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The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations with the formidable Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen's rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.

For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.

However, it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand...

Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order--an enthralling adventure by an outstanding new voice.

Published: Macmillan Publishers on Jun 1, 2004
ISBN: 9781429926584
List price: $8.99
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Totally confusing from beginning to end. Keep a dictionary at hand reading this one. I have no earthly idea what happened, who was hero and villian or both. NOT IMPRESSED!!read more
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Great epic storytellingread more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I've jsut re-read this.I remembered it as a massively complex, deeply interwoven book that starts one way and then twists expectations and ends up somewhere very different.Of course, because my expectations were different now, and I've read the next four books in the series too: as I write I'm waiting for number 6 to come into print and be delivered - I didn't find it messed with my expectations. It did, however, I'm happy to say, live up to them. It is still a massive weave of complex intertwining stories operating at a range of levels from the mundane, to the political, to the magical, to the deific. It's beautiful executed and well worth the time and effort. On to book two!read more
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Totally confusing from beginning to end. Keep a dictionary at hand reading this one. I have no earthly idea what happened, who was hero and villian or both. NOT IMPRESSED!!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Great epic storytelling
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I've jsut re-read this.I remembered it as a massively complex, deeply interwoven book that starts one way and then twists expectations and ends up somewhere very different.Of course, because my expectations were different now, and I've read the next four books in the series too: as I write I'm waiting for number 6 to come into print and be delivered - I didn't find it messed with my expectations. It did, however, I'm happy to say, live up to them. It is still a massive weave of complex intertwining stories operating at a range of levels from the mundane, to the political, to the magical, to the deific. It's beautiful executed and well worth the time and effort. On to book two!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Do not let the large list of characters at the beginning of the book intimidate you. Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy at its best. The Malazan Empire has a new Empress and she is determined to conquer the world. The story focuses on the people she sends out to set her plans in motion and those that oppose them. This is the first of many in the Malazan Empire series.It takes a couple hundred pages to lay the foundation but once it does things really get going. I almost put the book down when I hit the second section and a second deluge of characters and information was introduced, completely separate and seemingly unrelated from the first portion of the book. I'm glad I stuck with it. This book has it all: war; magic; gods; assassins; politics; mystery; betrayal; loyalty. It offered a different twist on typical fantasy elements that I enjoyed. Erikson leaves several things for his readers to figure out as certain things are left deliberately ambiguous, which I also enjoyed. I may pick up other books in this series, especially if they feature Wiskeyjack and crew.
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There are few true masters of epic fantasy series. George R.R. Martin is one of the more recent authors to manage to create an epic fantasy series, but the list includes the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings) and Robert Jordan (The Wheel of Time). I truly love the grand scale and details the authors put into creating such worlds and stories. Recently, I found my way to buying Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon and began the quest to read through The Malazan Book of the Fallen series, one of the most celebrated epic fantasy series of all time. Gardens of the Moon has set the stage for a series of epic proportions and, on its on, is one of the best books I have ever read.Gardens of the Moon is the introductory book into the world of the Malazan Empire and Steven Erikson's amazing world. Similar to the Game of Thrones, Gardens of the Moon follows multiple storylines from multiple points of view. In one view, we follow the noble-born captain in the Malazan army, Ganoes Paran. In another, we follow the view of a young street thief named Crokus. While these two are the major characters in the book, Erikson also tells the story through other characters linked to Paran and Crokus. What is interesting about the book is how everything is connected. It is hard explaining this amazing fact without spoiling the story, but the sheer amount of thought needed to craft such a storyline is unthinkable and rivals that of the Game of the Thrones. In many ways, it surpasses it. The story is not as convoluted and vast as the political swamp that is the Game of Thrones, but it is just as suspenseful and unpredictable. There are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the very end and you grow to know each and every character. On its own, the story is amazing, but it also seems to be just a snippet of what is to come.The world of the Malazan Empire is created with stunning detail. Cities, towns, physical landmarks, and multitudes of animals inhabit the world created by Brooks. If you look at the maps provided before the beginning of the book, you will see just how detailed of the world he has created. Different regions or even different places are populated by a diverse group of people, similar to the mass of cultures in real life. Each group of people have unique cultural aspects that are different from others groups that bring the level of reality of the world beyond what is found in many other books like it.One of the major aspects of the book is its inclusion of magic. Gardens of the Moon and The Malazan Book of the Fallen series have a completely unique take on the aspect of magic. Brooks has blended sorcery and religion into a complex web. This blending has created a unique system of gods and magic of unparalleled complexity that I have never experienced before. The system is very confusing to explain and I do not fully understand it. This is due to the fact that the book does not even attempt to explain the rules behind such a system. It just throws you into the middle of the chaotic relationships between the gods and mortals. This problem is the only real major fault of the book, yet I find it absolutely amazing. Not only does the book pull you in with its unpredictable plot, but it stirs the curiosity to learn more about the system of magic and gods. Some people will find this way to confusing and will not enjoy the book and I would not blame them, but stick with it, and you will begin to see patterns and some image of rules behind it.Gardens of the Moon is a book unlike any other. The sheer vastness and detail of the world is enough tweak the curiosity of those looking for a challenge or looking to immerse themselves in another reality. The story is one of the most intriguing I have read so far, yet it still seems to be a snippet of a larger reality. Erikson has created the perfect book to capture readers everywhere and bring them into this amazing world.
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I love The Malazan Book of the Fallen. After seven books, I’m ready to call it the best fantasy series ever. Steven Erikson has both an amazing imagination and an ability to repeatedly conceive stories and imagery that resonate like the most powerful of myths. He offers great characters who undertake great tasks. And a dark sense of humor. Reading these books is hard work, but work with a consistent intellectual and emotional payoff. Having said that, I remember that, my first time through Gardens of the Moon I came away thinking “this is a pretty good story set in a really confusing universe.” I recently started a re-read of the entire series to date, and the second time around I came away from this book thinking, that while it is slow to get going (and the weakest of the series, so far at least, and I have pretty much given up on worrying that Erikson is going to start slumping now), it’s still a very entertaining story that provides a tantalizing introduction to this amazing world. Any new reader is going to struggle a bit with being thrown into Erikson’s massively complex world with only a listing of dramatis personae and a bit of a glossary. Erikson’s paints on a really big canvas, giving us many layers to unravel in many areas: geography, races, history, geopolitical structure, physics, magic system, etc. This first book of the series is one where the new reader is going to have to pay close attention, re-read passages from time to time, and accept that quite a few things about this world are simply not going to make a whole lot of sense for a few books. I don’t have a problem with any of that. Some people have complained that Erikson keeps pulling bigger and badder-ass magic out of nowhere in a way reminiscent of a novice RPG master, but I don’t really see it that way. This is a world where both the elder races and the ascendants are much more powerful than man (not that they don’t have their own weaknesses and challenges to worry about). It’s a good thing for humanity that, with the exception of the occasional Jaghut Tyrant, they’re all generally much more interested in their long-standing conflicts with each other than in dominating us puny lesser mortals (although they’re clearly not above using the occasional human as a pawn). This book does have weaknesses beyond simply having a complicated setting. The introduction almost feels trite. Some of the writing is choppy and confusing. The Battle for Pale, Parran’s visit to Hood’s Gates (if anyone can explain to me where exactly his sword came from I would appreciate it), and Tattersail’s immolation still leave me confused after multiple re-readings. The geography also at times seems not to make sense (or maybe it’s more fair to say that the map and the world don’t always match). Lake Azur doesn’t seem anywhere near big enough to support a substantial water-born merchant trade complete with privateers. And how can each of the four levels of Darujhistan, from highest to lowest, all be immediately adjacent to a Lake? The characterization also takes quite a while to really draw you in. To the extent that the book has a single protagonist you’d have to say it is Ganoes Paran. I find it hard to warm to Ganoes much, especially in the first two thirds of this book (i.e., up until his fateful meeting with Anomander Rake). We’re told that he’s a good guy (rather than being shown that he’s a good guy). Much of what he says and does feels unconvincing (including the strange little romance with Tattersail). In a book that constantly bounces back between storylines and characters it inevitably takes a while to get to know everyone. The Bridgeburners are likable and easy to root for. It is easy to sense that Quick Ben, Whiskeyjack, and Kalam are going to be the real stars of the series. And while it takes a while for Sorry to evolve into more than Cotillion’s pawn, I found her an intriguing and ultimately empathetic character. The supporting characters are generally quite strong. The Phoenix Inn regulars are a likable lot, with the mysteriously powerful and deliciously funny Kruppe stealing just every scene he pops into. Characters like Anomander Rake, Hairlock, Onos T’oolan are all original and memorable. And while it takes a while to develop much momentum, the story does start to come together nicely about halfway through the book, building tension and keeping you turning pages. Erikson gives us a few of the brilliantly inspired scenes that will mark the series going forward (my favorite being Paran’s brief visit inside Dragnipur). And as the multi-layered (and at times confusing) story moves towards its multi-layered (and at times confusing) conclusion, we can tell that this is an author who is going to be well worth reading.
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