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House of Chains (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 4) Mass Market Paperback – March 6, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
In the aftermath of Coltaine's death, the Adjunct Tavore must lead her rag-tag collection of soldiers into Raraku, the holy desert, in hopes of defeating Sha'ik's dreaded Army of the Apocalypse. Her army is uneasy. They are a patched together group of raw recruits, hoary old veterans and the broken survivors of Coltaine's army and they know nothing of the Adjunct, seeing her as untried and aloof.
In the meantime, Sha'ik is beset within her own army. The wily Korbolo Dom and his triumphant Dogslayers are the backbone of her fighting forces, yet they have their own agenda. The High Mages Bidithal and Febryl can't be trusted but they are necessary for Sha'ik's plans. Betrayal seems imminent from all sides. And Sha'ik herself is in turmoil as the Goddess of the Whirlwind and Felisin battle for the soul of the person they both inhabit.
The two armies meet one fateful night and two sisters will clash. Only one will remain standing.
While the two armies prepare for their monumental clash, we travel the journey of discovery with a remarkable warrior named Karsa Orlong. We watch as Lostara Yil, one of the formidable Red Blades, and a Claw named Pearl set out on a task set for them by Adjunct Tavore only to be horrified and saddened by what they discover.
This is the fourth book of the Tale of the Malazan but it picks up the thread of the story that ends in the second book, The Deadhouse Gates.
I had a hard time getting into this book at first because the first 200 pages details the exploits of a seemingly unknown warrior named Karsa Orlong. The events told actually pre-date the events of the first book of the series. As Karsa's story begins to unfold we start to catch up with the current time in the series.Read more ›
Fans of Jordan and Martin will be wowed by Erikson's epic, sweeping narrative and complex plots. Stephen R. Donaldson is quoted on the back of House of Chains, and for good reason. Comparisons could also be made to Glen Cook's "fantasy-noir" style, and other postmodern fantasy/scifi authors who effectively blur the lines between notions of good and evil.
Erikson's world is endlessly complex, replete with thousands of societies, deep history, vast geographies, and unique magic. There is plenty of humor, a fair amount of gore, and constant action. And an important, unavoidable facet of Erikson's writing style is that he challenges the reader. He doesn't deliver stock characters and cliched, predictable plots on a silver platter.
Start with "Gardens of the Moon," and order from amazon.co.uk if you must. Fingers crossed, Erickson will publish domestically, and all of those weak, poorly written, hackneyed derivative juvenile fantasy books currently choking the shelves of your local bookstore will be swept aside.
For those that would say that the first 200 pages that chronicle the exploits of Karsa Orslong are a weakness to the story, I would have to say that I initially felt the same way. After reading the rest of the book, I have since changed my mind. Although he is not my favorite character (that distinction would have to go to Ganoes Paran or Fiddler), he has become an important part of the story.
Although this is not the best book in the Malazan series (that would have to be either Memories of Ice or The Bonehunters), this book gives important background into the mind of the Crippled God, as well as gives the "humanity" of Cotillion and Shadowthrone.
Erikson's first book was a fun, if confusing fantasy novel. His 2nd book was a gore and rape filled horror slog through hell. I understand some of that was necessary for the point he was trying to make, but I felt it was over the top.
With the third and fourth books of the series he has finally found the balance he needs to bring all his elements together. He is still 1/2 horror novelist, 1/2 fantasy novelist, but the mix of these two elements comes more naturally and there is more humor, and pleasant characterization going on. The plot is intensely complicated, and each book adds even more characters to learn about. Read the other reviews for plot elements and such, but here are the few things you really need to know:
Erikson is a great writer of very complex stories. If you like world building you will be wildly impressed, but often confused!
He likes war, soldiers, strategy, gods and magic and the books are FULL of these elements
He dislikes romantic stuff. People do care for each other and there have been some meaningful story lines that have a relationship bent, but in general he avoids them. Even when it happens it is never "romantic"
He has a sarcastic and cutting sense of humor that I really enjoy
Try the first three books (you'll make it through the 2nd I promise... jsut keep going) and you'll know exactly what you're going to get.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Horrible book, bad writing, bad endings, confusing, just really poor, poor and more poor. Don't waste your time on this entire series.Published 1 month ago by mdellyd
Good book. Slow build to the climax, but
Good climax of book. Interested to see where the series goes from here
I've read all the previous Malazan books but this one starts off significantly more brutal than all the other three combined. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Chase
New characters that come into the over all saga. A lot of internal monologue that beats upon the same theme over an over again from different character view points. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book swings as back to Book 2 later on. Tough we begin again in a New Place With New characters. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Roger Dybdal
At times I feel totally lost in this series as the number of characters continues to grow with each book, but the writing and story are worth the struggle. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Randy Carstens
Great book. Was a little obscure at times, but thoroughly enjoyable! Karsa is a great character.Published 2 months ago by Ozren Srzich