Gardens of the Moon: The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book One
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Sometimes books are big because the author doesn't know how to stop, and writes right over that line where more becomes less. Other books, though, are big because they have to be, because the story, the drama, and the characters are just too large to fit into a compact volume. Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon is that kind of big book. Gardens of the Moon, first volume in the Malazan Book of the Fallen, is an epic fantasy story of war, sorcery, politics, and revenge. There is an Empire that must be thwarted, as well as gods desperate to prove they still count for something in the world of human beings. The main story concerns intrigue surrounding the Malazan Empire's coming assault on the city of Darujhistan. Characters include Whiskeyjack, leader of a military band pushed to the edge; Baruk, an alchemist and leader of the mages of Darujhistan; and Sorry, a young woman possessed by a vicious killer.
Erikson brings a gritty realism to his fantasy that sets it apart from most others. Magic is difficult and dangerous, often harming its practitioners. Erikson's world has a long history of violence and struggle: people get dirty and tired, and there are not many lives without suffering. The realism makes the characters that much more sympathetic and their successes and failures more meaningful. Gardens of the Moon amply fulfills the main requirement of a big fantasy novel: the world it creates is so compelling that it pulls you right in and leaves you wanting more. --Greg L. Johnson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In this sprawling fantasy epic of the Malazan empire at war with its enemies and itself, the first of a projected 10-volume series, Canadian newcomer Erikson offers many larger-than-life scenes and ideas, but his characters seem to shrink to fit the story. Perhaps they need to stay small enough for the reader to keep them all in mind. Jumping often between plot lines, the novel follows Ganoes Stabro Paran from his boyhood dreaming of soldiers to his escape from imperial service. Paran travels on journeys of body and soul, going from innocent to hardened rebel against gods and empire without losing his moral core. Other characters may go further, to death and back even, but none is as sharply portrayed. The book features a plethora of princes and paupers, powers and principalities, with much inventive detail to dazzle and impart a patina of mystery and ages past. The fast-moving plot, with sieges, duels (of sword and of spell), rebellions, intrigue and revenge, unearthed monsters and earth-striding gods, doesn't leave much room for real depth. Heroes win, villains lose, fairness reigns, tragedy is averted. Erikson may aspire to China Miéville heights, but he settles comfortably in George R.R. Martin country.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
So Steven Erikson introduces one of his major characters. This series is quite simply outstanding, grandiose, magnificent - the word epic is often used as a cliche but if ever a series is worthy of being called that, this is it. It's staggering in its scope.
Erikson's narrative style is to throw you in the thick of the action with minimal background information. This can be quite disconcerting when starting this book - you just don't, and won't, know what the hell's going on. You won't understand how magic works, what a Warren is, where the Malazan empire actually is and what the hell is a Tiste Andii anyway??
It'll be like that for the first hundred pages or so. Keep up or be left behind. You'll find yourself rereading various passages, trying to glean some tiny seed of understanding. It can be pretty frustrating, not knowing a damn thing about anything. But Erikson gives you enough teasing glimpses of quality under the survace for you to feel that understanding is just around the corner if you keep perservering with it, even if you don't initially understand what's going on - Erikson's world is incredibly rich in detail and history, and this is slowly revealed as you get further into the book.
And the more this world - and the storyline set in this world - is revealed the more and more impossible it gets to put the book down. The originality is quite amazing, and it's a MAJOR rush when you start to piece things together.Read more ›
And that's what people don't seem to get about this series in general. They're all written as glimpses of history, showing you pieces of this magnificent world's past. This first book is (brilliantly) designed not only as a hook, but to change the way you think about a fantasy world in general.
The gods in these books aren't singular or all-powerful, there are dozens, and all capable of killing each other. An average human could kill a god in these novels, given the right circumstances.
This entire series is written to blur the black and whites of fantasy into grey. Everyone that is "good" is not entirely "good", and vice-versa. There are alot of new ideas in these novels that as you read on you will become more and more accustomed to, and learn to love. Those with a good imagination will undoubtedly appreciate the images conjured of (spoiler) an entire floating city crashing into an ocean, or of a god raising his soul-devouring sword in the middle of a crowded city street and telling everyone to get the hell out of the way.
Forgive me, I can't collect my thoughts. I have not read the almighty Martin, as many have raved about, but after reading all 5 books in this series, Erikson is my favourite author, hands down.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
The book that started an amazing journey.
I got this on a whim because of the name, not one moment have I regretted my choice.
This is a complicated book (and series). There is a long list of characters and the names of the various races are hard to pronounce and remember. Read morePublished 6 months ago by lenwhite
As a long-standing fan of fantasy with a collection dating back more decades than I care to remember I had great hopes for this series of books given the rave reviews. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Willy Eckerslike
He is brilliant and this series is brilliant. Yes, gardens of the moon is challenging to get into at first. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Carl
Overall this book was good and I can see that the series is going to be worth the investment. Thank goodness I read some reviews that said "expect to be thoroughly confused for... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Rick Davidson
A great start to a fascinating and complex world. I especially enjoyed the ingenious magic system and the use of fate and chance in the story. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Antoine Barre
When i started to read the book I realized I had had the book a couple of years ago, I find it turgid and not very execiting. Sorry I wasted my money on both booksPublished 13 months ago by Robin
Very good book. Erikson's writing style is hard to follow at times, but it makes you pay attention that much more. I am definitely going back to read through the entire series.Published 15 months ago by JGIRO403