker to be a central figure in both stories; however, no mention of the Joker is made in Made of Wood.

Both stories are well told and wonderfully illustrated, making the stories real and full of life; but the seemingly polar opposites of the stories make this an awkward collection. With so many great Joker stories out there, and trying to capitalize on the Batman/Joker mania with the upcoming (at the time of publication) The Dark Knight film, could there not have been a better collection? Especially considering that Batman: Made of Wood was longer than Batman: The Man Who Laughs.

Fans of Batman will be sure to enjoy this one; but fans of the Joker will surely be disappointed.

Good reading,

Plants and Books

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Wheel Weaves as the Wheel Wills - Seven Days to Go

I had a conversation with my wife several weeks ago, and by now it is sort of a wash of a memory, but I certainly remember the context and the outcome. She was telling me about waiting for some book to be published and how hard it was with the anticipation, given the level of success and public interest in the previous installments (it might have been the Twilight books, and I hesitate to even mention that series on this blog). She had the audacity to say to me:
"You just don't know what it is like to wait for something like that."
At this point I said something along the lines of:
"EXCUSE ME?! I don't know what it is like to wait?! I've been anxiously (and more patiently than a lot of fans, I might add) awaiting the conclusion to the epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time for over a decade! If anyone in this world knows what waiting for something is like, it is Wheel of Time fans, and nobody else.
Then I started in on the nature of the fantasy genre and specifically The Wheel of Time and epic volumes of high fantasy. Of course, while not factually correct, my statement does resonate the sentiment felt by many of us fantasy nuts who have been in a torrid love affair with a 10,000 page story for the better part of our lives. In any other context, and with the publishing of A Gathering Storm only months away (at the time), I would have certainly included George R.R. Martin fans; but I was already pushing my luck with the allowed time of fanatically speaking about fantasy literature for one car ride to the grocery store.

What's the point, you may ask? Well, in seven days the next installment of one of the all time bestselling fantasy series is being published. On October 27, A Gathering Storm, book 12 of The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson will hit the shelves, just under four years after the previous volume. The light at the end of the tunnel is coming quickly, with a speculated publishing dates of November 2010 and November 2011 for the concluding two volumes of this fantasy work (tentatively titled Towers of Midnight and A Memory of Light, respectively).

After this conversation (or rather my outburst of total lack of respect for the fantasy readers' dedication and patience) I started thinking some more. I honestly can't even really remember life without the knowledge that there is another Wheel of Time volume on the way. What's going to happen in November 2011 once I finish the last word on the last page? The end?

If images like these don't make you wish you lived in a
different world, there is no hope for you.

I can't remember exactly when I started reading The Wheel of Time. I do know that my love for The Wheel of Time has transcended anything else that has been a constant in my life (in terms of duration); I've had three different cars, seven or eight different jobs, I've earned both a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree, overseen the planning and construction of an 18-million dollar building, been directly involved in close to a thousand college students' lives, I started dating and married the love of my life, and have celebrated four anniversaries with her (clearly the most important of those things were the last two).

Talk about young boys becoming men.
Grow out your beard, Wolfbrother.

I love reading. It is one of my favorite things to do. I love escaping into fantasy environments and reading coming of age, epic quests. For these reasons alone, I am eternally in debt to Robert Jordan, since before I picked up The Eye of the World you could not get me to read anything. I actually remember a field trip in junior high when I was sitting next to a guy from my class (who I would later become pretty good friends with) and he was reading one of the first couple of books from The Wheel of Time. I don't remember which one, but I do remember the classic Darrell K. Sweet artwork. He started telling me about the book and I simply said I wasn't interested. He asked me why not and said it is great. I responded:
"I don't like to read."
GASP! I now want to scream anytime I hear someone say that and I always think of this moment. Several years late he and I, along with several other friends, would be debating the weaving's of the Wheel and speculating on a number of pertinent issues on the roof of his house. Moments like those can never be emulated, nor would I want them to be.

As I mentioned previously, reading epic fantasy is truly a torrid love affair (or at least what I assume a love affair would be like). It has been an up and down roller coaster of excitement, disappointment, waiting, late nights, and waiting. I will not even begin to get into the quality of the last few books, as many fans have been rather disappointed. I will mention that sometime after I finished Crossroads of Twilight and after I started reviewing books at Amazon I drank a little too much and started reading reviews on Amazon, so in my passionate state of mind (read: drunken stupor) I pumped out a "review" basically calling anyone that didn't like the book a pseudo-WOT fan and saying they didn't appreciate the magnitude, and blah blah blah. It was great; I remember feeling like people were going to read my "review" and be like, "wait a second, he's on to something here..." I was going to start the revolution of bringing the viewpoints of fantasy fans back to this beloved series. For God's sake, The Wheel of Time is why I read these days! Such blasphemous things should never cross anybody's mind; but of course, it was mostly stupid ramblings and incoherent drivel. I never deleted that "review" because I have fun reading it sometimes. It is fun remembering those moments of passion. Actually, five people thought it was helpful (out of 23), which is still surprising. Some of the finer quotes from my Crossroads of Twilight "review":
Okay, here's the deal: A lot of so called WOT fans have been complaining about the last few books (mainly books seven and on) because they are boring and not as interesting as the first six. I will call these people pseudo-WOT fans because it is clear that they do not appreciate "The Wheel of Time" for it's entire worth, because they only appreciate specific scenes and incredible moments from the first six books (including all of "The Great Hunt," Domani's Wells, the battle with Rahvin, etc.).
I admit, I thought book ten was going to be "The One" book to rule them all. I was disappointed because not much really happens.
So, honestly, as a TRUE fan of "The Wheel of Time," I am telling you that if you truly appreciate the Wheel of Time world and the characters involved, you will appreciate "Crossroads of Twilight." It may not be the best book you've ever read, and you may get a little upset with it, but those are the times you need to step away and think about what is actually going on in the series. These pseudo-WOT fans obviously do not understand anything that is going on, because they are to preoccupied with looking for one good reason for this being "the last Robert Jordan book they ever read," which is exactly what they've been saying for the last three books. And yet, the pseudo-WOT fans will still pick up book eleven, and when it is "the One" book to rule them all, will say, "I LOVE ROBERT JORDAN, I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A FAN OF HIS WORK!!!"

At that point, we will all look back at their one star reviews and say, "well actually, you wern't.... Sorry sucka!"

I cannot believe how stupid I was. The second quote is probably my favorite with regard to my fanaticism. I should also note, for the record, that this was prior to receiving both a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree, as mentioned above.

The last thing that I will mention is that The Gathering Storm is partially written by Brandon Sanderson, from Robert Jordan's notes. Sanderson is a phenomenal writer himself, but it will be different reading the story written by someone other than the visionary.

So, seven days from today I will have the next step in this decade old journey ahead of me. Like Rand al'Thor's coming of age story, I feel that in some ways my own coming of age story has been transpiring in the background (at least I hope so; but we'll see if people start trashing A Gathering Storm and I have a few too many beers one night - be on the lookout for Amazon reviews!). The next biggest decision is going to be power through the book in one sitting or try and savor it? I already know the answer, and have always known the answer since ten years ago. I just need to remember to request Tuesday off of work.

This image is where it all began. Possibly one of the
most celebrated covers in fantasy history.

If any of my fantasy friends out there are reading this, I'll be ready to grab a six pack and head up to the roof and enjoy the night in a way that Robert Jordan would have appreciated.

Ten years. Has it been worth the wait? Absolutely. So as they say, let the Dragon ride again on the Winds of Time.

Good waiting,

Plants and Books

Review: Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson


Title: Hero of Ages
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: Tor Books
ISBN: 0765356147

Notes: The concluding volume to the Mistborn trilogy


The Epic Conclusion to a fully Realized Fantasy World - 5 stars - a book review

Let me just say this before I begin: if you even consider yourself halfway interested in fantasy and you have not read the Mistborn trilogy, you are doing yourself a disservice everyday that passes without experiencing this epic masterpiece.
At the conclusion of The Well of Ascension Vin had been tricked into releasing Ruin, one of the Gods responsible for the creation of the world, and the one given the promise of destroying it. Vin, Elend, and the rest of their gang have their work cut out for them not only fighting an unknown force, the increased ash falls, and larger mists blocking the sun; but also uniting the Dominances and uncovering the secrets left behind by the Lord Ruler.

Hero of Ages
brings the trilogy full circle, enlightening readers to things throughout the previous two volumes. The world of the Final Empire is epic in scope and fully realized in this volume. In each installment has unveiled a little bit more of the Final Empire, gradually increasing knowledge of Sanderson's world.

The characters all have their personal conflicts and ethical dilemmas they each have to deal with. They are believable and engaging. Some of the lesser characters in the original Kelsier gang take on more prominent roles, leading the charge on undermining local city governments and completing difficult tasks for Vin and/or Elend. Additionally, the Kandra, the Koloss, and the Inquisitors play a larger role as well, and the history of their species is rich and lush; providing a lot of background information about the land of the Final Empire and the Lord Ruler himself.

My main concern (and it is minor) with The Final Empire is with the character Sazed, the Terrisman scholar. He had previously been one of my favorite minor characters, but in this book he was so preachy about how he couldn't prove any of the hundreds of religions he knew were true; this is understandable since he was having a personal conflict after the loss of his recently found love at the end of The Well of Ascension. However, the nature of his internal dialogue is well executed, and although annoying at first, it does become more meaningful and thoughtful as the book continues.

Per usual, the allomancer battles are exciting and interesting. That magic system devised by Sanderson rivals anything in recent memory in terms of creativity and believability. He executes his Allomantic Pushes and Pulls with grace and ease.

Sanderson's world is enthralling and impossible to resist. I wouldn't recommend reading anything else until you've finished this trilogy. If you are a fantasy fan, you have been kidding yourself for far too long by not reading this.

Good reading,

Plants and Books

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Review: Joker by Brian Azzarello

Title: Joker
Author: Brian Azzarello
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: DC Comics
ISBN: 1401215815


The Joker?! Released from Arkham?! Talk about Insanity! - 4 stars - a book review

The premise of Joker is nearly unbelievable; however, given that premise, the story is believable beyond a shadow of doubt. Joker, in Joker, is in prime form, after being released from Arkham Asylum (for reasons never told, much like the vague and contradicting answers given in The Dark Knight about Joker's scars) and is starting from scratch, with nothing; no money, no help, and he considers "his city" in the toilet due to the negligence and greedy of his former associates. Anyone who thought they had the last laugh when Joker went away is in for the surprise of his life.

Joker's story is top notch; the reader is escorted through a journey with Joker as he tries to reinsert himself into the bowels of Gotham City through the vantage point of a henchman named Jonny Frost, Joker's newest loyal member, and the only guy who picks Joker up from Arkham. Joker starts calling in his old boys to deliver a message: the Joker that they all feared (and readers love) is back. The cast of characters include The Penguin, Killer Croc (in a more human rendition), Two-Face, Harley Quinn, the Riddler, and Batman.

The portrayal of Joker in this graphic novel is the side of Joker that I have always loved more than the others. As you can see, the imagery is strikingly similar to the Heath Ledger portrayal in The Dark Knight, with the ratty faded purple suit and makeup/scars. This is not the bright purple outfit, smiling, wise cracking jester (although Joker does have some great funny moments, although they are most likely only funny to Joker and the reader, as it should be). This Joker is out for blood and no joke will satisfy. The story is gruesome in parts but completely within the realm of plausibility, considering the subject matter.

For the most part, the illustrations are absolutely stunning, and do an excellent job of making the Joker, his associates, and Gotham come to life. This is a back alley story with only a couple of scenes in "higher society," and Lee Bermejo makes the setting a place you don't want to be, night or day. The only (minor) problem I have with the art is that the style switches from panel to panel during some of the story. At times, it is 100% illustration (and well done) and then the next panel will appear almost like a real picture or computer generated image (smudged for grits sake). While I appreciate both styles, I am a person that prefers consistency from panel to panel, from beginning to end.

The only other drawback of Joker is the fact that it is so short. Joker definitely should have been serialized since there is enough material here for several books of the same size. Many times, Joker does something where the plot would have benefited from a little more background (or visualization during the moment, since many times Joker just does stuff with no explanation). Although an excellent story, it almost left me unsatisfied since I felt it could have been a lot deeper, less rushed, and more impactful than it was; however, given the length, it does pack quite a punch.

Good reading,

Plants and Books

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Review: Slammer by Allan Guthrie

Title: Slammer
Author: Allan Guthrie
Copyright: 2009
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0151012954


Definitely Not A "Slammer" Dunk - 2 stars - a book review

I can see the appeal of this book and I can see how some people would like it; however, I hardly enjoyed it at all. The premise is solid, but underdeveloped. The terrorizing from the inmates to the guard could have been so much greater and the story would have been more of a "throat grabber" had there been more favors, more threats, and... well... more terrorizing. The main character, Glass, is only put in two situations before his life spirals out of control (and the story spirals out of control, I might add). There are parts of the story that are grotesque, but I felt it was more for shock value and could not really buy into those actions.

On top of all that, there seems to be random flashbacks that did not seem to fit in the story for any reason, providing seemingly insignificant details about the characters. Maybe they were significant; but if so, it was poorly executed. The ending was also so unsatisfying and disappointing.

My other concerns with Slammer is that there is no writing in the book above a sixth grade reading level. The writing was pretty juvenile and the dialogue was equally juvenile. It is hard to take a dark and gritty story seriously if there are no words over two syllables.

Overall, I say if the premise of the story strikes your fancy, go for it. Given that it is such an easy and quick read it won't take too much time, and you might enjoy it. In my opinion, there are far better books in this category that are executed better and ten times as engaging, with stronger characters; like Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk and each of the books in the Caught Stealing trilogy by Charlie Huston.

Good reading,

Plants and Books

Review: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

Title: The Well of Ascension
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Copyright: 2007
Publisher: Tor Books
ISBN: 0765316889

Notes: Second book in the Mistborn series.


Sanderson is a Master of his Craft in this Second Volume - 5 stars - a book review

With The Final Empire (Mistborn book one) being one of the best fantasy novels I have read in the past five years, my hopes were high for the continued success of this fantasy world. Needless to say, I was not disappointed, and if Sanderson continues to pump out books at this pace (almost one a year) and this quality (magnificent) he could be hailed in the upper echelons of greats fantasy writers of the decade.

In The Well of Ascension, Brandon Sanderson not only builds upon the unique world and intriguing characters introduced in The Final Empire, but he also shows off his marvelous writing skills by expanding his storytelling repertoire into areas that were not explored previously. While The Final Empire was heavy world building, character introduction, coming of age story with enough magic and wizard battles to satisfy any fantasy junkie for the coming year, The Well of Ascension starts to explore another facet of fantasy fiction: political intrigue. The book starts one year after the conclusion of The Final Empire: Elende Venture is now the king in his experimental idealistic governmental setup imagined around beers with his friends in the previous installment. Since large portions of the book are focused on the political manuevering, The Well of Ascension starts significantly slower the any other Brandon Sanderson book I have read; however, once settled into the different style of book the pacing ramps up quickly and effectively making the overall reading experience beyond satisfying.

Alongside the political nature of The Well of Ascension, there is still the coming of age story of the heroine from The Final Empire, Vin. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Mistborn trilogy (so far) is the stereotypical fantasy coming of age story told in such a way that is original and engaging, making it nearly impossible to compare to the timeless tale of a boy gaining powers and saving the world. Vin has not only gained significant powers and is still struggling to find her powerful place in the world, but she is also struggling with problems that are far above her maturity level including falling in love, a sense of honor and duty, and the price each of these play on her own mortality.

Finally, what would a good fantasy story be without magic and fighting? As luck would have it, as true to form, there is no need to worry with The Well of Ascension. There is plenty of Pushing and Pulling and allomancer battles to feast upon. As Vin grows more powerful so does the epic-ness of the battles. The fight scenes are beautiful realized and exceptionally original; I could read the epic 700 page tomes of the Mistborn trilogy for the fight scenes alone. I started reading fantasy for the escapism from the real world and found magical worlds where my imagination could run wild. What I really look for in a fantasy book is something that leaves me with visual images that stick with me and that I can fully realize with very little effort. The tales and descriptions in the Mistborn books provide some of the most fully realized, enjoyable, engaging, and believable memories in modern fantasy.

All in all, The Well of Ascension, while starting a little slowly, is a tour de force of fantasy imagery, worldbuilding, and storytelling. If Sanderson is not already at the top his game with his first few books in his career (Elantris and Mistborn) I can’t even begin to imagine what is in store for fantasy in the next decade; of course, with Sanderson at the helm, I won’t have to do much imagining on my own and will be able to sit back and enjoy the ride.

My only minor complaint about this publication is the fact that there is a quote on the back of the mass market paperback comparing Brandon Sanderson to Terry Goodkind...

I’m still mad at myself that I let these books sit on my shelf for years waiting to be read.

Good reading,

Plants and Books

Review: Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

Title: Gardens of the Moon
Author: Steven Erikson
Copyright: 2004
Publisher: Tor Books
ISBN: 0765310015

Notes: First book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series.


Epic Worldbuilding; Mediocre Storytelling - 3 stars - a book review

First of all, for all the Malazan fanboys out there, let me say this: I get it; I really do. I recognize that many (if not most) of the Malazan cult followers will say that Gardens of the Moon is the weakest of the bunch, and the storytelling gets better and it all starts to come together after the second or third books. I get that. In fact, I am truly glad to hear it. I look forward to those moments as I fully intend to read on and most likely finish the series. In all honesty, I can see myself getting sucked into the Malazan world quite easily, becoming a fanboy who posts in the Malazan forums and awaits the next installments like Armageddon is on the horizon. That is what I do with fantasy series; especially series with fully realized worlds, which the Malazan world clearly is.

The truth of the matter is that despite needing two or three books to “get it,” Gardens of the Moon (and the Malazan Empire world) is not for everyone. Two or three books is a lot to swallow for the casual fantasy reader, given that the first two books clock in at 1400 to 1500 pages combined. That is a lot to swallow, especially if it is tough going for the first 300 to 500 pages. And in all honesty, it is tough going; that being said, one of the virtues of Gardens of the Moon is the fact that the world of the Malazan Empire is epic in magnitude and scope while fully realized in every aspect. The world exists and has lore and history galore; it is truly almost unbelievable. The Malazan Empire is the penultimate Dungeons and Dragons world crafted by the most obsessed Dungeon Master, and then written about in all of its glory. The problem with this incredible feat of worldbuilding is the simple girth of the world and the fact that the reader is literally dropped into the middle of it. I am actually hesitant to call it worldbuilding, since the world already exists and the reader almost awakens in the middle of a war.

Added on to that is the mediocre storytelling. There are countless plot lines at the beginning with no real (apparent) connection until much later in the book. Characters are introduced quickly and left behind abruptly, to only come around later on. There are also some fairly interesting plot devices that were almost a total turnoff for me; and I mean close the book and saying “who is kidding who?”

I can see the Malazan Empire in all its glory and I can see the war ravaged country sides, the battle hardened armies, and the towns that barely survived the individual Cleansings. The city of Darujhistan is unbelievable. However, the beauty and magnitude of these people and this world is interrupted, almost detrimentally by the previously mentioned plot devices. No matter how hard I tried, I could not picture in my head, nor believe that a marionette puppet was running around the countryside such as he was. I could not get past it and it ruined the beauty of the scenes that had been developing.

The overarching plot really comes together about halfway through and makes the book tough to put down. As a freshman work of fantasy fiction, I can already see the improvements from the beginning of the book to the end in the storytelling department. With all that in mind, Gardens of the Moon was certainly a chore to read; but it also introduced me to one of the most remarkable and engaging fantasy worlds. Unfortunately, the story told in this world was weak; but as it has been said, this is not a theme of the entire series. And remember fanboys, I will most likely be joining your ranks in another month or so.

I guess my point is that with a fully realized world (such as the one presented in Gardens of the Moon), anything is possible; and I fully expect Erikson to deliver in future installments.

At least at this time, I can honestly only recommend Gardens of the Moon for the most dedicated epic fantasy junkies.

Good reading,

Plants and Books
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