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Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen #1)

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  49,106 ratings  ·  2,710 reviews
This special edition is limited to only 500 numbered copies signed by the author.
Hardcover, 560 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by Subterranean Press (first published January 1st 1999)
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Megan Vincent I also love a Song of Ice and Fire and I love this series as well so far (I'm on House of Chains, the 4th book).
It is very confusing as the world is…more
I also love a Song of Ice and Fire and I love this series as well so far (I'm on House of Chains, the 4th book).
It is very confusing as the world is very detailed, and new characters/plots continue to be introduced even into the 4th book that completely change the story line.
I still really enjoy the book because for me that is not a dealbreaker. However if you are someone that likes to know where a story is going ahead of time and doesn't like an overly complex plot this may not be the series for you.
Personally I love the depth of the world, and I love how Erikson keeps the reader on their toes by introducing new characters and depths to the story.(less)
Robinhj Sapper is not a made up word, you should find it in the dictionary; my grandmother even had a dog named 'Sapper'. Originally in medieval times they…moreSapper is not a made up word, you should find it in the dictionary; my grandmother even had a dog named 'Sapper'. Originally in medieval times they were the people that dug tunnels and planted explosives to collapse castle walls etc. The verb was 'To sap'. In later wars they were the branch of the army that laid or cleared minefields wholesale (as opposed to Bomb Disposal), built or laid temporary bridges and other 'Engineering' duties. In the British Army A 'Sapper' would be in the Royal Engineers but I believe the US Army has them as individual members of Light Combined Arms teams eg alongside Rangers. British Commandos would also have combat engineering specialists as part of a team but they would not call them 'Sappers' as far as I know.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 18, 2014 seak rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to seak by:
Shelves: 2013
UPDATE: I've just reread this book so I've updated my review, which you can find at the end of my little lovenote here. :)

Why Read The Malazan Book of the Fallen, or A Love Note to Steven Erikson (Okay, not really the latter)

If you've even attempted to read Gardens of the Moon, the first book in the 10 book epic that is the Malazan Book of the Fallen, you'll see very quickly that you're not given much as a reader. It's confusing, it's complicated, it's full of mysteries and myriad of characters
If only I hadn’t put on that little black dress. Perhaps that would’ve saved this one for me. I mean, not only did I put on the little black dress, the one cutjusttothere. I did the hair. I put on the heels too. Everyone who has that little black dress or is dating someone who does knows what heels I mean. You guys have been in that mood where you really just want to go out- paint the town red like you’re Sinatra and are just, as they used to say of kings, in the mood to be pleased, right? Whoev ...more
"Now these ashes gave grown cold, we open the old book.
These oil-stained pages recount the tales of the Fallen,
a frayed empire, words without warmth. The hearth
has ebbed, its gleam and life's sparks are but memories
against dimming eyes - what cast my mind, what hue my
thoughts as I open the Book of the Fallen
and breathe deep the scent of history?
Listen, then, to these words carried on that breath.
These tales are the tales of us all, again yet again.
We are history relived and that is all, without
mark monday
i feel like i'm being pretty generous in giving this 3 stars. okay, it is my good deed for 2011. now don't say i never did nuthin' for you, steven erikson!

the cons: so much, where do i even start. (1) the dialogue is a joke, a sad flailing uncomfortable joke, the kind that just goes on and on and i start to look away from the joke teller in embarrassment. corny corn, beyond belief. (2) and the characterizations - so flat! so trite. and when they weren't trite - just entirely unrealistic. there a
David Sven
This is my second reading of Gardens of the Moon. I’ve long suspected that the best way to read Erikson’s Malazan series is to read it again. I can now confirm that suspicion has been proved correct as far as this book goes. I loved rereading this book. There were so many times reading the series initially that I felt certain information and story arcs and characters just came out of left field. But having read this first book again I am astounded at the sheer level and volume of foreshadowing c ...more
Gardens of the Moon is the first in Steven Erikson's gargantuan and oddly named fantasy series, Malazan Book of the Fallen. What's odd about it is that it took me THREE tries to get through this first volume. The first two times I tried, I got one or two hundred pages in and just lost interest, mainly because I was confused and didn't know what was going on. But the third time I tried it just clicked and I enjoyed it. Figuring out why this is the case took some thought, and I believe it boils do ...more
Jeffrey Keeten
"Every decision you make can change he world. The best life is the one the gods don't notice. You want to live free, boy, live quietly."


Great advice anytime, but even better advice when your world is in a constant state of war. Living large as the younger generation used to say. I'm sure I'm at least a few years out of date with that term. I think someone "living large" is exactly who the universe is most attracted to, not that it is above toying with the occasional poor bastard who just happen
This was a tough book to get into.

There is no spoon-feeding here. You are thrown into the world that Erikson created with no back story or explanation. Although there is a glossary of important terms and people. I suggest putting it to good use, like I did.

Nothing is clear from the start, but once you start getting invested and reading between the lines, you start to notice how truly amazing this book is. There are a lot of characters, and despite finishing this mammoth book I feel like I have b
Gardens of the Moon is an ambitious, dense and challenging book. The reader is dropped into a world with thousands of years of history. A history of war, politics, violence and intrigue. A world where the gods themselves scheme and battle for power. Names, places and concepts are suddenly thrown at the reader without any attempt at simplification … and it was this difficulty that ultimately made this book so rewarding. If you can persevere through the challenges this book throws at you, you’ll r ...more
Dec 02, 2007 Ben rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy buffs
Technically speaking I read this book and the Ice and Fire series as work-related research. I think that the cover alone might have been enough to scare me off otherwise. This book is quality, though not *great* fantasy fare. By and large I enjoyed it in the role of fantasy geek; my more literary aspect was full of frowns as smiles throughout the course of it.

The book is not well written; specifically, it is bad prose written by someone who is very intelligent, but lacks an ear for poetry, or in
A year or so ago someone PM'ed me on Goodreads out of the blue, practically demanding why I haven't read the Malazan series. I was simultaneously pleased and annoyed, the former because somebody seems to think I am some kind of SF/F guru who can be presumed to have read every worthwhile book in these genres, the latter because it's a bit rude init? Still, a backhanded compliment is better than no compliment, or an actual application of somebody’s backhand on my person.

Gardens of the Moon has a r
Executive Summary: This is not a book for the faint of heart, or the first time fantasy reader. Mr. Erikson makes you think, and READ. No skimming allowed. Every word can be important. It's certainly not for everybody, but if you stick with it, I think most people will find their efforts greatly rewarded.

Full Review
This is a case of, you were right Good Reads recommendation engine. Why didn't I listen to you?

Shortly after joining good reads last year and putting all my books in, I checked out
So I finally got around reading the famous Erikson - finally got around reading the first book that is. This book is definitely not a standalone, but the start of a massive series and, honestly, every paragraph oozes its epicness. You can't miss it!

I had been warned about getting confused and this series being very complicated, but I actually thought it was all right. It's not a fast read, that's true, and you can't skim anything at all. I've also realized that I needed to get my chapters in ear
Yeah, I'm officially calling this one. Time of death: 9:18pm EST, March 6th, 2014.

My interest level in this book has only declined since I started it. That's not unusual for me, considering that I often anticipate a book much more than I enjoy the actual reading of it, but this one... Shit. It wasn't even that it was bad, it was just that it was so fucking all over the place, and I just don't have that kind of patience anymore. Not for a single book that gives me nothing to work with after 300+
Update 10/19/11. After my second reading I love this book even more. Any confusion I had before was cleared up. And I cannot believe how much more I got out of it. I love the style. The world. The characters. I think this could end up as my favorite fantasy series. Period.

First I have a confession to make. I was a pre teen reading high school melodrama when I picked up my first fantasy book. It was a Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman Dragonlance book. And I quickly fell in love with the world of e
Robin (Bridge Four)
This was the hardest I had to work at a book in a long time. There are so many characters, magics, peoples, gods and shear volume of information that I had difficulty keeping track. This diminished my enjoyment a little bit. Also the author doesn't ever definitively give you an answer to situations. There is enough information to draw a conclusion but I still don't have any ideas if the conclusions I've drawn are correct. I don't mind working a little for a good story but I wish I had read a few ...more
I like this book a lot. The author says he was inspired by Glen Cook's Black Company, and it shows. This is not an easy read. There are a lot of names to keep track of, places, races, etc. The glossary of major players in the beginning helps a lot; my advice for new readers: use it every time you encounter a new name, or forgot who this once mentioned person is. It does not help that as soon as a subplot gets really exciting (fortunately, this happens a lot), the author switches to another, much ...more

Steven Erikson's first entry in the ten book series The Malazan Book of the Fallen is a promising opening entry for the series. It is also to me a masterclass in how to create entertaining gritty fantasy fiction. There were visible flaws in dialogue and it took a brief time to adjust to the novel's unique method of showing events but once I did it was very much worth it. I feel that over the next nine novels everything will improve even more and have some sense of wrapping up in a conclusion. Th
Jen Mendeck
Well, I finally finished. It did get better, although it took more like 200 pages to do so. I was never more than mildly interested, though, and I really didn't like it enough for it to have been worth the pain of the beginning.

The problems with this book as I see them:

- The author seems to think it makes things mysterious if he doesn't explian what he's talking about. The result is you're halfway through the book before you can picture anything in your head.
- Character development is an afterth
Let me state right at the beginning that I am typically not a fan of fiction series. Too often, I have begun a series or made my way through the first two books in a series only to find that the writer ran out of steam (and new ideas) somewhere along the way. Being a writer, I understand this. Sustaining the intensity required to write one novel for any length of time is difficult. Being a reader, I've been bitten one too many times by this lack of staying power on the part of several authors. N ...more
This was my second read of Gardens of the Moon, I had read the book in June 11 so it was relatively fresh in my memory. I remember when I was half way through this series thinking to myself, i cannot wait to start this again. I was less than 5 pages into this re-read when i realised just how much I was going to enjoy the story with the knowledge I had.

Erikson is a brilliant story teller, There are a number of 'Epics' out there, to be honest, there probably needs to be another honorific that tra
I struggled with what to rate this book because I went through so many different emotions whilst reading it. This is unlike any other book I've read in that not only is the world ridiculously layered and the plots intricately woven, but much of the story is dictated by chance and luck and there's all sorts of thrilling and unique scenes within this.

We follow a whole cast of characters and are constantly picking up more as we go through the story. Some of my favourites from within this book are:
Mike (the Paladin) was a near thing. I was sure for a while that this would be a 4 star read and indeed were I dividing up "parts of the book" much of it would be 5 stars. Several of my friends love this book and it comes highly recommended. I found that while I was sucked in quickly there were many times that I simply lost interest.

This is another epic fantasy told in the time honored style of many points of view. Some of these were very interesting others I found yawningly slow and only got through th
Apr 03, 2013 Jon added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: Fantasy Book Club May 2010 Selection
Over the years a lot of my old favorites have failed to stand the test of time and have disappointed me when the time for a re-read has rolled around. I'm happy to say that, despite the near 14 year gap between my two reads, Gardens of the Moon was as good value for its 5 star rating this time around as it was the first time I read it. It was an incredibly entertaining book. It had almost everything a fantasy fan could wish for. Fantastic world building, a complex plot, a huge cast of characters ...more
Jul 01, 2013 Terence rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of epic fantasy; Malazan groupies
Recommended to Terence by: SFBC random pick
Shelves: sf-fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maggie K
I truly can not recommend this book enough. Though Erikson's style of plopping down right in the middle of the story might throw some people off, I appreciated the lack of obvious exposition as we switched from view point to viewpoint and patiently wait for the pieces to 'click' together. Yes, there is a large cast of characters, and yes, you will have to refer to the list of them at the beginning of the book, but when it all clicks into place it is a truly wondrous world.
It's also important to
Feb 05, 2013 Candace rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Candace by: The Malazan Fallen

One of the things I loved about this book was that the plot and its many sub-plots are a continuous mystery. You the reader are solving this "mystery of the plots" throughout the book. Who did what when and where. Erikson does not spoon-feed you a story with a nice begining, middle, and end. You must work for the details of the plot. I like this challenge. I found it refreshing and would not spoil it for anyone. However, when people saw that I was reading Gardens
Damian Dubois
This book has it all - swords, sorcery, immortals, hounds of death and even an insane marionette mage!! What more could you want from a fantasy based series? This is simply a superb book and a great introduction to the Malazan world.

Not sure what all the previous posters are on about concerning the first 200 pages being bewildering or hard to get into - I was well and truly hooked by the time I got to page 200! A must read if you're into the fantasy genre.
Have you ever watched an episode of "The Twillight Zone" where you really weren't sure what the hell was going on but kept with it anyway? Reading Gardens of the Moon was like that for me, but with each turn of a page my joyful experience grew like a snowball rolling down a mountain in Omtose Phellack.

I thought this book was a fantastic start to what promises to be a truly epic fantasy series. I was a little apprehensive about starting this series due to the sheer size of the cast of characters
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Fantasy and Sci-F...: Chapters 14 & 15 8 36 Nov 07, 2015 04:27PM  
Malazan like/dislike ? 16 245 Jul 21, 2015 02:52AM  
Beyond Reality: GARDENS OF THE MOON: Roll Call and First Impressions (*NO SPOILERS*) 35 67 Jun 27, 2015 09:53AM  
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Steven Erikson is the pseudonym of Steve Rune Lundin, a Canadian novelist, who was educated and trained as both an archaeologist and anthropologist. His best-known work is the on-going series, the Malazan Book of the Fallen.
More about Steven Erikson...

Other Books in the Series

The Malazan Book of the Fallen (10 books)
  • Deadhouse Gates (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #2)
  • Memories of Ice (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #3)
  • House of Chains (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #4)
  • Midnight Tides (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #5)
  • The Bonehunters (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #6)
  • Reaper's Gale (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #7)
  • Toll the Hounds (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #8)
  • Dust of Dreams (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #9)
  • The Crippled God (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #10)

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“Tell me, Tool, what dominates your thoughts?'
The Imass shrugged before replying.
'I think of futility, Adjunct.'
'Do all Imass think about futility?'
'No. Few think at all.'
'Why is that?'
The Imass leaned his head to one side and regarded her.
'Because Adjunct, it is futile.”
“Ambition is not a dirty word. Piss on compromise. Go for the throat.” 114 likes
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