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Deadhouse Gates (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 2) (edition 2005)

by Steven Erikson

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2,437612,537 (4.21)71
Member:washor
Title:Deadhouse Gates (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 2)
Authors:Steven Erikson
Info:Tor Books (2005), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 608 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:hardcover, 1st printing

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Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson

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Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
An amazing fantasy story with great characters, an exciting story, and unexpected twists and turns. I really enjoy the interaction of mortals and gods and the subterfuge that happens between them. Each and every character is interesting and every POV is enjoyable to read. It is still very complicated and difficult to read. I had to focus and occasionally re-read to make sure I didn't miss anything. It is written very well, it just has so many details. This is my second time reading this book, as I read too quickly the first time and got lost. Now that I am taking my time with this series, I am enjoying it a lot. ( )
  renbedell | May 10, 2017 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Deadhouse Gates
Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen #2
Author: Steven Erikson
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 868
Format: Digital Edition

Synopsis: Spoilers


I am trying to do this from memory, without looking at all my update posts. Ha.

A rebellion is brewing on a continent and is led by Sha'ik. It is foretold she will be reborn and lead the rebellion against the Malazans and blood will flow like an ocean. She dies.

A bunch of Malazans are running for their lives to make it to the city of Aren, a port city that is still under Malazan control. This group is led by Coltaine, a Fist and former rebel himself. He must lead 40,000 civilians and thousands of soldiers across a continent where everybody wants to kill them all. And the High Fist in Aren? Does nothing. A renegade Fist is chasing them with multiple armies. Coltaine gets the civvies to Aren, then dies with his whole army due to treachery by the High Fist. Who in turn is betrayed and destroyed, along with HIS army of Malazans. Not a good time to be a Malazan soldier.

A noble Malazan girl is imprisoned in a pogrom and sent to the mines along with some others. They escape, make their way through the desert, and the noble, Felisin, becomes Sha'ik Reborn. She also happens to be the sister of the Empresses' right hand woman, Adjunct Tavore.

A group of characters from the first book come across 2 powerful beings, one of who is almost 100,000 years old but has memory problems. They follow a path to a Gate in an Azath House [hence the name of the book] which promises a path to ascendancy [godhood] for shapechangers. Turns out it is a trap for all the shapechangers to imprison them in the Azath House. The group gets lots of clues about lots of things and then goes their separate ways at the end.

An assassin is out to kill the Empress for outlawing his friends and their army from the first book. His adventures as he travels and then the stunning revelation that it is all a hoax and a plan to unite everybody against an even greater threat. He chooses to not kill her and goes his merry way.

Various characters are introduced and either die, have their storyline cut or just fade away. Or, they might be a major character in future books. You can't tell.

That is it. All from memory. I'd like to see you do so well. If you want to check, feel free to click on these old Readalong Posts from Bookstooge and Dragons&Zombies.

My Thoughts:

This was a readalong with Dragons&Zombies. I enjoyed the process and having someone else reading the same stuff helped motivate me to pay attention and ask questions. That being said, I took more notes reading this than I have for any other book in years. Normally, I read a book and then write stuff up after. If I had tried to do that with Deadhouse Gates, I would have missed out on so much that I would have wondered what I had actually read. The problem is, once I started taking notes, it became obvious just how dense this book is. My usual review style can be likened to looking at some architectural plans for a skyscraper. This time, I wandered the building with DeeZee from basement to attic and explored all the nooks and crannies. I came away with 2 thoughts which left me with opposing feelings.

First, this was some spectacular writing. It is a tapestry of such fine story threads that it can be hard to keep them separate. In many cases, they aren't separate, but interweaving in and out and around and Erikson keeps it all in the air and going well. You can almost feel the care and effort expended in the story.

Second, Erikson is a dickhead. There is no other explanation for it. In Gardens of the Moon we get dropped into a story without a lot of info, but that can be sussed out. Here in Deadhouse Gates, Erikson deliberately writes to confuse. What else can it be when you have anywhere from 2-6 points of view in EACH CHAPTER and almost no clue that you are switching pov's except for a double paragraph break? It didn't feel like he was out to tell a story and didn't care if his readers didn't quite get it all. It felt like he was gleefully obfuscating and confusing information just because he could. That doesn't mean it is impossible or that you can't figure stuff out, but taking a page of notes for each chapter is not what I want when reading Escapist Literature. So that pissed me off.

This book tired me out and took every word I had. In the next book, Memories of Ice, I am going to have to find a way to deal with it differently, as I can't write this much again for one book.

To end, I recommend this book if you want some complexity beyond imagining and don't mind heavy doses of Existentialism. But for goodness sake, have some lighter reads lined up either during it or right after, you're going to need them.

PS,
This was my 3rd time reading this and it still felt like my first. I am also adding the “Best Book of the Year” tag. It really is that excellent even with my complaining and bellyaching.

★★★★☆ ( )
2 vote BookstoogeLT | May 6, 2017 |
My final thoughts on this book come down to how much the good outweighs the things I wasn't thrilled about. The answer is a lot. After thinking about it, I think I loved this book. There are so many reasons for that - Coltaine and his Wickans, the sappers in Coltaine's army, his warlocks, the crazy Wickan dogs, Fiddler, Mappo and Icarium, Apt, Kalam and so on.

Coltaine is larger than life. 'Coltaine never made speeches to his troops, and while he was often seen by his soldiers, he did not make a point of it as many commanders did. Yet those soldiers belonged to him now, as if the Fist could fill every silent space with a physical assurance as solid as a gripping of forearms.' We follow more than one group of characters and more than one storyline. Some of them even travel part of the way with some other group, helping, fighting, arguing, suffering. True, sometimes I wanted the scene to be over already (mostly involving Felisin) or I was enraged (refugee nobles), but the rest, oh the rest was so great.

Felisin started as a heartbreaking child to become an almost too stupid to live sixteen year old to end up as something completely new. I felt for her in the beginning, I did. I felt for her in the end of the book too. The parts in between are what annoyed me. To be fair, they probably won't annoy people who mostly read young adult books (they are used to certain things). Her character only got her journey without the final performance. I suppose we'll see that particular show in the following books. The storyline of Felisin and her sister Adjunct Tavore, who sent her to prison in the first place, is still not finished.

We follow the march of Coltaine's army with thousands of refugees, the Chain of Dogs, through the eyes of the bravest and the most pessimistic historian the Malazan Empire ever had. Duiker's first thought about anything is that it won't work. There are so many powerful scenes in this book. 'Each of the three forces outnumbered Coltaine's by a large margin. A roar began building from the army of the Apocalypse, along with a rhythmic clash of weapons on shields.
The marines marched towards the crossing in silence. Voices and clangour rolled over them like a wave. The Seventh did not falter.' They are outnumbered, they are supposed to be weak. The last sentence of that quote made my hair stand on end.
I wish some of the refugee nobles suffered more, but I might be too bloodthirsty.

Overall, the abundance of themes, meanings, symbolism and hints of the things to come can be a bit overwhelming, but it is definitely worth reading.

I'm having real difficulties to stop adding stuff here. ( )
  Aneris | Apr 22, 2017 |
Read July 2008
Read December 2009

July 2008 Review:
oh man, where to start? I'm not really going into the plot, too many different threads, almost Dickensesque. I really enjoy this series. Erikson pays attention to detail, has a very fullbodied storyline and obviously has an overarching storyline.
First thing though, it all gets confusing. Creatures more powerful than gods. So many different kinds, names, etc, etc. It seems to be getting to the point where being a god is pointless because there are so many other things just as, if not more, powerful.
Second, nobody is safe. Anybody can die. Of course, nobody is of the Heroic Cast, so you dont really feel happy or sad about them.
Thirdly, this book seemed filled with the hopelessness of living in such a world. One characters sums it up as smile, what else is there?" There really is no hope for characters. Even death isn't always final, nor is it necessarily a release. Nor is god-hood a safety. There are things meant to simply deal with the powerful. I wouldn't want to live in this world, not at all!

Erikson's preference for Existentialism shows through, barely restrained.


December 2009 Review:
I just realized, the Sha'ik rebellion ISN'T the Pannion Domin. I kind of skimmed over that fact last time. The question I have, is Icarium, a Jahg, the same thing as a Jaghut? Or are those different things? So many details just not explained. Hopefully more explanations in the later books." ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
I am loving these books, and although they do require a little more active close reading than most, I'm still not feeling that they are difficult. Rather I suspect these are books I will continue to re-read for years to come, and still pick up more and more every time.
Full review @ Booklikes ( )
  krazykiwi | Aug 22, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steven Eriksonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Desert Isle DesignCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drummond, J. K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Wat u ziet op de besmeurde lijn
Waar u de horizon weet,
Dat niet kan worden uitgewist
Door uw geheven hand?

De Bruggenbranders
-Toc de Jongere
Dedication
This novel is dedicated to two gentlemen:
David Thomas, Jr.,
who welcomed me to England
with an introduction to a certain agent, and

Patrick Walsh,
the agent he introduced me to.
There has been a lot of faith shown over the years,
and I thank you both.
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He came shambling into Judgment's Round from the Avenue of Souls, a misshapen mass of flies.
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For the German-language version of the series 'Das Spiel der Götter', this book was split into two volumes - 'Das Reich der Sieben Städte' (2000), ISBN 3-442-24941-4 and 'Im Bann der Wüste' (2000) ISBN 3-442-24940-6.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765348799, Mass Market Paperback)

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--the author who has written the first great fantasy epic of the new millennium.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:01 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Preparing for a long-prophesied uprising in the Holy Desert Raraku, seer Sha'ik and her followers anticipate the Malazan Empire's most violent conflict, which they believe will shape destinies and give rise to legendary figures.

(summary from another edition)

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