Friday, April 15, 2016

Review: Deadhouse Gates

Deadhouse Gates Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Erikson does not hold your hand.

I like the complexity of the world, and for the most part I like that as the reader we just have to figure out what's going on. There is no Council of Elrond scene to turn to the camera and give us all the historical background; things just happen, and we have to piece together the overall story from the snippets of reference between the action.

That said, it only works _most_ of the time. Usually, when he drops a name I don't recognise, it becomes clear from context at least roughly who (or where) that is within the next page or two. But sometimes it doesn't, and I leave a scene with no idea who did what to who where. This might be helped by the map or the cast of characters at the start of the book (much though I hate having to flip back for reference, sometimes it's necessary in epic fantasy) but those are both horrible and no help. (Here's a hint; if I'm looking someone up in the cast list, it's because I don't know who they are. So organising it by socio-political groups rather than, say, alphabetically, makes it useless.)

Overall, it's an amazingly detailed world with tons of depth and interesting characters. The long epic march of Coltaine and his men is epic, and stirring, and an excellent framework for this book. We still don't know where this is all going, but I'm intrigued, and will follow along.

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