Book Review – Deadhouse Gates Book 2 of the #Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson

I am glad I didn’t give up on this series after my initial wave of vile feelings toward Gardens of the Moon. Wow, what a book! I’m spent! I’ve now learned that I need a few lighter reads in-between Erikson’s works. Please note that I try my hardest to write “spoiler free” reviews. I love comments on my blog – feedback is truly why I write reviews in the first place. Please make sure you don’t post spoilers in your comments or I won’t approve them.

Deadhouse Gates read slower than most fantasy books that I’ve read, but I did not find this to be a bad thing. Instead of being bored, the author enthralled me with his imagery. Erikson’s rich vocabulary coupled with excellent sentence structure produced a work that borders on a poem. It took effort to see what lay beneath the paper and ink, but under that surface I found an entire ocean.

The multiple plot-lines within Deadhouse Gates were vast and it was hard to tell which (if any) were central to the tale. That is a compliment as each of the plots were essential and they all came together neatly at various points within the story. There were several scenes that were downright genius. The one that comes immediately to my mind was a certain “promotion”. If and when you read Deadhouse Gates, you will know exactly what I am talking about.

The characters within Deadhouse Gates were portrayed so much better than in Gardens of the Moon. There were a few characters I never got a good feel for and hence had no real interest in their sub-plot. However, most of the major characters had true depth. I learned in good detail their inner desires and internal conflicts through their outwardly acts and their inwardly introspections.

I started to understand Erikson’s world better as I read Deadhouse Gates. This was something that had completely eluded me in Gardens of the Moon. The world within Deadhouse Gates was a very scary place. I would not want to live in Malaz. Battle scenes were vivid and brutal. Tortured warriors, dying men, and corpses of women and children lined roads that criss-crossed the entire map. The flies that came to feast on their blood were relentless in their pursuits.

The ideas regarding “warrens” and how they exist were totally unique (for anything I’ve read at least). How everything in the world tied to various warrens, from magic and the gods to physical locations intrigued me. The magic systems within the world were mysterious too. Hints were made about how they worked, but like the rest of Erikson’s work, it seems it takes effort (and multiple volumes) to truly understand. The world building that took place to create the Malazan Empire and beyond was truly incredible and has resulted in a work of genius!

Overall I give Deadhouse Gates 5 out of 5 stars. Much better than Gardens of the Moon at 2!

You can buy it here:


4 Comments Add yours

  1. I’d love it if you reviewed anything by Tad Williams!!

    1. Nate says:

      Funny you say that, Tad Williams is my favorite author! I want to re-read The Dragonbone Chair and do a review. So many other books I want to read first though :( Maybe I’ll review Dirty Streets of Heaven!

      1. You’ve made my evening. I’m reading the City of Golden Light, set in futuristic Africa. Unbelievable!

      2. Nate says:

        I actually haven’t read that series… Yet! I’m kind of a fantasy snob, but I mean to make an exception for Tad.

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