Lee's Reviews > House of Chains

House of Chains by Steven Erikson
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's review
Jul 27, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: epic-fantasy
Read from July 27, 2011 to June 17, 2013

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 House of Chains.
So the overall rating is a 5/5, but the story I am giving ⅘, but for no other reason than, by itself it is a great book, if you have read the series, then its a awesome book.
The story brings together so many threads from Deadhouse and Memories of Ice. I still find it amazing that Erikson’s story is so freaking large, that it took nearly three books to tell a story that was all happening at the same time. His attention to detail is amazing, and often tells part of a story that links back to something you read in book 2 and you’re suddenly remembering back to Deadhouse days. Certainly the first time I have been reading a book in mid series and thought “I’d love to go back and start again now I know all this”. Maybe the story is just to big to be told?

The story brings together the Malazan Empire against the Apocalypse army of the whirlwind goddess, which has one of the strangest final battles I have ever read. Seriously, three books leading up to the final battle and it ends like that? Wow! Brave, Mr Erikson, brave. It’s what I like about the story, it can be unexpected.

As usual there are lots of stories within the main story, but I think the story of the Thelomen Toblakai is powerfully written and not only creates a wonderful character but has me excited about the story in the future.

Characters: 5 /5
1: Unrealistic/unbelievable. Feel nothing for these characters
5: Fully engaged with the characters, believable. Researched.

When ever I start a new one of these Malazan books, I always look at the character list at the start to see if I actually know anyone from previous books. On reading this one, I must admit I was a little daunted by having to learn another thirty odd characters. But Erikson continues to bring brilliantly written roles to the story. Without doubt, you’ll see the name Karsa Orlong throughout reviews on this book, it is a hugely powerful character, not only in physical strength, but the role though-out the story. A truely terrible man, that even the gods cannot control, yet a favourite for many readers.
The book continues to bring wonderful relationships to the story, the Malazan army has units that really are made up of odd types, who like each other, hate each other, bicker, fight and die for each other. Erikson really catches the army/marine camaraderie well and makes the day to day stuff on a march to war entertaining. There are some characters that I am beginning to bore with, I do not feel they are developing, in fact, I am feeling cooler to them as I read on. Crokus/Cutter and Aspalar is a story, to be quite honest with you, I am done with.

Read Weight:
Fluffy, Light, Solid, Heavy, Struggle

Heavy, if you havent read the 3 before, then it will be a struggle.

Engagement: 4 /5
1: Not fussed about finishing
5: Could stay up all night

Can’t give this 5, because I couldnt read it all night. It is so big, the story so large, that after 3 hours of reading, I need to put it down and sit and stare into space for a while to compile the story. I couldn’t wait to pick it up again though.

Recommend: 1-5/5
1: Would advise you to read something else
5: Go read it now. It is THAT good

If you had not read the previous books, I would advise do not read this. If you have read the previous books, I would be saying, you should read it now. It is THAT good.
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Quotes Lee Liked

Steven Erikson
“So you say, with your shiny hair and pouty lips - and those breasts - just wait till you start dropping whelps, they'll be at your ankles one day, big as they are - not the whelps, the breasts. The whelps will be in your hair - no, not the shiny hair on your head, well, yes, that hair, but only as a manner of speech.”
Steven Erikson, House of Chains

Reading Progress

08/01/2011 page 20
08/08/2011 page 56
5.0% "Excited to be back in the world of Malazan."
08/10/2011 page 520
51.0% "Awesome read, the best of the series so far."
08/11/2011 page 600
59.0% "I just met a Otatarial defeating dragon nailed to a cross. Don't see that every day." 5 comments
08/13/2011 page 980
96.0% "It's all converging. No sign of that dragon again though."
05/14/2013 marked as: currently-reading
06/13/2013 page 1000
97.0% "My second time reading this ending; there is so much more going on than I readabsorbed the first time." 5 comments
06/16/2013 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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seak Yes, Karsa! Did I ever mention I love the review system you have. It's really engaging. Plus, I love this series. I need to stop reading other books and just finish the last two already.

message 2: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Thanks mate. I decided that when I wrote reviews I was going to stick to a similar format each time. I like writing my thoughts on the individual sections.
Thanks for the feedback.

Duffy Pratt I'm not sure I agree with you about reading this if you haven't read the others. Sure, you would be lost. But would you be any more lost starting here than if you started with Gardens of the Moon? I'm not so sure. Also, I don't really know if you would lose a whole lot by starting here and then circling back. This is one of the few series that I'm actually looking forward to re-reading. I think its going to be lots of fun to go back to the first three books with at least some idea of what's going on.

message 4: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee I wrote that from personal experience. I tried reading Deadhouse Gates first, and continually struggled with it. I constantly felt lost and that I had missed out on something. I put the book down and never tried Malazan again for about 5 years. Then I found a copy of Gardens of the Moon and enjoyed it, of course reading DG started to make sense. Of the four that I have read so far, the fact that this book brought so many stories all together at the same time, that it started new stories that you had some history of the background ie Apsalar off to the throne island, Crokus working for Cotilion, the many referrals to Coltraine, Tavore and her sister, the death of the bridgeburners, Pearl and the red blade Yostara (sp?) - not to mention the whole apocalypse build up, hebroics relationship with Shai'ik, Leoman, Karsa and Shai'ik etc

I think I could easily tell you if you had Memories of Ice, you could start there and circle back. But funny you mention re-reading, this is the first time that I have been in a middle of a series of books, and I have thought "I can't wait to start these again" - this book made me do that.

Like when Karsa hopes on the ship of death and kills all the Tiste Edur. I was like "ahhhhhhh so that is what happened". Remember in DG, Gesler is on the boat when they pick up Hebroic and they can't explain all the dead Tiste Edur. I love how Erikson does that.

The Crimson Fucker holy! great review!!! i think Esteban was right! not reading reviews had something to do with the summer!!!! or whatever! still! i agree with you! certain books in this series are sort of self contain when they happen in different continents and at the same time as other books...

David Sven This was your original review from your first read I take it?

message 7: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Yes it was.

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Great, thorough review.

☆ Becky ☆ Love it, told me just what I needed to know. Plus the lightbulb moment in the comments. Thanks, I needed that!

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