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Gardens of the Moon: The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 1 | [Steven Erikson]

Gardens of the Moon: The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 1

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

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3.6 (1252 )
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  •  
    Ken calgary, AB, Canada 11-02-12
    Ken calgary, AB, Canada 11-02-12 Member Since 2011

    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

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "a great blend"

    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

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Houston, TX, United States 09-21-13
    David Houston, TX, United States 09-21-13 Member Since 2008

    Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "You have to make me care--it's your job"

    Steven Erikson writes gorgeous prose and passable poetry (some of it disguised as prose). He has a phenomenal imagination--actually an imagination beyond imagining for me. And he has the patience and discipline to pull a huge number of extraordinary creations together into a world and sequence of events which is consistent and which, by the time you reach the end of the book, seems like it probably all made sense. What he does not seem to have, at least in this first book of his gargantuan series, are a couple of the most basic skills of the story teller: the ability to keep his story in control in a way which will allow the reader to understand enough at any given point to want to press on, and the knack of making us care about characters so that we can invest in the outcomes of the journey we share with them. I tagged along to the end of the trip but only because I hate quitting.

    Often while I was listening to the book I was reminded of the Emperor's line in "Amadeus." Having just listened to a Mozart opera, his response was, "Too many notes. Just...too many notes." The Emperor was wrong, of course, and perhaps I am, too, but for me there were just too many characters, factions, near death or return from death moments, deities and demi-gods, etc. etc. This sort of thing really appeals to some readers, and more power to them. For me the prospect of jotting all of this down on cards and arranging them on a wall so that I can keep the myriad factions and interests straight in my mind through the continuous process of alliance and conspiracy is just too much.

    But what I found most off-putting was the fact that most of what transpired was the result of manipulation by entities lurking in the background about whom I cared not at all--some of whom I never met until the final confrontation. Since all the humans I might have invested in were parts of different and competing factions, I soon felt as though I were sitting somewhere far removed from the action watching history on which I would eventually have to pass a test if I wanted to get into the game. I realize that this manipulation by the powers beyond was the point of much of the story, but to work it needed to allow us to identify much more powerfully with a few of the human players.

    Clearly a lot of listeners have found this book and series riveting, so I encourage you to read the best of the positive reviews and decide. As for me, I will not be continuing through the rest of the series.

    14 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    10-12-12
    10-12-12 Member Since 2006
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    "Very entertaining and I want more."
    What made the experience of listening to Gardens of the Moon the most enjoyable?

    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.


    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Rochester Hills, MI, United States 11-05-12
    Cheryl Rochester Hills, MI, United States 11-05-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Probably better as a book in print"

    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.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Leon Long Beach, CA 02-27-13
    J. Leon Long Beach, CA 02-27-13 Member Since 2010
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    "I tried but It just never grew on me"

    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.

    18 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arthur Naperville, IL, United States 12-21-13
    Arthur Naperville, IL, United States 12-21-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Don't Listen While Driving!!!"
    Any additional comments?

    ***This book requires your full attention!!!*** My husband recommended it to me since I enjoyed the Song of Ice and Fire series so much, but most of my listening is done while driving long distances to work. (I'm talking about 3 hours each way sometimes.) Bad idea. I think I listened to the first 4 hours 3 times and still had trouble following the story and timeline. I ended up reading the book which was much more enjoyable and easy to follow since it had my full attention and it turned out to be a wonderful book. And perhaps I am just more of a visual person when it comes to complex stories of this nature.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert ROSWELL, NM, United States 08-31-13
    Robert ROSWELL, NM, United States 08-31-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Epic start to a series"

    I tried this book on a whim and was I blown away. It takes a while to get used to the author's style but once I started following the way he writes I really enjoyed it. It has classic heroes and bad guys and people who you don't know what they are, the characters are unique and interesting and the narrator does a good job of putting voices to the characters. I really enjoyed this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scottmoonwriter Kansas 03-30-13
    Scottmoonwriter Kansas 03-30-13 Member Since 2010

    Author

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    "I am hoping the rest of the series is better."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    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.


    What does Ralph Lister bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Ralph Lister did an outstanding job reading this book.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Sure.


    Any additional comments?

    I have heard the books get better.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rich Sonora, CA, United States 12-19-12
    Rich Sonora, CA, United States 12-19-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved The Book and Look forward to the series!"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benjamin Silver Spring, MD, United States 11-26-12
    Benjamin Silver Spring, MD, United States 11-26-12 Member Since 2010

    Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Complex, Multifaceted, Characters Underdeveloped"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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