Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

“‘Tell me, Tool, what dominates your thoughts?’
The Imass shrugged before replying.
‘I think of futility, Adjunct.’
‘Do all Imass think about futility?’
‘No. Few think at all.’
‘Why is that?’
The Imass leaned his head to one side and regarded her.
‘Because Adjunct, it is futile.”

―Steven Erikson

I’ve been working my way through Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson for a while now. Usually fiction doesn’t take me this long. And the book is good, but I started it at a not-so-good time… distracted, stressed, busy. Normally that’s the ideal time to start an engrossing work of fiction (can we say escapism? Yes we can) but in this case, there was a bit too much paying attention required: names, histories, peoples, wars, hierarchies, etc.

My brain wasn’t up to it.

I read half and put it aside and read The Rook by Daniel O’Malley instead. A much lighter read, if by “lighter” you mean full of gore and fights with monsters and malevolent flesh-knitting magic and a bit of torture.

Also, a prophesying waterfowl that knows when to keep its mouth, I mean beak, shut:

“This duck tells me nothing!”

Now I’m back to Erikson, enjoying the last half. It’s #81 on this list which is a great list to reference for good sci-fi/fantasy books if you’re into things like books and sci-fi and fantasy and lists. I sure am.

“Ambition is not a dirty word. Piss on compromise. Go for the throat.”

And by the end I was pretty thoroughly confused about all the peoples and groups and factions and the plot, but I got enough of what was happening to enjoy the drama and trauma leading up to the resolution. That’s probably my fault. There’s too much going on in this book to read half and then forget about it and then pick it back up again.

“The curse of climbing is discovering how great the distance yet to climb.”

—Steven Erikson. Also me, discovering how many characters there were to keep track of.

However, I also know myself well enough to know that books which contain a helpful list of characters and family groups and species and mage-wars or whatnot are not reaaaaalllllyyyy my cup of tea.

And Erikson’s book contained a long list of such things. So. Oh well.