Review: House of Chains by Steven Erikson

House of Chains was written by Steven Erikson and published in 2002.


It’s sort of like kids playing king of the hill, but in this case, the hill is a fragmented warren of magic and the kids are a bunch of bad asses bent on betrayal. This fourth novel in the Malazan series continues the narrative from Deadhouse Gates, with a novella length opening on Karsa Orlong a.k.a Toblakai.

Reasons to Read

You’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of the Malazan series. Karsa Orlong. The rise of the House of Chains.

Reasons to Skip

It’s really long. Not only does Erikson continue his overuse of the word “pate” but also loves using the word “surcease.” In trying to capture a multitude of views on an event from every character, Erikson, again, overwrites to little effect. The climax at the end of the book is bloated.

Erikson gets dangerously close to the wizard trap as explained in The Simpsons, “Treehouse of Horror X

Professor Frink: Yes, over here, n’hey, n’hey. In Episode BF12, you were battling barbarians while riding a winged Appaloosa, yet in the very next scene, my dear, you’re clearly atop a winged Arabian! Please do explain it!
Lucy Lawless: Uh, yeah, well, whenever you notice something like that… a wizard did it.
Professor Frink: I see, alright, yes, but in episode AG04-
Lucy Lawless: Wizard!

What to Wear While Reading

Shemagh head scarf and medieval metal gauntlets. You can always reuse the gauntlets for your Dr. Doom costume.

Food and Drink Pairing

Fermented goat’s mare’s milk and gas station jerky.

If Virginia Woolf Wrote This Book

They would plan for ages about visiting Raraku, the trip would almost fall apart, and then from across the desert we’d know the characters made it to their destination.

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