Saturday, September 5, 2015

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

  • Release Date: October 2, 2012
  • Pages: 336
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Publisher: Tor Books

Well, it’s time for to me fill my “Reading Outside of My Usual Genre” quota for the year.

I came across this book on NPR books where Amal El-Mohtar discussed how awesome the diverse covers for this book were and how Max Gladstone became one of his favorite authors. I had a Fantasy space in my Summer Book Bingo, so when I saw this was available on Scribd I started reading.

I’ve never read adult genre science fiction/fantasy so I’m not even sure how to review this, but here goes.

24-year-old Tara Abernathy has just been thrown out of the Hidden Schools--the school where those worthy can go to learn the Craft, this world’s magic. And I mean they literally throw her out, she falls thousands of feet to earth.

Tara isn't looking forward to going back to a mundane life without Craft, but then she is offered the job of a lifetime by Elayne Kevarian, a Craftswoman who works for the most prestigious Craft firm in the world. Together they  are headed to the city of Alt Coulumb to investigate the mysterious death of the city’s deity, Kos.

This novel is very plot-y and very world-buildy.  I had an especially hard time trying to make sense of how some things worked, like what exactly did a God look like and how did they become a God ?  It wasn’t until I got to about page 100 that I started to really settle into the world. There is a lot of restating a recapping so that helped me adjust.

There were a lot of cool things in this world like the Blacksuits, the city’s police force. The Blacksuits look like black obsidian statues and  work as a hive mind for Justice. There are also gargoyles in this book and the way these two creatures connect is interesting.

This  series is interesting because it was not released in chronological order. Gladestone has a whole blog post dedicated to this, but basically he wanted to tell a story that spanned time.  So the books were released in this order:

But they chronologically in this order (hence the numbers in the titles).

I have mixed feelings about this. I couldn't stop thinking about this book as the third in series and like a lot was being intentionally left out. But on the other hand I like that this basically means you can skip around within the series.

Three Parts Dead really surprised me, it was not at all  what I expected my first SFF to be and I’m not just talking about the woman of color protagonist.  I thought there would be a Hero’s Journey and everyone going after a McGuffin, but this is far from that. Tara is extremely capable and eager to work on this case, and the structure is less a journey and more of  a legal thriller.

While I don’t see a Speculative & Sensibility in the future I look forward to getting back into this world to see where Gladstone goes next.

Around this time last year I read my first nonfiction, Unbroken and I have to say reading outside of YA/ Romance is really fun, you never know what to expect when you open the page and it's fun learning about how other genres work. 

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