I want more from this author and this series available on audible. I have to drive/travel a lot for my job, hours at a time and I love to listen to entertaining books that are over 20 hrs. Please add the rest of the series.
I am a lifetime devotee to fantasy and sci-fi and I really wanted to like this. This book had wizards, fighters, thieves, assassins, fair maidens, and various sentient winged creatures. It had plots and plots within conspiracies within plots. It had all of the superficial elements the genre demands but somehow the whole never became any greater than the sum of these parts. There were too many characters and they were introduced too fast without sufficient background to "get to know" them. As a result, I spent the first 1/3 of the book a bit confused and I never fell in love with the characters in the way I have with other fantasy series. The narrator was pretty good but a few characters sounded annoyingly like leprechauns.
It's obvious form the other reviews that plenty of other people enjoyed this book much more than I did,but all in all it just never grew on me.
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.
Steven Erikson writes gorgeous prose and passable poetry (some of it disguised as prose). He has a phenomenal imagination--actually an imagination beyond imagining for me. And he has the patience and discipline to pull a huge number of extraordinary creations together into a world and sequence of events which is consistent and which, by the time you reach the end of the book, seems like it probably all made sense. What he does not seem to have, at least in this first book of his gargantuan series, are a couple of the most basic skills of the story teller: the ability to keep his story in control in a way which will allow the reader to understand enough at any given point to want to press on, and the knack of making us care about characters so that we can invest in the outcomes of the journey we share with them. I tagged along to the end of the trip but only because I hate quitting.
Often while I was listening to the book I was reminded of the Emperor's line in "Amadeus." Having just listened to a Mozart opera, his response was, "Too many notes. Just...too many notes." The Emperor was wrong, of course, and perhaps I am, too, but for me there were just too many characters, factions, near death or return from death moments, deities and demi-gods, etc. etc. This sort of thing really appeals to some readers, and more power to them. For me the prospect of jotting all of this down on cards and arranging them on a wall so that I can keep the myriad factions and interests straight in my mind through the continuous process of alliance and conspiracy is just too much.
But what I found most off-putting was the fact that most of what transpired was the result of manipulation by entities lurking in the background about whom I cared not at all--some of whom I never met until the final confrontation. Since all the humans I might have invested in were parts of different and competing factions, I soon felt as though I were sitting somewhere far removed from the action watching history on which I would eventually have to pass a test if I wanted to get into the game. I realize that this manipulation by the powers beyond was the point of much of the story, but to work it needed to allow us to identify much more powerfully with a few of the human players.
Clearly a lot of listeners have found this book and series riveting, so I encourage you to read the best of the positive reviews and decide. As for me, I will not be continuing through the rest of the series.
The structure of this book make it stop and start from now where. While I have read reviews about this problem I thought it would be something that would prove worth while. It has not been.
I gave this book two attempts. One in normal daily situations, cutting the lawn or going for a walk. That sort of thing. I could not get in to it.
I went camping deep in the hills where I would not be disturbed. Tired and ready for a peaceful night by the fire, I was bored to tears.
choppy - slow
sure. Good narrator.
I have no idea. Maybe have a reading guide to go along with it.
I love fantasy, and I like listening to complicated and dry things. Honestly, I found this book kind of a slog, and I can't decide whether I'll tune in for book two.
Interesting, well drawn world. Unique and compelling use of the supernatural. Tons of promise in the relationship between deities and mortals. Potentially interesting story. Really comes alive in the third act, and by the end I completely believed that a lot of the foreshadowing and hinting will bear interesting fruit in future books. A few characters were well drawn and interesting (loved Kruppe, like Tool).
I don't believe the society at all. It feels like an excuse to house various fantasy tropes.
I don't believe the motivations of any of the characters, seen or unseen. The author doesn't seem to know how to write for deep emotions, or how to realistically grow relationships among characters. Sometimes, bam, they're in love. Sometimes, bam, they're angry at each other. Bam, angst that we're supposed to relate to somehow. It's just out of the blue more often than not.
Often, characters simply deduce things they could not possibly know to advance the plot. This could just be me missing things, but I feel like the book doesn't always take the time to explain things when it should. For example, we hear the word "Otataral" as an adjective for several hours before anyone tells us it's a special mineral. Took me forever to figure out that a Jaghut Tyrant was not a Jaghut that happened to be a tyrant. Is a hound bad? What's a finnest? What's a Bridge Burner, and why do I care? What's a Tiste Andii? Could we spend a little time on how warrens work, and what a path is? Things like that. Robs many scenes of drama until you can piece together what's what. Some of this stuff would be easier if you could read what was capitalized.
Writing is sometimes suspect.
On the reader side:
One major problem here. The book shifts from character to character without headings. Instead, there's an extra line between paragraphs marking the end and beginning of a character perspective. The reader does not pause at all at these transitions (in fact, he goes a little faster), and so it's easy to miss them.
Separately, sometimes, I think the reader is unsure of what the character is feeling when it talks. I don't think he pulls off "Sorry" for this reason.
Is it just me or does it seem weird to be reading a review on an audio site? It is, that is why there is a record button for reviews......
First off as a caveat I am an avid fan of Steven Erikson and have read the Malazan Book of the Fallen series complete, twice. There are many things about the Audio version that I loved but to be honest what astonished me the most was the sudden realazation as I was half way through that the Audio version of Gardens of the Moon was so much easier to follow than reading the book.
Anyone who has read the series will tell you that Gardens of the Moon is good book but in contrast to the rest of the series pales in comparison. Its more disjointed, has an incredible steep learning curve and REQUIRES complete focus and attention to understand what is going on. It is no supprise that many many people have a hard time finishing the book and are dejected at the idea of continuing on. But I say this for the feint of heart, if you are one of those people who have trepidation of reading the book because of said issues above then pick up the Audio book and give it a go instead.
It is in my opinion so much easier to follow all of the different threads and plot points listening to this begining of one of the most epic tales to be told in modern fantasy. Now you may be saying to your self "well of course it was easy for you, you have read the series, twice!" and yes that is true. But in answer to that statement I will tell you this! Every time I have read this series, in every book I finish I know that I have learned more, caught on to more threads of the story that I missed before and that I finish the book feeling that there is still more that I have missed. Following the listening of the Audio book I have walked away feeling that I missed nothing and that I was able to capture and become immersed in all the intracy, plot threads and ground work that has been laid down in this story. Take that for what it is worth and start your listen on this fantastic story.
I have read the Malazan Book of the Fallen series in paperback. I enjoyed them so much that I plan to listen to each of the audio books as they are made available.
Thank you so much Audible.com for making Erikson part of my audio library.
More fecund than any book of its kind. No other writer has a menagerie of fleshed out characters like Erikson.
Masters in Fiction from Johns Hopkins, aspiring science fiction/humor writer. Give me the unexpected with a bit of grit and humor, please.
I returned the book.
It is so . . . ignorable? I found myself rewinding most passages several times, but the passages were just too mundane despite the subject matter. The characters are easily forgettable and interchangeable (except for Cropper, who is much like Falstaff, a character borrowed from Shakespeare). There are LOTS of characters and lots of names. But, unlike other authors who make each one memorable, most times the name and profession is all we’re given.
It's like the author is TELLING a story, (SIMPLY telling) and not taking the reader along on the journey. The reader never has a sense of place, never quite knows where he is are or how he got there Things happen, but it's hard to care about the events when the reader has no frame of reference.
Part of the Hero's Journey is establishing what is at stake and the motivations for the characters. I'm all the way through part one and I still have no idea. People fighting for the sake of fighting. That's it. This book is like reading an instruction manual, with lists of dry details. It reads like part II of a series where the reader is already familiar with the background of the characters so the author has no reason to show depth.
Here's an example:
I still don't know what Moonspawn, the floating fortress, looks like. Is it round like an actual moon? Is it a floating hill or a construct of brick? I don't know where I missed it, but looking for a particular description, if one even exists, within an audio book is all-but impossible. I'm leaning toward the assumption that Erikson mentions it in passing long before it had any relevance to the story, as with most of this book. I think it's too much to ask that I memorize irrelevant details in hopes that they may become important later. How am I to tell what’s important and what isn’t?
In my re-reading while looking for what the heck Moonspawn is, a character mentions, "A sapper named Fiddler took me down" (into the tunnels). Fiddler is a character that is described in some detail MUCH later in part I. How is a reader supposed to reference one un-memorable line, seven chapters ago? In re-reading, I have a frame of reference because now I know who fiddler is, what he looks like, etc. This happened again and again and again with many details. It's like Erikson is writing backward.
If they could have built up the story line better
He did a good job on a bad story
After 10 hours of trying to get into the story, I had to give up. I started from the beginning 3 times. You just don't get attached to any of the characters so its hard to stick with all of the bouncing around. Lots of story lines but none good enough to cause you to want to listen. Maybe it's better if you read it.