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House of Chains: Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 4 | [Steven Erikson]

House of Chains: Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 4

In Northern Genabackis, a raiding party of savage tribal warriors descends from the mountains into the southern flatlands. Their intention is to wreak havoc amongst the despised lowlanders, but for the one named Karsa Orlong, it marks the beginning of what will prove to be an extraordinary destiny.
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Audible Editor Reviews

"This masterwork of imagination may be the high watermark of epic fantasy. This marathon of ambition has a depth and breadth and sense of vast reaches of inimical time unlike anything else available today. The Black Company, Zelazny's Amber, Vance's Dying Earth, and other mighty drumbeats are but foreshadowings of this dark dragon's hoard." (Glen Cook)

Publisher's Summary

In Northern Genabackis, a raiding party of savage tribal warriors descends from the mountains into the southern flatlands. Their intention is to wreak havoc amongst the despised lowlanders, but for the one named Karsa Orlong, it marks the beginning of what will prove to be an extraordinary destiny.

Some years later, it is the aftermath of the Chain of Dogs. Tavore, the Adjunct to the Empress, has arrived in the last remaining Malazan stronghold of Seven Cities. New to command, she must hone 12,000 soldiers, mostly raw recruits but for a handful of veterans of Coltaine's legendary march, into a force capable of challenging the massed hordes of Sha'ik's Whirlwind, who lie in wait in the heart of the Holy Desert.

But waiting is never easy. The seer's warlords are locked into a power struggle that threatens the very soul of the rebellion, while Sha'ik herself suffers, haunted by the knowledge of her nemesis: her own sister, Tavore.

And so begins this awesome chapter in Steven Erikson's acclaimed Malazan Book of the Fallen.

©2002 Steven Erikson (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What Members Say

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4.5 (627 )
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  •  
    Hal New York, NY, United States 12-28-13
    Hal New York, NY, United States 12-28-13
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    "Ralph Lister is missed"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes, but only in the sense that I want to continue with the Malazan series but do not have the time to read traditionally (I listen while commuting etc). While Page is competent, the memory of how vastly superior Ralph Lister was makes it difficult to enjoy the performance (as opposed to the book itself).


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    It is a huge shame that Ralph Lister seems to no longer be narrating the books. While Michael Page is generally decent enough as a narrator, he simply doesn't have the range of voices, accents and intonations that Lister used. Admittedly, he makes an effort to distinguish characters (more than most narrators do), but he simply isn't as good as Lister. Lister's Kruppe will be missed!

    What is also off-putting is that no effort seems to have been made to match pronunciation with the previous books. While I have no idea what led to the (very unfortunate for us readers) decision of letting Ralph Lister go, Michael Page should have acknowledged that he is picking up a series part way through and therefore should have made sure to maintain a consistent pronunciation. It is incredibly jarring to hear Page pronounce things in a manner which I (thanks to 3 gigantic books prior to this) think of as incorrect. Every time this happens I am brought out of the narration; constant interruptions to the flow of the narration like this make it difficult to enjoy the book. Unfortunately, with a book series like this with so many fictitious names and terms, it happens a great deal.


    26 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike 12-10-13
    Mike 12-10-13 Member Since 2014

    I only review the best and the worst. Mediocre is left to the listener.. Follow me on my quest of the best epic series and narrators!

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    "New Narrator ruins experience."

    Malazan Book of the Fallen is one of the most complex Epic Fantasy series every written. I listened to book one, and book two, then book 3. When I listened to book three, everything clicked. I went back and listened to the series again from the beginning, and this vast world is amazing. Gods walking among men, warrens, magic.. I could go on and on.. Ralph Lister was amazing. And now we have Michael Page... Who I've never heard narrate before... And to be blunt, all his voices are the same voice, with different variances of 'grate' to it. And I couldn't concentrate on the book. I couldn't connect to the characters. I was sad to look on Brilliance Audio's website to see the rest of the 10 book series will be released over the next 3 years, and they all have this new narrator. I've never reviewed a book where I focused on the narration before, but wow. This world is too rich to go from someone who narrates a character like Fiddler with a very fast, witty voice... Then have the have the same character turn into a gruffy sounding soldier who just grunts.

    I'm just... Disappointed.

    36 of 38 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Armand United States 12-27-13
    Armand United States 12-27-13 Member Since 2013

    Jaqen Hgar

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    "Write Brilliance Audio to get Ralph Lister back!"

    This book made me realize how spoiled I was by Ralph Lister with the first three books. Love this series so far but handing narration duties over to Michael Page was a big mistake. I'm not saying that Michael Page is a bad narrator, he does a wonderful job with the Locke Lamora series by Scott Lynch, he just is not the right guy for this series. They had the right guy, he read the first three books. Maybe it was a scheduling issue, but on the Brilliance Audio website it has Michael Page listed as the reader for the rest of the books in the series. Hopefully they come to their senses and switch back to Ralph Lister, if not I will probably be reading the rest of the series in print.

    32 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sue STOW, OH, United States 12-24-13
    Sue STOW, OH, United States 12-24-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Story is Great, Narriation is Disappointing"
    Any additional comments?

    I was introduced to this series through audible.com - as such I connected with these characters through the interpretive narration of Ralph Lister. I have to agree with other comments concerning the change of narrator. I think that had the series started with Michael Page - I may not be writing this review. But that is not the case - not only does the characterization of Fiddler, Sorry, and Cutter not match the mental picture I have of those characters - the pronunciation of certain words takes some getting use to (Felisin, Taverore, and Raraku). At this point, I am not certain I will continue with the remainder of this series - sorry Steven.

    19 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe SEATTLE, WA, United States 12-25-13
    Joe SEATTLE, WA, United States 12-25-13 Member Since 2014
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    "New Narrator is a Bummer"
    If you’ve listened to books by Steven Erikson before, how does this one compare?

    This fourth installment os more or less on par with the pervious three but it is getting kinda carried away. One of the main reasons I loved the first three books as much as I did was because while there were wildly powerful characters in the story, many more were normal people in the midst of extraordinary situations. In House of Chains most of the characters have near god-like powers and I think it is getting a touch extreme.


    Any additional comments?

    As has been noted in other reviews the new narrator leaves a lot to be desired. The new voices for old characters is pretty jarring, Quick-Ben, for example, sounds nothing like he did in the first three book and it is distracting. There are other voices as well that have been dramatically altered.

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    alexander ojai, CA, United States 02-13-14
    alexander ojai, CA, United States 02-13-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Viewing a landscape through a keyhole."
    What did you love best about House of Chains?

    Erikson's ability to construct the rich and historically vast world that is unveiled to us through his endearing character's adventures is mastery.


    What other book might you compare House of Chains to and why?

    This is a parallel closest to the Deadhouse Gates in terms of timeline and the continent it mostly takes place on.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Michael Page?

    Absolutely change the narrator. Micheal Page tries but his range is too narrow to even attempt to pull this off. He mindless ploughs through the deadpan humor of the soldiers and doesn't grasp the subtle performance needed to breathe life into dialogue. He approaches every interaction from the same perspective and it unfortunately removes any identity from the characters whilst making the scenes seem repetitive. But Mr. Page is not to blame, Brilliance Audio gets an F for not recognizing that this was not a good match.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The scenes that would have moved me were lost in the abyss of the narration.


    Any additional comments?

    Huge fan of the series. Don't think I'll subject my beloved characters to anymore of this narration. If the plan was to release these over the next couple of years, its a stupid policy. Re-record these wonderful books and allow some life back into the story.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    john Greensboro, NC, United States 02-06-14
    john Greensboro, NC, United States 02-06-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Awful Narration"
    Any additional comments?

    People don't like it when you swap narrators on them mid saga. I get that.

    Random House's decision to replace Roy Dotrice for John Lee in the middle of the George RR Martin stuff annoyed me and (according to reviews) everyone else. I was amused to note that once Martin's stuff became so popular that they completely re-recorded the John Lee books. And it was the right thing to do.

    This is worse. Far worse.

    Replacing the magnificent Ralph Lister with this Michael Page clown for the fourth Malazan book is a move of unrivaled stupidity. Lister was amazing. Page is dreadful enough to make a truly sublime saga unlistenable.

    The narrator's take on a character's voice is how the listener identifies the cast. In a series with hundreds of characters, this is vital. Michael Page can't even be bothered to maintain internal consistency with his own voices.

    I was delighted to have discovered Steven Erikson's works. I doubt I'll listen to another.

    Page is that bad.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    luke SELLERSBURG, IN, United States 12-23-13
    luke SELLERSBURG, IN, United States 12-23-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Narration is pretty bad"
    Would you try another book from Steven Erikson and/or Michael Page?

    Steven erickson is great but Michael dosent do the series justice


    What other book might you compare House of Chains to and why?

    The other malazan books


    How could the performance have been better?

    If the narrater had been different


    Could you see House of Chains being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    The first 3 books were a great listen if you like big fantasy series and the naration was great. Michael page was not a good choice to replace R lister, the characters are a bit grey in a good way but lister brought them to life giving them each a uniqueness. Michael gives them all a similar drab voice along with severely different pronunciations. I found it hard to stay engaged in the story. The book is great just not brought to life as well as the first 3

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rylan 02-09-15
    Rylan 02-09-15 Member Since 2011
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    "No Brilliance in this audio"

    This is my first review which should give some clue as to how important it is for buyers, producers, and anyone having anything to do with this series.THE NARRATION BY MICHAEL PAGE IS TERRIBLE. I don't see why audio production companies are so geared towards ruining longer series. At the very least they could have made Page listen to Lister's narration so the names, titles, and places would sound the same as in the earlier books.
    Even if he couldn't pull off close to the same voices as Lister he could have tried to make the characters sound like different people or beings. It is clear there was no effort put in to this production.
    I am half way though the book and probably have twice the hours of the length of the book into it. Why?, you ask. Because of rewinding from confusion of who is who. Little difference in characters' voices make hard to know what is going on and that is a shame because this world is a complex and diverse world ruined by a bad narrator and producer. There is a reasons people listen to audio books and for me one of those is not having the time to pick up a book. I listen as I work or do chores and now I fear I will miss out on the rest of this series due to horrendous narration and oversight.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ely W Cannon 09-05-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terrible vocal performance- audio production is of"
    What would have made House of Chains better?

    The same voice actor from the first three in the series.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I can barely follow what is going on there is no distinction between characters by the person reading. I am having a hard time hearing clearly what is being said in general because of the audio mastering on this one it seems to have a high amount of reverb, and needs to be run through an audio compressor.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    He cannot change his voice enough to distinguish between characters. He doesn't create enough space between settings and characters so as to allow me to follow what he is saying. In general he is simply no where near as good as the narrator from the first three audio books in the series which is making me upset. I was really enjoying the series and now I am afraid I wont be able to finish it.


    What character would you cut from House of Chains?

    Not really sure what characters are in it I cannot follow what is going on with this narrator reading.


    Any additional comments?

    Get rid of this narrator

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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