Written for adults, this book has rich and deep characters. The world is complex and weaves an interesting network of layered machinations upon machinations.
However, given the great maturity in writing style and characters I kept waiting for a more meaningful and develop story arc. Instead it felt like every event and conflict resolved through deus ex machina---which may have been the point, but it left me wanting a story line to get invested in. I may listen to the second book, but I'm not highly motivated to do so as I don't really care what will happen to these characters (that may also have been the point).
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.
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.
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 absolutely love my audible account, makes its from enjoying a book to loving the stories found in the books. Do forgive my errors in the reviews i do have dyslexia but i will share my love with everyone
Steven Erikson has a great way to merge several different magics into his novel. the magic is called warrens, most people can use there one warren. there is also his own version of taro cards called the deck of dragons. each warren is tied to a house in the deck.
what happens when the ascendents of the warrens start to mess with the empire of Malazan? the house of shadows seems to be the main opposition to the empire. Oponn the twins of chance are up to something as well. Anomander Rake, with all his power is playing games from his moon. Why are the ascendents so interested in the empire, and why are the bridgeburners wanted to be eliminated.
plots found inside plots, men fighting ascendents, ascendents fighting the empire. alliances are made and broken. and you can never trust anyone. This book has you listening to it over and over again
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.
If I recommended this book to a friend, I would warn them of its complexity and uneven writing. The world building is impressive, but there are too many view points that are confusing. The plot wanders.
Ralph Lister did an outstanding job reading this book.
I have heard the books get better.
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.