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)
This is the best fantasy series ever, hands down. I have read the physical books at least 5 times, and I have been awaiting an audiobook since my first time. Ralph Lister does an amazing job with the many, many characters, whose voices are often described in the text, and he reads the story with the drama it deserves. I highly recommend this book, and this audiobook, get both!
I read the print version of this book over 10 years ago. I remember enjoying it, but for various reasons had to read it in bits and pieces and lost track of the story. I decided to come back to it again and am so glad I did. The story is compelling and the narrator helps to make the already intriguing characters come to life. Thoroughly enjoyed this listen! Just waiting for DeadHouse Gates now. How about it Audible?? I hope Ralph Lister is working on it.
I'm 24 hours into it and still don't know what's going on or why and I don't care about any character or plot line. People die but are still alive. Wounded but healed but wounded but sort of healed miraculously or sometimes not. Big and mean but impotent. Small and fragile but impotent. But sometimes not. Everyone is against everyone else, or not, sometimes. Yeah, it's like that. There isn't any focus. The writing jumps from one seemingly irrelevant place to another relevant place with no known relevance.
Lister has an incredible array of voices and moves easily from one to another. He is a great reader.
I'm done with this series.
When I first read the blurb for this book I thought it was right up my alley. Epic fantasy, complex plot, large cast of characters, intrigue etc, etc. Unfortunately, the book itself did not live up to expectations.
Indeed, the only reason I stuck with this book to the end was due to the large number of reviews saying that it would be worth it.
I've read and enjoyed titles by Jordan, Martin etc, so don't get me wrong I know a complex storyline when I hear it.
There is no doubt that this book is complicated. At the start we are thrown in head first to, what seems on the face of it, the middle of a story. We are introduced to a large number of characters very quickly. We know nothing of their history, allegiances or motivations. Over time things do settle down a bit and by the middle of the book you feel that you are finally getting to grips with things.
Unfortunately the problem is that things just don't develop from there. The story just seems to drift on with no obvious goal. Various gods and mythical characters make cameo appearances, and at times it just feels they were introduced just for the sake of it.
There seems to be several different magic systems in use, but none of them are ever properly explained ... it just seems to happen.
Another significant problem I have with the book is there isn't really one character that you particularly like. Its always difficult to invest time and effort in a book when you don't really care all that much what happens to the protagonists.
Finally, the narrator really doesn't help the book at all. His interpretation of female voices is just awful and he has a habit of fading away at the end of sentences which makes hearing what he is saying quite difficult.
So, all and all, I won't be continuing with this series.
From the beginning, the book was confusing to understand. The author writes the story as if you understand the details of the world from the get-go and you don't get to catch up until near the end. Additionally the author and narrator jumps characters so quickly that you don't catch when the narrator is talking with another characters perspective until thirty seconds into the dialogue. The first half is a jumbled mess, with so many characters, places, and terminology to leave you rewinding often to understand what is going on. The only character I felt for was cropper, and his character saved the second half of the book.
ultimately, it's not enough to consider picking up book 2 for me
If I knew what the heck was actually going on!
Even more hesitant. And I WANT to like fantasy more!
He does a good job of reading parts differently for each character. He also does well in his pace when there's action taking place. I fault nothing of this terrible story on him.
The one good thing I can say about this book is that Erikson doesn't have to build the world where his characters reside. He also doesn't take the normal fantasy story tropes which have become so tiresome (aka, every fantasy book is Star Wars plot).
I'm not a stupid person. I like to read books; all sorts of books. I read hard sci-fi and philosophy and fairly advanced theology books. I don't say to be a braggart. I say it to add wait to the fact that throughout this entire book I had no clue what was going on or why anything was happening.
This has, in recent memory, been one of the most awful reads in quite some time. And I've just read Octavia Butler's "Dawn" which was atrocious. For those of you who enjoy this book, I'm sure it is quite fine. But even my friend who recommended it to me said it was a difficult read but it was "epic" and the rest of the books in the series are "epic". I will never find out if they are because the only way I would read them is if I was being tortured by some evil space genie and the pages were laminated so I couldn't eat them.
The one good thing I can say about this book is that Erikson doesn't have to build the world where his characters reside. He also doesn't take the normal fantasy story tropes which have become so tiresome (aka, every fantasy book is Star Wars plot). However, Erikson doesn't do a good job of telling you what's going on, who people are, what's happening, or why I should care.
He has way too many characters and there is no real main character; which was needed to have some focal point for this aggravating story line. I even went to the wikipedia page. You know it's bad when I'm about halfway into the book and I'm reading the plot synopsis and going, "Wait, this stuff has taken place in the book I'm reading?" and that's WHEN the wiki made any sense.
I got literally nothing out of this book. I tried. I tried being solely focused on it. I tried putting it down and picking it back up in small bits. I tried long sittings. This is 666 pages of wasted time that I won't get back. The only good thing I can say is that I understood so little of it that I won't be ruminating on confusion over any part of the book. Final Grade - F
The way Erikson just drops you into this dark and mysterious world is delightfully disorienting. I loved unraveling the lore along with the vast array of people and conflicts.
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