I don’t know why there was all this hype out there about Gardens of the Moon being so impossibly confusing as to be unreadable. Are readers these days that unable to hold multiple storylines in their heads? I am around 250 pages into the book, loving it, and not confused at all. It seems that what confuses most folks is the number of characters and how quickly the narrative shifts perspectives. People, keep up! That’s all. Book One within Gardens featured one large set of characters, and Book Two featured another. Ok, got it, no problem. It’s a 10 book epic fantasy – there are going to be a lot of characters!
The other thing I’ve heard/read that there is a lot of confusion about is the vocabulary. It’s a fantasy, people! Did you know what all those words meant when you read Lord of the Rings, or perhaps an even better example, The Wheel of Time for the first time? No! You didn’t! But you got the hang of it as you went on. Some people seem to be confused by the use of the term “warren” in Gardens. Now, I don’t know exactly what it is, but I have a fairly good idea from contextual clues. Remember that: contextual clues are your friends. (Did all of you fail that reading comprehension section of your state’s standardized tests????) A warren is either: (a) a magical pathway through another dimension that works like a teleport/wormhole, or (b) a particular source of energy/another dimension, from which mages draw their power; there are different warrens available to different people and not all warrens seem to be equal. Within those places of energy reside some pretty nasty beasties, so mages should be careful. To go between the warrens is to access something called the Warrens of Chaos, which seems to be generally frowned upon.
That’s really not that hard. If you really need to, do as I did, and keep a list of characters going in the back of the book. I’m enjoying and can’t believe I’ve been afraid of it because of all this nonsense I’d read!