BOOK REVIEW!! House OF Chains (Malazan Book of Fallen #4), by Stephen Erikson


Going into this book I expected a few things – a difficult to understand beginning , which later turned into a wonderful narration and finally culminated in a major convergence that really left you satisfied. In regards to those expectations at least, Erickson delivered… for most part.

Book Quotes:

“Wise words are like arrows flung at your forehead. What do you do? Why, you duck of course.”
Steven Erikson, House of Chains

Book Succinct:

Series: Malazan Book Of Fallen/ Pages : 1021 (paperback) / Genre: Epic Fantasy , High Fantasy , Military Fantasy , Dark

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 recruits 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.

Learn more about this book at goodreads & buy at Amazon

What I Liked:


This book starts out easy to understand unlike it’s predecessor,and included the usual staples of the series. With the world creation being top notch and despite a return to previously created desert land Raraku , Erikson’s brilliant imaginative talent ensures we get to witness even more of this land and find new Perspective for it .

And while the plot does provide us with epic action sequences , stunning revelations , magic & mages , twists and turns, mysterious plots,  creatures created new and old and lots and lots of gore , the selling point for this book were it’s characters both the returning characters and the new characters.Who were created and developed brilliantly

Book Quotes:

“Innocence is only a virtue, lass, when it is temporary. You must pass from it to look back and recognize its unsullied purity. To remain innocent is to twist beneath invisible and unfathomable forces all your life, until one day you realize yourself, and it comes to you that innocence was a curse that had shackled you, defeated your every expression of living.”
Steven Erikson, House of Chains

Two characters in particular stood out the most, the first being Karsa Orlong , whose brutal nature and ignorant mind gradually develops throughout the book and the character becomes something truly epic by the end of the book . The second character worth mentioning is Felisin , or as she is now known as – Sha’ik . Her development as a character has taken 2 books , unlike Karsa , and while she started out as a character  I wanted to get rid of her final fate left me broken-hearted .

The writing remains wonderful and although it’s not something as good or artistic as someone like Patrick Rothfus , it’s definitely impressive and suitable for this series with details and plot development given equal importance and a decent pace .

What I didn’t Like:


While the Characters were the selling point some characters were also the drawbacks , namely Tavore and Gamet , who were uninteresting and dull.Tavore in particular stood out in these terms whom I hated since the first book but by end of this one I truly detested and couldn’t bear to read more about.

Book Quotes:

“What matter the colour of the collar around a man’s neck, if the chains linked to them were identical?”
Steven Erikson, House of Chains

In comparison to the previous books the finale seemed a bit anti-climatic as the convergence that usually turns out to be of epic proportion felt a bit flat .There is a sense of satisfaction when the killings do take place and people get what they deserve but in the end a lingering unsatisfied feeling remains.

Also not really something that I mind but many may get turned off by the huge cast which includes relatively small number of characters that readers know from previous book , there’s also no recaps done to acknowledge the known characters previous book adventure .



There’s a lot of stuff happening in this book and in terms of a stand alone fantasy book , this series still does a very good job , but .. this book is a part of a book series so comparison with other books in the series are mandatory and hence in comparison to the previous books this book felt a little underwhelming . Either way still recommended for Fantasy readers

Book Quotes:

“I see no value in modest ambitions

– Karsa Orlong”
Steven Erikson, House of Chains

Check out my review for other books in this series:


5 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW!! House OF Chains (Malazan Book of Fallen #4), by Stephen Erikson

  1. Glad that you enjoyed it overall Rash.

    I agree on the huge cast of characters, it’s certainly massive and only gets bigger!:)

    I enjoyed this book, for me the first three Malazan books could be read as an open ended trilogy and when I started this (books 2 and 3 are my favourite in the series) it took me a while to get into. With Karsa being a brand new character and the whole first third of the book being taken up by his story it was completely different to the previous books and I didn’t like Karsa to begin with but later on he grew on me and I found him to be an awesome character.

    Only 6 more books to go now Rash! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep , I didn’t like Karsa early on either , but by the end I was just in awe. And that’s the amazing Erikson writing . In fact the scene where Kalam and Quick Ben hide in trenches and see Karsa fight the Deragoth and decide that maybe their work was done and they didn’t need to face Karsa , I must admit i giggled at that scene

      I also agree book 3 was my favorite and book 2 was a close second , I think overall this book was a bit underwhelming . On to the next one 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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