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House of Chains by Steven Erikson

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Malazan Book of the Fallen

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Fourth Novel in the Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series
Publisher: Bantam Books (2003), 1020 pages, Language: English, ISBN: 978-0-553-81313-5

This book captured my attention from the first page.  We are introduced to a new character, Karsa Orlong.  The first quarter of the book introduces him and follows him through his trials.  Initially, I am not sure if I love him or hate him, but he grows on you until you really start to cheer him on. The story continues immediately after the events that occurred in Deadhouse Gates with the primary focus on preparing for the upcoming battle between Adjunct Tavore Paran heading the Mazalan army and the Whirlwind rebellion in the Holy Desert Raraku.

Steven Erikson is the author of the Malazan Book of the Fallen Series which comprises 10 books and 4 novellas.  House of Chains is the fourth book in this long and complex story-line.  The genre is Fantasy and the multifarious story takes place in a non-technological age with the use of magic involving many different peoples. There are the human people of Genabackis who are descendants of the T’lan Imass. There are T’lan Imass a group of people who are one of the founding races that underwent a ritual (so long in the past that it predated the ascension of humans) and has made them immortal . There is the Jaghut, a race that was so dangerous the T’lan Imass undertook the ritual to ensure complete annihilation of the Jaghut. The Tiste Andii, a non-human elder race that is very powerful and has use of magic. There are also Gods, who are called Ascendants. There are others as well. Some individuals have access to magic.  The magic is accessible through warrens which are pathways that exist outside of the world and are believed to have been created by the Dragons. The Deck of Dragons, which is a deck of cards that is associated with the Ascendants, can be used to foretell the future.  Soletaken are humans or creatures that can change their forms into animals.

Felisin Paran has evolved into the seer of Sha’ik. The Whirlwind, in the Holy Desert Raraku, is a rebellion against the Malazan Empire’s rule that is being lead by the new prophetess Sha’ik and is driven by the Goddess. The Warrens have been poisoned by the Crippled God. New characters are initially introduced, specifically Karsa Orlong, and they are the long-lived people of Aryd.  They are being influenced by evil beings who have been imprisoned in stone and are known as the stone faced gods.

Karsa’s journey weaves in many directions and it is interesting to learn who his gods really are and to watch Karsa as he grows and changes throughout his trials. Karsa was my favourite character in this book. This story is so large and complex with a huge number of different storylines running at the same time that I sometimes had difficulty following them all.

I also found it confusing the way people’s names changed and the fact that there is now a Felisin the younger.  It took me a while to figure out that she is a new character, the original Felisin’s newly adopted daughter. But now that I have waited a few days to digest this story, I am starting to put all the pieces together.  I think, I know what happened, but I am not 100% sure, maybe it is just because I waited too long between books three and four, or maybe the story is just too convoluted.

It was interesting how all the events eventually interlocked throughout the story and I am curious to see where the story is going next. Although I thought that some of the writing was pretty subtle and was not completely clear as to what really did happen at the end of the book.

My favourite quote from the book:

“For you, Bidithal. For every nameless girl-child you destroyed. Here. Choke on your pleasure.”

A few questions to ponder:
WTF, what really happened here?
Who or what is the fallen God, who is the chained God and who is the nameless one?

To buy House of Chains, click here or on picture above

 

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Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Malazan Book of the Fallen

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Third Novel in the Malazan Book of the Fallen Series
Publisher: Bantam Press (Jan 14 2003), Mass Market Paperback: 1200 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 0553813129, ISBN-13: 978-0553813128

I really enjoyed this book.  The story continues to grow in depth and complexity. It takes place simultaneously with the second book. There is an introduction of a new bad guy, the Pannion Seer and his incredibly weird army. The book still follows the Bridgeburners and gives more information about their background.

Steven Erikson is the author of the Malazan Book of the Fallen Series which comprises 10 books and 4 novellas.  Memories of Ice is the third book in this long and complex story-line.  The genre is fantasy and the multifarious story takes place in a non-technological age with the use of magic involving many different peoples. There are the human people of Genabackis who are descendants of the T’lan Imass. There are T’lan Imass a group of people who are one of the founding races that underwent a ritual ( so long in the past that it predated the ascension of humans) that has made them immortal . There is the Jaghut, a race that was so dangerous the T’lan Imass undertook to completely annihilate them and it was this that brought about the ritual. The Tiste Andii, a non-human elder race that is very powerful and has use of magic. There are also Gods, who are called Ascendants. There are others as well. Some individuals have access to magic.  The magic is accessible through warrens which are pathways that exist outside of the world and are believed to have been created by the Dragons. The Deck of Dragons, which is a deck of cards that is associated with the Ascendants, can be used to foretell the future.  Soletaken are humans or creatures that can change their forms into animals.

There are all kinds of intrigue and secret plots, including the apparent separation between the Bridgeburners and the Empire and there are alliances made with old enemies. Also, things start coming to light about Tattersail, a former Cadre Sorceress from the 2nd Army, who we thought had possibly died. We also learn more about the T’lan Imass and their role in the story. We learn alot more about what is really going on and who is actually behind it all. Ganoes Paran’s role and abilities keep growing in a very interesting manner.

This book was very detailed with lots of action and fighting scenes, some of it pretty gruesome. But overall I found the machinations to be captivating and I really enjoy reading about these characters. I am definitely going to read the next book in the series since there is lots left to happen and I am curious to see where this is all heading.  The books need to be read in order, none of them are stand alone. If you enjoy reading fantasy and want to luxuriate in a long story then I recommend this book to you.  Keep in mind this is not your typical fantasy, but if you are willing to give it a go and keep on plodding through, I think you too will be hooked.

 

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Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Malazan Book of the Fallen

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Second Novel in the Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series
Publisher: Tor Fantasy; ZZZ edition (February 7, 2005), Mass Market Paperback: 864 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 0765348799, ISBN-13: 978-0765348791

The unique and interesting story continues in this second book. It still focuses on the Bridgeburners but it also has some new characters that it focuses on.  In this novel, the Bridgeburners get separated to go onto different adventures. There is the introduction of new characters and new concepts.

Steven Erikson is the author of the Malazan Book of the Fallen Series which comprises 10 books and 4 novellas.  Deadhouse Gates is the second book in this long and complex story-line.  The genre is fantasy and the multifarious story takes place in a non-technological age with the use of magic involving many different peoples. There are the human people of Genabackis who are descendants of the T’lan Imass. There are T’lan Imass a group of people who are one of the founding races that underwent a ritual ( so long in the past that it predated the ascension of humans) that has made them immortal . There is the Jaghut, a race that was so dangerous the T’lan Imass undertook to completely annihilate them and it was this that brought about the ritual. The Tiste Andii, a non-human elder race that is very powerful and has use of magic. There are also Gods, who are called Ascendants. There are others as well. Some individuals have access to magic.  The magic is accessible through warrens which are pathways that exist outside of the world and are believed to have been created by the Dragons. The Deck of Dragons, which is a deck of cards that is associated with the Ascendants, can be used to foretell the future.  Soletaken are humans or creatures that can change their forms into animals.

Felisin Paran (youngest sister of Ganoes Paran, Captain of the Bridgeburners,) is a new character. Previously she was part of the nobility, but with the problems in the Malazan Empire, the Empress decides a culling of the nobility is required and Felisin is one of those who is affected.  Since the previous Adjunct (a trusted person chosen by the Empress to completely give up who she was and become an extension of the Empress) died in the first book, a new Adjunct was chosen who is Felisin’s older sister. Since the only way the new Adjunct can save her sister from being killed is to send her into slavery in the Otataral Island mines, that is where she goes. But she also sends Baudin, a strong warrior, into slavery as a protector for her sister.  A one-handed excommunicated priest of Fener named Heboric also becomes a companion to Felisin. One of the storylines of the book centres around the adventures of these three.

On a different sub-continent known as the Seven Seas, the Malazan Forces are being over-run creating a large number of refugees and the story of their trek being lead by the legendary commander of the Malazan 7th Army, Coltaine of the Crow Clan of the Wickans is quite amazing. We also follow the adventures of the Bridgeburners, although they have separated with different parties going off to do different things. There is a rebellion brewing which causes concern and action.  We learn more of the characters and the story continues. We also learn more of how the warrens work and it is always interesting to see what Quick Ben is up to, he is a Mage in the 9th (one of the Bridgeburners)

The path of the hands has been unleashed which brings out the sole-taken (shape-shifters) and D’ivers (shape-shifters who can take on many different shapes at once) who are looking for Ascension (they want to become Gods.)  We also meet Icarium, a mixed-blood Jaghut wanderer, who does not know what he is and his companion a Trell named Mappo, who are also on the path.

The book has a rather surprising but good ending. Since it is a series, there is lots left to happen and the books definitely need to be read in order, none of them are stand alone. I am curious to see where this is all heading.  If you enjoy reading fantasy and want to luxuriate in a long story then I recommend this book to you.  Keep in mind this is not your typical fantasy, but if you are willing to give it a go, I think you too will be hooked.

 

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Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Malazan Book of the Fallen

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Book One in the Malazan Book of the Fallen Series
Publisher: Tor Fantasy; ZZZ edition (December 28, 2004), Mass Market Paperback: 666 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 9780765348784, ISBN-13: 978-0765348784, ASIN: 0765348780

This is a unique fantasy style and although it is complex it is still interesting. The story takes place on the Genabackis continent in the world created by Steven Erikson. There is war, fighting and battles. There are also intrigue and hidden agendas by many of the players. There are many characters, but the main ones are the Bridgeburners, they are a specialized army unit in the Malazan military and have been given a very difficult job. The story follows them as well as many others throughout their challenges in the book.

Steven Erikson is the author of the Malazan Book of the Fallen Series which comprises 10 books and 4 novellas.  Gardens of the Moonis the first book in this long and complex story-line.  The genre is fantasy and the multifarious story takes place in a non-technological age with the use of magic involving many different peoples. There are the human people of Genabackis who are descendants of the T’lan Imass. There are T’lan Imass a group of people who are one of the founding races that underwent a ritual ( so long in the past that it predated the ascension of humans) that has made them immortal . There is the Jaghut, a race that was so dangerous the T’lan Imass undertook to completely annihilate them and it was this that brought about the ritual. The Tiste Andii, a non-human elder race that is very powerful and has use of magic. There are also Gods, who are called Ascendants. There are others as well. Some individuals have access to magic.  The magic is accessible through warrens which are pathways that exist outside of the world and are believed to have been created by the Dragons. The Deck of Dragons, which is a deck of cards that is associated with the Ascendants, can be used to foretell the future.  Soletaken are humans or creatures that can change their forms into animals.

It took me a long time to figure out what was going on in the beginning of the story, but once I did, I was hooked.  Basically, the Empress wants to dominate the world and is currently focusing on the free city of Pale using the Malazan 2nd Army under High Fist Dujek, but there is treachery.  Also, Anomander Rake, a Tiste Andii and Lord of Moon’s Spawn (a floating fortress and hence the name of the book), is assisting Pale making the battle difficult if not impossible to win. The book focuses primarily on Whiskey Jack and his Bridgeburners., who are Dujek’s army.   The tactics and relationship of the Bridgeburners is interesting to read.  I loved the introduction of the characters.  I felt that Ganeos Paran assignment as Captain to the Bridgeburners was interesting.  As the story unfolded, so did the development of some of the characters. 

The book had a good ending, with some resolutions, but it also introduced some new characters and new threats. Since it is a series, there is lots left to happen. I am curious to see where this is all heading.  If you enjoy reading fantasy and want to luxuriate in a long story then I recommend this book to you.  Keep in mind this is not your typical fantasy, but if you are willing to give it a go, I think you too will be hooked.

 

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