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.
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.
I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!
CLAW, MAGE, HIGH MAGE, WHISKEY JACK, FIST, HIGH FIST, ONE ARM, MOONSPAWN...
I read the hard cover years ago. I remember the book has having an exciting beginning but getting bogged down in details after that. I thought maybe if I heard someone else read it, I would understand it better. I was wrong. I was even more lost listening than reading. I suggest if you want to tackle this, get the hard back. Even then it is not my type of book. The author spends more time naming things and saying things, than telling a story.
In the first hour the book takes the reader to two battlefields after the battles. The book describes the dead and the gore. I believe the first battlefield was enough to set the stage and than we should have been taken to an actual battle. This author spends too much time describing the scene and saying things that sound cool. He needs to spend more time developing the characters and the story. This is the equivalence of a Horror writer putting the word Blood in every other sentence, thinking that makes his story scary, in place of building suspense.
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.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
"We are history relived and that is all, without end that is all." So goes the first epigraph to Steven Erickson's Gardens of the Moon (1999), the first book in his ten-volume The Malazan Book of the Fallen. The epigraph is an apt introduction to his massive work of history-infused epic fantasy. The novel explores history, identity, free will, chance, and empire. The plot involves the attempts of the Empress of the Malazan Empire to annex Darujhistan, a city-state "built [3000 years ago] on rumor," the attempts of the legendary but decimated Bridgeburners unit to survive yet another suicide mission, the attempts of the hidden rulers of Darujhistan to protect their city, and the machinations of some gods to influence events one way or the other. Rather than trot out Tolkien-esque elves and goblins and typical conflicts between Good and Evil, Erikson creates his own world with a long, rich history and varied gods, races, and cultures, all with their own agendas.
Erickson writes great characters, like Whiskeyjack, the grizzled Sergeant of the Bridgeburners; Tattersail, the plump, 200+ year-old mage with a conscience; Anomander Rake, the jet-skinned, silver-haired, 7' tall Son of Darkness and leader of the immortal Tiste Andii, who live in a floating black basalt mountain; and Kruppe, a rotund, sweaty mage-thief who refers to himself in the third person and tells tall tales of his absurd exploits. The main characters are convincing and appealing because they have personal histories and are struggling to stay human in intense situations, especially when being used by external forces like gods or empire. Adjunct Lorn, the arm and voice of the Empress, suppresses her identity to fill her role and nicknames her T'lan Imass guard and guide "Tool," but there are many other tools in the novel, like Ganoes Paran, a young captain who as a boy wanted to be a soldier-hero and ended up making the mistake of getting noticed.
There are plenty of treats to savor in the novel:
--Cool artifacts, like the tarot-like Deck of Dragons that characters consult.
--Potent epigraphs for the novel's books and chapters, taken from different genres, eras, and writers of Erikson's world.
--Great scenes, like when the buffoonish, cherub-masked Kruppe meets the sublime, dragon-masked Rake at a party.
--Much impressive writing, as in this description of Rake's sword: "From the weapon bled power, staining the air like black ink in a pool of water. As his gaze rested on it, Baruk almost reeled, seeing, for a brief moment, a vast darkness yawning before him, cold as the heart of a glacier, from which came the stench of antiquity and a faint groaning sound."
I liked the complexity of the situation, which had me rooting for both the Malazan Bridgeburners and Darujhistan's protectors. Is the Empire a promise of peace or a devouring beast? The vision is bracingly bleak. One character wonders, "What is this human urge that brings us to such devastation?" One race/culture called the Jaghut decided over 300,000 years ago that community breeds tyranny and tried to escape the endless cycle of war and empire by isolating themselves from each other.
In Erikson's world of endless war the redeeming things are loyalty (like the Bridgeburners trying to help Whiskyjack), free will (like Paran trying to act freely), sympathy (like Tattersail feeling remorse over a massacre), ethical action (like Rake involving himself in human affairs), and impossible hope (like Sorry--who has killed many people while god possessed--yearning for the gardens of the moon: "And we'll live in those gardens, warmed by the deep fires, and our children will swim like dolphins, and we'll be happy since there won't be any more wars, and no empires, and no swords and shields. Oh, Crokus, it'll be wonderful, won't it?")
And the novel is full of humor. Some situations are ironically funny, like that of the innocent thief Crokus, who picks up the spinning coin of Oponn (the jester God of Chance), and unbeknownst to him becomes the lucky (or unlucky) "Coinbearer," attracting powerful protectors and assailants. Kruppe constantly spews comical, pointed verbiage. The Bridgeburners play a never-ending and ever-changing gambling game with the Deck of Dragons. The conversations between the Adjunct and her jaded 300,000 year-old Tool are funny and moving. Sorry, the name given the teenage girl possessed by an assassin God, is cited in situations of apology. I can't remember another heroic fantasy novel that so made me chuckle and smirk.
I did notice some flaws in the novel.
--Too often Erikson either artificially increases suspense by withholding information from us that his characters should mention or think about or tediously lets us know what's going on early enough and then writes scenes of characters struggling to figure things out.
--Magical travel, powers, artifacts, and gods lead to a bit too much deus ex machina (literally), so that at times Erickson does Anything He Wants. Admittedly, his characters mention "convergence" (by which power attracts power), but that may be a bit too convenient.
--Some of the fighting is unbelievable if you pause to think about it, as when an assassin-mage, a mage-assassin, an alchemist, and a brick-throwing thief engage in an absurd action-movie-fight.
The base narration voice of the reader of the audiobook, Ralph Lister, is fine, and he tries to differentiate among the many characters of many races, cultures, classes, and genders. He's great with gruff Whiskyjack, nice Tattersail, cool Rake, buttery Kruppe, deliberate Tool, and malevolent Jaghut Raest, but he makes Quick Ben and Kalam too nasal.
The novel recalls Homer, Glen Cook, Michael Moorcock, Stephen Donaldson, and Fritz Leiber, but with its humor, historical and cultural bent, and elaborate system of magical Warrens and Ascendant Houses, Erikson's work is his own. Fans of epic fantasy who haven't read his fantasy yet should give it a try, for it puts most examples of the genre to shame.
Book Addict and a Fantasy Fanatic!
I can't finish this book. I've started reading it 4 times. On this last try I even got to Chapter 6... 2 hours into the audible version. But it's so extremely boring that it literally puts me to sleep.
The story jumps around from characters and in time. There was a spark of interest when the hell hounds first appeared but it died quickly and was lot in a lot of meaningless conversation.
I've heard this is a great series... and I'm sure if I could finish the book it will make up for the slow start... but I cant. Forgive me Book Goddess, but I just can't force this pill down
I can't believe anyone with any sense of craft would ever give these books a good rating. I read two of them. Both are rife with bad writing, lazy storytelling, ridiculous characters and tired tropes. Its not as bad as the Twilight series, but its pretty close.
No I would not
Be a talented writer
Rich, slightly grizzled
Disappointment, slight anger
Just another in a long line of boring, massive fantasy series. All characters are disengaged, poorly described, and interchangeable. If you like the Wheel of Time series, or A Song of Ice and Fire, you may like this. But rest assured you will encounter the same character types, Capitalized Important Words of Significance, and self-serious military theorizing from someone who has obviously never met a soldier before.