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Gardens of the Moon

(Malazan Book of the Fallen #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  77,105 ratings  ·  4,602 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, 666 pages
Published January 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…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…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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3.88  · 
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 ·  77,105 ratings  ·  4,602 reviews

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Dec 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to seak by:
Shelves: 2013, reread
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 you can easily become overwhelmed. Not to mention, Gardens of the Moon isn't nearly as well-written as the
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 the
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: epic fantasy fans
Here we go. This is my first review for Steven Erikson’s highly acclaimed epic fantasy series: Malazan Book of the Fallen.

Malazan has been in my TBR for one year seven months now. I’ve heard countless amazing things about the series but the sizes, the spreading words of mouth on the complexities, the need for extra focus, the commitment, and the elitist assholes of the series made me postpone starting it for a long time. Despite hearing amazing things about the quality of the series, it required
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 all became, a
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’
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, without
James Tivendale
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, malazan
I am jealous of many of my Goodreads friends working their way through Malazan, so I have decided to do a re-read alongside them. I will do the recommended reading order this time too including ICE's books. :) x
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!

Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of epic fantasy
Recommended to Orient by: Evgeny
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 gardens
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
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
TS Chan
Apr 2017: Rewritten, spoiler-free review.

Gardens of the Moon is the overture to The 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 - wh
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 happen
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 history?
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.

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
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
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
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
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
And Thus I Signed My Death Warrant DNF Buddy Read (ATISMDWBR™) with some lovely people of slightly despicable book taste over at BB&B ☢

DNF at 75%. No comment.

Friendly warning: grab a snack and get a drink, this whole lot of nuthin' should take a while.

➽ This crappy non-review is dedicated to all those Brave Little Barnacles (BLB™) out there who went the nefarious way and dared NOT luuurrrrrve this book. Consider my subaquatic kingdom a safe haven from the Erikson Horde of Doom (EHoD™), w
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 r
Robin (Bridge Four)
2nd Read March 2017

This is still a bit of a complicated book with a lot of stuff in it and I'm glad I read it with BB&B so that we could discuss some of the things I wasn't quite picking up on.

Problem #1 again is I don't think this is a good book to try and listen too. So much is going on and there are so many PoV shifts that it doesn't matter that the narrator is really pretty good it just makes the entire thing very hard to follow. So since I'm continuing on with this series I will probab
Aug 01, 2008 rated it liked it
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
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
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
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
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
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
May 01, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: owned
Me: But... aren't you stressed about how many series you've started reading??

May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: epic-fantasy, fantasy
I went into reading this book like I was on an adventure and that is exactly what I got. Oh my! Where to start? For prospective initiates to the Malazan series I would recommend :
- concentration
- time
- a notebook (large)
- comfy sofa
- plenty of snacks
This book gets 4 stars right now because of the amount of work it took to read it, but I reserve the right to upgrade later. I suspect the series is a 5 star read.

I was on holiday this week and had no plans to read this book. In fact I had a nice sel
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: Gardens of the Moon [Jan 1, 2019] 242 116 Feb 23, 2019 12:30PM  
SciFi and Fantasy...: "Gardens of the Moon" Finished/ What did you think? <Definite Spoilers> 80 339 Feb 03, 2019 09:16AM  
New Malazan podcast 1 10 Jan 14, 2019 08:58AM  
Fantasy Buddy Reads: Gardens of the Moon [Jan 2018] 766 254 Jan 01, 2019 05:54PM  
Daniel Abraham or Steven Erickson next? 10 97 Sep 18, 2018 10:01AM  
How did he do it? 2 35 Aug 24, 2018 05:02AM  

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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.

Other books in the series

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