The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting, and bloody confrontations with 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 dreaded Claw assassins. For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, their lone surviving mage, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.
However, 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 voice.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Excellent, especially in place of a reread
I’ll start off by saying that I adore the entire series and have read them all in print. After a couple of years this audiobook satisfied my hankering to return to the Malazan universe and renewed my appreciation of what is a masterful piece of fiction, even if it is not for everyone.
Being able to hear Ralph Lister excellently and inventively portray the diverse cast was a pleasure. He is able to bring a huge cast of characters to life in a truly impressive fashion. The book itself if one of Erikson’s weaker ones, which is understandable as it is the first in the series. It certainly does not hold the listener’s hands and careful attention is needed to grasp the full focus. That does not mean it is bad. To the contrary it slowly develops into a uniquely excellent experience and the final third of the book is phenomenal. If you are a fan of darker epic fantasy with less flights of fancy and more moral ambiguity and philosophical introspection this will likely keep your attention.
However, I may be biased as to the efficacy of the audio book to get across the extent of Erikson’s work as I have read the series in advance. Given the complexity of the series, the lack of initial context, and the high level of language and subtlety it would probably be best to approach the series in print for one’s first read through. It is a series that warrants revisiting and rewards careful examination and this audiobook and it’s sequels have enriched my experience of the Malazan universe in that capacity.
Even Better the Second Time
If this is your first time reading Erikson's epic series then you should know that he doesn't pull any punches. Erikson begins by immediately you immersing you in a world that is fully developed and thought out.
Erikson is writing in a universe which he shares with Esslemont, who has written (and is writing) a series that runs prior and parallel to Erikson's. There is also an incredibly extensive backstory that the two of them have worked out and which Erikson is actually using to write his new prequel series.
So, all that being said, there are going to be a lot of things which you simply won't get when you first start the series, but that's how Erikson wants it! Don't try and understand everything immediately but just keep moving along and enjoying Erikson's incredible use of language and epic storytelling (and I do mean epic in the classical sense of the word, not in the modern-hip colloquial sense--there are gods, other realms, and heroes galore in this story).
If you're not interested in fantasy-fiction that includes a lot of military action then you should probably move along. Also, if you need everything explained completely and immediately then this also probably isn't the story for you, though you could try reading Esslemont's stuff and then coming back.
Overall, the Malazan Book of the Fallen series is an impressive mix of Jordan and Martin. It gives you grit, death, and despair without succumbing to the nihilism which I find pervasive in Martin's Song of Ice and Fire (or Game of Thrones).
But, finally, the book is only $15.00!!! That is an amazing steal for an audiobook and this one is even longer than most. Give the first book a shot and if you don't like it then at worst you are out $15.00. If you do, then you have just bought yourself 100+ hours of fun as the rest of the books continue to be put on audiobook (10 in all)!
I've waited so long
I cannot read so I listen to audiobooks. I've waited so so long for this! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to experience one of the most celebrated fantasy epics of all time.