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20 of 20 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

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Another disappointing epic fantasy.
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. I was, however, destined to be sorely disappointed again (I recently suffered the same fate at the hands of Robert Jordan).

The much overused word `epic' when applied to a work of modern fantasy...
Published 2 months ago by Willy Eckerslike


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20 of 20 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
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"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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hook-start to the best fantasy series written, July 10 2005
I won't attempt to cover for this novel's flaws; it has many. It throws alot at you, very quickly, just like many other "epic" fantasy novels/series/trilogies. The writing is a bit rough at times, but never bad. The characters are indeed half-assedly hashed out, mostly because they're only followed to further the plot, in fact, many of the characters you meet in this novel die before the end. That's the idea... why waste time to hash out a character that's going to die?
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. There are some fantastic events that happen in later books that make you go back and read them all again because everything connects so seamlessly.
All the questions you ask in this book are answered in later ones. Heck, what Warrens really are and how they work isn't answered for another 4 books... but by then you will have your own thoughts conjured anyway.
Plainly put, you'll either like this book enough to read the second book and subsequently be hooked, or it's imposing and oftentimes overwhelming idea-dropping will scare you off. If you stick with it, you'll be handsomely rewarded. The series could not possibly get worse.
Oh, and don't even start people -- Jordan drops ten times more names in a page than gets dropped in this whole book. For those of you who gave up on Jordan around books 5-8, come to Erikson. You won't be disappointed!
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4 of 4 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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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent series with a somewhat slow start.., Nov. 1 2003
By 
Doug Thonus (Schaumburg, IL USA) - See all my reviews
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The book Gardens of the Moon is enjoyable. It's often compared to both Martin and Jordan, and to be quite honest, if you like both Martin and Jordan (or either), you will love this series as a whole.
There are few great fantasy writers out there that have good enough plots, characters, and intrigue to keep you going, and Erikson is certainly up to the task. This book is difficult to follow at first. You are thrust into the middle of things to an extent, and there is little explanation of all the events going on around you.
My first take on reading this book was that Erikson is a 9 year old dungeon master pitting too many super powers against each other with little control, rules, or thought. However, this illusion dies away as you read on through the series. At the time of this writing, there have been 4 books released, and the wonderful thing is each book brings you new understanding of all the books before hand. If permitted the time, I'd love to read this series a second time, because I'm sure all the books would take on so much more meaning.
Anyway, of fantasy authors I've read (and I've read virtually all of the major ones), I'd say Erikson easily is top 3. If you're into fantasy you've almost certainly read Jordan and Martin, and so you really have little to lose by picking up Erikson. Many people don't enjoy this book as much on first inspection. I emplore you to read through book 2 before making any decisions on Erikson as an author though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, Fantasy Fiction for People with Jobs and IQs over 9, July 8 2004
By 
James A. Martin "King of the Morons" (Morrisville, PA United States) - See all my reviews
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No lost princes or kings (Aragon), no awkward teens who become the greatest warrior of all time, no conflicted reincarnations of mad wizards (I am looking at you Rand Al'thor), no elves, and best of all, NO HOBBITS (sorry Frodo, you were cool when I was six, but come on)...most importantly, we have a fixed ending (ten books, I am told), no endless Wheel of Time nonsense, just fantasy writing for grown ups. It is dark, it is dense, but it is very, very good. Characters actually die. The history is big and dense and there aren't any classroom sections that grate on you. It picks you up and drops you off in another world.
Get the rest of the five from Amazon.ca (with the exchange rate, they almost pay for themselves).
Great book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Another disappointing epic fantasy., May 25 2015
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. I was, however, destined to be sorely disappointed again (I recently suffered the same fate at the hands of Robert Jordan).

The much overused word `epic' when applied to a work of modern fantasy should be read as `long winded, tedious and weighed down with superfluous detail'. The start of the story is a deliberate attempt to confuse and disorientate the reader and it takes real staying-power to even bother to get beyond the first couple of hundred pages. The characters, did, however, have a tiny bit more depth than Jordan's and there were more glimmers of originality, but the lamentable pace, profusion of `main' characters and the quicksand of pointless detail kept dragging any chance the reader had of enjoying the story back into a Jordan'esque mire. I'm ashamed to admit that I gave up about three quarters of the way through the book.

Why do modern fantasy authors have to produce epic series' rather than writing a pacy and readable single volume (or even stick to a trilogy)? Maybe they have only sufficient imagination for one novel so endeavour to stretch out that one idea into a career spanning epic, or perhaps it is the fault of the publishers for demanding multi-volume epics to provide `reliable' repeat sales from the ever more gullible public. Needless to say, I'm going to avoid `epic' fantasy from now on.
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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 
C. K. Lidster (Ontario, Canada) - 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
3.0 out of 5 stars I struggled to get drawn into this world., Jan. 8 2014
By 
J Reader (CANADA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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 of any book. It took me 3 months to get though, but the characters and the compelling nature of the world kept me going and I'm glad it did. I've outlined my progression through this novel below. To give you an idea as to what to expect.

Page 1-150 Slow going, the geography, characters and magic are hard to follow.

Page 151-300 The characters and locations begin to stabilize and I was able to start to orient myself in this world.

Page 300-end Everything becomes much easier to follow and I had no difficulty understanding what was happening.

Overall the novel follows a fast pace. There are few battle scenes and a couple of fights scenes but the plot, story and characters are very compelling.

I will re-read Gardens of the Moon before I purchase the second of this series. I think now that I have an idea as to the world I'm reading about I will be able to enjoy the story much more.
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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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