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94 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best epic fantasy I've read in a long time
I read this book because I was going through books so fast, and wanted to find an epic fantasy series that would keep me occupied for a long time. The reviews on Amazon - both positive and negative - decided me.

A lot of people have said this book is confusing and hard to follow. I didn't find that, but you probably will if you try to read too fast. There...
Published on 27 Mar. 2011 by Louise

37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I admired it more than I enjoyed it.
The Malazan Empire seeks to conclude its long campaign to conquer the continent of Genabaris. At the front-line of this struggle we find a general close to rebelling, a legendary squad of sappers, a sprinkling of gods, a handful of warring mages, an ancient lord who flies his own moon around, a rag-bag gang of low-lifes, and a rich, gas-lit city where mandarins and...
Published on 10 April 2012 by Jason Mills

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Warrens, Ravens and Confusion, 15 Mar. 2012
Mrs. E. Bambridge-sutton (Solar System) - See all my reviews
With a long novel like this, you may think the author has dragged it out, and it could be shorter. That's not the case. I think if anything, it could be longer. It has so many different plots, especially for an opening chapter. There was a storm of different soldiers, gods, ravens, warrens, spells, lands, cities, events. And just when you think you've met the biggest threat, another comes along and the author says 'This guy could kill all we've met so far in a single swipe of his claw'.
Also, when the climax comes along, it only lasted about one page, and was not very satisfying.
Lastly, the writing style was flat.
Don't get me wrong, it was still good, but not quite the enticing, spellbinding masterpiece I was lead to expect.
I will give it another chance.

Good: a multi-layered, engrossing plot, with strong characters.
Bad: The climax was very short considering the 650+ page build up, confusing in some places, flat writing style.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just read it, 8 Sept. 2014
P Boyd - See all my reviews
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I usually read a few reviews, buy a book, then immerse myself in the world created straight away. However, like several others I was almost put off by previous reviewers who said this was a complex, hard to follow story and was an initial struggle. Christopher Priest is what I would call a difficult read so I was expecting much confusion. I read as much as possible about the books in preparation prior to starting to read. The main difficulty wasn't the story, it was forgetting everything I had read about it. With dvd's I find watching "the making of", "interviews with the cast" or "out takes" detracts from the actual film so here I would advise any potential readers not to think too much about whether it will be too difficult for them but just to dive straight into the world created here, it is an excellent read and I look forward to the whole journey ahead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gardens of the Moon...... Fantasy of the most Epic scale., 23 Oct. 2014
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Gardens of the Moon - the beginning of what is, in my opinion, the greatest fantasy series of all time.

This book may be difficult for some intially, as it doesn't coddle the reader, and many argue it is one of the weaker Malazan books. However, I found the fact that the reader is dumped in the thick of things to be refreshing, as opposed to stale 'stable boy leaves village to seek his fortune and get stronger' trope.
Some of my favourite literary characters are introduced in this book, and this is where Erikson shines. His characters, and his imagination soar like Moons spawn in this one. Many different characters, doing many different things, and as the book moves so the scope escalates. - breathtaking at times.....

As the start to an incredible series, this book is essential for anyone who enjoys fantasy. .A must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ubelieveably good!, 13 July 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?) i was looking for a book, or a series to hold my attention for the months before i left to university, i looked and i found. Gardens of the moon is the opening chapter in what looks to be a classic epic fantasy series.
my imagination ran wild whilst reading this book, the magic, the history behind the world you will begin to delve into, the vast scope of this story is frightening, late at night i would find myself turning page after page wanting more and more, i would fall asleep and begin again in the morning. trust me you will not be disappointed by Eriksons work.
the series gets better and better with each book as you become apart of this work of fantasy, im happy to say gotm is the best book i may have ever had the pleasure to read!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars highly recommended, 2 Dec. 2008
With this book I found a new favourite author which in many ways is surprising.

Firstly, I normally like a really good, honourable hero and some totally evil dislikeable baddies that get soundly beaten in the end. However, in GotM, by the end of the book I still had no idea who was on the good and who was on the bad side. Having read all the other Malazan books, too, I am still not absolutely sure whom to trust. I find that like the real world, Erikson gives us characters in every shade of grey available and sometimes those shades get closer to one end of the spectrum or the other, but rarely do they go all the way. And as to the baddie getting beaten soundly... hmmm, it hasn't been clear cut so far and I doubt the ending will be but somehow I don't care, because the getting there is just amazing.

Secondly, yes, I will admit to skipping battle scenes and more so, duels in many books. I am just not into sword thrust left, parry right, stab middle and repeat for ten pages. However, the battles in the Malazan books are never that boring. Erikson brings in so many different viewpoints, so many unexpected twists and turns and more importantly, so much information into the fights that it is impossible to skip these sections. I wasn't even tempted.

I will say that you might be confused by the end of book one. The way Erikson writes, you are not meant to get it all straight away. You very much enter in the middle of a story where you don't know what went on before nor where things are heading and only by careful observation and listening can you work out what's going on. You hit the ground running.

If you enjoy this series, you will be pleased to hear that there is another author now writing in the same world using the same characters. Ian C. Esslemont is a friend of Stephen Erikson and co-founded the Malazan empire with him. For the recommended reading order click on my name and check out my Malazan Listmania. This is one series where you don't have to wait four or five years for the next instalment. Another good reason to give it a go.

My star ratings are the result of the following breakdown:
How difficult was it to put the book down: this is a strange one for me for a good read. I actually had to put it down for breathers, to take time to chew over the latest section because there was so much to take in and I actually felt the need to savour the words = five stars
Would I buy the hardcover of this one: definitely = five stars
Am I likely to read it again: I have already re-read it several times and will again = five stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A long, long series begins, 13 Dec. 2007
Big Jim "Big Jim" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen) (Mass Market Paperback)
Now don't get me wrong, this is a well written, character driven, and indeed action packed book. It has many plot strands which one can see panning out over the series and therein lies it's weakness for me. Can I be bothered to read the rest of the books? Has this book enticed me into the alternative universe that has the Malazan empire at its heart? Looking at the reviews and many discussion forums (forii?) out there thousands have made that investment but can I be bothered? Should you be bothered?
Well you'll either get the picture from the reviews around this one whether you might like this sort of thing or you won't, but I have to say...OK yes, I'll go onto the Deadhouse Gates, but wait for the holidays before I do so.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most complex, yet rewarding piece of literature, 11 July 2011
M. J. Griffiths (Bournemouth,UK) - See all my reviews
This series is complex, vast and often, very confusing. Sometimes, the sheer amount plot lines that are interwoven threaten to drown you. Resulting in a cross-eyed perplexed frown, which is usually followed by a lie down.
However, this is due to my intellectual limitations as a reader, it's a hard graft to hold it all in and make sense of it.

Erikson though, is completely in control throughout the whole series, which is executed in breathtaking fashion. Plots that span all ten books, like a spider web, are not only resolved (though not all), but are integral to the story, they overlap and weave together through a myriad of ways.

As stated in the title, this series is not easy, but that is because you have to work hard to understand it. That in turn makes the pay-off well worth the effort of starting the series.

I have no doubt in my mind that this is the best fantasy series out there, maybe even, the best piece of contemporary literature out there. If you've read the series you'll know, the quality is impossible to deny.

Not everyone will like this series though, as it requires full attention, at all times. Even I, who loves this series, is not always in the frame of mind to tackle it, which has to be re-read to fully grasp the scope and various plots, and in my case, just to understand it.

Book one 'Gardens of the Moon', is HARD, you jump straight into the middle of a war with unique magic systems, unusual species and alien races and you don't know who's good or bad. The book is also written 10yrs before the main sequence of books began, so, it feels a little disjointed in how it's read compared to the other 9 boooks. That said, it is still a roller-coaster of a ride and as you read more of the series you will start to get answers and comprehend things that seemed irrelevant in earlier books.

It's not all a hard slog though and the characters and story lines will have you laughing, depressed, shocked and awestruck, sometimes all at the same time.
If your prepared to and enjoy rich and complex books then this is the best stuff about.

P.s Everyone has doubts about the series after book one. My advice is to wait till you finish book two before you think about discarding it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, 20 Oct. 2009
Yagiz Erkan (Boulder, CO) - See all my reviews
The story starts with the encounter between a boy called Ganoes Paran and the Sergeant Wiskeyjack during the final year of the Emperor Kellanved's reign. Ganoes, who's in Malaz City with his father, witnesses the raiding of the Mouse Quarter. During their conversation, Wiskeyjack disapproves the young Ganoes' dreams of becoming a soldier.

Then the book fast forwards seven years: Emperor Kellanved and his ally called Dancer have been assassinated. Since then, the Empire has been ruled by the Empress Laseen whose eyes are set on the Genabackis continent. The Malazan 2nd army is besieging Pale, one of the two free cities remaining on this continent. And we find Wiskeyjack and Ganoes Paran among the many characters whose lives are touched by these events.

Wow! I just discovered that reading Erikson is a very fulfilling experience, in many ways. It's like drinking a pint of Murphy's (if you're asking "a pint of what?", it's like Guinness but it's better :). It's a superior stout from Cork, Ireland): It's tasty, it's rich, it has character, it has depth...

Gardens Of The Moon had been on my to-read list for a long while and I don't quite know why, I had always had something else to read. I mean, I don't know why I preferred to read something else but you know how it works. You have a list in your mind and depending on your mood you reshuffle that. Or you have a nice blog that you follow, you read a new review and bang! The list is reordered.

Anyway... I'm glad that I decided to plunge into the Malazan world. After a few dozen pages, I put the book down and I asked myself "Have I missed a few introductory chapters? Was there a book before Gardens Of The Moon?" It seems that it's normal to feel a bit lost in the beginning. It turns out that Erikson tells a story as it happens without constant background information giving. This becomes a very interesting style. On the one hand, potentially boring introductory chapters are avoided and it creates further mystery, and on the other hand the book reads like a real life event. Almost like the reader is a true witness to the story unfolding before her eyes but because she just arrived, she doesn't have much background information, naturally. So, at this point, if the reader is patient enough to follow Erikson's lead, she's rewarded by a window opening onto an incredible universe. I understand, now, what the author himself meant by saying "you either like it or you don't". Luckily I liked it very very much.

My first introduction to fantasy happened when I started to read my uncle's Conan comic books during my childhood. I still enjoy reading Conan, every now and then. The richness and the possibilities offered by the universe and the setting in Gardens Of The Moon reminded me of the Conan universe. Please don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that the storylines or the styles are similar. It's just that the world created by Steven Erikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont is so rich with martial action, diverse races, deities, magical warrens, types of magic wielders, demons, armies, long forgotten civilizations, myths, etc. that the comparison came to me naturally, I guess.

The book has parallel stories running at the same time. Jumping from one story to another one is very frequent. And as I've already mentioned, it is rich in characters. My favourite ones are Anomander Rake, Whiskeyjack, the mysterious Kalam and Quick Ben who seems to be so much more than a simple mage. There are so many others: Irritating Tattersail, the confusing Ganoes Paran, the fat Kruppe, the young Crokus, Rallick Nom the assassin, Toc the Younger (I have the feeling that we're going to meet him again in a later book)... there are so many of them who make the whole book a delight to read. Furthermore, I found it was easy to connect with most of the characters.

Despite feeling lost in the beginning, Gardens Of The Moon ended up being a brilliant read. So much so that I had to continue with the second book of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series immediately after finishing the first one. I've never been afraid of ambitious books and Gardens Of The Moon certainly starts like the first book of a very ambitious series. So, if you're like me, you are going to love it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Read a synopsis before you read this - it's worth sticking with!, 19 July 2014
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I was looking for fantasy series that could be compared with The Wheel of Time, which kept me enthralled for an entire year (well except for book 10…). I wanted something epic, a big universe, swords, sorcery and subplots - In short, I needed my fantasy fix!

I did what I usually do at times like this; I got onto a few book review websites, read the reviews of other people who loved WOT and started looking at what else they'd read. This of course led me to the first book of the Malazan empire…

Initially this was quite hard for me to get in to; it did seem as though I was starting half way through a story rather than at the beginning. Having multiple main characters at the start meant that I had nobody to latch on to while I became accustomed to the books' universe. You wouldn't think having "too many characters" would pose a problem after WOT, but having most of them "thrust" at you in one go is enough to confuse the most seasoned reader. (Which I am not!!)

Anyway, I stuck with it and I'm *really* glad I did! This is one of those books where it might be a good idea to look at a synopsis before reading the real thing. You really do need an idea of what is going on before you start; seriously - spoilers be damned, you'll have forgotten them all by the time you reach them anyway.

Overall this is amazingly written with the dark humour and action happening in all of the right places, the tricky part is trying to get *in* to the story - it is like trying to crack a nut. Once you're *in*, i.e. you understand the universe and remember the characters, it truly shines.

With that said, I am about to read book 2 and will at some point re-read book 1 now that I understand it better. I have a feeling that I will enjoy it much more the second time around.
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4.0 out of 5 stars LIKE EPIC FANTASY??? THEN TRY THIS!!!, 20 Feb. 2014
Greggorio! (Amazing Australia) - See all my reviews
Steven Erikson is a hell of a good writer. I am barely 30 pages into book one of his world famous ten book series and already I can feel the epic-ness of his story closing in on my consciousness. Story telling is always about a multitude of things, not the least of which is creating layers of deception, truths and un-truths on the reader only to sweep them away whenever the writer fees like it. And so it is in GARDENS OF THE MOON. The first story teller’s trick lies in the structure of the first two chapters and at the end of chapter one the reader gets their first glimpse of the scope of the novel, we begin to understand the quality of the mind at work here.

Characters both good and bad populate the book. Obviously it takes a while for the reader to work out who is on the good side, and which side IS the good side, but that is half the fun. We are introduced to villains, victims, soldiers, animals, beings of this world, and beings not of this world. Already Gods are spoken about in a very sacrilegious and blasphemous manner so it is a good thing these books are not set in a Christian universe. We would not want to upset a Christian God, now would we?

Each chapter not only enhance the story (obviously) but it adds layers of depth to the universe the book is set in. Don't be afraid to stop and re-read a section. I have been, and the reading experience is greatly enhanced. Already those that claim to have read all ten books in this world famous saga can't wait to jump right in and start again. I am beginning to understand why.

The magic is a feature of the story but at this stage, unlike other fantasy writers, it is not a major character in its own right. Well done, Mr Erikson, on that score. One other thing i can't stand is not being able to pronounce character names in a story, and especially at the start of a complex tale like this one, another positive so far is Mr Erikson's use of sensible names for both sides of the civil war being played out in front of the reader.

Four chapters in and the reader can see the wood for the trees. We open the book and find ourselves incredibly, gloriously, fantastically in the middle of a massive, magic-ridden civil War. We are still learning what there is to know about the world, its politics, the universe and the players that make up this glorious epic but If book one is anything to go by - and the hundreds of reviews found worldwide say it is - then this incredible fantasy epic is one you won't want to miss. I give it four stars (and not five) as the following books are sure to provide an enhanced reading experience.

I for one, can't wait to find out.


As i am just about to finish this magnificent debut fantasy epic, i feel the need to update what i have written above.

Firstly, a correction. Magic DOES play a major role in the story. Of course it does. The book itself is all about civil war, warring Gods, sorcerers, Adepts, undead armies, warrens, tarot cards, and so on. Magic plays a MASSIVE role in the story and it enhances it no end.

Secondly, It has been so long since i have read a book of this nature that i have forgotten how much FUN they are to read. The character names are brilliant, and like all good works of the imagination (be it in printed form, a movie or a mini series) you only learn so much about each character at a time. My favourites include an inexperienced but potentially terrifying young sorceress / mage, called "Sorry". Then there is "Toc the Younger", "Quick Ben" Dujek Onearm - a Malazam Army High Fist.

Thirdly, Mr Erikson's descriptive skills are outstanding. His world building is world class. The city of Darujhistan itself is a fascinating place to visit. Not sure i would want to live there. It sounds far too dangerous for my liking.

GARDENS OF THE MOON is like the breath of fresh air you get when you open a long shut and musty window. Don't believe everything you have heard, read and listened to about this incredible book when they tell you how good it is.

I don't.

I believe it is better.

BFN Greggorio!
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Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen)
Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen) by Steven Erikson (Mass Market Paperback - 1 Mar. 2000)
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