In the vast dominion of Seven Cities, in the Holy Desert Raraku, the seer Sha’ik and her followers prepare for the long-prophesied uprising known as the Whirlwind. Unprecedented in size and savagery, this maelstrom of fanaticism and bloodlust will embroil the Malazan Empire in one of the bloodiest conflicts it has ever known, shaping destinies and giving birth to legends.....
Set in a brilliantly realized world ravaged by dark, uncontrollable magic, this thrilling novel of war, intrigue, and betrayal confirms Steven Erikson as a storyteller of breathtaking skill, imagination, and originality - a new master of epic fantasy.
©2006 Steven Erikson (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"Give me the evocation of a rich, complex, and yet ultimately unknowable other world, with a compelling suggestion of intricate history and mythology and lore. Give me mystery amid the grand narrative. Give me a world in which every sea hides a crumbled Atlantis, every ruin has a tale to tell, every mattock blade is a silent legacy of struggles unknown. Give me, in other words, the fantasy work of Steven Erikson." (Andrew Leonard, Salon)
Commodities broker, father, husband, and avid scifi/fantasy/self help fan.
If you've read my review of Erikson's Gardens of the Moon: The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 1, I stated:
"This is a stunningly powerful epic that can both capture and entrance you. Words like stirring, captivating, engaging, and memorable come to mind. This wonderful work has rich and complex storylines, characters, and descriptions. Consider the complexity of The Lord Of The Rings. Take it up a few notches, and you might be there when it comes to the Gardens of the Moon. Seriously. And this is only the first in the series!"
Well, here's the second book, and it's equally as stirring, captivating, and enjoyable as the first.
So, here's the conundrum: How do I review this book without giving anything away?
Wow. Okay. Deep breath. Here goes.
Once again, Erikson crafts a masterpiece that brings a strong storyline, rich character development, dark fantasy, the winds of war, and just plain good story-telling together.
He carries on the story beautifully and rewardingly begun in the first, but it takes place countless leagues away from where Gardens of the Moon began, with only a few of the characters from the first book along for this new ride.
Strap in, because a virtual jihad of war is on the horizon, a nightmare whirlwind, and anyone who has read the first book has figured out exactly what I'm being vaguely stating here. Yes, it's coming to pass, and characters you'll love (and hate), most new and a couple of old ones as as well, will be swept into its maelstrom. Deep magics, black plots, and machiavellian twists and betrayals lay in wait for the listener. And I HAVE to say, Erikson got me in a few places in this book - I usually play chess in my head with novels, trying to figure out in advance where the arthor is going. And often, I'm right.
Erikson, you got me good. REALLY good. You surprised me a number of times. You twisted the plot, and then twisted it yet again . You gave both heroes and villains powerful motivation and direction. The military scenes were dead on. It's...well...gripping.
And GREAT listening. Keep in mind that the sheer size of this sweeping epic requires time to set up the pawns, knights, bishops and king and queen on the gameboard, but once done, the story propels you forward. it takes you on a journey that still has eight more books to complete.
But again, it is NOT for the casual listener. In fact, it's more demanding than the first audiobook. Is that even possible? Yes, it definitely is. Is it worth the effort?
Yes, it definitely is.
It is, in a word, exceptional.
Deadhouse Gates is the second book in the dark military epic fantasy known as the Malazan Tale of the Fallen.
Finishing this massive tome feels like you have lived through the war along with the characters. You're exhausted... yet filled with a feeling of accomplishment, and no small sense of awe. The sheer scope of the story that Erikson is weaving is simply MASSIVE beyond anything I've ever read.
This book is the story of a rebellion breaking out in a land controlled by the Malazan Empire, and the brewing war that ensues. It takes about 300 pages to set up, so until then you'll feel like you did in Gardens of the Moon - "What the heck is going on, and why is _____ happening?"
I can see where people say that you need to get to this point before the story really grabs you. That's the nature of this tale, I think. The question is whether you're willing to put this much effort into it, and whether you judge the rewards worth the effort. For me, this was leaps and bounds better than "Gardens of the Moon".
The narration was excellent. The voices matched the dark, hard and gritty tone of the novel.
If you're interested in reading this series, you need to get some notions out of your head. This is a broad canvas that Erikson is painting. This is a milieu story. It is not so much a character story. Yes, there are good characters, and they grow on you, but if you let yourself invest too much into them, you may get hurt.
Every major character will suffer in this book, and some will die. Brutality reigns in this medieval world, and last-minute rescues are so rare that you should never expect them. Innocents suffer. There is some redemption, but I found some scenes hard to stomach. Heroic struggles end in horrid death, and at those times it made me want to scream "WHY DID YOU EVEN WRITE THIS?!" yet it is remarkably well-written. This story is an epic tale of empires.
There is a LOT of war in this book, more than any book I've ever read, up there with "A Memory of Light", and that war took 13 books to set up. I can only imagine what's coming in the rest of this series!
The main drawbacks I found were in the nature of the storytelling - the high learning curve, and at times, the seeming randomness in which plot-pivotal events occur. It's hard to believe that characters just happens to be on the right road, in the right place at the right time, for his/her destiny to suddenly be unveiled, or to witness some ancient prophecy come to pass. Nevertheless, when viewed among the vastness of this tome, such events don't cripple the story itself.
I've got Memories of Ice next, and I'm expecting that to be a turning point. They say you get hooked after that one. I guess we will see!
I haven't started it yet, but I can't wait. Thank you Audible for picking the second book up. I hope you get the rest soon.
Hard question to answer. I have been eagerly awaiting this series on Audible because I enjoy epic fantasies more than any other genre. I have been buying each one of these book for my Dad after having read positive reviews, but I honestly do not have the time to read them. So I have chosen to simply listen to them every chance I get: early in the morning while fixing breakfast and while driving to work. I have found that I very much enjoy the performances of many of the narrators and they add a whole new dimension to these books.
Once I started to listen to Steven Erikson's work, I have found a few things: One, he has the most astounding dominion of the English language I have ever witnessed. He has a way of saying things in such a singular, insightful manner that you find yourself identifying with thoughts described in a way that you know EXACTLY what they mean and can remember feeling the same way but could have never put it in such perfect words. Two, it requires you undivided attention. The nature of these characters is that they all seem to be quite clever and intelligent. Dialogue is often oblique and nothing is said in a straightforward manner. I do not mean that the author has a baroque style. Rather, you have to read between the lines and make conclusions yourself about what is happening. Miss two sentences and you can be totally lost. This is impressive in a way, but also frustrating because, for me at least, it was often difficult to follow the story. I am not kidding when I say that I may have to listen to this (and the other books I have read from this author) three times or more. Three, although he has the most admirable dominion of the language, there is something wrong with the pacing of this and his other books that I have listened to. They do not follow the conventional buildup and climax that you find in other stories. This results in a book that may be exceptional in many ways, but not exciting.
I have also listened to "Gardens of the Moon" and "Forge of Darkness". I have found them all so far to suffer from the same problem with pacing, the lack of a satisfying climax. And yet they are all amazing stories that are complex and, above all, told in a truly exquisite and superior prose. Will I listen to any other of his books? Most likely. But after listening to "Deadhouse Gates", I definitely need a break and will listen to something that is not as heavy.
I don't think I can compare it to anything else. The longer epic fantasies that I have listened to or read, such as "Wheel of Time", "Sword of Truth", "Belgariad/Malloreon" are not as ambitious nor as majestically told. Those other series, however, are definitely easier to digest and great in their own way.
The narrator is great. I firmly believe that any good narrator adds another dimension to the story being read. He is good choosing voices for each character and complementing their personality with the delivery of the dialogue.
Impossible. I found myself needing to listen to this book in relatively short bites.
I'm a web designer in Southern California that loves a good thick book - especially epic fantasy, sci-fi, and contemporary thrillers. My favorite authors include Stephenson, Erikson, and Sanderson.
I'll start by saying that this is easily in my top 3 favorite books that I've ever read (and I've read a lot). It's Erikson in his prime, and I honestly believe that he's one of the great authors of our time, even if his style tends towards the heavy handed and poetic. It's one of the few books that actually drew tears at several points, and I can't recommend it highly enough if you enjoy stuff like Game of Thrones, The Wheel of Time, The Way of Kings (Stormlight Chronicles), etc.
Caveats: This book is heavy - we're talking George Martin heavy - 20+ POV plotlines are introduced with hundreds of relevant characters. Erikson excels at "epic" world building and this is perhaps the first book where he really lets loose on that front. So be warned - this book takes some level of engagement to follow. It's entirely worth it though... you'll find passages in this book that rival the best literature ever written, even if it's tough to catalog all of the characters, locations, factions, etc.
I've also recommended to a number of my friends that they start the "Malazon Book of the Fallen" series with this book, not Gardens of the Moon, since it's riveting and fleshed out in a way taht GOTM never really was.
Oh geez. Kruppe & Kalam are my favorites and they aren't really even central characters in this part of the series... Kruppe for his ridiculously entertaining narrative style and Kalam for his badassitude; but there are just so many others that are a close second.
I won't ruin the ending... but damn. Did someone cut a whole bag of onions? WTF man. Best ending to a book I've read since Ender's Game.
Hi, I'm a student at NYU and I'm also huge into MMA. I love books I read a lot and review the stand outs. I tend to read mostly fiction , but I from time to time I read more serious literature as well. Follow me and I'll make sure to give you the goods.
This series really pulls you in. The characters and the battles are well depicted and not predictable. Honesty this is one of the best series I have ever read.
Betrayal Sorrow Loyalty
It is difficult to choose a single character, as each has his or hers own intertwining story line. To do so is, in my opinion, crass and presumptuous.
He is a great reader. One has to listen carefully though, as he tends to increase or decrease volume depending on character. I am able to follow characters on the voice alone.
Coltaine's and Duiker's death.
I can not say enough about this series. I am so very happy to find it on Audible. This second book was the one that really got me hooked. The Chain of Dogs story line just grabs you and does not let you go. Epic series and I hope they continue with the rest.
I'm actually a day old tart, filled with maple custard. Perhaps, this reads as a rational introduction to others, and you are deliberately misreading it, because, come on, maple custard.
These books really are fantastic!
The beginning of Deadhouse Gates might confuse people following the series. It starts with the Culling in Malazan during the Season of Rot. The story then switches to, among other things, the Rising of the Whirlwind in the Raraku desert, the incarnation of the Sha'ik, the Malaz 7th Army in Seven Cities, and best of all, the meanderings of Icarium and Mappo.
There's more Icarium and Mappo banter! Eeeehehee!
It's an intricate epic fantasy, and although it will be kind of sort of possible to pickup at Deadhouse Gates (Book 2) without reading Gardens of the Moon (Book 1), you will miss some important plot points which will give the storyline more depth. I would not recommend jumping around in this series. To appreciate it, it's really best to stick to the sequence. Erikson cross references some of his major plot twists from book to book, sometimes, but if he recapped every small plot progression or significant back story between each book, by Crippled God, we would have to flip to chapter twenty three before we were ready to move on with the story. There really is a lot going on, and it's so inter-woven. You may not pick up on everything the first listen through, but again, the story gets so crazy, and Erikson's writing style is so incredibly lyrical, it's still a fun read, and worth listening too, again.
Listening to the audible version breaks everything down into more easily understandable portions, but don't be intimidated if something zips by you. There's even a Malazan Wiki set up to help. This book really has everything, shape changers, solid battle scenes, sun-dried ears, power struggles, senile old erudites, conflicting cultural taboos, pit quarries, resentful convicts, weird drugs, sea monsters, sand.
I can't wait for Midnight Tides! I really hope they keep these coming.
This series is dense, deep, rich and can be confusing if you're not paying attention. So many names, so many places and so many things going on. I would love to see the entire series on Audible (it would be nice to have a complete, long series ready to go!)
I can't say too much that's negative, it's just all good! Characters are memorable and you invest yourself in their stories. The plot seems pretty solid, although I have no idea where it's going, yet. The writing is quite good and at times you feel the language elevate you to more emotion than you probably want while sitting in an office, listening to a book. And its scale is epic. A nice, long listen.
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