Gardens of the Moon - Steven Erikson I began this book with some caution, as I've heard mixed reviews. I was wary of the brutality for which it was praised as reminiscent of George R.R. Martin, as that is my least favorite thing about him. The lengthy cast list at the beginning was a little bit intimidating. There are a lot of characters in this. They initially don't seem connected to one another, but everything comes together as the story progresses.

This was a very well-crafted story. By the end, I was delighted with the way things fit together and all of my questions were answered. I enjoyed all of the characters, which is actually very unusual for just about any book. I found Ganoes Paran initially hard to get used to, because he just had the feel of a very generic main character, but he grew on me as the story progressed. I was immediately interested in Sorry's plotline, and not disappointed there. Tattersail was the character to whom I was the most attached, and about her, I cannot say much because I want to avoid spoilers. The Bridgeburners as a group were fairly likable, even when I wasn't always sure I agreed with what they were doing.

I'm not entirely sure of my feelings on the book's treatment of some of the female characters. Sorry, Lorn and Tattersail were very human and well-developed, I thought. I would have liked to see some human side of Lady Simtal. She was practically a caricature of a loathsome, foul temptress whom the audience is supposed to hate. That archetype is a bit misogynistic for my taste, so it could have been handled a bit better. I'm not sure I can recommend this to my feminist friends, because of this. That said, the rest of the book was enjoyable, and she was only a small part of the story.

This is not the sort of book that's for everyone, but I was incredibly impressed with the depth of world-building and the incredible detail put into this fascinating world.