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Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 1) Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 1, 2004


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Hardcover, Bargain Price, June 1, 2004
$31.51 $4.34

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Product Details

  • Series: The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 1
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0765310015
  • ASIN: B000E6UWE4
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (668 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,867,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

In the first of a projected 10 volumes of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, the Malazan Empire is up to its eyebrows in the intrigues of mage Anomander Rake and his sorcerous minions, the Tiste Andii. The empress Laseen pursues her grisly ambitions with the aid of the Ninja-like Claw assassins, but Erikson focuses on the grunt-level fighting of military engineers Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his Bridgeburners and the field-grade mage Tattersall, who are more than ready to go home, when the empress commands a battle in and around the Free City of Darujhistan. Erikson portrays this hurly-burly--something very like the Lord of the Rings' Battle of the Pellenor Fields--from the perspective of those who had to get out of the way of the charges and exchanges of spells and sometimes died anyway. It remains to be seen whether Erikson's excellent writing will carry through nine more volumes of this gritty, realistic fantasy in the manner of Glen Cook's Dark Company series. Wager on fantasy readers' robust appetites, however. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

STEVEN ERIKSON is an archaeologist and anthropologist and a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His previous novels in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series--Gardens of the Moon, Deadhouse Gates, Memories of Ice, House of Chains, Midnight Tides, The Bonehunters, and Reaper's Gale--have met with widespread international acclaim and established him as a major voice in the world of fantasy fiction. He lives in Canada.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

460 of 505 people found the following review helpful By Piotr Wilkin on August 17, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After reading the reviews, but also talking to some people who have read Erikson's works, I must say I found myself to be an oddity. I neither love nor hate Erikson's works. Or, to be more precise, I love and hate them at the same time.

The problem with this book (as well as the entire Malazan series) is that both the proponents and the opponents are right. That is, Erikson's writing has some excellent points, but it has some major weaknesses itself. It's one of the very rare cases where I'd describe the quality of the writing as "controversial".

First, the strong points. Erikson is an excellent worldbuilder. He's an excellent character builder. He's a great plotbuilder. He's got all the qualities a good fantasy writer needs. If you find a plotline, you're guaranteed to find it well constructed. If you find a well-formed character, you'll find him/her believable and coherent. If you find some world description, it'll surely be breathtaking.

Now, the weak points. It's no coincidence that I started each of the sentences in the previous paragraph with "if you find". The problem with Erikson is, sometimes you get tired of searching. I think the one quality Erikson lacks most is underlining. Even mediocre fantasy authors know that in order to get the reader focused on their writing, they have to let him know what's important in the book and what's not. Erikson seems to ignore this truth - he seems to be constantly poking the reader, telling him "there are no less important parts in the book, everything is equally important".

To show how much this is an issue, a comparison. I find that Martin actually cares for the reader's attention and keeps track of his main characters and plotlines - I don't have such feeling with Erikson.
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379 of 432 people found the following review helpful By Alinko on March 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Now where do I start? Gardens of the moon is the first book in a series of 10 (5 out so far) based on at least 5 continents and I estimated over 10 different character POV per book. There is also about 300, 000 years of relevant history, numerous different species and a completely different system of `magic' to the regular fantasy fare. With countless mysteries and good number of extremely powerful beings it is quite hard to get your head around it at first. So I will try my best in this review to give you a good idea of what to expect from the series as a whole.

Firstly if you are looking for any of the following, beware!

A young nobody (or lost prince) finds famous sword, hacks up baddy, saves the world

Main characters that never seem to die

A light read i.e. Few brain cells or imagination required (Harry Potter?)

Author spoon feeding i.e. everything is explained immediately

Elves, Orcs, Hobbits, goblins etc

After about 100 pages of gardens of the moon you will be very confused, after about 200 it will be even worse, it was for me when I first read it. The story does pick up, but there are still a number of things that will have your head spinning. Erikson is not the type to give info dumps so the brain cells will have to stay sharp while reading this book since the info is spread through all the books. The first book is the weakest of the 5 currently published simply because it is impossible to fully understand everything that happens since you don't have enough information about the Malazan world. But perseverance pays of tenfold as soon as the second book and there is hardly any filler (WOT?) so it is worthwhile not to skim through.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Robert Gamble on June 12, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The first thing I'll say is that I probably would have stopped reading this novel after a couple hundred pages except for two things:

1. Many reviews here mentioned it's slow going and confusing at first, but picks up near the end.

2. I'd actually read the prologue of the third book in the series (Memories of Ice) first, and had been blown away by the writing and imagery.

In the end, I'm glad that I continued reading, but I'm going to start with my dislikes because I want to end this review on a positive note.

The book as a whole is somewhat confusing initially because the author throws a huge amount of names at the reader. Places are given little 'context' and a large cast of characters is introduced quite quickly. For awhile, each chapter or couple of chapters then introduce more places and more characters. It is not easy to keep all of it straight. Sometimes the reader is left to wonder what a word means when referencing a character. ie, there's one specific case where one character notices another, but the word used to describe the new character could be anything from the character's name, his rank, or even his race. Erikson is also not particularly good about describing the non-human races. I'm a believer that mannerisms or descriptions of non-human races shouldn't be the focus of every sentence in which they speak or act, but I do think that a description to fix their 'look and feel' in the mind of the reader should be done fairly quickly, and Erikson often doesn't include any of this until well after a race is mentioned for the first time.

His descriptions of battle scenes can be quite confusing in this book.
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