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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Those who persevere with this will be rewarded BIG TIME...
"Mane of Chaos...Anomander Rake. Lord of the black-skinned Tiste Andii...who has looked down on a hundred thousand winters, Who has tasted the blood of dragons, who leads the last of his kind, seated in the Throne of Sorrow and a kingdom tragic and fey...a kingdom with no land to call its own." - Steven Erikson, Gardens of the Moon
So Steven Erikson...
Published on Dec 29 2003 by Mario G. Estacio

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars I struggled to get drawn into this world.
This world is very interesting, complex and well developed. But, damn you need to pay attention and the energy it took to try to understand what was happening took much of the enjoyment out of the reading of this novel.

Without any real understanding of what was happening I found myself not caring about the characters and for me that is the key to my enjoyment...
Published 6 months ago by J Reader


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Those who persevere with this will be rewarded BIG TIME..., Dec 29 2003
By 
Mario G. Estacio (Boston, MA, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
"Mane of Chaos...Anomander Rake. Lord of the black-skinned Tiste Andii...who has looked down on a hundred thousand winters, Who has tasted the blood of dragons, who leads the last of his kind, seated in the Throne of Sorrow and a kingdom tragic and fey...a kingdom with no land to call its own." - Steven Erikson, Gardens of the Moon
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. Everything starts to fall into place. It's called approaching comprehension - and it creeps up on you, till you get to the last page of the book and realise that you can't wait to go back to the bookstore to get the second in the series, Deadhouse Gates, just so that you can find out more about this world and the people who live in it. Then when you finish that you'll want to get the third, Memories of Ice. And the fourth, House of Chains. And the fifth, Midnight Tides. And so on and so on...and the best thing? It gets better and better and better as you get deeper into the series - if ever there's a world and a series to lose yourself in, it's this one. Not only that, the rereadability quality of this series is amazing - better than anything else I've read before. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly intriguing and well conceived., April 2 2004
By 
neoninfusion (Sydney, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
If you like intrigue and complicated, interweaving storylines then "Gardens of the Moon" is the next book you should read.
Set in a land torn apart by an invading empire, "Gardens..." follows a variety of characters, from various groups, who would eventually collide through the interferance of gods, elder races and politics.
Erikson has an excellent grasp of character development (often sorely lacking in Fantasy) as events alter the perspectives of each character. This enables the reader to empathise with these believable characters.
I found the most intriguing aspect of "Gardens..." was the ambiguity of the characters. Never had I read a Fantasy novel which blurred the lines between good and evil so well - the characters are not your typical good guy battling the typical bad guy. Erikson writes from all persectives: the invading army soldiers who are ordered to complete their missions without question. For example, the officers in the invading force not neccessarily agreeing with the job they had to do, but completing it nonetheless. We read the perspectives of various political factions in the targeted land; both for and against the conquest, and also the persectives of civilians caught up in the struggle to save their city. What makes this book interesting is that I can now really envision war through similar perspectives.
I had been told a number of times that if I like George RR Martin, then I would also enjoy Steven Erikson as their style and subject matter are similar. This is true. They both have an excellent technical grasp of the English language; not poetic, like Kay or Wolfe, but like Donaldson, they always seem to write the correct word when needed every time. For this reason, you need to read "Gardens of the Moon", and the whole series for that matter.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow start, great finish!, Jan. 28 2012
By 
Stephen Henry (Winnipeg, Manitoba) - See all my reviews
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If you are new to the fantasy genre, this is probably not a book for you. This is the most complex fantasy novel I have ever read. There are dozens of characters, 3 or 4 major plot lines, intricate politics, an unconventional magic system, and a highly involved pantheon of gods. It took me about 200 pages to figure out what was happening, but once I did the book instantly became one of the best I've read. Erikson does not spoon-feed information, but respects the intellect of the reader and allows him or her to make their own deductions. This can be frustrating at times, so if you just can't seem to work something out I recommend visiting the Malazan Wiki online, or consulting the glossary at the end of the book (which I didn't realize was there until after I finished the book). Once you begin to grasp the fictional world, Gardens of the Moon is not a book you'll want to put down in a hurry.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for the start of an incredible series, March 11 2008
Seeing some of the other reviews, it very apparent that it takes a certain type of person to appreciate the Malazan Book of the Fallen. This is not at all an easy series, and to truly understand and enjoy it, you will have to do some work. This can be simply referring to the glossary or looking back at other chapters. Erikson's style, especially in the first book (Gardens of the Moon), is to release bits of information about a topic, like the magic, and keep us wondering and on our toes. I find this half the fun - because it makes me curious. Some may find this frustrating because they don't understand right now, but I just keep reading until I come to a moment when it all makes sense. This is when it is really useful to do some re-reading, because it will reveal so many little secrets. So it really comes down to if you are willing to put some time into reading this book and this series - if you do, it will be one of the best you've ever read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Experiment in Reader Tolerance that Rewards Dogged Determination, June 18 2014
By 
Corey Lidster (Belleville, Ontario) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
The consensus opinion is that Erickson began writing this series as an experiment designed to test the threshold of reader tolerance, and I can't argue; he takes us into 'warrens' of deus ex machina plotting in it's truest form, creating gods and demons and a vast array of human and inhuman races, all of them tangled up in ancient feuds and pseudo-historical rivalries. The arbitrary rules of divine ascendancy, the most basic explanations of Moon's Spawn and it's Tiste Andii Lord, Anomander Rake, even the clever premise of the Warren (magic as a place, not a thing; the Mage is someone able to open a door to another world, one of many, to allow usually destructive differences in physical laws to spill into the 'real' world; it's like opening a wormhole into the heart of a star, to bombard one's enemies with a blast furnace of celestial flame and gamma rays; the Mage is someone who knows the combination to the safe, or he might be a thief with lock-picking tools; either way, their training and talent and spells open doorways, and manipulate the physics of the world on the other side; they can travel into it, and through it): Erickson gives his readers only the tiniest scraps of explanation. If you want to continue the journey past confusion and into the mysteries of the Malazan Empire, you'll have to follow the writer and 'The Bridge-Burners', led by Sergeant Whiskeyjack, into Dharujistan. I thought about abandoning the book in literary disgust, annoyed by Erickson's audacity, right around the time we meet Krupp. There are long passages devoted to his dreams, which are always terrible in novels, for some reason, and the spinning coin and 'The Twins' were boring me. But I couldn't quit. A day later, I found myself wondering about where he was taking all these characters, and how he would tie together all the narrative threads. I was hooked. I'm just finishing up the second book, and I love the fact that there are another few thousand pages ahead of me. Once again, I have to agree with the general consensus; just follow, and watch, and listen. Learn by paying attention to the details. After a while, the alien language begins to make sense. And one of the best things about huge books that demand more of their readers, whether it's The Books of the Malazan or Gravity's Rainbow, is that big investments pay back big rewards (unless, of course, the books happen to suck -- i.e. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, which is the fantasy equivalent of Enron). As one of the many people who didn't read fantasy much, then swallowed the volumes extant in GRRM's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' after watching the first few episodes of Game of Thrones, I came away looking for other fantasy books with the same level of violent, heart-rending drama, excellent prose and vast imaginative scope. So far, this series comes closest. David Anthony Durham's 'Acacia Trilogy' has it's moments, as does Richard Morgan's 'The Steel Remains' and 'The Cold Commands'. Otherwise, the best books of similar vision are historical novels like 'I, Claudius' by Robert Graves, or SF like Dan Simmons' 'Hyperion Cantos', 'Ilium', and it's sequel. 'Olympos'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing start to an astounding series, June 28 2013
The first half of the novel is a bit hard to understand, bordering on frustrating at times. Stick with it! I am now reading book 7 of the series, and to me, this is the best fantasy series I've ever read.

"Minor spoilers ahead"

In this first book, you'll meet some of the more memorable characters you'll find in fantasy books. The magic system is very original, and gods are more than willing to interfere for their own benefit. Characters are possessed by gods, brought back from the dead, one even becomes a puppet.

This first novel deals with the Malazan conquest on the continent of Genebackis, namely the siege of Darujhistan. Ascendants will wage war, a tyrant is unleashed, and ancient powers will surface. With Gardens of the Moon, you get a glimpse of what is to come. You'll be surprised how much this first chapter in Malazan Book of the Fallen will have repercussions in future novels.

A completely enthralling read! Stay with it until the end; you'll be rewarded for your effort! 5/5
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars malazan book one of the fallen, June 28 2011
By 
R. K. Griffith "wowzer" (Gatineau Que.) - See all my reviews
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i have read book one and it is very good read,i have since ordered books 2 to 5 so far and i am currently reading book 2,the series seems to be along the line as popular on line game,and makes for good read..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complexe story, great read, June 25 2010
By 
Sebastien Brodeur "brodseba" (Montreal, QC Canada) - See all my reviews
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This book (and the whole serie) turn around a complexe story. Not for the faint of hearth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adult Fantasy for the Active Reader; not for the Passive Reader, April 4 2010
By 
BEEKS (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This is outstanding epic fantasy. I was so impressed that when I was half way through Gardens of the Moon, I ordered volumes 2-7 from Amazon.

Deadhouse Gates (Malazan Book 2)
Memories of Ice (Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 3)
House of Chains (Malazan Book 4)
Midnight Tides (Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 5)
The Bonehunters (Malazan Book 6)
Reaper's Gale (Malazan Book 7)

My 2007 paperback edition has a preface by author Steven Erikson. He makes no apologies for his epic being complicated with lots of characters, plots and subplots. Nor should he apologize.

Steven Erikson is an archaeologist/anthropologist. That background will ensure that the created world will make sense and fit together. The Malazan `idea' was a co-production of his and Ian C. Esslemont and began as scripts for television and a feature film. They were rejected for being too ambitious and were advised to `simplify' them...or in other words to strive for the general shallow mediocrity that is portrayed each night on the idiot box and big screen. Erikson refused to `dumb it down' and the result is the Malazan book series. He writes:

"When life took Cam in one direction and me in another, we both carried with us the notes for an entire created world. Constructed through hours upon hours of gaming. We had an enormous history worked out--the raw material for twenty novels, twice as many films...The Malazan world was there in hundreds of hand-drawn maps, in pages upon pages of raw notes, in GURPS (Steven Jackson's Generic Universal Role Playing System--an alternative to AD&D) character sheets, building floor-plans, sketches, you name it."

The criticism that Erikson is `just pulling something out at the last minute...' to resolve a crisis is completely unwarrented. He knows what he is doing and where he wants to go. He is inviting us to figure some things out on our own--to be an active participant in his epic by paying attention--by piecing together the bits of clues that come our way. It is not the for the lazy. Personal revelation is more rewarding than being spoon fed everything. How satisfying it is to have those "Aha, now I get it"; or the "Yes, figured that one out"; or the "Whoa, never saw that coming" moments all in the same book?

Also, for the critic to give up on the book `about halfway through', how can they possibly have an informed opinion that `the ending is possibly the worst part'??? No, the ending is not random and nor are the characters new. Things about the characters we have followed throughout are revealed, however.

The fact the magic system isn't generally explained, but rather gradually revealed is a plus. It saves reams of pages of explanations that in and of themselves are more apt to confuse than enlighten without the context of the story to connect it to. Briefly, sorcery consists of accessing magical Warrens. I simply envisioned a rabbit warren filled with magic, minus the rabbits. The Warrens or Paths are specialized and accessible by humans with the ability. Some can tap into and use the Rashan Warren (Path of Darkness) while another can access the Thry Warren (Path of Light). Non-humans have there own specialized Warrens. Do I really need to know more than this at the beginning? A little info is better in this case. As the epic develops, more info can be revealed and digested.

The gods are akin to the Greek ones. Although in polytheistic cultures the gods are always meddling. They meddle for various reasons: vengeance against another god or a mortal for real or imagined slights; because they can; or even out of boredom. So too the gods in Gardens. Why the gods are sticking their big noses into our character's business will be revealed or not. A little mystery is a good thing. It is of less importance than what they are doing and through whom.

Do yourself a favour when you buy Gardens of the Moon: don't start reading it immediately. (What???) Instead, spend some time reviewing the Dramatis Personae, the Glossary and the Maps. For a week to ten days after buying the book I spent 5 or 10 minutes once a day doing just that. Easily done over breakfast, or at bedtime, or whenever it is convenient for you. (Please, not while driving to and from work...lol) And once I did start reading it, I kept consulting all three when names, places and terms would appear in the text.Understanding blossomed when they were connected to the story. Also, pay careful attention to the poems and statements that begin each book and chapter. They are there for a reason and not just random. There is a surprising amount of background information that can be gleaned from them. They also point to items to pay attention to in the subsequent
pages.

As a result, I did not feel as though I was tossed into the deep end--a complaint that I have read here. An epic story, like history, must begin somewhere. To steal a quote from Robert Jordan, it "...was not the beginning...But is was a beginning."

There is background information sprinkled throughout Gardens of the Moon, but for Erikson it is to serve the purpose of moving the story or the character development forward. A complete history of Malazan, the Empire, or even of this particular world is unnecessary for understanding the story and events, in and of themselves, that are chronicled in Gardens of the Moon. Sure I have questions and confusions after finishing the book. Since I am writing this for potential readers and not for those who have read the book, I will not detail them here. I will, however, confide that one such confusion was cleared up in Deadhouse Gates (Malazan Book 2), the second novel.

Finally, Malazan reflects life as we the reader live it in our everyday lives. For example, when you meet someone for the first time, do you demand from them a complete characterization? Of course not. We learn about the character of those around us by observing what they say and how they act and what they do--a little at a time. I have friends I've known for decades that I still learn new things about. This is how Erikson reveals his characters--little by little. If you want everything wrapped up in a neatly packaged box of complete explanations and characters(with a bow on top) find something else to read because Malazan is not for you. For Erikson then:

"The reader I had in mind was one who could carry the extra weight--the questions not yet answered, the mysteries, the uncertain alliances."

I'm one of them. Are you?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Epic!!!, July 10 2014
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Just simply an amazing book. Can't wait to continue with the rest of the series. Such an amazing read, very highly recommended
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Gardens of the Moon: Book One of The Malazan Book of the Fallen
Gardens of the Moon: Book One of The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson (Paperback - May 12 2009)
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