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.
More fecund than any book of its kind. No other writer has a menagerie of fleshed out characters like Erikson.
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.
Emergency physician and fantasy nerd in Chicago.
No I doubt it. It's a VERY complex book and I am someone who listens to my ABs while jogging, lifting, doing housework, driving etc. There are so many characters in here and so many factions it's easy to get confused. I love GOTM but I wish I had a non-spoiler crib sheet that would have told me who was who and who was aligned with who.
Fall of Pale.
Interactions between Wiskeyjack and his team.
Rake fighting the hounds.
It was great.
This is a fantastic epic fantasy book, but it is so complex that sometimes the audio format makes you lose track of what is going on.
Probably the biggest problem for me was that I couldn't even keep track of which way the factions were aligned.
The magic is incredible.
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 am an avid audiobook listener of many genres, and I really like fantasy, but for me, this book needs the "family trees" or a printed cast of characters to reference in order to keep this story flowing. I was confused about names, places, who was "good" and who was not from the first chapter. For that reason, I can't give it a better rating as an audiobook.
Absolutely! This book will need two listens at least. It is very involved and I agree with the other reviewers that wrote that this book is not for the feint of heart. It is obviously a large story and this first book is a bit confusing, though not as hard to follow as I thought it would be. Due to being a bit confusing I decided to rate the story 4 stars.
Having said that, I will say that this author is one hell of a writer. His writing skills are up there with the best fantasy writers out there (in my opinion). I place him in the company of George RR Martin, Robin Hobb, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, and Patrick Rothfuss. I knew within the first 10 minutes of listening to his prose that I was in good hands and even though his story was a bit convoluted in places, when I did get a little lost, I didn't really mind because what was being said was still very entertaining and by the end of the book it all came together.
I was extremely excited to hear that the story only gets better from this point on and that there are 10 books or so to look forward to! AUDIBLE and Mr. Erikson, would you please get your act together and get these books out in audio format! I am so looking forward to the rest of this series of books! I know that I will probably have to read these books now, because I don't think I can wait for the audiobooks versions to come out, but I know that it would be incredibly enjoyable and add an extra dimension to my enjoyment, if I could "hear" these books!
I really loved Ralph Lister's narration. This is my first time hearing him and I felt that he was a perfect choice for this book. He made every character stand out and I never was confused about who was saying what. He did an excellent job and deserves 5 stars for his performance.
This is the best fantasy series ever, hands down. I have read the physical books at least 5 times, and I have been awaiting an audiobook since my first time. Ralph Lister does an amazing job with the many, many characters, whose voices are often described in the text, and he reads the story with the drama it deserves. I highly recommend this book, and this audiobook, get both!
I read the print version of this book over 10 years ago. I remember enjoying it, but for various reasons had to read it in bits and pieces and lost track of the story. I decided to come back to it again and am so glad I did. The story is compelling and the narrator helps to make the already intriguing characters come to life. Thoroughly enjoyed this listen! Just waiting for DeadHouse Gates now. How about it Audible?? I hope Ralph Lister is working on it.
Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.
From the outset, this book seems like a good introduction to a very involved fantasy series. Try this book if you are very open to continuing on with the series. There is a lot that is left unexplained and much that is left incomplete, so if you want perfect understanding and all the characters rounded-out by the end of the first book, you'll be left wanting. However, if what you are wanting is an extended, multi-part fantasy epic, you could do a lot worse.
The very appealing thing about this book is the interaction of the various characters who, at first, seem very distant from each other, but then eventually collide in, often improbable, but quite entertaining ways. Even with the heavy use of prophecy as a foreshadowing tool, there is little predictability in these interactions. When you combine this fact with the lack of contextual development (i.e. history, mechanics of magic, pantheon etc.), you feel as if you are being swept along in a fast-moving narrative stream.
On the other hand, I was somewhat disappointed by the lack of character development on the side of the protagonists. There were quite a lot of them and their endeavors were given very egalitarian coverage by the narrator. So maybe the author spread himself a little thin. Where this really needled me was when I was trying to discover a particular character's motivation for their actions. This was lightly explained at best. Often a protagonist was acting as the tool of another through possession or some other kind of influence, but even in those cases, the motivations of the possessors was similarly left unclear.
I recognize that as the first of a larger series, much of this will likely be explained, but just taking the first book on its own merits, the characters need a little depth and the world they inhabit needs texture.
The narrator was very competent in developing distinct vocal characteristics for the various dramatis personæ. I would call a few of his characterizations a little odd relative to the way they were described physically. This did not detract from the story at all and most of his work was quite enjoyable.
NOTE: As of this writing the subsequent novels are not available from Audible.