Tor.com content by

Bill Capossere

14 Reasons to Read Steven Erikson’s Gardens of the Moon

Welcome to the Tor.com eBook Club! September’s pick is Gardens of the Moon, the first book in the epic fantasy series Malazan Book of the Fallen. You have until September 7th to get your FREE ebook copy—but first, here are 14 reasons this classic is worth getting into!

So, it’s been a few years and you’re still waiting for The Winds of Winter, or maybe the next book in The Kingkiller Chronicle, to hit the shelves. While you wait (and wait, and…), how about a little “appetizer” in the form of a complete epic fantasy series that spans ten books, plus a handful of novellas, with two prequel trilogies (The Kharkanas Trilogy and Path to Ascendancy) currently in progress?  OK, maybe not so “little.” Think that might tide you over?

The series is the Malazan Book of the Fallen, by Steven Erikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont—here are a few reasons why you should pick up book one,— Gardens of the Moon.

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On Prequels and the Origins of Malazan: An Interview with Ian Cameron Esslemont

To celebrate the release of the eagerly-awaited Malazan prequel Dancer’s Lament earlier this month, we thought we’d ask author Ian Cameron Esslemont to stop by for a chat about the novel’s genesis and composition.

Read on for his thoughts concerning some original nervousness about tackling the project, Shadowthrone’s “glaring… lack of sanity,” and why he chose this particular time and place to write about—plus a little tease about the next book in the series!

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Series: Malazan Reread of the Fallen

Building an Empire: Ian C. Esslemont’s Malazan Prequel, Dancer’s Lament

Prequels can be tricky things for authors. One obvious obstacle is that being a prequel, the story is robbed of at least some of its natural narrative tension, as readers already know that this or that character will not die, that this or that battle will not be won. Authors also run the risk of having painted themselves into narrative corners via the original work—this character has to do A to end up at C, this thingamabob has to appear because it’s the signature thingamabob of Character X and so on. In weaker prequels, it all feels very mechanical, as if the author just traced the lines backward and dutifully filled in the obvious and necessary plot points, character appearances, and portentous arrivals of requisite talismans. Even the author who successfully navigates all the prequel pitfalls can end up losing, à la an army of irate fans complaining, “Hey, that’s not how I imagined it happening!” Talk about a thankless task.

Well, it’s true that while reading Ian Cameron Esselmont’s Malazan prequel, Dancer’s Lament, I did several times think to myself, “That’s not how I imagined it happening!” And it’s also true that one or two signature thingamabobs (cough cough walking stick cough) make their appearance. But it was all to the good, because those moments are representative of the sort of balance between the familiar and the unexpected that is required of a good prequel. And Dancer’s Lament is just that. Equally impressive is that the prequel works just as fine as an entry point into the massive (and massively complex) Malazan universe. I’m not going to argue it’s a “better” entry point than Gardens of the Moon (by Steven Erikson), the usual starting point, but I would argue it’s a more accessible one.

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Malazan Reread of the Fallen: Blood and Bone Wrap Up

Welcome back to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll wrap up our coverage of Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Blood and Bone.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

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Series: Malazan Reread of the Fallen

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: Blood and Bone, Epilogue

Welcome back to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover the Epilogue of Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Blood and Bone.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

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Series: Malazan Reread of the Fallen

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: Blood and Bone, Chapter Fifteen (Part Two)

Welcome back to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapter Fifteen (Part Two) of Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Blood and Bone.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

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Series: Malazan Reread of the Fallen

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: Blood and Bone, Chapter Fifteen (Part One)

Welcome back to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapter Fifteen (Part One) of Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Blood and Bone.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

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Series: Malazan Reread of the Fallen

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: Blood and Bone Chapter Fourteen (Part Two)

Welcome back to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapter Fourteen (Part One) of Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Blood and Bone.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

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Series: Malazan Reread of the Fallen

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: Blood and Bone Chapter Fourteen Part One

Welcome back to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapter Fourteen (Part One) of Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Blood and Bone.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

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Series: Malazan Reread of the Fallen

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: Blood and Bone, Chapter Thirteen (Part Three)

Welcome back to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapter Thirteen (Part Three) of Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Blood and Bone.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

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Series: Malazan Reread of the Fallen

The Cosmic Becomes Personal: Fall of Light by Steven Erikson

OK, look. I’m just going to put it on the table early on. I had a tough time with the beginning of Fall of Light. And by “beginning,” I mean the first 150-200 of its 800-plus pages. It wasn’t just the pace (though it was admittedly more than a little slow). Or all the new characters (though really, one wonders at some point how many Tiste we haven’t met, not to mention Jaghut, Azathanai, Jhelken, Dragons, etc). Or that there was a lot of table-setting going on (though given how book one had spent a good chunk of its 600 pages laying out the plates and silverware and glasses, I confess I’d expected the food to come a lot more quickly than it did).

[After that, though…]

Malazan Refresher: What Happened in Forge of Darkness?

The wait for Fall of Light, the second book in Steven Erikson’s Kharkanas Trilogy, is almost over! Given the number of characters and complexity of plot, we thought that a semi-brief (believe me, this is brief, the first few drafts were far longer) refresher of the first novel in the trilogy, Forge of Darkness, might come in handy. Considering the scope and scale of that book, this is not meant to be exhaustive, merely a highlight reel. And since it’s a recap, by definition there will be major spoilers. Really. Major ones. People who die and everything. Even people who die, come back, and maybe die again (this is Malazan after all). You’ve been warned.

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Malazan Reread of the Fallen: Blood and Bone, Chapter Twelve

Welcome back to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapter Twelve of Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Blood and Bone.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

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Series: Malazan Reread of the Fallen

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: Blood and Bone, Chapter Eleven

Welcome back to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapter Eleven of Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Blood and Bone.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

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Series: Malazan Reread of the Fallen

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: Blood and Bone, Chapter Ten (Part Two)

Welcome back to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapter Ten (Part Two) of Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Blood and Bone.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

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Series: Malazan Reread of the Fallen