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House of Chains (The Malazan Book of the Fallen #4)

4.31  ·  Rating Details ·  25,148 Ratings  ·  644 Reviews
In Northern Genabackis, just before the events recounted in GARDENS OF THE MOON, a raiding party of savage tribal warriors descends from the mountains into the southern flat lands. Their intention is to wreak havoc among the despised lowlanders, but for the one named Karsa Orlong it marks the beginning of what will prove an extraordinary destiny.

Some years later, it is the
Paperback, 1040 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2002)
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Jon Higgins Yes, badass.

Also, he's a complete deconstruction of Conan.
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Community Reviews

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Jun 29, 2011 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
House of Chains is the fourth novel in Steven Erikson’s monumental epic fantasy series The Malazan Book of the Fallen. The tenth and final novel of the series has just been published and I’m in the process of re-reading the eight that I had already read so that I can finish the last two novels with what has come before firmly in my gray matter. I realized after reading House of Chains that I never reviewed it—indeed, I never reviewed any of the subsequent novels. This was not because I didn’t re ...more
The Crimson Fucker

Alright... I'm done again!


I don't even know where to start... ima go with I'm fucking terrified of erickson! I can't even beging to imagine how the fuck hi manages to hold it all inside his head! There its as much hiding with was being said that there is in what its said... fuck! How he does it???? I mean the scope of the whole damn thing its byond behemothic!! I mean shit! I'm speachless... I don't know what was more brutal... Karsa's path to infamy or the Adjunt march... Lo
Feb 19, 2009 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished this monster of a book. Worth every page. I don't know why I'm not giving it a 5. Maybe because there's so many in this series, I want to wait to the end to see which were the best. This might be a contender, there wasn't a dull or wasted part, instead every page I drank deeply from. I wish I could just continue directly to the next, but I've got some other highly anticipated books from the libes and I don't want to be #250 on the wait list. Besides, I like taking a little break ...more
Duffy Pratt
Jun 05, 2013 Duffy Pratt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, shared-world
2/7/11 - Erikson begins by treating us to a 200 page prelude about a new character named Karsa, who also starts out as one of the most purely despicable characters I've ever read. He starts out on his quest for glory, which basically means slaughter and rape. He gets captured, and grows into one of the best and most interesting characters in the series. Erikson is always audacious, and never more so than with this prelude. It's probably the best writing so far in the series, and the remainder of ...more
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
House of Chains is the fourth volume in Steven Erikson's monumental ten-volume series entitled, "The Malazan Book of the Fallen." This book follows the first three in continuing to flesh out the world, characters, and mythology that Erikson has so brilliantly created.

The first quarter, or so, of the novel tells the back-story of a character that we briefly met in the second book in the series (Deadhouse Gates)--that of the 'Toblakai' or as we come to find out, the great Teblor warrior, 'Karsa Or
Jun 16, 2013 Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epic-fantasy
I am not going to re-write my original review because it is all still relevant. The only thing I would add, is that it is even better second time round. But since I was already on five stars there is nothing to improve.

Story: 4/5
1: Being Vague, rambling plot with no little believable storyline
5: Ripping yarn, clever, thought provoking

Without doubt my favourite in the series so far. If you have read the previous three and wondering whether to start number four. Stop reading this and go read Hou
Mar 05, 2012 Jon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first part, the background story of Karsa, is by far the best writing I've seen from Erikson. It's a compelling read, filled with action, some suspense, and--gasp--some distinct, believable characterization. Not to mention some decent exposition, the absence of which is, to my mind, the glaring flaw of this whole series.

The rest of the story, alas, goes back to his usual "dropped in the middle of the action" style, with great heaping helpings of "I hope you remembered that critical remark fr
David Sven
Jun 13, 2013 David Sven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, dark-fantasy
I know I’m sounding like a broken record, but yet again, my reread of House of Chains has been a far superior experience compared to the initial read. Part of that has to do with already knowing a lot of the characters coming in and knowing who will play major roles going forward, leaving the grey matter free to unpack the dense world building, plot, and themes. There is also the added enjoyment of discussing the book as part of a group read at The Malazan Fallen here on Goodreads. http://www.go ...more
Apr 04, 2016 Gavin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was another fantastic 5 star instalment in the Malazan Book of the Fallen saga. Just like with the previous books Steven Erikson did a great job of juggling a massive cast of characters and ongoing plot arcs before pulling them all together for an explosive and exciting conclusion.

We were back in Raraku for the battle between Tavore, and her Malazan legions, and Shai'k, and her army of the apocalypse. A battle that was far more personal than it seemed at first glance. The Gods and Ascendan
May 27, 2013 Evgeny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I had high hopes for this book. It continues the story of Deadhouse Gates in the end of which a lot of people was really pissed off at Apocalypse rebels for slaughtering Coltaine's army thanks to betrayal on high level of command. Now that Adjunct's army came to Seven Cities, the possibility of revenge became real. This is what I hoped for. Well, the first mention of these people came in after 1/3 of the book.

So, what happens in the beginning? A new race is introduced best described as bloodthi
Executive Summary: The best book in the series so far. There are just a few subplots in this book that slow it down and prevent me from giving it a 5.

Full Review
This novel is very different from the first 3. The first "book" is not only 25% of the novel, it all focuses on one character. Karsa Orlong is not a very likable character. His story is still an interesting one.

His is one of the most straightforward stories of the series so far, and the one with the most character growth so far. The Ka
Jul 01, 2013 Hanne rated it really liked it
Another epic instalment in the Malazan series, and another very dark one. There isn’t much going well in this book. We start with Karsa, the complete opposite of the traditional ‘reluctant hero’, which made it very hard for me to cheer for him.
But saying that everything goes wrong for him would be quite the understatement. He gets knocked unconscious an infinite number of times and in between those moments, he discovers that the world is a complicated thing and that nothing is what it seemed to
Mello ❣ Illium ✮Harry✮ ☀Myrnin☀ Torin Ichimaru

In Northern Genabackis, tribal mountain warriors raid southern flatlands. Years later, Tavore, Adjunct to the Empress, enters the last Malazan stronghold. New to command, she must hone 12,000 recrutis to resist the Whirlwind of her sister Sha in the Holy Desert. The power struggle of the seer's warlords threatens the soul of the rebellion.

My Thoughts:

It has been a long, long time since I last wrote a real review. I've been seriously slacking. However, I can't not write a review for an e
House of Chains starts off unlike the previous three Malazan books. Erikson spends a full quarter of the book with one POV character - Karsa Orlong. Karsa starts out as a reprehensible savage. He rapes and murders others seeking only glory for himself. Of course, Erikson doesn't leave it there. Throughout the book, Karsa grows more than any other character so far in the series and it's a fascinating journey. I admit that it took me a long time to get into Karsa's tale. It took time to forgive hi ...more
Dec 22, 2013 Zayne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was absolutely amazing! Not the best Malazan novel, but still really good. I enjoyed every minute of it, and if I had the time, I would've finished a long time ago. I was a bit disappointed at first to see that I was going back to Raraku after my bad experience with book 2, Deadhouse Gates, but this was so much better than that. It actually hooked me with all its diverse characters and stories from all over the Malazan world that seemed to somehow touch each other and affect one anothe ...more
Apr 05, 2016 Markus rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2016, malazan
The rage of the Whirlwind Goddess was an inferno, beaten on the forge of Holy Raraku.

The Whirlwind rages at its most dangerous. The Army of the Apocalypse stands behind Sha’ik Reborn. And all that opposes it is an untested commander with an army of fresh recruits…

House of Chains is a return to the Seven Cities story arc that was opened in the second book of the series. A return to the place where the Chain of Dogs was slaughtered to the last man and where a gargantuan rebellion against the Malaz
Sep 11, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
House of Chains by Steven Erikson continues my Malazan Book of the Fallen read through. House of Chains is book number four and my initial goal was to read this entire series this year. It is going to be tough, because I’m way behind, but I’m still going to give it a shot. House of Chains continues Erikson’s multiple POV, plethora of characters, insane world building, and stylistic writing that doesn’t give away answers easily. However, in House of Chains, Erikson introduces a character that has ...more
The Malazan freight-train of awesomeness rumbles on.

House of Chains was another epic, ambitious instalment in the Malazan franchise. This was a great read, and while it lacked the emotional impact and sense of grandeur of MoI and the Chain of Dogs it added a new aspect to this series in proving that Erikson can write an engaging, focused story with the best in the genre.

As a bold young warrior sets out from his isolated mountain village to carve for himself a path to fortune and glory, he finds
James Tivendale
Oct 25, 2016 James Tivendale rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, malazan
It is astonishing how every book in this series seems to get better than the one before. The sheer size of the cast is phenomenal however it seems like each character has an important role to play in the grand scheme of things and there are no 'bit-part' players. New characters such as Karsa Orlong, L'oric and Trull Senegar become favourites straight away and that is down to Erikson's skill as a writer. I will admit that I go a bit sentimental when we find out what characters such as Quick Ben, ...more
TS Chan
Mar 15, 2016 TS Chan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I felt strangely disconnected with this book, even though it was a lot easier to get through as compared to the previous 3 instalments. I still love the way Erikson writes relationships between characters, and there are some really great pairings going on in this book; namely Karsa Orlong and Torvald Nom, Onrack and Trull Sengar, Pearl and Lostara Yil. There was also great continuity as the events in Memories of Ice were mentioned and had impact to what's unfolding in this book. I also really li ...more
Tracey the Lizard Queen
I didn't enjoy this one as much as the others. It's much much slower. (For Erikson that's really saying something!) Anyway there are many things I loved about it. The world-building is excellent, the dialogue is fantastic and the characters are... flesh and blood. Karsa Orlong, Trull Sengar and Onrack the Broken are among my new favourites.

The events take place immediately after the end of Memories of Ice and Deadhouse Gates. The Adjunct has arrived in Aren along with an army of new recruits to
May 05, 2015 Kaitlin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-sff-faves
You know what I think I am kind of still in shock and awe over just HOW MUCH stuff happens in this book. It begins on a whole new part of the land following a single character named Karsa Orlong. The time frame is a little before the events of Gardens of the Moon, but as the story goes on it recounts other events that tie in with all three of the previous books.

I have to say that I adore the character of Karsa Orlong and I now see why so many people have been telling me to watch out for him. He'
This is an easy five.


This is what you'd call a tardy review (finished the book months ago)

“Hatred, sweet as nectar.
I have walked into the abyss.
I am as mad as that goddess. And this is why she chose me, for we are kindred souls...
Then what is this ledge to which I still cling so desperately? Why do I persist in my belief that I can save myself? That I can return . . . find once more the place where madness cannot be found, where confusion does not exist.
The place ... of childhood.”

Many re
Jun 14, 2015 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2015
5 Stars

House of Chains deserves full marks for the sheer volume of action, changes, and actual size. This is a massive book, a long read, but funny thing is it never really felt like too much. This is a novel that you would have a tough time reading quickly and I feel that you might miss the point. House of Chains is a book to be experienced, at times quickly taking in the action and the wonderful world. At other times it should be taken slowly and carefully, allowing time to digest all that yo
Sep 27, 2016 Carmine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Il cuore non viene dato, nè rubato. Il cuore si arrende

"La casa delle catene", successore di un romanzo monumentale come pochi, funge un pò da transizione per gli eventi centrali della seconda metà di saga.
La pianificazione feroce e certosina di Erikson è - oramai lo sappiamo - stemperata da un approccio poco lineare e zigzagante persino all'interno di un singolo capitolo, alimentando continuamente la nostra ricerca della verità in un mondo criptico e avaro di informazioni.
Formidabile l'entrata
Dec 17, 2015 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These books are amazing. I can't imagine the vision and planning it took to create this series.
Scott  Hitchcock
While still a tremendous book it wasn't as good as DHG or MOI and probably on par with GOTM. The first few chapters with Karsa probably could have been a bit shorter. The ending while another great convergence I had issues with how some of them went down. Still when compared with everything else out there this series stands alone as truly epic.
Jenna Kathleen
Wow. Just when I was starting to think it couldn't get any better, it did.

After three Malazan books, I was accustomed to Erikson's writing style and his massive cast of characters whose perspectives change, seemingly, every other page. So, of course, to keep everyone on their toes, the format is totally different for the first book of House of Chains and we only follow one character: Karsa Orlong. Yet another character who has made it onto my ever-growing list of favourites. I could follow a who
Aug 01, 2016 Dux rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The glory of battle... dwells only in the bard's voice, in the teller's woven words. Glory belongs to ghosts and poets. What you hear and dream isn't the same as what you live.

House of Chains is stirringly tragic . The general consensus seems to be that it is a "Transition" book or anti climatic and that it is much more satisfying on a re-read. But as this is my first venture through the installment, I have to say that I disagree with all the nay-sayers and dismissers of this book, especial
Aug 28, 2016 Alissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ebooks
And nature ever strives for balance. But balance was not a simple notion. Redress was not simply found in the physical world. A far grimmer equilibrium had occurred ... between the past and the present.
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  • Stonewielder (Malazan Empire, #3)
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  • The Warrior Prophet (The Prince of Nothing, #2)
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 on-going series, the Malazan Book of the Fallen.
More about Steven Erikson...

Other Books in the Series

The Malazan Book of the Fallen (10 books)
  • Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1)
  • Deadhouse Gates (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #2)
  • Memories of Ice (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #3)
  • Midnight Tides (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #5)
  • The Bonehunters (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #6)
  • Reaper's Gale (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #7)
  • Toll the Hounds (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #8)
  • Dust of Dreams (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #9)
  • The Crippled God (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #10)

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“Wise words are like arrows flung at your forehead. What do you do? Why, you duck of course.” 122 likes
“One day, perhaps, you will see for yourself that regrets are as nothing. The value lies in how they are answered.” 74 likes
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