Read in April 2010
While reading this book, I attended a science fiction convention in Lincoln, Nebraska, where the author guest of honor, Brandon Sanderson, distracted me from finishing this first book of the epic fantasy series Malazon Book of the Fallen in a timely manner. In fact, I stopped reading at the midpoint and asked Brandon during a break between panels, if he had read the series. I explained I struggled to stay focused with the novel because the characters lacked depth and pull. He told me he recommends the series, but advises most readers to start with the second book. With this in mind, I pushed on to the end and enjoyed the last half of Gardens of the Moon.
Not only did the characters suffer from shallowness, but the world building paled to smoke and mirrors and rumors. For such a vast empire pushing for world conquest, I felt only smallness and emptiness, large chunks missing from the puzzle of history and geography. Thus, the motivations of key players revealed late in the game, made little sense and lacked punch.
The last ‘book’ (Book Seven – The Fete) redeemed the previous six by packing in action, duels, sorcerous fights, assassinations, and political maneuvering. Quite a climactic crescendo of discordant convergence.