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

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

17 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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 d...
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.

posted by Dire1973 on February 7, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

16 out of 39 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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  • 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

    7 out of 13 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 June 4, 2012

    Hard to read

    It was a struggle but I managed to finish Book 1. Don't plan on continuing with the series. Too many characters and places with confusing names. I had a hard time keeping track of everything until the final chapters. Much prefer the George R R Martin and Robert Jordan novels.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2011

    Good series, but buyer beware

    I'm now on book 7. Overall it's an intriguing story but with a few warnings to potential buyers. If you like to attach yourself to characters in your reading, these books aren't for you. Not only do central characters die on a regular basis, but most characters aren't developed in a way that make them identifiable or stand out to the point where the reader can make a decision about them. Also the list of characters are prodigious. It wasn't uncommon during my reading to get characters confused or not remember them at all. The writing is such that any character from any point in any of the books can, and is, brought into the central narrative at any time. So, for me, the writing gets confusing at times and I found myself having to research various characters in order to reacquaint myself with them. Secondly, the author does tend to wax philosophic for periods of times in the books. The result is the flow of the book slows down dramatically. A reader will have to power through these sections because in a lot of cases these areas are used to explain an action taken by a character later on in the story. All that being said, this series is a massive undertaking in critical thinking for the author. His writing style is meticulous, and at times, very profound. I'm still not 100% sure where the author is taking it and just when I've had enough to put the book down for good; he surprises me with an interesting nugget that keeps me reading. So if your looking to be told a story, many readers will be disappointed in this series. If you are looking to be challenged and be tested in your reading these books are for you. I think if the author could have made his characters more defined, and streamlined the flow the series it would have appealed to a wider audience. I'll likely finish the series to see if there is a climax at the end, but I'd put this work a notch or two below the likes of other popular authors today.

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