Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson is the first book in his 10-volume "Malazan Book of the Fallen" series. It takes place on the continent of Genabackis, where the Malazan empire holds power through force and where men and gods and magicians and dragons and various sentient races exist together - often in violent battle with one another. This first book follows many characters and plotlines, taking the reader through the battle for the continent.
I'm unsure exactly why Gardens of the Moon failed to hold my attention. It's a decent story and some of the characters are quite good (especially Anomander Rake, the giant ancient warrior wizard king). I liked when two storylines would finally converge as their characters crossed paths. And Erikson does a decent job of building an imaginative world filled with its own rules and politics and even a fortress that floats in the sky.
But I found the plethora of characters to be confusing. I found the non-linear storytelling confusing. I found the constant death and resurrection of characters and the multiple names of characters to be confusing.
I frequently found my mind wandering away from the story. More than a few times, I had to re-read a chapter to understand it. And I would often completely forget a character shortly after he disappeared from a story, so that I was confused by his appearance in a later chapter.
Complexity is fine if I am committed to reading (or re-reading) an entire series. But I was unfamiliar with this series before I picked up Volume One and Erikson did nothing to draw me in and encourage me to complete the journey.
I know that many people love this book and I wonder if it is more enjoyable in the context of the entire 10-volume series.
I don't think I will find out.