Customer Reviews for

Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen Series #1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

14 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

Awesome Book/Series

Erikson is an amazing author. This book is a bit of a beast to work through, but when you get to the end (and more-so in subsequent books) its well worth the effort. Amazing characters fully realized in a captivatingly detailed world. I'd recommend this book to anyon...
Erikson is an amazing author. This book is a bit of a beast to work through, but when you get to the end (and more-so in subsequent books) its well worth the effort. Amazing characters fully realized in a captivatingly detailed world. I'd recommend this book to anyone, as long as they're willing to put up with learning about a lot of characters going in many different directions.

One of my favorite authors, and the start to a series that, 9 books in, is still operating head and shoulders above other series in the genre.

posted by Fulkrum78 on October 19, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

16 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

Flat Characters. Poorly described world. Skip it.

Erikson is definity no George R.R. Martin. Not even in the same galaxy. Here are the problems I found with this book. 1. Needs a prequel. It's easy to get lost and have no idea what is going on since no background is given on the many names, races, places thrown at ...
Erikson is definity no George R.R. Martin. Not even in the same galaxy. Here are the problems I found with this book. 1. Needs a prequel. It's easy to get lost and have no idea what is going on since no background is given on the many names, races, places thrown at you. 2. Poorly described topography. I felt like everything was taking place in a barren desert wasteland. I struggled to grasp what kind of world this was. 3. No reason to care for the characters. It was like watching a football game with two teams you know nothing about playing against each other and each having a role to play, but that's it. There was very little personality. Where Martin excels, Erikson fails. I couldn't have cared less who lived and who died. Most were expendable in my opinion. You rarely get into the characters heads. It's mainly following them from point A to point B with very little emotion. Tasks are completed and then it's time for the next one. Also characters could be described in more detail. Erikson is the anti-Jordan here. 4.A little too much magic. Sometimes less is more as in the case with Martin's series. Martin knows how to make magic count. Magic is so powerful and so frequently used, it becomes too commonplace here. All in all the characters are flat and the reader has no emotional investment with any of them. I even saw people who gave this book 5 stars make comments like 'Just don't get too caught up in the details'. You have to forgive quite a bit to try and enjoy the world of Malazan. I would pass this series up without question.

posted by Anonymous on January 7, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2008

    Flat Characters. Poorly described world. Skip it.

    Erikson is definity no George R.R. Martin. Not even in the same galaxy. Here are the problems I found with this book. 1. Needs a prequel. It's easy to get lost and have no idea what is going on since no background is given on the many names, races, places thrown at you. 2. Poorly described topography. I felt like everything was taking place in a barren desert wasteland. I struggled to grasp what kind of world this was. 3. No reason to care for the characters. It was like watching a football game with two teams you know nothing about playing against each other and each having a role to play, but that's it. There was very little personality. Where Martin excels, Erikson fails. I couldn't have cared less who lived and who died. Most were expendable in my opinion. You rarely get into the characters heads. It's mainly following them from point A to point B with very little emotion. Tasks are completed and then it's time for the next one. Also characters could be described in more detail. Erikson is the anti-Jordan here. 4.A little too much magic. Sometimes less is more as in the case with Martin's series. Martin knows how to make magic count. Magic is so powerful and so frequently used, it becomes too commonplace here. All in all the characters are flat and the reader has no emotional investment with any of them. I even saw people who gave this book 5 stars make comments like 'Just don't get too caught up in the details'. You have to forgive quite a bit to try and enjoy the world of Malazan. I would pass this series up without question.

    16 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Awesome Book/Series

    Erikson is an amazing author. This book is a bit of a beast to work through, but when you get to the end (and more-so in subsequent books) its well worth the effort. Amazing characters fully realized in a captivatingly detailed world. I'd recommend this book to anyone, as long as they're willing to put up with learning about a lot of characters going in many different directions.

    One of my favorite authors, and the start to a series that, 9 books in, is still operating head and shoulders above other series in the genre.

    14 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 7, 2012

    Highly Recommended!

    While waiting for the 6th installment of the Song of Fire and Ice series I decided to give this series a try. I was pleasantly surprised to find a writing style and story telling ability that renders a picture of the story without bogging the story down with countless details. Too many times I start a fantasy series and the first volume is dry and sluggish due to the over encompassing load of lineage and detail poured down your throat. This book doesn't pit Good vs Evil because the characters remain grey and are faced with moral choices and paths that make them choose between their own best interest and their allegiance to the group they are working with.
    If you are the type of reader who enjoys a book that draws you right into a story line and doesn't weigh you down with over descriptive narrative then give this series a try
    If you are the type of reader that needs to know that the assassin that was just introduced to the story hails from generations before him and need all the surnames and accomplishments of his forefathers and enjoy knowing that the grass he just made camp on was a rare mixture of 5 different types of foliage when none of it applies to the story then you probably won't like this series.

    This series tells you just enough about the characters that they remain light and interesting and a bit mysterious. They are not the all knowing stereo typical maiden in the woods, knights in shining armor or long lost last person of a bereft magical family that must figure out how to use his power to save the world.

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2007

    Fantasy's New Superstar and his first book....

    Have you read Erikson yet? Have you? Seriously, put down that kiddie fantasy novel. Step away from the Harry Potter section. Move aside from the usual dreck that the 'fantasy publishers' seem to be churning out and pick up Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon. We've all read the epic fantasy novels. You were all-in on Jordan, until an Aes Sedai tugged her pig-tail once too often, and you realized that the plot had escaped his grasp, and you were doomed to books that more resembled Dawson's Creek. You read and loved George R.R. Martin. You've found Michael Stackpole. You sit waiting for the next J.V. Jones novel. You sobbed as Tad Wiiliam's 'To Green Angel Tower' crashed his series to a car wreck of a halt. But you never read Steven Erikson... And you should. Quickly. You need him. Fantasy meets Apocolypse Now. Erikson's characters don't just find the Heart of Darkness, they live, die and kill in it. As Tarantino does for movies, Erikson does for the fantasy genre...infuses crackling dialogue, dynamite characters, ironic twists and turns, sharp plotting, and even lets his novels lose some control, and yet, once the climax hits and the destruction comes, everything seems to fall together. You will never meet another author who creates so much, only to smash his characters together with the explosive power of an atom bomb. A mad genius from Canada, this series is already 6 books in. Everyone of them a masterpiece. Book 1 throws you into the mix with one hell of a slam bang ending...but Book 2 launches it into outerspace. Book 3 exceeds even that and that is the level of greatness you stand on when you consider this book and author...and I've read all the stuff you have...so I don't say it lightly. Read it. You might even find it startling and not sure if you like it as you read of mages torn to shreds...battles that make Tolkien seem more like Choose Your Own Adventure. But by Book 2, you'll thank me.

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Hard to get into

    Now, I love epic fantasies as much as the quick reads... however this book is almost impossible to get into. It feels like I'm picking up in the middle of a series, rather than just starting it. There's lore and physics that are referenced, but never explained; I'm lost 80% of the time. Sadly, I've put this book down and haven't picked it back up.

    10 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2001

    Awesome Fantasy.

    This is a superb book, and is quite challenging to read. But once you get used to the way the writer writes, you will be surprised. This is a book full of action, there is always something happening, and you don't just see it through one persons view-point but several. There are several characters it is based around, not just one main character. The story is a fantastic one and can be quite complex. You try to work out what will happen or why it happens before you are told. The beginning may be a bit confusing but later on you start to understand it more clearly. I would say this is probably one of those books where there are some people who will get hooked on it and then those who may not like it at all. But I would say give it a try. I had loads of fun reading this book and recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy books and it is a challenging one. I would also recommend it to any other book reader. This is my second favourite book of all time, and I can't wait to start reading Deadhouse Gates which is a follow on from this one. Well Done Steven Erickson, keep the excellent work up. Overall: Fast pace, astonishingly detailed, innovative, powerfully engaging, massive, panoramic and highly intelligent. An author to watch out for.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2010

    The New Epic

    This is a must read series for anyone who's looking for an epic story. The world is extremely details and spans a timeline of hundreds of thousands of years. On par with the stories of Dune, this series is has characters you'll love and hate. Keep in mind that if you're looking for an easy read to keep you entertained, this isn't it. You really need to focus on the story to get the full impact of this series.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Smoke and Rumors

    While reading this book, I attended a science fiction convention in Lincoln, Nebraska, where the guest of honor author, Brandon Sanderson, distracted me from finishing this first book of the epic fantasy series Malazon Book of the Fallen in a timely manner. In fact, I stopped reading at the midpoint and asked Brandon during a break between panels, if he had read the series. I explained I struggled to stay focused with the novel because the characters lacked depth and pull. He told me he recommends the series, but advises most readers to start with the second book. With this in mind, I pushed on to the end and enjoyed the last half of Gardens of the Moon.

    Not only did the characters suffer from shallowness, but the world building paled to smoke and mirrors and rumors. For such a vast empire pushing for world conquest, I felt only smallness and emptiness, large chunks missing from the puzzle of history and geography. Thus, the motivations of key players revealed late in the game, made little sense and lacked punch.

    For the rest of my review, please visit GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/96801577

    6 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2009

    A masterpiece for the senses of your intellectual self.

    Gardens of the Moon starts simple enough, like any other book, however that is where all similarity is abandoned. Soon I found myself not wanting to let go of the book I was currently lost in, with ever changing moods and situations. The vast amount of characters that are introduced throughout the novel, is spellbinding, When you realize most of the characters you meet, have reoccurring moments,not a wave and good by, as with most novels. Gardens of the Moon Quickly has you wrapped up in a completely new world with new meaning to the words, Mage, Magic, and Spells. Steven Erikson's writing is an absolute inspiration and gift, bestowed on the reader. I recommend reading the entire series.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 24, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Gardens of the Moon is the first book in a ten book series calle

    Gardens of the Moon is the first book in a ten book series called The Malazan Book of the Fallen. The series is arguably the most epic in scope, the most complex in narrative style, and the most detailed in terms of cultural, sociological and religious aspects. Comparisons to other great fantasy epics will no doubt include The Lord of the Rings or A Song of Ice and Fire or even The Wheel of Time…but a better and more accurate comparison may be to Frank Herbert's magnificent sci-fi masterpiece, the Dune chronicles, and Glen Cook's gritty and character-centric fantasy series The Black Company.

    Gardens of the Moon starts off much like Dune and the Black Company, in that you are literally thrown into the middle of this fully realized world, replete with an ancient but still living prehistory (in the form of the T'lan Imass and the Jaghut), a powerful but aloof alien species (in the form of the Tiste Andii), and a host of elder gods who are anything but passive and who routinely interfere and direct the lives of the general populace.

    I remember when i was a teenager and I had heard of a movie called Dune which was apparently based upon a best-selling novel. The premise intrigued me to the point where I read the book and then immediately saw the movie by David Lynch. I did not see the movie alone. I took my cousin with me. My female cousin who knew nothing of sci-fi or fantasy and who probably was looking for a movie like Gremlins or Ghostbusters, rather than a strange sci-fantasy like Dune. And the movie was incredibly strange. If i had not read the book…i don't think even I would have been able to pick up on all of the subtle nuances and grand scope of things without having read the book first. I can't imagine what it must have been like for my poor cousin, who was so confused and befuddled afterwards that all she could do was ask "What is the 'water of life'? and why did he keep saying 'the sleeper has awakened'?"

    I recount this story only to illustrate a potential problem point: readers who are looking for the standard/typical mode of fantasy storytelling which have become so predictable that many times we're not looking for diversity in narrative, but rather looking at what type of new "power" is being contested or won. No, Gardens of the Moon will be as baffling and mysterious and potentially frustrating for many readers who are looking for something straightforward and simple to explain. Such is not the case with this series. Steven Erikson has created a complex and living breathing world and populated with various races and cultures and countries and thrown them into this story.

    And what is the story? It's hard to say really. There are so many narrative plot points. But I think the fundamental story is something happened thousands of years before, something so terrible and cataclysmic that the repercussions of the action and decision have reverberated throughout history, affecting the elder races and have now culminated into a series of devastating and world-ending consequences that the modern races and their current use of magic must now contend with the here and now.

    I having been reading this series for the past few years now, and am on the last few novels. These books are not easy to read, but they yield so much pleasure in terms of epic storytelling and the range of characters.

    I will point out two things that you may need to know about the entire series:
    First, Steven Erikson believes that all characters, big and small, matter. You might agree with that viewpoint, but if you think about what that really means, it means that each and every little character gets their share of the page, meaning what would normally be a 400 page book could turn into a 1,000 page book because the lives and dreams of each and every character is detailed and told. hence the massive length of most of Erikson's books.
    Second, Steven Erikson's prose style is almost as complex and flowery as his story and settings. This prose is as purple as purple can get.

    But with that said, these books are marvelous. And if you can get through the first book, as dense and complex as it is, then you will be rewarded by the 2nd and 3rd books, Deadhouse Gates and Memories of Ice, which are about as good as anything i've ever read. The book Deadhouse Gates will break your heart with its grueling story about Coltaine's Chain of Dogs. And Memories of Ice will astound you in its scope and power; it is perhaps Erikson's one Masterpiece, though some may argue that the entire series is what constitutes his masterwork. but if one were to give the word masterpiece to any one of his novels, it would probably have to be Memories of Ice.

    But in order to get there, you have to go through Gardens of the Moon, which is not his best work, but the beginning of his greatest work.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 21, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The start of a phenomenal series!

    Steven Eriskson's debut novel of the Malazan Tale of the Fallen, is the story of the Bridgeburners, a legendary Army of the Malazan Empire. The Malazans are the fantasy equivalent of the Romans. Just like the Roman Legions, their armies are composed of people from all of their conquered lands. They also capture and use the weapons of their enemies, sometimes better than their original owners. I can honestly say the this series is one of m favorites, next to George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire (If he EVER gets on with it), Joe Abercrombie's First Law Trilogy, Raymond Feist's many Midkemia novels, and Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time (With the help of Brandon Sanderson, whose Mistborn trilogy is quite good also). If you are looking for a great, in depth world, a unique view of magic, and deep characters by the score, then this is for you!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2006

    Best Fantasy story of the decade... maybe longer

    The start of one of the strongest fantasy series in recent memory - Good ideas, an interesting world, and superb writing. The comparable series are Tolkein's Lord of the Rings, Martin's Game of Thrones, Jordan's early books in the 'Wheel of Time', and Feist's first Krondor series (Magician Apprentice). While it might not displace Tolkein (what could?), this book and it's sequels are probably stronger than any of the other series mentioned. This series never gets lost by becoming a day in the life of 60 characters. It keeps up the action and consistently brings surprises. Things don't move 'lock-step' to an inevitable conclusion, but neither is there discontinuity caused by inane plot twists or the deaths of major characters. A highly enjoyable and recommended series.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2013

    It has to get better

    Ponderously slow moving with limited character development.
    Fight through the first 300 pages , endure the next 200 , after the next 100 or so really begin to wonder when will the story start?

    Through the 1st book (this book) There is none.
    Erickson is a wonderful dungeon master & campaign setting builder who creates a detailed game enviornment & world that will appeal to dice rollers everywhere. His story telling , ability to capture readers attention & make them feel invested & a part of the world...lacking.

    It must get better , there are 10+ additional campaign continuation books but if your looking for a story to get lost in , to be a part of
    look elsewhere. If your patiently waiting for Martin or Rothfus to complete there epics & have time to burn give it a chance, to this point I am disappointed but will pick up the 2nd in the series while waiting

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A great series

    Erickson truly has a great style for good fantasy reading. It is intelligent, with a complex weaving of characters and a strategy that keeps you reading.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Gift of a New Series

    I was given the first three books from Erickson's series, The Malazan Book of the Fallen, as a gift because I was in waiting for the conclusion of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and now Brandon Sanderson. I found the writing style strange at first, but grew to enjoy the jumping between perspectives and storylines. I plan to finish the first three books before deciding whether to take on the whole series. My sense right now is that I'm not overly eager to continue on and learn of the characters' further adventures, but I'm also not returning the books for a refund.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good

    I started this series and got to the second book. I just couldn't get into it. It had a well written plot and cast of characters, but it just got to weird for me. Maybe because I grew up on raymond Feist. The idea of a mage turning himself into a puppet/doll was just stupid to me. I didnt care for the series after reading this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2009

    AMAZING!

    I WAS NOT A FANTASY READER UNTIL I PICKED "GARDENS OF THE MOON" UP FROM A SHELF AT OUR LOCAL BARNES AND NOBLE AND NOW I'M HOOKED. THIS BOOK WAS SO HARD TO PUT DOWN AND SO MUCH FUN TO READ. THE CHARACTERS, THE EMPIRE, THE WORLD, WAS SO WELL DESCRIBED. THE SERIES CARRIES ON THE SAME WELL WRITTEN AND SUPERBLY CRAFTED WAY, BUT ANYONE LOOKING FOR A GREAT READ HAS TO START WITH THE FIRST INSTALLMENT OF THE SERIES. "GARDENS OF THE MOON" WILL BECOME A FAVORITE TO ANYONE SEEKING ADVENTURE, FANTASY AND DRAMA IN THEIR NEXT READ.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2009

    New kid on the block ? He certainly made some noise

    I came across the book without referance, as the local bookshop made a great offer> boy !! am i hooked....started off slow, but now i have bought the whole seiries and it has a priveledged corner in my little collection...have not read such a complex and interesting yarn in years...definetely up there with the best of the best...strongly reccomend that readers get past the first few pages that start slow

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2008

    Worthy of mention with the greats - Martin and Jordan

    The last reviewer made a lot of comments how this work wasn't like George Martin or Robert Jordan, and so on. Well Good! It's nice to have an author out there who doesn't follow the same conventions of everyone else. I read this book partly to hold me over on the epic fantasy front until Martin gets his next book out, and I was very impressed. The world is beautifully set and rendered by Erikson, and his anthropology background really shows in all the nuanced cultures of the cities, and the people. And he accomplishes this with out striding too much into rote exposition. The world is explained well enough when it's appropriate, and he leaves the reader thirsting for more. Magic is very important in the book, and it is a well-imagined and developed system. What makes this book great is that it's so hard to pick sides - everything and everyone has a shade of gray to it. If you are a Martin fan looking for something else to read, a fantasy fan, or even a reader in general, this book is a MUST.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2006

    Epic Fantasy Lover

    I picked up this book because the cover of the second book piqued my interest, and I never start a series in the middle. This author is a great writer, but this first novel was difficult to wade through, as the first half was somewhat confusing. Once you've sorted out what's going on, its a great read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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