Posted by: Matt | January 16, 2008

Gardens of the Cosmos

I’ve recently finished two very good books, The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene and Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson. I’ll give a short review for each as I seem to be falling behind in the review department as of late and that will makes things a bit easier.

If you don’t know, The Fabric of the Cosmos is a book physics by a well known theoretical physicist. In it Brian Greene explains in fairly understandable language they physics and particles that make up the universe. He covers everything from Einstein’s general relativity to superstring theory. Although many of the concepts are quite difficult with complex mathematical underpinnings, Greene does a good job of explaining concepts in fun and digestible terms. That doesn’t mean the book is a breeze however, unless you are already familiar with many of the theories contained in the book. It required more concentration on my part than most books I read. This just made it more rewarding when I came away from a reading session knowing I had a decent grasp on the text. If you have an interest in the laws that are believed to explain the universe and are not afraid to tackle a somewhat difficult book, I highly recommend The Fabric of the Cosmos. The Elegant Universe, Greene’s previous book, is supposedly more complex and goes into more detail. Those looking for additional insight might want to look there.

Rating: 9.0

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Gardens of the Moon is the first in a 10 book fantasy series. It is a time of war, the Malazan Empire is struggling to capture the last few remaining free cities. But there are other forces in play, some with more power than the Empire understands. There are conspiracies within the army, the ruling class and the enemy. Assassins rule the rooftops at night and mages wage battles. This all may sound like typical corny fantasy but believe me it isn’t. This is a very good beginning to what I hope will be a fantastic series. The beginning is a bit overwhelming as the author does not take the time to explain unfamiliar terms and events, but once you get past that and dig into the story it is a fun ride. There are also several characters to keep track of but this also becomes easier as you get into the meat of the story. Highly recommended to those who enjoy fantasy and aren’t afraid of a long series.

Rating: 8.5

*******

You likely noticed that I changed my rating scale if you read the above reviews. I am now rating books on a 10 point scale. This gives me a little more flexibility. I will try to have a revised guide to my ratings up in the next couple of days but if you’d like you can just cut the scores in half and have yourself the old five point scale.

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Responses

  1. I glanced at your review of the fantasy not expecting much, but your claim that it wasn’t typical made me take a look at it on Amazon. I’d have to say that I think you’re right. The first few pages read well, at any rate.

  2. Oh, I have that Greene book…on day I’ll read it…one day…when I need to better understand all that crazy science stuff…

  3. imani – I’m glad that you agree, at least after the first few pages. It’s the first fantasy series book in awhile that has actually made me want to read the second book.

    SMD – I don’t know that you’ll ever need to understand that stuff, but it is pretty fascinating. 🙂

  4. I read The Elegant Universe a couple years ago and really enjoyed it! It took me a long to work through, though. 🙂 I’ve been thinking about reading this one, but if it covers the same stuff, I’ll probably just skip it!


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