Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “House of Chains (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #4)” as Want to Read:
House of Chains (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #4)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

House of Chains

(Malazan Book of the Fallen #4)

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  36,993 ratings  ·  1,142 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 i

Kindle Edition, 676 pages
Published July 15th 2009 by Transworld Digital (first published December 2002)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about House of Chains, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Paul You need to read the entire book to appreciate him... At one point he was annoying me to no end lol but the wrap up made him a satisfying character to…moreYou need to read the entire book to appreciate him... At one point he was annoying me to no end lol but the wrap up made him a satisfying character to me... (less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  36,993 ratings  ·  1,142 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of House of Chains (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #4)
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I'm pissed that Ralph Lister isn't the narrator any more. Why? Did something happen to him? The other dude isn't bad but still.

Karsa can kiss my @ss.

I liked my old characters and Adjunct Tavore!

That's all I got. You can go read the million of long drawn out smart reviews on the book. I'm not caring for reviewing or reading really, not with this shit cancer going on. So don't mind me. I will always love the Malazan world! Well, until I get to the one I'm going to hate!!

Mel 🖤🐺
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A huge downgrade after the masterpiece in Memories of Ice

Erikson started House of Chains, the fourth book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, in an unprecedented step. Unlike the previous three books, House of Chains started as a totally character-driven book that focuses solely on a completely new character, Karsa Orlong. This made for an awkward start because at first the story didn’t feel like reading the same series and Karsa took a while to warm up to due to his primitive and savage c
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-grim, fantasy
=== 4.65 ===

Better the second time around! This saga just keeps getting bigger and better!
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
19.08.2018. Re-read thoughts:

A much better and far less confusing experience. Re-reading Malazan really pays off big time.

Original review:

Every time I finish a book from the Malazan series it usually takes me at least a month before starting the next one because of several reasons; they are dense reads and they are soul crushing because of what Erikson does to his characters. Compared to him, George R.R. Martin looks like a boy who stomps on other boys’ castles in the sandbox just to annoy them.
Apr 04, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, fantasy, 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
TS Chan
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
There will be slaughter. Yet another apocalypse on Raraku's restless sands. It is as it should be.

Retribution is at hand for the rise of the Seven Cities rebellion as the new Adjunct to the Empress arrives to lead the Malazan army to face Sha'ik and her Army of the Apocalypse. The Holy Desert of Raraku continues to emanate despair, even more so now than ever after the Chain of Dogs left in its trails the miasma of vengeance and grief.

House of Chains weighed like a ton of bricks on my psych
Mayim de Vries
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Epilogue This is how you shatter an unbreakable chain. By dying. Which happened to me several times when reading this book.*

Chapter 26: Tavore you said yourself, that sometimes knowledge is not enough. Not a single grain of sand is wasted in this story.

Chapter 25: Dogslayers. Bonehunters. Ghosts, assassins, shattered warrens, silent battles. No, it’s not the blurb for the whole book. Just one chapter.

Chapter 24: Ah these shadow upstarts. They will ruffle some feathers rattle dome chains. Witn
James Tivendale
Feb 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: malazan, fantasy
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 Sengar 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, K ...more
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A buddy read with the lovely ladies Sade and Orient. Thank you for putting up with me on this adventure. :D

‘Is that all we mortals are? The victims of tortured irony to amuse an insane murder of gods?’

House of Chains is another fantastic addition to The Malazan book of the Fallen. This book started off a little different than the previous installments. The first 20% of the book was focused on one main character, and his journey from his homeland in northern Genabackis to the desert continent
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
Stefan Bach
I think there’s nobody out there that haven't heard about Conan the Cimmerian.
"The Barbarian."
The essential one, and if not the first one, then the most recognizable and influential character that shaped the genre of epic fantasy.
When it comes to books he is a talking, fighting, drinking, brooding grim-dark, sword and sorcery sub-genres trope.
Especially in past 20 years when we have witnessed not just revival but full on blossoming of such genres where anti-heroes are taking the spotl
Deborah Obida
Shadow is ever besieged, for that is its nature. Whilst darkness devours, and light steals. And so one sees shadow ever retreat to hidden places, only to return in the wake of the war between dark and light.

This series is far becoming one of my favourite series, there is absolutely nothing I don’t like about this series, the world is amazing, the cultures, races, religion, gods etc. are so unique, I seriously have not seen anything like this before. Just like its predecessors this book has l
Scott  Hitchcock

The first time through this was the weakest of the ten books for me. Although the ending still lacked the convergence power in the endings of all the other books in the series I found so many hidden breadcrumbs I missed the first time around. So many poetic moments that had more power this time around. I had forgotten, missed or misinterpreted a lot that first times. These tomes are just so vast with so much going on the sensory overload the first time takes its toll. Being able to break
Feb 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
It horrifies me a little but I'm reducing my star rating from 5 to 4 on this one. While it ends with an epic battle and has some excellent character moments, I still skipped the whole first quarter of Karsa. Yes, he shows some serious growth through the book and his answer to Bidithal has my full appreciation, but otherwise he gets on my last nerve.

One of the things that occurred to me because of this was how much more rereaders get from this series. At this point, everyone should have realised
edge of bubble
I don't know what to say about this book, rn. yet again, I'm left mentally and emotionally exhausted. and sad. it is a wee bit different this time,though. encompassing one.

will try to write a review later.
Robin (Bridge Four)
Once I get to the end of one of these books it feels like this huge accomplishment. Mostly because they are really so very dense and maybe it is close to 1000 pages but it seems like so much more.


It took a lot to get to where we were going in this book. Mainly the overall arc is that Tevore and the Malazan’s are going to march into the desert to fare Sharik and her appocolyptic sands. So that is where the various lines all converge by the end of the story. It took a long time to get there and at
Apr 16, 2012 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 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Hatred is a most pernicious weed, finding root in any kind of soil. It feeds on itself"
-Torvald Nom

It's almost funny that what i feel is the general theme for this book in this series is perfectly captured by a minor character in the book. Like all stories in the malazan series, there is the general sense that doing justice to it in my reviews might not always be possible. So here goes nothing.

Can i just say before i delve into characters that totally wowed me that Book 4 reminded me eeril
Jul 27, 2011 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 H
Graeme Rodaughan
"Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian Karsa Orlong, of the Toblakai; black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth Genabackis under his sandaled feet."

Whoops right quote, but wrong character, hat tip to Robert E. Howard.

I love Erickson's ability to weave a multitude of conflicts together into a coherent and seamless whole. I am in awe of his ability to do that. Frankly, I'm just in love
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.”

One of the (many) things I appreciate about this series is, so far at least, when the author devastates his readers in one book he switches the focus in the next, allowing us to recover our equilibrium…though not completely. Never completely. And so, following the heartbreaking losses in the last book, we once again find the story lens swinging back to Seven Cities and the impending showdown between the Malazan forces under the leadership of Adjunct Tavore and Sha’ik’s army of the apocalypse.

David Sven
Apr 15, 2012 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
Nina ✳The Surgebinder ✳
Among his people, it was a long-known truth, perhaps the only truth, that Nature fought but one eternal war. One foe. That, further, to understand this was to understand the world. Every world.
Nature has but one enemy.And that is imbalance.

An insanely remarkable read, well written and intricately woven. The fourth tale of Malazan Book of The Fallen is both gripping and enticing, and I'm just quite at awe at how the structure of the story keeps changing with each installment yet we don't lose s
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
Michael Britt
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"Raraku has swallowed more tears than can be imagined. Now comes the time for the Holy Dessert to weep"

This series is just way better than I could've ever imagined! Each book is great on it's own merits. While this one wasn't as exciting as Memories of Ice, it's still a 5 star book in it's own rights. The only thing I had a small problem with, at the time, was how the first quarter of the book was set up. But, I'm also very glad, looking back, that he did it that way. It set up a character that
Daniel Greene
Malazan continues to be great, which probably makes the star rating strange. What I have to admit is the difficulty of getting through these AWESOME books does drag it down for me. While I appreciate them immensely, I maintain that I will recommend this series to very few people.

Full Review here:
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody
A great BR with the queen of Red Blades and the king of Claws.

It’s my fourth adventure in Malazan and what can I say, I’m getting used to a load of characters and I know that my mind will be blown away again ;)

Characters. I enjoy the epicness and the fun I get watching the interaction among the characters.

Braven Tooth! That bastard's still alive?'
'It was hard to tell at times,' Smiles muttered.
'Until his temper snapped,' Koryk added. 'Just ask Corporal Tarr there. Braven Tooth spent near
Sep 17, 2012 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
May 29, 2015 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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Fantasy Buddy Reads: House of Chains [Aug 1, 2019] 15 46 Aug 22, 2019 07:57AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Primary series for Malazan #4 is Russian 3 12 Aug 01, 2019 11:41AM  
Fantasy Buddy Reads: House of Chains 148 85 Jul 13, 2017 06:46PM  
The Malazan Fallen: HoC - Chapter Twenty Five - NO SPOILERS 23 125 Mar 27, 2017 02:52PM  
The Malazan Fallen: HoC - Chapter Twenty Six & Epilogue - NO SPOILERS 31 153 Mar 27, 2017 01:15PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Night of Knives (Novels of the Malazan Empire, #1)
  • Return of the Crimson Guard (Novels of the Malazan Empire, #2)
  • Stonewielder (Novels of the Malazan Empire, #3)
  • Orb Sceptre Throne (Novels of the Malazan Empire #4)
  • Blood and Bone (Novels of the Malazan Empire #5)
  • Assail (Novels of the Malazan Empire, #6)
  • Dancer's Lament (Path to Ascendancy, #1)
  • Deadhouse Landing (Path to Ascendancy, #2)
  • Kellanved's Reach (Path to Ascendancy, #3)
  • Before They Are Hanged (The First Law, #2)
  • Last Argument of Kings (The First Law, #3)
  • The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)
  • The Black Company (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #1)
  • A Little Hatred (The Age of Madness, #1)
  • Best Served Cold
  • Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1)
  • Red Country (First Law World, #6)
  • A Memory of Light (The Wheel of Time, #14)
See similar books…
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 series, the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

Other books in the series

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

News & Interviews

The young adult genre continues to lead literature in embracing new voices, championing all types of diversity, and, well, just really app...
90 likes · 40 comments
“Wise words are like arrows flung at your forehead. What do you do? Why, you duck of course.” 181 likes
“One day, perhaps, you will see for yourself that regrets are as nothing. The value lies in how they are answered.” 110 likes
More quotes…