The Deadhouse Gates is the second book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen. The first time I read Gardens of the Moon, I’ll admit feeling like a bit too much was going on. I re-read the book before starting Deadhouse Gates and was much more impressed with it. I fear my earlier review may be inaccurate.
Erikson’s epic world building is not light reading. Skimming or not paying close attention will quickly get one lost and confused. The narration is dense and often unreliable, which makes for a requirement of careful study. This series is not worth investing in if you just want a quick vacation read on a beach.
The book is well-written, with long drawn-out descriptions of battle that don’t get boring, several interwoven plot lines that are all interesting — at the end of each I want more of that plot line, but am excited to read the next one. Never do I find myself going “oh no, not another Felisin segment” or whatnot, like I so often find myself in other epic fantasy stories.
There are a lot of different themes, but Erikson seems to be nearly hung up on the theme of rape and misogyny in this tome, nearly bludgeoning the reader with how the protagonists abhor these things and the antagonists embrace them. There didn’t seem to be nearly this heavy-handed a theme in the first book. It’s not a good or bad thing, but it was a bit overt/surprising.
Long and short of it, this is good stuff, and doesn’t fall into a second-book slump at all. 8/10.