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Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Gardens of the Moon: The Malazan Book of the Fallen 1 by Steven Erikson, read by Ralph Lister. 

Bled dry by interminable warfare, infighting and bloody confrontations with Lord Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, the vast, sprawling Malazan Empire simmers with discontent. 

Even its imperial legions yearn for some respite. For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his Bridgeburners and for Tattersail, sole surviving sorceress of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, still holds out - and Empress Lasseen's ambition knows no bounds. 

However, it seems the empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister forces gather as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand....

Conceived and written on an epic scale, Gardens of the Moon is a breathtaking achievement - a novel in which grand design, a dark and complex mythology, wild and wayward magic and a host of enduring characters combine with thrilling, powerful storytelling to resounding effect. Acclaimed by writers and critics alike, here is the opening chapter in what has been hailed a landmark of epic fantasy: the awesome Malazan Book of the Fallen.

©1999 Steven Erikson (P)2019 Random House Audiobooks

What listeners say about Gardens of the Moon

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If you are reading these for the first time ...

I love these books; I am a massive fan. I have owned them in paper, on kindle and now narrated. You will note the length of the books, with a massive 300 hrs (roughly) across the 10 books, reading them is not something to take lightly. But please believe me, it is worth the journey. This is a rollercoaster of a ride, with loud laughter, tears, disgust and moments when you can't believe the author wrote that storyline. Definitely an (18) rating, no mistaking this. GotM is a great opener and for a long time was my favourite of the series. You will read parts which make little sense, but store these up, as you will understand them in later books. The first 3 narrated by Ralph Lister, he is good and deserves 5 stars for his performance, the latter books are read by Michael Page; I have listened to the books a number of times and on the latest listening the stressing of the names has changed, seriously, a bit weird. If you decide to stop at any time, that is fine, as these books are contained and complete stories - apart from 9 and 10 potentially, but don't skip in numbers as the books builds your knowledge of the Malazan 'verse and later books won't be as enjoyable. Deep breath!! Be brave and begin - trust me you won't be the same at the end. And just to be controversial, this series leaves Games of Thrones standing, after all it is original and GOT is a re-telling of the war of the roses :-)

63 people found this helpful

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Ignore the doubters!

Before I delved into this series I was struck by the polarised opinion it produced. I did a little research on forums and though some will see it as over the top this is a huge undertaking when viewing the number of books in the series and the world and so some forethought is warranted. This is amazing! The language and writing style is wonderful and as beautifully crafted as the originality and scale of the world it depicts. This is not fast food fantasy and it took me longer to get through as an audio book or a kindle than normal. There are resources on Tor and wiki (without spoilers) for an introduction or character overview which some may find helpful as did I. Also there are mixed reviews for the performance, I don't understand those at all, I thought it was masterful and did the material great justice. This is not black and white characterisation but is hugely gripping and immersive in a truly original and epic world. Please give it a try!

16 people found this helpful

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Interesting book, struggled with the performance...

I found it hard to keep up with narration. Every character (bar Cropper) was given the same voice. I am used to listening to Narrators like Kate Reading and Stephen Fry who vary the characters significantly. Considering the story follows so many different characters I struggled to keep up, suddenly realising that I was know long being told about the same character. I listened to the first few chapters a number of times with the same issue, then just decided to persist to the end. Overall I enjoyed the concept of the book but am certain I missed things.

10 people found this helpful

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Disjointed to the point of being unlistenable

Over 4 hours in to the book and I have yet to discern what the story is actually about. Good fantasy shouldn't be this hard to like.

Didn't finish.

9 people found this helpful

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Who's who, when, where or why 🤷‍♂️

Had this series recommended by loads of people. Reviews all lean towards it being a fantastic read however after 10hrs I haven't got a clue what's going on who's who, or when, where or why....I doubt I'll go any further with this as its just not enjoyable.

7 people found this helpful

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So good I had to write this review.

If you are pondering whether to make the commitment to listening to such a long series of books, rest assured, these are amongst the best narrated and enthralling works of fantasy writing I have come across. There is no doubt that these plots are complex but this adds to the enjoyment. Too much fantasy is cliched and aimed at younger adults, though often entertaining enough. This series is intellectually stimulating and enthralling. The narration is equally good, I cannot recommend this enough. I’m now on the fourth book and felt I had to reassure potential purchasers that this is time and money well spent! Many thanks!

15 people found this helpful

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Its no "Ice & Fire"...

I was looking for something to satisfy my hunger until the next game of thrones book is out, this sadly, is not that book or series.
Its Pales (pun intended) in comparison, and whoever compares it to the World of Ice and Fire, probably hasn't read one or the other.

This book was written as a forebear to some role-playing game, and frankly, it shows.

Details:
The world is staggeringly small considered what ive heard about it, and the one-the-nose magic, the "gods" are poorly written/ fleshed out. You just have to accept that something happened with no real understanding of how or why, "magic did it"... etc.
The hundreds of names of places, times, people, gods, religions are thrown about as if we should know what they are, and it makes it all so jarring.
Finally, as soon as you begin to get to enjoy a character and their plot, the chapter/paragraph will end and you will be stuck with someone else and have to start all over again that may not relate to anything youve read for hours ha. Its like starting a new book every hour that vaguely relates to what youve read before.

12 people found this helpful

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rubbish

listened to 4 hours, doesnt do any character descriptions, throws so many in you dont know who is who, tries to mention scenes from the past, obviously planning prequel books or has them already, fine for the writer but makes it even more confusing, trash book

5 people found this helpful

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Couldn't get past the third chapter.

I was thrilled by the narrator's accent and all, but beyond that, just boring

5 people found this helpful

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I literally can't follow

The story keeps jumping prospective, and this regularly in not a problem, but here it is just annoying. you don't know when are you where are you and sometimes you just hear about mages. the show us a very interesting character at the beginning making us think she is the main character and believe me she is an interesting character but come on you see her for like half an hour and suddenly shit you don't understand for a very very long time happens. god bless the editor of this book hope he didn't get an aneurysm like i did.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Andrew Oettle
  • 14-02-19

Worth the confusion

It may be a little difficult at the start, but the depth and scope of the work is breathtaking. If you're at all lost the Encyclopedia Malazica is a good resource

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jaroslav Strnad
  • 16-02-20

The first book of the best high fantasy ever

I have read all the books from this series and loved them all with a great passion for over 10 years. None the less I remember the first book to be kinda hard to follow, the world is rich and complicated and Erikson's style, though brilliant and evocative, can require some time to getting used to. I have read the books in my native tongue the first time (I'm Czech) and thus I was a bit unsure If I would be able to follow the complicated story in English while working at the same time. My worries were made void by the awesome narration of Ralph Lister who made the experience of listening to this audiobook an absolute bliss. He skillfully generated a plethora of voices to suit every character, thus making it very easy to listen to and to follow the story and dialogue. I full-heartedly recommend this book to any fan of fantasy to the point of considering it mandatory. If you feel overwhelmed at the start, please just carry on listening, it will all settle and you'll end up loving it.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-05-19

Just as I imagined it.

I read the book many years ago and I found the voices were done perfectly. I'm a huge fan of the bridge burners and I'm glad they were represented so perfectly. Heading off to buy the next one right now.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Joakim Blomgren
  • 29-09-21

Stellar

The first book in the best book series ever. The Malazan is without equal in the world.
I was positively surprised by the narrator, easily one of the best I've heard. Great story, great performance

1 person found this helpful

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  • Wyn
  • 09-07-20

Stunning!

For me this is the best fantasy series I have ever read, and I've read a lot! But so much more than a "just" a fantasy series..... Don't expect to be be spoon fed, this series makes you think! The scope and imagination of the story is truely mind blowing! The assessemnt of the human condition, politics, philosophy, economics, faith, religion etc is in turn poignant, humerous and often profound. The character development is awesome. I have prob been through this series 6 or 7 times in different formats (I travel alot), there is always something new to pick up on. The story line is never quite what you think it is going to be.

I have read reviews that critique the first book as discordan, jumping around and not easy to follow, but don't expect to get it all in the first book, the first 3-4 books run concurrently and themes and story lines only touched on initially are expanded throughout the rest of the series. I actually love the way Gardens of the Moon drops you in the middle of things and you have to just go with it.

The narration by both narrators is, for me, is great, there is a difference in style which is quite marked, but in a very short listening time I got used to the change and it didn't make much difference.

All in all just stunning fantasy!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Joy
  • 29-01-19

Could not get my head around it.

I just could not get my head around the storyline and the narrator was far from the best.

3 people found this helpful

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  • R. Georgiou
  • 24-03-22

Great story and narrator

Third time I listen to this book and every time it gets better. Great narrator as well, I don't know what other reviewers bubble about him not being good.

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  • richo247
  • 13-03-22

best book series I've read

it's hard to get into the series to begin with, but it is 100% worth the time. I've reread this series 4+ times now.

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  • Oscar
  • 25-04-21

fantastic history, worst execution and narrator

the history, and writing is awesome. The narrator is the worst I have encounter after more than 500 audio books. He does not know how to pronunciate vocalizing. For god shake, vocalize man, you should try to make it easier to understand and follow even running or training. I love english pronuncation, but this one is just not understandable because he does not vocalize. Most of the reviews that say they lost attention, this is one of the motives. Worst narrator ever, I never will buy a book with this narrator

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  • Shan Chung
  • 31-12-20

when everyone is powerful, no-one is

why do you force me to write 15 words? do you want the rating or not?