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

Average Rating 4
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(144)

4 Star

(66)

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(37)

2 Star

(20)

1 Star

(12)

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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 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.

    17 out of 17 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.

    16 out of 18 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.

    14 out of 15 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 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 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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  • 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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  • 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 March 19, 2005

    An emerging genius

    Its a great read. The synopsis made it sound so, but you never know for sure until you pick a copy up. I was overly impressed by what I read. Very different from what fantasy I normally read. Interesting sub plots and swings of current. I did get a little lost as to who had what powers some times, but I believe that might have just been my interpretation. It does jump around a lot and I wish I could have rooted for a couple characters a little more. But the author was too busy setting up the very necessary story line to give time for the reader to indulge that kind of thought. It keeps you on tilt so that you're not sure exactly who you want to come out on top in the end. I liked it a lot.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2004

    Wheel of what? MOVE OVER! for STEVEN ERICKSEN

    Mark these words. This series will go down in history. (GARDENS OF THE MOONS, DEADHOUSE GATES, MEMORIES OF ICE, HOUSE OF CHAINS) and still going. How about this: (Whiskeyjack and the Bridgeburners) an elite group of assasins. (Chain of Dogs) an Exodus of 30,ooo Refugees across a continent. Crusification by the thousands and a horrible betrayal. T'Lam Imass, Sorry, Anomander Rake, Daughters Lady Envy and Spite, Ascendents(mortals who attain Godhead) and GODS(who go mortal)... 2 friends of thousands of years, one forgets the death he reaps, the other remembers the pain they share. In the end one shall die and betray an eternal friendship. THE CHAINED GOD AWAKENS......These books are WAY BEYOND the scope of Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind and the like. THE MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN series is without EQUAL. If you don't believe me then just look up the author on the Internet AND find the reviews.(By the way he comes from Great Britian, the U.K.) TOR has just gotten the rights to the books and released the first one GARDENS OF THE MOON in hardback but the rest can be found in the U.K. (STEVEN ERICKSEN)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2004

    A long time SciFi/Fantasy Reader/Writer

    Better then Jordan, much better then Goodkind. The series is already on to book 5 as of this writing, although they are released much slower in the United States. I bought the first one a few years ago in Canada and it has great writing and more importantly a great story and characters. Complex and satisfying. Get it or be saddened.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2004

    Steven Erikson - best fantasy author

    This book is excellent, as are the other books in this series (there are five in publication so far in the UK and Canada). These books are excellent, with a greater depth than anything else, whilst being readable and (increasingly in the later books) having a real sense of humour. An epic storyline, great characters, brilliantly written and Erikson is producing them at a respectable rate with no detioration in quality. Highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2004

    Gardens of the Moon: Book One of the Malazan Book of the Fallen

    If you are into Jordan, Martin, & Goodkind, you will love this new series. I have been fortunate enought to have read the first 4 books of this series, because they were originally published in England. This is BY FAR the best series I have ever read (see above). Steven Erikson's writing style takes getting used to (remember when you first read the Hobbit?), but after you get used to it, you will be hooked. His novels have so much action and detail, and the characters are all amazingly well written. The lands of the Malazan Empire are unlike any you have read so far. Deep in majic, mystery, and battle, these books take you to a land that you can't believe. I don't know how he does it, but Mr. Erikson has created a series that is unlike any other. Do yourself a favor and get this book. Then be prepared for a ride!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2004

    Gardens of the Moon: Book One of the Malazan Book of the Fallen

    I agree with what Jim said. This is some seriously powerful reading! I also got the series, and it has some of the most interesting characters, plots, and majic scenes of any series ever. And the books just keep getting better. After each book, I kept saying, 'That was the best yet!' And then the next one is better. The 5th one is coming out in England in March, and I already have it preordered. It is the most innovative & creative writing I have ever read. get this book, and you will LOVE this series!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2002

    A Possible Rival for Martin

    Yes you read it right! George R.R.Martin, the man who has written my favorite fantasy series,Song of Ice and Fire has rival to his throne!Who is the Rival you may ask? The rival's name is Steven Erikson and his saga is called Gardens of the Moon. This epic fantasy novel was unforgettable masterpiece! Erikson's world-building skills has launch him into the ranks of Martin,Hobb, Clemens and Goodkind in this novel.Gardens of the Moon concerns a terrible war being waged between Malazan empire under brutal reign of Empress Laseen and immortal Anomander Rake and his formidable Tiste Andi.This war is fought with both armies and magic.This novel concerns the epic battle between these forces for the city-state of Darujhistan. This book is filled with scenes of brutal combat, sinister intrigue and powerful dark magic and sorcery.Unforgettable characters inhabit this wartorn world like Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of bridgeburners who serve the Empress Laseen and not knowing that she plots to betray them and have them killed.Paran, a young nobleman sent by Laseen and her ruthless Adjunct,Lorn to betray the noble bridgeburners and who insteads helps them.Anomander Rake, a immortal being fighting the Malazan empire for his dying race.Crokus younghand, a teen thief of Darujhistan who finds himself unwilling pawn this battle.This novel also has scenes of scheming and menacing gods who possess the bodies of mortals and manipulate the world to the own ends.And did I mention the action sequences? There are fight scenes in here to put the Matrix to shame! Plot twists as you see betrayal and treachery are the norms in this world where noble soldiers are targeted for death by their own rulers and young woman who can become souless killer.Erikson's world is a intricate and complex as our own as he slowly gives you it's history and his magic system is also very unique as he gives you scenes of conjuring of demons and ancient evil to do bidding of various sorcerers, assasins and powerful gods.I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series:Deadhouse Gates to see if this series will beat Song of Ice and fire as the best fantasy in print!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2014

    Incredible series. One of the most complete worlds with the bes

    Incredible series. One of the most complete worlds with the best cosmologies (origins/definitions of the gods) I have ever read. Also one of the most intensive reads. Do not start if you are weak of heart, these are huge books with tons of characters and lots things happening.

    Only down side is the first book can be a bit jarring. It reads like you have picked up the 3rd book in a series (I checked more than once when I read it) because there is so much history behind what is happening that the characters and writer treat as "already known by everyone". Eventually you will get all the background details but not all of them in this book.

    Flat out the best Fantasy Military series I have ever read, possibly the best Fantasy period.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2014

    While waiting for the 6th installment of the Song of Fire and Ic

    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. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 28, 2014

    Honestly, I didn't expect this book to be this good.  The title

    Honestly, I didn't expect this book to be this good.  The title is kinda misleading, but the story in itself is pretty awesome for me.  I got totally aborbed in the book just only a few pages in.  Granted that there is some complexity to the names, their positions, their powers, the names of the places and historical references - it isn't so different as GOT.  You also get to eventually familiarize yourself with each of these great characters.  Even with such complexity, you can see each of them a play critical role in the story.  I like all the characters, each having their own story yet are drawn together for one simple goal of winning against evil.  I'm still finishing this book, but I can't stop talking about this book to my friends!  It's a great fantasy story and I'm looking forward to reading book2.  Highly recommended!

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