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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

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (1511 )
5 star
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3.7 (1354 )
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Story
4.0 (1345 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Ellen Canon City, CO, United States 11-30-13
    Ellen Canon City, CO, United States 11-30-13 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Easily the best fantasy novel I have ever found"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The story is enormous. It eclipses virtually every other work in the high fantasy genera.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The diverse cast of characters yields an atmosphere unlike any other book I have ever read.


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

    These characters could not be better performed. Ralph Lister's style, pace, and huge library of voices is truly incredible.


    Any additional comments?

    If you have any love for high fantasy, just click buy.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John AUSTIN, TX, United States 11-08-13
    John AUSTIN, TX, United States 11-08-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    4
    4
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    Story
    "Story comes together in the end"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes, only for a friend looking for a book to listen to but not someone who wanted a book with a good story.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Steven Erikson again?

    Yes, but after this one I would only gravitate towards his books if I just wanted something to listen to in the car.


    What about Ralph Lister’s performance did you like?

    Ralph Lister's performance was solid and he portrayed all the characters well. He ability to change from Demi-God to lowly farm hand was impressive.


    Was Gardens of the Moon worth the listening time?

    Yes but only because the story took so long to come together. The book starts in the middle almost, dropping you in the middle of a very integral conflict. Making you piece together puzzle of what happened. I was forced to listen twice to a few chapters after the fact to make sure I did not miss a characters name or position. It may be reader error but I am not a fan of a book where you are forced to deal with a lack of meaningful prologue.


    Any additional comments?

    The series is supposed to be better after the first book because the characters continue. You learn to enjoy the Captain and Whiskey Jack but it takes the book. Which is probably how they would be in real life: you don't enjoy their company but then you start to appreciate the gruff.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ginger Branson, MO, United States 09-11-13
    Ginger Branson, MO, United States 09-11-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Just could not get into it"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    unsure


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    unsure....another fantasy


    What didn’t you like about Ralph Lister’s performance?

    voices


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment and boredome


    Any additional comments?

    Maybe too many characters introduced...maybe I couldn't keep up...maybe its as simple as I couldn't get interested.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Revis 08-29-13
    John Revis 08-29-13 Member Since 2007

    Sci fi and fantasy is where I live. I read not to escape , but to enjoy the thoughts and dreams of my fellow Earthlings and Others. Peace !

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "good performance but story is too busy"
    Would you try another book from Steven Erikson and/or Ralph Lister?

    yes


    Would you be willing to try another book from Steven Erikson? Why or why not?

    yes he is a good storyteller


    What about Ralph Lister’s performance did you like?

    his many characters held up even through the long hours of reading


    Was Gardens of the Moon worth the listening time?

    yes the whole series was good just a little too busy with the number of characters


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gzl5ry Oakland, MI, United States 08-08-13
    gzl5ry Oakland, MI, United States 08-08-13 Member Since 2013

    Always open to something new, but my favorite genres are horror, sci-fi/fantasy with more of a leaning toward fantasy.

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    "Welcome to Malazan, Prepare for a Brutal Ride"
    If you could sum up Gardens of the Moon in three words, what would they be?

    1. Brutal - The world the Malazans novels is brutal and hard, there is no black and white here, everybody is a moral shade of gray. 2. Harsh - Conquering armies squashing resistance, coups, set-ups, the world of the Malazans is a no holds barred fistfight of human and non-human races all vying for dominance. 3. Unforgiving - No character is guaranteed a free ride to glory in this world. Every man for himself in a battle royal of human and non-human political maneuvering and warfare.


    What about Ralph Lister’s performance did you like?

    I liked Ralph Lister but I only gave him 4 stars for this book. I felt he had a few characters a little bit off from what I imagined them (I had read six of the books before). I will say that he improves these characters along with adding a few new voice in Book 2 and by Book 3 he is a slam dunk 5 star performer. Book 3 is one of the best performed book I've ever heard. That is why I am saddened that he is not scheduled to do the rest of the series. For those who know who Kruppe is, Lister completely nails his character and had me laughing aloud continually during his parts.


    Any additional comments?

    The Malazan series is not an easy read. You are dropped right into a world in a specific time in its history with no knowledge of how the magic system works, who all the players are, who the non-humanoid creatures are, etc. It takes a while to get the hang of what is going on, but once you do Gardens of the Moon is a tale well worth waiting to see played out. Interestingly, I had read 6 of the 10 books previously and had struggled with some of them. But, I thought Gardens of the Moon as well as Book 2 and Book 3 read in audiobook format much smoother. The jumps between characters and even continents really read well through the audio, much smoother and clearer than what I remember when actually reading them. If you like high/epic type fantasy and aren't afraid of a harsh, unforgiving and sometimes brutal world of injustice and indifference then the world of the Malazans is a worthwhile investment.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Howard Concord, MA, United States 08-05-13
    Howard Concord, MA, United States 08-05-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Turgid and B O R I N G despite very good narration"

    After reading Blood Song and realizing that the release date is over 12 months away I read about Steven Erickson's series on the Malazan Empire. Most of the reviews were universally good so I spent the $ 24.95.

    I struggled through about 4 hours of the first book- one character after another until I lost count- with absolutely NO character development. NONE. Very little scenery of other descriptives - Erickson is trying to copy Black Company (a favorite of mine) with none of the humorous sarcasm and funny asides. The world is intricate for sure- intricately BORING- after a while I realized I was PRAYING for this book to end - HOPING beyond hope that one of the weird Gods of the Erickson's imagination (that I neither cared about or understood) would DESTROY the entire world, universe and everything in it and relieve me of the tedium of listening to his audio anvil I spend $ 24 bucks on. Really Erickson owes me $ 24!!!

    Yes his world is intricate- and intricately b o r i n g!!! despite the B o r i n g none stop action- but none of the characters are developed, I could not keep track of what in the hell they were doing and who they were- and even if I could have - I really did not want to since they barely existed for me.

    Okay if you like fireballs and demons and blood- this is your book. But if you want stories, characters that are human (0r hell I would take an alien with a personality) then STOP and save you $$$.

    Much better choices abound: from Red Country (Joe Abercrombie) to Prince of Thorns Series (by Mark Lawrence) to Blood Song by Anthony Ryan to the old standby Brandon Sanderson. Scott Lynch "Lies of Lochlomara" blows this away. Each is different but by God they write decent stories. I am NOT the agents of these guys nor in any way associated with them- other than a fan who appreciates the craft these guys exhibit.

    I read later that this novel grew out of a Dungeons and Dragons game in 1982. I should have guessed because it has the literary content and meaning of something 14 year olds pushing minature figures around a table and rolling strange dice about. But most DMs don't charge money (or they did not the last time I changed D&D in 1978)


    Four thumbs down- and where is my $ 25 bucks!!!???? Really I feel like my pocket has been picked!!!!! This book should come with a warning on it!

    For the life of me I cannot understand how this guy has sold a book much less won all these awards. I did read that one either loves this stuff or Hates it. Count me as the latter as you might guess.

    Ralph Lister does a very good job as a narrator - but he can no more rescue this junk heap of a book than Sauron could rescue Saruman.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Bradley 08-03-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Microphone check?"
    What did you like best about Gardens of the Moon? What did you like least?

    I haven't read the books and wanted to experience the story for the first time audibly. I cannot get past the first few chapters. The narrator is so overpowering that my mind keeps cringing and I have to rewind and so on.

    Is it worth it? Look, the author doesn't have to be as awesome as Joe Abercrobies and Brandon Sanderson's narrators but I feel like I'm listing to Summer Stock in Nantucket. The flow is wrong, the voices are wrong, the diction and enunciation is all wrong. Put it in German and it may be a little worse but I can't get through it as is.

    Can somebody tell me it gets better?


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike garman 07-18-13
    Mike garman 07-18-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mooning the Garden"

    I read many of the reviews of "Gardens Of the Moon"before I purchased it .The one comment I remember is that this is not a book you can listen to casually while driving around.
    I agree and I tried but its definitely not one of my favorites.To give you and idea .............
    I loved and highly recommend........"The Lord Of The Rings"Trilogy and George R.R.Martin's "World of Fire and Ice" series.
    If you are really into magic,sorcery ,wormholes etc,you will probably love Gardens of the Moon.
    But I found myself not caring for the characters and getting lost in the plot even though I continually replayed chapters to try and understand things better.
    You say....well ....the Lord of the Rings is full of magic.
    It is, but somehow it's better
    As lengthy as the Rings is , it is never confusing or boring.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara ELK GROVE, CA, United States 07-03-13
    Barbara ELK GROVE, CA, United States 07-03-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "I Really Tried"

    I really wanted to like this book because I was hoping to go through the series, but I just can't do it. Though there were pockets of brilliance, and characters that I could almost sink my teeth into, the writer just wouldn't let me. Right when I would get 'this close' to really liking a character, he would go off on another part of this very convoluted story and leave me hanging.

    The one aspect that readers might like is the fog around which side (out of many) was 'good' and which was 'evil,' This was one of the pockets of brilliance I spoke of earlier.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mephistopheles Chandler, AZ, United States 05-18-13
    Mephistopheles Chandler, AZ, United States 05-18-13 Member Since 2012

    'I think hell’s a fable.' 'Ay,' says Mephistopheles, 'think so still, till experience change thy mind

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Couldn't get into it."
    Any additional comments?

    I was looking for a series that compared to GoT, Wheel of Time, or at least The Name of the Wind; but I think this book fell well short.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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