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Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – December 23, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
The good new is, Erikson's "The Gardens of the Moon" is a fat, intelligent and wonderfully convoluted fantasy novel. Along with Ricardo Pinto's quite dissimilar but equally intelligent "The Chosen", this is one of the best genre debuts to appear in the last two or three years. (As an aside: Erikson is a Canadian, now living in the UK. Pinto is Portuguese, but also lives in the UK. Hmm, wonder if I should emigrate too? After all, look at Poirot... Quite good for the little grey cells, it seems).
The not so good news (well, the daunting news, at least) is that "Gardens" seems to be the first of a projected 10-volume series. Oh dear! Not again!
Of course, the good news is not going to sound too good if you don't like "military" fantasy. "Gardens" is very much about war, dealing as it does with the Empress of Malazan attempting to conquer, by foul means rather than fair, everything in (and indeed out of) her site. There's a lot of intrigue and a lot of politics, and there's a hell of a lot of (deftly distributed) historical background, but in this first instalment at least, that's what it pretty much boils down to.
Conversely, the not so good news is going to sound very sweet if you're the sort of reader who gobbles up each and every of Glen Cook's "Black Company" books the moment they appear. "Gardens" is not only similar to the Black Company series in that it deals mainly with the often magical struggles between irreconcilable and not quite comprehensible adversaries, but also in that it generally depicts events from the viewpoint of the more or less "ordinary" soldier (sorcerous or otherwise). Erikson is, however, better at this than Cook; he is also rather more ambitious.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This writter can go paired with Tolkien,Zelazny and Martin if he keeps up a good work.
This book drops you in the middle of the action. As you attempt to understand the history and politics, you start to feel for the characters. Read morePublished 7 days ago by C. Bartlett
Have barely started it, but I like it so far. Reminds me of David Drake, a little, and S. M. Stirling's Falkenberg's Legion series (written with Jerry Pournelle), which also makes... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Sarah E. Byerley
Try as I may, I can not get through this book. The most I was able to endure was 8 hours before couldn't take it anymore. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Brandon M. Salazar
Hard to follow the story. Had to read some parts multiple times to understand what was happening. Plot was good though.Published 15 days ago by Amazon Customer
I didn't find the book as entertaining as I felt I would. I have read a wide variety of similar works and knew the Malazan books by reputation. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
I love reading and I love fantasy but I simply couldn't get into this book. I forced myself to read a couple of chapters before finally giving up. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
Starts off slow the first 300 pages, but builds up half way through. The characters were well developed and made me laugh more than once. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Amazon Customer