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4.6 out of 5 stars84
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 11 February 2015
Unlike another major fantasy series I can think of that significantly dropped in quality after book 3, the Malazan series somehow maintains an incredibly high standard that doesn't really drop (at least across the first 7 that I've read). This is just as good as what has gone before and introduces a character I initially disliked but by the end of the book was one of my favourite characters in the series.
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on 9 November 2012
If you are a fan of a great epic story you will not be disappointed. Yes there are a lot of books in the series, and yes there are a lot of characters to keep track of, but the stories are so engrossing it's easy to keep up. I'm going to be seriously gutted when I get to the end of the tenth book.
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on 23 December 2011
I have given five star reviews to the first three novels in the Malazan series by Steven Erikson, but couldn't bring myself to do so with House of Chains. It was most certainly my least favourite of the series and, although it has some fantastic moments still, it was more difficult to engage with.

One of the reasons for this is that the first part of the novel deals exclusively with a naive but ferocious tribesman called Karsa and his two mates, who rape and pillage for fun. It is hard to see how this will fit in with any of the story we've seen so far in the previous three novels. The 'aha!' moment when I worked this out was one of the better parts of House of Chains.

Another reason is that we encounter the duo of Trull and Onrack - other people have said they really enjoy these characters, but I found their sections rather slow and tiresome.

The novel felt, in general, much slower than the first three I read.

Having said all this, Erikson at not quite his best is still LEAGUES above pretty much any other fantasy writer plying their business these days, and so House of Chains is a far superior novel to much of the dross that can be found on the fantasy shelves. Also, the last third of the book was utterly explosive in many ways and kept me gripped to the last page. I have a feeling that if you've already read three of the novels in the Malazan series, you will not quit at the fourth, but, to anyone who finds themselves flagging, I would urge you to push through. The pay-off is well worth it.
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on 18 July 2003
This book truly is awesome, its exciting, fulfilling and keeps you on the edge of your seat right the way through to the end and beyond.
This book carries on from Deadhouse Gates, and writes about the rebellion aka "Sha'ik's Whirlind" that has sweeped across genabackis and how Adjunct Tavore (Ganoes Paran's sister) has been given the task of destroying the rebellion with a rag tag army of recruits.
We see the old characters from Deadhouse Gates in this book like, Fiddler, Kalam, Crokus, Apsalar and many more. Also what is interesting about this novel, is that it begins with the tale of a character who was barely even mentioned in Deadhouse Gates, this character is called Karsa a Toblakai who was first mentioned in the first few pages of Deadhouse Gates when the first sha'ik was assassinated by the Red Blades.
Anyway Karsa's story is set before any of the stories in the other novels took place, and tells us everything about him and the part he plays and still has to play in these truly amazing stories.
As usual Steven Erikson writes with a lot of detail which as usual compliments the story than hindering it and making it boring.
As you all will know the battles in his stories are extremely violent and grusomely detailed and this story is no exception, but I find this gives more realism to the story and the battles in general, and it makes the novels more exciting.
This novel will close a lot of doors from previous novels, but as with all of his novels they actually open more doors than they close, its this style of writing which keeps us waiting in agony for the next instalment, and making us frustrated that the books could end so soon when there is so much left to cover.
But over all it is another hit from perhaps THE BEST author of fantasy novels in this day and age, it's his attention to detail and his merciless imagination which sets him apart from most fantasy authors and puts him straight up in the big league with the likes of Tolkien.
I advise to anyone thinking of buying this novel to buy it over the net because i will tell you now you will not be able to find it in any high street retail shops, I spent ages looking for this novel, I even went to this giant book shop in Cambridge which had like four floors in it and they didnt even have it, they only had Memories Of Ice (what about the other novels, insult or what) in the end I had to order it over the net because I just couldnt find it anywhere. So avoid the hassel and just order it from Amazon.
But like I said this is a truly magnificent story from a highly under rated, and highly ignored MASTER of fantasy novels, who never seems to be given the light of day by anyone.
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on 21 February 2014
Another great read, they just keep coming. This does start slow but boy does it pick up. You do have to keep your mind sharp to catch all the little twists that weave this whole crazy world together. Brilliant once again!
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on 28 July 2012
Steven Erikson's series `the mazalan book of the fallen' has to be the most original, inspired creation within the fantasy genre that is comparable to the genius Kate Elliot or Terry Brooks. The striking, imaginative front covers capture readers' attention, especially
for those who love fantasy fiction most of all. The series begins with `gardens of the moon' followed then by `Deadhouse gates' and `memories of ice' with this volume as number four in an already epic saga. This author has so much creative imagination that
you cannot compare to any other writer, being full of compelling drama and thrilling action. What is so outstanding is how Steven Erikson draws upon our own history and myths & legends to create a masterpiece that is comparable to JRR Tolkien in its realism
as to be believable.

The rich, complex and original world that you explore is so breathtaking, I felt as if I was actually there. But it is the detail of its history and background knowledge that is so complex which makes it not just your average fantasy story but rather something much deeper on a vast scale. The mythic vision and the whole concept in its entirety is something to be marveled at, displaying how accomplished and talented a writer he is. Fast moving and full of suspense this tale will have you running along with it at tremendous speed, within an intricate and authentic world that is just as real as our own. Voyaging into the unknown where Demons lurk and Gods observe all, this book is like a chocolate box of delights with each one adding to a most wondrous phenomenon.

An absorbing magical experience here is a series that many readers will treasure and re-read for many years to come, that is totally matchless and distinctive. Whilst weaving your way through a complex labyrinth of an immense plot that is multi-layered, you cannot help but get lost within the saga and the pages of the book. If you want to read this particular genre at its very best, then I cannot enthuse enough about Steven Erikson's `the mazalan book of the fallen' series with House of Chains as my favorite book. It deserves huge praise and acclaim being totally incredible, that I urge you to discover if you have not already done so.
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on 23 March 2012
House of Chains is book four of the Malazan Book of the Fallen and the fifth book in the Malazan Reread over at Tor.com. House of Chains is very different from the previous three books. It starts with a section dedicated to Karsa Orlong, who is to say it mildly not a pleasant character. After this first part we return to the more familiar switching view points. I found it refreshing that Erikson wasn't afraid to experiment in his writing and his build up of the novel. However, because Karsa isn't that likeable to start with, I had a hard time connecting to him and it took me a while to find my feet in the book. Luckily, Karsa undergoes a lot of character growth and isn't as abhorrent any more in later chapters, which made finding my feet much easier.

In House of Chains we also reunite with some of the characters from Deadhouse Gates and we see some of the few remaining Bridgeburners appear as well. It was good to return to these characters and meet new ones. There are some awesome new additions, such as Cuttle and the rest of Fiddler's new squad, Felisin Younger, Greyfrog, Onrack and Trull. With the returning characters especially those who had been caught up in the Chain of Dogs, but in Fiddler too, Erikson manages to show how much damage trauma and loss can do, but also how well some people can cope with said damage. Forged in the fires of adversity - how's that for an understatement - some of these people turn out to have cores of steel, such as Captain Keneb, Temul and Fiddler, others turn brittle and can break under pressure, such as Fist Gamet, the Wickan sorcerors Nether and Nil, and Felisin the Elder. His characterisations are magnificent and you come to feel for all of them. If Erikson's good guys are strong characters, his villains are even better. There are few writers who can get me to dislike characters as intensely as Erikson can. Among the Malazans these were few this time, though Captain Ranal made my blood boil with his stupid arrogance. Among Sha'ik's adherents though, these dislikeable characters were far more numerous; starting with the lesser evils of Kamist Reloe, Febryl, Silgar, and Korbolo Dom and ending with the despicable Bidithal. Oh, how I hated Bidithal! This might be mostly caused by his predilection for abusing young girls and female genital mutilation, which as a female and as the mother of one (soon to be two) daughters offends and disturbs me to no end, but he's a treacherous and selfish creature as well.

The main arc of the novel deals with the impending clash between Tavore's forces and Sha'ik's army, but there are some interesting side stories as well. Of course, there is the rather long introduction of Karsa, mentioned above, but there is also Tavore's journey to the heart of Raraku, which mirrors the path of the Chain of Dogs, the forming and forging of the 8th Legion, the meeting and bonding of Onrack and Trull, the Tiste Liosan make an appearance and of course the deceit and treachery within Sha'ik's camp and that is just what I can remember off the top of my head. Of all of these, I loved Karsa's story and the story of the 8th Legion the most. Karsa's because Erikson managed to actually make me like the bastard by the end of his introduction and the 8th Legion's story, because I just love the Malazan army sequences. From the end of Karsa's introduction onwards, there is a building to the climax of the battle between the Malazans and the Rebellion. Depending on your point of view the final confrontation in the book is either hugely disappointing or genius. I myself will go with genius, since again Erikson shows he isn't afraid to go against expectations and that the course history often turns on the smallest of actions.

House of Chains was another stunning addition to the Malazan Book of the Fallen. There is a lot of discussion whether this book is actually a transition between the first three books and the books that make up the rest of the series, as the first three books form a sort of cohesive whole and apparently so do the latter six books. Since I haven't read beyond book five, which I'm currently reading for the first time, I can see that House of Chains strikes out in a new direction from the first three books and I'm curious to see where I'll find myself in this discussion once I've finished the final book in the series. For now though, I can only say that if you haven't been reading this series, you're missing out. It is one of the best (finished!) fantasy series out there today!
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on 25 November 2003
Well after waiting with baited breath for this to be published in paperback, I was not disapointed. This is one of the best fantasy novels I have read ever, but I would say this to any reader new to this series, don't start half way in, begin with Gardens of the moon and stick with it (it is hard to begin with) then you will be rewarded with this masterpiece.
Also if it has been some time since you read the other books a re-read might be advantagous as a lot of the story of the last three books overlaps, indeed the last two are running parrallel for much of this book, with the closing parts of Memories of Ice happening near to the climax of this book.
To anyone who has read this series you know how good the other books are, this one is as good if not better, to those of you who havn't read the series, begin now and don't look back.
(As an aside it is so nice not to have to wait years for sequals to be published, ie Jordan (who then produced the miserable Crossroads of twighlight) or Martin (if feast is as good as the others I don't think i will care) as he seems for the moment atleast to be writing one a year, please keep it up, now I just have a few days hopfully for Midnight tides).
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on 6 September 2015
In the aftermath of the chain of dogs, adjunct Tavore, sister of Felisin arrives with an unblinded army to take seven cities back for the empire. Or so the idea went....
The issue with the novel is, that the back would give you the idea that it was a showdown between Tavore and Felisin, whilst it really isn't. The first quarter of the book is a flashback, explaing the character and presence of Toblaki in Deadhouse gates. The rest is so concerned with various storylines that the promised showdown falls flat on its face. This only jars me because I was led to believe that this book was a "end to the first half" of the series, and I was hoping to take a break to let my wallet and my studies recover....sadly not so, I remain gripped as ever. And in truth, the climax was still excellent, just more a battle of assassins in which giant dogs, ghosts and a very angry Toblaki wander into the mix. There is little else in the book that I can openly criticise, the plot lines remain as strong as ever, and as always, erikson gives us copious amounts of philosophical musing, bizarre comedy and sheer randomness. As we have come to expect from him, not everything is answered, and thus we must keep reading until the bitter end. The next novel in the series is excellent, and I believe that the Bonehunters is currently residing in my postbox.
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on 1 July 2010
i first got introduced to steven eriksons first book gardens of the moon when i was out in waterstones looking for a new "amazing" book to read when i random guy pointed me towards gardens of the moon i thought well why not give it a try. so yeh started reading on train back to ctc and was blown away simply the most amazingly writen book ever completed it in a few weeks and have never been left feeling gutted that i finished, but the most recent book was steven eriksons " house of chains" such a compeling storyline the characters of simply awesome :) everythings even better then i though possible every book gets better and better, so now im on the 5th book "midnight tides" should get it through the post in next few days and cant wait.

so i suggest if anyone likes adventure, fantasy great story line, good read that will keep you wanting more then i suggest you go for steven eriksons gardens of the moon were youll be shocked and happy that youve just purchased the best book ever whatever one you decide but obviously start with gardens of the moon and work your way up

" i got a few late nights getting sucked into the world of malazans and others races but hey it was worth it cant beleive stevens still writing what a legend to be honest best author ever in my eyes"

enjoy reading this great collection of books

jake.
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