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on 14 February 2017
In general, I try to bounce between fantasy and science fiction. Having read Seveneves, a high scifi book if there ever was one, I was keen to get my teeth into some hard core fantasy once again. More, though, I wanted something that I have hungered for over the many years of journeying through fantastical realms: deep plot a la Game of Thrones; great battles in the manner of Wheel of Time; and high magic.

Not just the fannying around of Harry Potter or the limited effort of the Belgariad ... or even the not bad but no cigar incantations of the Riftwar sagas. I am talking the full-on physics of magic full of gods, prophecies, demons, spells, magical items, less than enchanting monsters, and mad religions. A search through my fellow Fantasyophile scribblings on the Internet and I had a scent of something in that vein - the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

A multi-book series is a serious investment in time, money, and emotion ... and always in danger (however remote) of being cast aside in favour of the next Game of Thrones installment (ahem!) but nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say, so I purchased this first book and began to read.

Immediately pulled in by the wonderful history of the novels and the project itself. Being an author myself (I'm sure I may have mentioned this before!), I found Steven's comments and insights both fascinating and insightful, giving me a renewed vigour in pursuit of my own fame and fortune.

So onto the book.

Wonderful! It is everything I wanted; everything that my Internet searching had promised. Thrown straight into a massive battle in the middle of a planet spanning war with battle mages, demons, and even a floating fortress. Game on!

Then it just got better and better. A clever magic system nodding towards some serious hours spent in AD&D adolesence provides the essential foundation on which a universe where gods, magic, and mortals can exist in isolation and in intersection. Characters that are deep and well drawn, separate in their own histories and motivations come together within a maelstrom of politics, loyalty, greed, desperation, and love. The patter between the characters actually reminded me of the chat between the soldiers of Sven Hassel's writing: natural, cutting, and disarmingly funny.

I purchased the second book a hundred pages from the end of the first, just in case I was somewhere off-grid when I finished it. If that isn't a recommendation, I don't know what is.

I don't often give five star recommendations but this is what I'm going to give this book. If you love fantasy, you must read this book!

Nia Sinjorina

Author of the Folio 55 series: the first 2 books available on Amazon.
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on 30 September 2015
I am only about 200 pages in, but so far I am liking it.

A heads up to anyone thinking about reading this book, you are thrust into the world the author has created without any prior explanation of the history / politics / relationships or general lore behind it all. Your hand is most certainly NOT held while the events in the book unfold and you are left to your own devices to pick up information the book gives you and tie it all together. It's almost as if you have just come into a movie halfway through and you are that person asking all those annoying questions like "who is that guy? What is he talking about? Why are those two fighting?"

If you like everything to be described to you in detail, do not buy this book because it will just annoy you. If you are okay with that, then I would recommend it off of what I have read so far.
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on 24 July 2017
2nd time around I've read this, if you're looking for a new series to sink your teeth into this is it. The Malazan Book of the Fallen rightfully deserves the accolade 'epic'
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on 5 July 2017
This is a well written book that is full of action and fast paste, it has an intriguing plot line, which is hard to put down.
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on 26 March 2017
You need ride this out. The story is so fabulously rich and epic and moves are such pace that it doesn't coddle the reader. There is a lot that isn't explained at the start but it all begins to make sense by the end. And it's the gateway to a phenomenally ambitious series.
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on 11 June 2017
Please if you do anything have patience with this book. It takes time to get into but when you do it will grab you by the brain and not let go!!!! Fantastic read, definitely recommend!
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on 28 May 2017
Packaging could have been better, but an amazing book, and an excellent intro to one of the most epic stories of fantasy literature.
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on 15 June 2017
Excellent, just excellent!
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on 29 October 2011
...Gone is the grandiose of Tolkein, Jordan, etc. The Gardens of the Moon feels very different from the onset: whereas the classic fantasy stories are slow, descriptive and start instantaneously spinning weaves of grandeur by slowly layering history and lore on the reader, Erikson instead opts for a much more fast paced, action orientated writing style. Little is explained, with characters often conversing over plot points that the reader won't be aware of until later. Character/Race/Place names are constantly thrown at the reader, which can be a little daunting, yet it unarguably prevents the characters from "going stale" as the reader has so little time to acquaint oneself with them before they're either dead or have started plotting with/against yet more hitherto unknown characters. Characters constantly feel as if they know more than the reader does, often speaking of things that make little or no sense and which the reader must try to analyse and guess on the fly. The magic system, despite sounding vastly complex when fleetingly mentioned is not clearly defined at any one point (though as the characters themselves profess not to know everything I think I can forgive them.) Magical combat is simplistic - X strikes at Y, Y avoids/blocks/survives - there is little deeper intricacy, and although the types of magic described are varied and interesting (necromancy, "Elder magic", Pyromancy, Entropy, etc.) there's little that a true fantasy fan won't have come across before. The chronology is speedy - I think by page 100, two years had passed since the beginning of the tale (though the tale really has no defined beginning.)

Re-reading this review, even I find myself thinking "well these don't sound like brilliant qualities?" But there's something about this book. Maybe it's the rawness of the book which makes it likeable? Even I find myself unable to give a definitive reason, having nervously shuffled over from deep trenches in the Robert Jordan world. The book is too fast, too zealous, too political (oh boy is it political - every character seems to have a plethora of possible agendas, and few are clearly explained or even known to the reader/characters alike.) But there is something appealing about the book. Maybe it's the writing style, which despite being hyperactive (or utilitarian shall we say) is enjoyable, making good (and constant) use of metaphor and simile to thread strong images. Maybe it's just the amount of content crammed into each page? Maybe it's the realistic and likeable characters or unpredictable plot that shuttles its way along regardless of whether you're holding tight, often threatening to leave you behind completely if you don't grip on and pay attention. Regardless of what it is, this book does have a raw, primal beauty to it, and though I wouldn't rank it up there with the best of the genre, I do think it's worth a foray just to season oneself in a different environment and try something new.

I would've awarded it 3.5/5, but it deserves rounding up rather than down.
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on 19 November 2016
This book has been in my collection for over a year now and only recently did I get around to it. Before I started I looked at some non-spoiler takes from people and the general feeling it that it is either a hit or a miss with you.

Going into the book there is a lovely write up by the author explaining the lead up to the publishing of the book and the history of the series, very interesting so don't skip it. Then you're confronted with a very detailed map with so many locations and names and over the page even more character names and factions. You really need to give yourself time when you start the story, if you need to reference the map and the character names then do it, don't struggle through it confused. You will find there are a lot of developments and people in just about every chapter, the better you can familiarize yourself with them the better you will understand the story and enjoy your time reading through it.

The magic confused me for a while but eventually it just clicked. After working my way to the end of the book I purchased more of the series and having started book number 2 I still feel comfortable in the world and with the characters, even the new ones.

Take your time and enjoy the story.
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