I don't know how I'd missed this, but I had. I actually found the recommendation for it on another, personal review site, which, too, would have been missed were it not for my recent draught of work from known authors. I persisted in my search for a new author, and realized that author might not actually be new. I found him.
The reviewer warned all that the first book would be hard to follow. Indeed, I was told the story might be incomprehensible until well into the second book. I must admit having been put off at first. A great deal was happening. I felt like a styrofoam cup in the middle of a river that had recently burst its banks, a wild, torrentuous ride which could ultimately only affect me by crushing me to pieces.
However, nearing the end, I felt completely in-the-know. Of course, having already generally resigned myself to accepting that which cannot be known, likely had a great deal to do with that. Were there still unanswered questions? Yes. Did I understand the many plots? No. But I was enjoying the story, and I had a firm grip on what was happening *now*, and thoroughly enjoying that I''d no idea what was going to happen next. I didn't actually know how rare that was until this book. I thought I'd experienced it, but not fully.
I'm also told this series is quite large. Normally, that would excite me, but I'm actually a little afraid that I've entered a world much larger than Westeros, and that it might be too big. Right now, I love what I don't know, but it seems highly possible that I won't ever know a great deal.
However, I'm rating this book. This one book, and it was very well done. One could argue the depth of meaning was completely accidental, but who cares how it was designed? A snowflake is a snowflake.
I don't know how I missed Erikson for all these years, but the Malazan books are without par. In the vein of Cook's Black Company, but so much more. George R.R. Martin lost his way as did Robert Jordan building up tales that became so complex they became lost in their own detail. Not Erikson - these tales are action filled yarns with characters you care about.
Deadhouse Gates is a great introduction to this meaty tale. The naration is top notch.
Take it from a lifelong fantasy geek, these books are a great listen.
One caveat, only three of the 10 books are available and Brilliance Audio does not show book 4 available until December 2013.
Fifty something, small business owner, married, no children. Love travel, beaches, tropical isles, classic cars and listening!
I tried, I really did, I'm 4 hours in and have absolutely no clue, I don't know, maybe it's my listening style but I continually reset and listened again. Perhaps it is the narration or my habit of listening in short bursts, I'm totally lost, after 7 days of trying, many resets and no idea of the plot or ability to follow the characters, I finally gave up.
Of course, "your mileage may vary"
A little more explanation of the world upfront. I understand that like a lot of hard sci-fi and fantasy that they just thrust you into the world, but I was more than halfway through the book when I realized some basic tenets of their world.
The performance was really spectacular. There are a ton of characters in this book, yet I felt I recognized each by their voice alone as soon as one spoke. Each character's voice really befit their character as well. I feel this is a good introduction to what may be a great series. My only complaint is that it really takes a while for the story to start making sense. He doesn't give much in the way of explanation of what is occurring in the first half of the book, and uses a lot of fantasy words he makes up for the story. I was utterly clueless about what was going on for the first 12 hours of the audiobook, but I am glad I stuck with it. He does eventually pull all those threads together into an impressive climax, and you are left wanting more. That's good, because now I have 9 books to go!
The in depth pervasive environment, history, well fleshed out characters. It's an epic fantasy realm unlike any other.
The kick-off to a great series!
He is probably one of the better readers I've listened to, perhaps the best. The Malazan books are full of different cultures, characters, languages, etc. and I think the reader does a great job at trying to create different accents, styles of speach, and attitudes for each character.
The first 30+ hour movie!
Why did he give Khalam a nasaly voice?! I am seriously holding this against the reader. I imagine Khalam as almost Khal Drogo-ish type of character and the reader makes him sound like British Milhouse from the simpsons.
The story is second to none but the narrator misses the mark on several characters.
Quick Ben. Because he and his ilk are the reason I like fantasy.
His voice for Fiddler was a travesty. Really detracted from the experience having one of my favorite characters sounding like a crackhead. Quick Ben's and Kalam's voices were likewise bad.
Had to pee a couple times.
The Malazan Book of the Fallen is, in my opinion, the greatest epic fantasy to date and anyone that loves fantasy is sure to thoroughly enjoy this/these book(s).
Steven Erikson has written a story that is very original and relies very little on Fantasy genre tropes. I can honestly say that throughout the reading, I very rarely predicted what would happen next, and had a genuine investment in the outcome, and that isn't meant as faint praise. This was aided by a fine reading from Lister, who excels at both drama and at a variety of character voices (even if a couple weren't as pleasant to listen to as one might wish).
So, I can say that I enjoyed listening to Gardens of the Moon in its entirety. I won't, however, be listening to the next installment, thanks to a number of aspects that had me rolling my eyes. It often seems as if characters are all teetering on nervous breakdown. Even the hardest, most stoic of these will suddenly appear to be fighting off the loss of their soul and on the verge of crying as soon as they're given a POV passage. Further, a major part in this story is played by a character named Anomander Rake, whom the author goes to so much effort to make out as a strong but silent badass that I was constantly rooting for him to die a gruesome death. The author also has a penchant for flowery prose, which can sometimes border on the absurd 'the must of rotting ice?' and the less spoken of his brief passages of poetry, the better.
I'd say by all means give Gardens of the Moon a shot if you're interested in a sweeping high-magic fantasy setting. Even if you find yourself agreeing that it isn't worth carrying on through the rest of the series, I doubt you'll feel you wasted your time.
I don't always listen to my books, but when I do.. I listen to Audible.
I really enjoyed this book. I am fairly new to audiobooks, and completely new to Erikson. I must say I was more than pleasantly surprised. An interesting world, it takes some getting used too but once your are IN, well, it's hard to get out. The world is hard, gritty and tumultous. The narrator gives a good performance, distinct voices for most major characters. This is the first performance I have been graced with by Lister, and outside of minor quibbles with some pronunciation (likely due to different nationalities) I truly enjoyed his reading. The biggest problem is that there is NOT MORE!! This is the first of many books in a series, and unfortunately the only one on audible.
I have seen this series recommended everywhere and so i thought I might give it a shot.
I completely regret that. I have forced myself through it, because some people have said it gets better, but it really doesn't.
Maybe i'm too used to people like brandon sanderson who build internally consistent worlds and don't rely on the Tolkienesque deus ex-machina school of world building. In this book, everything can happen, everybody is a god, people randomly "shift souls", there are a ton of beings that are multiple millenia old.
The whole world makes no sense, the motivation of the people is completely nonsensical, everybody is magic, but it devolves into a dragon ball z type contest, where the next confrontation is even MORE MAGIC! rinse and repeat.
I'm used to complicated books, I read a ton of fantasy, maybe this isn't a good book as an audiobook (because the narrator constantly sounds out of breath and his constant super emphatic style where everything is super important makes you just annoyed), but I have devoured Anathem by Neal Stephenson as an audiobook and that was far more complex in the topics discussed.
This book on the other hand was basically just magical word salad. And if the character was needed as a plot device in the next chapter a thingamajig kept him alive or not. and then he used a god as a pawn, or not. and then the gods use the mortals as chess pieces except when they don't.
The book is especially bad because I listened to it after words of radiance, which is an absolutely fantastic book.