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Gardens of the Moon

(Malazan Book of the Fallen #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  104,003 ratings  ·  6,777 reviews
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.

Mass Market Paperback, 657 pages
Published 2005 by Tor Books (first published April 1999)
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Matt I think people are being overly nice to this book. Disclaimer: I enjoyed it. But I don't think it's 5 stars.

Problems: the names in Song of Ice and Fir…more
I think people are being overly nice to this book. Disclaimer: I enjoyed it. But I don't think it's 5 stars.

Problems: the names in Song of Ice and Fire make sense. They belong in the world that's created. The names in Gardens of the Moon _don't make sense_ and it makes it that much harder to follow what's going on. Sorry, Stewart, Quick Ben, Ganoes Paran, Tehol Beddict, Tayschrenn, Onos T'oolan, Laseen, I could go on... these names don't have any conformity, it's like a 5 year old trying to make up words. They don't belong in the same culture or language. Contrast Martin's names like Lannister, Winterfell, Tyrell, Stark, etc. they all sound like they're in the same world.

Second, the writing style of detailed characters and plots twisting every this way and that is *not* literary genius. It's confusing and personally I think it's a _failure_ on his part that he's writing such an intricate world that you can't piece together. (I'm not a stupid person, either) The holes and plot twists should normally get you excited and intrigued to keep you going, but instead you just end up ignoring what should be important and can't get invested.

That being said, I'm going to read at least the first five, because the positives outweigh the negatives. (The magic is great, the battles are great) But to answer your question, I think it's a mistake to presume you'll enjoy this just because you enjoyed Song of Ice and Fire.(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 we…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)

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Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: epic fantasy fans
I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo

Here we go. This is my first review for Steven Erikson’s highly acclaimed epic fantasy series: Malazan Book of the Fallen.

Malazan Book of the Fallen has been in my TBR pile for one year seven months now. I’ve heard countless amazing things about the series, but the sizes, the fame of the complexities, the need for extra focus, the commitment, and the elitist jerks of the series have made me postpone starting it for a
Dec 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to seak by: Sffworld.com
Shelves: 2013, reread
Hey, I have a youtube channel now and made a video based on this essay: Why Read Malazan Book of the Fallen

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 and magics that
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
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
OMG! (Bloody Hell if I don’t finish this series!!)

I loved this book soooo much!!

"Anomander Rake, Lord of the Tiste Andii, who are the souls of Starless Night. Rake, the Mane of Chaos. That’s who the Moon’s lord is, and you’re pitting four High Mages and a single cadre against him."

There are things I don't understand but I have some lovely Goodreads friends I can go to if I need answers.

Also, this is a series I will be able to read over and over and find new tidbits! And, I did understand t
Mark Lawrence
About ten years ago, around the time my first book was published, I pulled this off our shelves at home as we left the house to go to the accident & emergency department with my disabled daughter, who was having a seizure.

I had never heard of the book or the author before. I read a hundred pages or so in the small hours of the morning in a noisy, brightly lit A&E department. I didn't like it at all. The style didn't agree with me and a great number of characters were coming at me with very litt
Luna. ✨
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
full review now up


Buddy read with my soul sister and my pals at BB&B

“Ambition is not a dirty word. Piss on compromise. Go for the throat.”

So I have stared at my phone screen for approx 96 hours trying to think of a review for this and I'm still left speechless, so I have vomited up some words for y'all to enjoy, description
if you want a proper review check Eriksons GR page there's only 3,000 of them...

“Too many regrets. Lost chances—and with each one passing the less human we al
Dana Ilie
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Dana by: Moglan Radu
Shelves: fantasy
I began my journey into the Malazan series in a similar manner that I’m sure some others have. I was sure I’d fall on the side of those who didn’t like this. The reviews are so polarising, and so many people talk about how difficult this series is. I don’t have the time or energy for that, but all of my friends are reading or have already read this. Am I really going to be the only one who hasn’t?
Then I thought: maybe I’ll just read the first one, this world sounds so interesting, I feel like I’
Daniel B.
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I get the feeling the entire Malazan series will benefit from a reread. I want to sit on this one and think before putting out a review sometime this week.
TS Chan
Gardens of the Moon is the grand overture to Malazan Book of the Fallen, providing just a glimmer of what this massive, grimdark epic fantasy tale has to offer, which is best described below in the author's own words.

"Now these ashes have 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
Jeffrey Keeten
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"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 hap
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of epic fantasy
Recommended to Orient by: Gene
Reread 2018.01.04-26.

Wow, loved this book even more. It was awesome meeting the characters I love from the first read, everything got clearer and all the tiny clever bits which weren't spotted the first time - blew my mind 😱💜

Original review 2016.11.12-23

Crokus studied Moon's Spawn instead...
'Do you see its oceans?' Apsalar asked.
'What?' He turned.
'Its oceans. Grallin's Sea. That's the big one. The Lord of the Deep Waters living there is named Grallin. He tends vast, beautiful underwater garde
Mayim de Vries
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chapter 24: I am finished. On many levels.*

Chapter 23: I wish to say I understand everything. Alas, I do not.

Chapter 22: The most amazing thing about this novel is not the fact that it gives you the whole galaxies of protagonists and plotlines. The whole genius that has shaken so many readers with tremors of awe (count me in!) lies in how masterfully each of those shining stars is connected with the others and in how many minuscule surfaces of seemingly random details this is reflected.

Dec 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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, witho
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
25.01.2018. Re-read update:

A brilliant introduction to the greatest epic fantasy series ever. A bold statement isn’t it? And a true one, as well.

''Now these ashes have 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 hi
Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews
Mar 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
A confusing book with immense potential for the rest of the series.

I struggled a little with this book because of how confusing it is. I found myself at peace once you realize that you aren't supposed to understand everything, or even most things. You have to trust that the series will eventually make things clear to you, and it's obvious that this book is probably a 5/5 on a re-read after you are done with the series.

The foundation is there for a wonderful series.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a buddy read with the gang at BB&B.

Gardens of the Moon is the first book in Steven Erikson's epic Malazan book of the Fallen series. The word epic may be overused when describing some books, but that is not the case here. Erikson has created one of the most vast world's I have ever read. The amount of characters, magic system, history, plots and subplots is on a level of its own. My advice when reading this is just go with the flow of the book. If you try to remember every detail i
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a delightful larger-than-life fantasy novel!

I was prepared to assume that it was going to be filled with an army of confused characters mired in grit and blood and that I shouldn't expect too much from the first novel because the series gets seriously good later.

I might have managed my expectations a bit too much, because I was delighted, instead. I've been a fan of the Final Fantasy RPGs since the first one, so I'm quite used to a lot of these tropes, plus I'm also a fan of the Cthulhu myt
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
Petros Triantafyllou
Sep 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Loved this to pieces. From characters and setting, to prose and pace, every single aspect of the book was magnificent. If I could give it 6 stars, I would.
There's no point of reviewing such a popular book though, so I'll simply share some of my thoughts for people who have already read it. Spoilers ahead!

While things seemed complicated at first, I knew that they would come together in the end, so I enjoyed trying to puzzle stuff together and figure out everyone's motives and whatnot. Unfort
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
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
Now THIS is what I call a pleasant surprise.

I’m very tempted to jump right onto book two but

First order of business: recharge brain battery.


Let’s... DO THIS!

Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-grim
My second read leads me to believe that this is a series that only gets better with re-reading!!! I find myself needing to bump my rating this time to

*** 4.44 ***

so it isn't full 5 stars - this way I have space to bump it more the next time I revisit it:):):)

A buddy re-read with the folks at FBR! Because once is never enough when it comes to Malazan!!!

"..."Tell me, Tool, what dominates your thoughts?"
The Imass shrugged before replying. "I think of futility, Adjunct."
"Do all Imass think about f
Mario the lone bookwolf
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: erikson-steven
A unique series with the only flaw of being so complex that one really gets into flow in the second and third parts when the scenery is unfolding. Before, it´s close to a bit of work to get into this colossal epos. The best example for this is the rating, that gets amazingly high after the first part.

I am still very vividly remembering reading the first novel and permanently trying to internalize the plot, constellations, and context, something I automated to recall elements of books for a longe
mark monday
Feb 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-modern
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
Scott  Hitchcock
The second time through what stood out to me was my own idiocy in not seeing certain things the first time through. I think the things that makes Erikson tough to figure out is the pure volume of information he's throwing at you. There's one particular reveal in book 2, which I was blown away by in the first reading, that re-reading this it was so crystal clear if I just read between the lines.

Re-reading this two years later I was also shocked at parts I had forgotten completely. Part of that w
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I never realized I would be able to read a book twice, let alone three times. Yet this is the first book I read for 4 times. And each time is a blast. It is also starting to feel like a new year resolution to try to get to the rest of the Malazan series reads. Let's see if this is the Malazan year for me!


- - - - - - - - - -
The third read confirms 5 stars. This is one of the best fantasy series; not only the complexity and the world building awards this r
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Jen - The Tolkien Gal
Disclaimer: I listened to the audio book so if I spelled the names horribly wrong, forgive me.

So I decided a belated review (about three months belated) was necessary before I start with Deadhouse Gates

So this book hit me so hard I stumbled, spontaneously combusted and subsequently melted into my own puddle of goop.

Shake your first all you want, but dead is dead

Here's my erudite review of this book:

Plot: fucking awesome
Character development: fucking awesome
Writing: fucking awesome
Characters: F
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
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
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Play Book Tag: Gardens of The Moon by Steven Erikson 5 stars 1 9 Apr 02, 2022 05:55AM  
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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 series, the Malazan Book of the Fallen.


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Dragons, demons, kings, queens, and the occasional farm boy (with a special destiny, of course): Fantasy literature has it all! To celebrate...
520 likes · 292 comments
“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.” 263 likes
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