There are many readers, myself among them, who begin reading Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson, hoping to find themselves whisked into a huge, epic fantasy world. With a series as long as Malazan Book of the Fallen, and all of the extra trilogies and books written by both Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont, there is massive potential for readers to become obsessed with a new fantasy world and story.
When I first read Gardens of the Moon, I put it down after 200 pages and thought that I might not ever bother trying again.
Erikson throws you in at the deep end and you have to claw your way up to the top of the learning curve through the first third of the book, but if you still end up not remembering or understanding the basics of the story, you will never enjoy the book.
I picked the book up again last week and finished it in only two days because I changed the way I read. This was new for me, as most books don’t demand this sort of attention, but it was worth it and I loved the book – as you can see from my review – so I thought I would share how I changed the way I approached the book so more people can enjoy it and get into the series.
This is very simple, so I won’t go on about it too much! The book is separated by ‘books’, which are in turn separated by a number of chapters.
I read Chapter 1 very slowly and reread certain pages or paragraphs several times to make sure I was picking up as much information as possible, as when you are thrown into the deep end, it’s easy for your mind to wonder and to gloss over sections of writing.
After reading Chapter 1, I read the chapter summary on the Malazan Wiki. I was careful not to hover over any links or go onto pages with spoilers on them, as many Malazan fans have said that it is so easy to be spoilt on the Wiki.
I found that having carefully read the chapter, reading the summary either immediately afterwards or later on, just before beginning the next chapter, it consolidated my knowledge of the events and sometimes explained the events or conversations that I didn’t understand. It meant that I actually kept up with what was going on and was able to continue reading, now that I knew what I needed to.
I kept this up for almost 250 pages and then I stopped, because I was finally both used to the writing and knowledgeable about the characters, events, and setting that I didn’t need to read summaries for the chapters any more.
I was soon burning through the book – as I do with any other good book – and I loved it.
This may seem like an odd way to approach a book, and some readers might not have any problem following along on their own, and don’t understand why some find Gardens of the Moon so difficult to get into. This method is for those who are struggling or have struggled to read the book, and I hope it helps because it’s worth the effort, I promise.