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

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

House of Chains (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #4) House of Chains by Steven Erikson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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 culture. However, Karsa ended up being one of my favorite parts of the book because of his spectacular character development and how pivotal he became to the overall story.

Picture: Karsa Orlong by Sam Burley

Other than Karsa, the great thing about this book to me was every time the book relates the story to what happened in Memories of Ice. These correlation didn’t happen a lot of times but every time it did, the scenes were always golden quality. The other great stuff that happened in this book was the development that was put to the world-building and the returning characters that appeared in the first book.

Just like how the plot line in Memories of Ice serves as a direct sequel to Gardens of the Moon, House of Chains serves as a direct sequel to Deadhouse Gates. This means that a lot of familiar faces do make a return as the story continues in the Seven Cities after the end of Deadhouse Gates; at the same time connecting the story to what happened in Memories of Ice and beyond. However, this isn’t a masterpiece like Memories of Ice. In fact, this was a struggle for me to finish. I don’t have a lot of things to say here. My main issues with this book lie with the story being uninteresting and mostly boring to read. The majority of the characters were uninteresting and Erikson’s prose here wasn’t as engaging as the previous three books. Let’s take Tavore. After all the mention of her name in Deadhouse Gates, turns out she’s one of the weakest characters out of Erikson’s gazillion characters. Not only that, the new POV, Onrack, is hands down one of the most boring POV I’ve ever had in my experience of reading a book. I fell asleep not once, not twice, but several times on his POV. I just can’t seem to connect myself with the majority of the sub plot in this book; they didn’t spark any emotions in me other than boredom.

For example, the silly and mock scorpions battle ended up becoming one of my favorite part of the book; even better than most of the real battle and serious plotline. I honestly don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. All hail Joyful Union. The last 10% of the book was also great but it was too late to redeem the majority of the struggle I had with the book.

“One day, perhaps, you will see for yourself that regrets are as nothing. The value lies in how they are answered.”

I’m genuinely surprised by the amount of 5 stars ratings for this book; this was okay at best, in my opinion it’s barely a 3 stars read. It’s boring and most of the time not memorable. House of Chains was a major step back from the bar that Memories of Ice has set. If I’ve waited a whole year for this book, I would’ve rated it even lower. I will continue to the next book, Midnight Tides after a week break; I have finished four books in the series within sixteen days and I need a little break after this disappointment. The good thing about this is that after asking my friends’ opinion of this book, a lot of them do agree that it’s easily the weakest installment of the series. I’m hoping that each book after this will only be awesome.

You can order the book HERE!

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3 thoughts on “House of Chains (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #4)

  1. Totally agree with you. At some point, I only kept reading because I really enjoyed the previous three books, and wanted to finish the series, regardless of that one book that did not live up to my expectations. There is a lot of the Shaik Rebellion that just did not add up to me, lots of clumsyness from her side, Tavore just marching unopossed and not recapturing Seven Cities as she moved on, Karsa doing his side quests and Cutter and Apsalar being completly used without even knowing why. Do not get me wrong: I finished the book in less than 3 weeks and I plan to start right off with the next one; my love for MBotF has not dimished at all, maybe beacause I still hold to the hope that this was just a minor setback and that the series will catch its pase again. But among the first four books of the series, I too consider this the weakest.

    1. Yeah, House of Chains was a struggle on a first read! It was boring and a far cry from what happened in the previous three books. To be fair, I binged read this one, and after the brilliance of Memories of Ice, it might’ve been better to wait for a while before I dive back into this world. That being said, I don’t know where you are with the series right now, but believe it or not, Tavore’s character development ended up being one of my favorite in the series. Damn that Erikson, he pulled a fast one on me! 😀

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