The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting, and bloody confrontations with ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dreaded Claw assassins. For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, their lone surviving mage, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.
However, the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand....
Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order - an enthralling adventure by an outstanding voice.
©1999 Steven Erikson (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"I stand slack-jawed in awe of The Malazan Book of the Fallen. This masterwork of imagination may be the high-water mark of epic fantasy. This marathon of ambition has a depth and breadth and sense of vast reaches of inimical time unlike anything else available today. The Black Company, Zelazny’s Amber, Vance’s Dying Earth, and other mighty drumbeats are but foreshadowings of this dark dragon’s hoard." (Glen Cook)
Not an easy read, and first time in this world so had to guess about a lot of history and races. Grew on me as it went a long, and not sure if I'm going back for more.
Wow! What a story. At first I had a hard time understanding what was going on but as I listened and immersed myself in the world it cleared up. I had a hard time disliking any of the characters and who the real bad guys are is hard to tell. This is definitely not a story for listening while driving the book requires all your attention.
I want to like this book, I really do... I have heard from many sources that the first 1-2 books in this series are something you have to slog through. And then it gets amazing and is worth it. And I am completely captivated by the artwork of Rake (big guy with the white hair and giant sword). It tells me that there's a story here that I want to learn more about.
But man.... I could not finish this book. I'm halfway through right now. It is so. boring. And the main problem is half the time I have NO idea what is going on. The writing is just very poor and confusing. And /dull/. For example, I kid you not, there was a conversation between the military leaders that lasted at LEAST an hour and a half in audiobook time where the characters just talked to each other about past events and other exposition. Just. Talked. Barely any interaction, NOTHING actually HAPPENING. They were just setting exposition for the book. It was awful. It was one of the worst attempts I've ever seen a fantasy author make at integrating a reader into the world. This was one of the worst parts, but there are many like it.
I've tried to think to myself, "is it just not my style?" "Am I too distracted while multitasking to understand what's going on?" But no... I'm listening to it the same way I've listened to everything from history courses to a behemoth like Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It's honestly just bad.
The thing is that I CAN see that there's a story going on and these characters are worthwhile. But I was so flippin bored and lost that I just can't continue. If I ever go back to try to finish it, I'll update my review...
The reason I take two stars off for the narration may not even be the narrator's fault. Maybe it was the audiobook editor's. But Gardens of the Moon frequently switches viewpoints, sometimes every few pages, within one chapter. I assume that in printed format, there would be a line break here. But in this narration, the narrator doesn't pause between section breaks. He carries on pretty much seamlessly from one character's section to another. This is EXTREMELY confusing. Imagine reading a book and when the viewpoint switches to a different character in a different country, there is no space/star/what-have-you in between. In an already-confusing book, this was terrible.
A film... as in ONE film? Impossible... maybe 10 films. No... even that wouldn't work - film is the wrong medium for this story. HBO needs to pick this up as a 10 year series, THAT might be able to do it justice, a hundred episodes or so.
“Now these ashes have grown cold, we open the old book.These oil-stained pages recount the tales of the Fallen,a frayed empire, words without warmth. The hearthhas ebbed, its gleam and life's sparks are but memoriesagainst dimming eyes - what cast my mind, what hue mythoughts as I open the Book of the Fallenand breathe deep the scent of history?Listen, then, to these words carried on that breath.These tales are the tales of us all, again yet again.We are history relived and that is all, without end that is all.”
There are precious few authors who can hold a vision through much more than 3 novels (far fewer than who sadly attempt it)... Steven held it for 10. This series is a triumph... a dark story throughout, a fine setting on which to temper the metal of flawed individuals against a backdrop with the depth of history. I've just started my second listen, feeling like there's so much in the early novels that I will better understand.
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