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Full Fathom Five PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: Full Fathom Five
Author: Max Gladstone
Publisher: Published July 15th 2014 by Tor Books
ISBN: 9780765335746
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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The third novel set in the addictive and compelling fantasy world of Three Parts Dead. On the island of Kavekana, Kai builds gods to order, then hands them to others to maintain. Her creations aren’t conscious and lack their own wills and voices, but they accept sacrifices, and protect their worshippers from other gods—perfect vehicles for Craftsmen and Craftswomen operatin The third novel set in the addictive and compelling fantasy world of Three Parts Dead. On the island of Kavekana, Kai builds gods to order, then hands them to others to maintain. Her creations aren’t conscious and lack their own wills and voices, but they accept sacrifices, and protect their worshippers from other gods—perfect vehicles for Craftsmen and Craftswomen operating in the divinely controlled Old World. When Kai sees one of her creations dying and tries to save her, she’s grievously injured—then sidelined from the business entirely, her near-suicidal rescue attempt offered up as proof of her instability. But when Kai gets tired of hearing her boss, her coworkers, and her ex-boyfriend call her crazy, and starts digging into the reasons her creations die, she uncovers a conspiracy of silence and fear—which will crush her, if Kai can’t stop it first.

30 review for Full Fathom Five

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carol.

    Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls that were his eyes: Nothing of him that doth fade, But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange. Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: Ding-dong. Hark! now I hear them—Ding-dong, bell. –Ariel’s Song, from The Tempest, Shakespeare Deep breath: a dive into the water, immersed in something alien, and yet familiar. This is the best I can summarize Full Fathom Five, an inventive fantasy that had me riveted, fighting the Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls that were his eyes: Nothing of him that doth fade, But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange. Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: Ding-dong. Hark! now I hear them—Ding-dong, bell. –Ariel’s Song, from The Tempest, Shakespeare Deep breath: a dive into the water, immersed in something alien, and yet familiar. This is the best I can summarize Full Fathom Five, an inventive fantasy that had me riveted, fighting the need to come up for air so that I could just stay submerged a little longer. It begins with a professional priest, Kai, diving into an infinite pool, attempting to rescue a drowning idol. Or maybe she’s a goddess–Kai is no longer sure which–perhaps the division between her work with idols and the forbidden worship of gods isn’t as clear as she thought. Her superior, Jace and friend, Mara, witnessed Kai’s jump and do not believe Kai heard the idol speak. Kai’s injuries, both spiritual and physical, result in prolonged convalescence and a new position in the order. In another part of the island, Izza, a fifteen year-old refugee and street thief, is refusing to take lead of her rag-tag group of urchins. The oldest child usually becomes the ‘priest’ of the group, leading and providing solace through stories about their god, but Izza doesn’t want the responsibility. In a moment of compassion, Izza rescues a foreigner, clearly a representative of a god, and thus forbidden. The island Kavekana is one of the few places in the world that has maintained its independence in a world beholden to the power of the gods or the Death Kings. Like a fantasy Switzerland, religious neutrality has financial and power implications; their neutrality has allowed them to sell idols and priests who act as religious savings accounts, allowing owners from other countries to protect, hide, or leverage assets. And, like Switzerland, there will come a time when circumstance will force the island to declare itself, no matter how much the island priests want to maintain independence. “‘Okay,’ Cat said. She stood and offered Izza a hand up, which Izza didn’t take. ‘It’s not all bad,’ she said as they walked back into the warehouse together. ‘Being a priestess, I mean.’ ‘No,’ Izza admitted. ‘But the congregation can be a pain.’” Gladstone’s sophisticated writing is one of the pleasures of the book. On the second time through, reading through the scenes at the bar with the poetry slam, I realized that Gladstone reminds me of Zelazny, able to capture a depth of emotional detail without purple prose. Sometimes, it is a little like reading poetry: sentences truncated, occasionally extended; he uses language like an song, conveying meaning with format as much as word: “Before the cable car, before pilgrims travels from around the globe to Kavekana, before the gods sailed off to fight the world’s wars, priests had only climbed the mountain on holy days: a journey of fear and trembling that began with this walk down a narrow dirt path through dense forest that smelled of motherhood and rot.” Characterization was done well, particularly considering there was a range of character age and experience levels. Characters were people, not tropes, most clearly demonstrated in the ambivalence and sympathy for the characters working against the leads. I enjoyed Gladstone’s characterization of women in the story–they were well-rounded people, not sexualized props. It is also worth noting that one character is transgender, part of a larger idea of identity, and not mere inclusion for Serious Issues or tokenism. “Mapping her scars, she imagined her next trip to the beach, once she’d healed. What happened to you? the boys and girls would say. Myself, she thought, and showered, and gritted teeth rather than accept the pain.” Narrative alternates between Kai and Izza, in a third person format. Each section tells the story, in basically linear fashion. The straightforward structure contrasts nicely with the sophistication of the world-building. There’s very little telling here; since the fantasy elements of gods and soul-coins contrast with the urban fantasy feel of tequila shots and poetry slams, it helps to have a linear narrative while the reader pieces the world around them. Some reviews note plotting was slow; I’d disagree, arguing that the action-driven plot of many books and movies has left us with difficulty appreciating the slow build. Like going for a swim, I know there’s a gestalt experience at the end that will make plodding to the pool and jumping into the cold water worth it. The pleasure is in the warmth through exertion, the thoughts examined in silence, the deep breaths of air, the laughs, the weary muscles at the finish. On the other hand, while I had a a few suspicions where the plot was heading, Gladstone was still able to surprise me with his twists. He really is a clever writer; normally, I focus more character, avoiding thinking too hard about the world politics, but he slips major concepts like religious orders and power brokering in and all of a sudden, I understand the issue. The personal is political, and its a sharp writer who can make that clear in a book without long blocks of text which my eyes have a sloppy habit of skimming over (tl;dr, which I only recently learned stands for ‘too long, didn’t read.’). Somehow, there’s a balance between the smalls steps our characters take as they set down the path to fundamental change, giving a greater appreciation for the struggle and betrayals. This is the third book in ‘The Craft Sequence.’ Gladstone is doing extremely interesting things with this series, essentially creating each book as a stand-alone story. To date, the books have been set in different areas of his world. In the case of Full Fathom Five, I’d recommend Three Parts Dead be read first, as historical references that play a role in this book are best explained there, along with the reappearance of three characters, one or two who are farther in their own development arcs. It isn’t strictly necessary, but you’ll catch the deeper currents that way. If you are a fantasy fan, particularly of Zelazny’s mesh of inventiveness and language, or Martha Wells’ imaginative world-building, or Liz Williams’ Detective Chen melding divine, urban and fantasy worlds, I strongly suggest you check The Craft Sequence out.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    I'm still mightily impressed by this author. I'm placing him on a slightly higher pedestal than most Urban Fantasy lists. Hell, it's not even *quite* an Urban Fantasy anyway. It's just plain fantasy, and this title proves it. Street urchins, god-Advocates, grand injustice, and an oh-so-deep mystery. It's fathoms deep. I'm amazed. And rather disturbed. I'm going to be having nightmares about body-cavity living dolls now. I love it. These novels keep going in the strangest directions. It's as if the a I'm still mightily impressed by this author. I'm placing him on a slightly higher pedestal than most Urban Fantasy lists. Hell, it's not even *quite* an Urban Fantasy anyway. It's just plain fantasy, and this title proves it. Street urchins, god-Advocates, grand injustice, and an oh-so-deep mystery. It's fathoms deep. I'm amazed. And rather disturbed. I'm going to be having nightmares about body-cavity living dolls now. I love it. These novels keep going in the strangest directions. It's as if the author not only wants to stretch his wings, but he also wants to prove that the wings are the largest, too! All three of these novels couldn't be more different from each other in style or theme, and yet the undercurrent of a much larger story keeps shaping itself in the background. The fore-stories are great and so is the background story that covers all the books. It's really clever. I have no doubt that all of these are connected in players and action, and yet he keeps pulling rabbits and great new characters out of his hat and never loses sight of anything. :) I can't wait to see where it takes me next!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jokoloyo

    tldr: please be patient up to half of the story by absorbing the details. The last 20% were marvelous! ============== I blame Three Parts Dead for making me set a high standard for Full Fathom Five (FFF) and other Craft Sequence novels. High standard in plot developments, and high standard of world building, and high standard for making me surprised. FFF only lacks in speed of plot development for the first half. Sometimes there was interesting development, but mainly I have to be patient and pay tldr: please be patient up to half of the story by absorbing the details. The last 20% were marvelous! ============== I blame Three Parts Dead for making me set a high standard for Full Fathom Five (FFF) and other Craft Sequence novels. High standard in plot developments, and high standard of world building, and high standard for making me surprised. FFF only lacks in speed of plot development for the first half. Sometimes there was interesting development, but mainly I have to be patient and pay attention to the details. For characters, FFF is better than Craft Sequence #2 novel. (view spoiler)[Almost all girls team. And the dumb boyfriend was not so dumb either at the end. (hide spoiler)] . For world building, what more can I say... It is the main attraction of the Craft Sequence! Blending priest jobs with investment management jobs, or poets as night club stars, to name two of trademark of Craft interesting settings. Layers of revelation started come after about the half of story. And this is the good part: Not only you will be rewarded due to pay attention to this novel, but also because you had paid attention for the series. Some details of previous novels are hinted. I detected a hint for Craft Sequence #5 (that chronically happened before FFF), but that's just for icing the cake. I start to admire the author's craft to make a series with publication order not parallel with chronically order of the story. It is not an easy task to make still-interesting prequels/sequels in this way, but with this third novel, I am believing it might work. An excellent middle novel in a series.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    5 Stars Full Fathom Five demonstrates how incredible an adult oriented fantasy can be. Max Gladstone is on top of his game. Each of the books in The Craftwork Sequence is an improvement on the last, with book one being a near a masterpiece. Gladstone is rare in that he wants each book to be able to read alone, even though they are very connected. They take place in the same world and even have some recurring characters. Each of the first three of the Craftwork Sequence explore something different 5 Stars Full Fathom Five demonstrates how incredible an adult oriented fantasy can be. Max Gladstone is on top of his game. Each of the books in The Craftwork Sequence is an improvement on the last, with book one being a near a masterpiece. Gladstone is rare in that he wants each book to be able to read alone, even though they are very connected. They take place in the same world and even have some recurring characters. Each of the first three of the Craftwork Sequence explore something different from the next. Book one explores the Craft. Book two the Gods. And in Full Fathom Five we explore something that blurs the border between the Gods and the Craft. The deep story behind Full Fathom Five make it a difficult book to put down. I loved it. The idols and the fans gods and the entire economic system based on it is fascinating. I was drawn deep into the story and the mysteries within. The characters in Full Fathom Five make this book work. Both of the main characters are women and they are strong female leads. Kai and Izza, they are quite different from one another. This really is the story of Kai and as a result I loved her character the most. However, young and strong willed Izza is a tough one to forget and she could easily carry the weight of the whole story. She plays an amazing role in this book and her relationship with Cat is fantastic. Yes, Gladstone treats us not one, not two, but three incredible women lead characters that are all likable, believable, and unforgettable. Gladstone also gives us more side characters that are women and only a few men play roles in the overall story. The writing is sublime and at times quite poetic. Gladstone builds his worlds through his details and choice of words and I love it!!! A few examples of Gladstone’s writing: “The world tilted sideways. His throat closed, strangling his cry. He hovered weightless before the stage. Images axed through his skull: a surging twisting cobbled street. A Penitent’s great stone hand held him, crushing out his breath. A squat watch station in West Claw, a smeared reflection in a dark window, a girl’s face that was also his. Breath ragged in his ears. And underneath that breath, that fear … Underneath, he heard the voice of fire. The voice of the long nights of his soul. The voice that was not his, but spoke to him.” Another: “She swung counterweighted metal claws into position. Gears ground in hidden mechanisms. Metal fingers settled against her temples, her ankles, her waist, her neck. The cavern air was warm, but the metal cold. She shivered in her linen suit. Wires and needles waited within those arms, cold tendrils coiled under tension. She looked up at the ceiling, raw unfinished hungry black. “I offer myself,” she whispered. The machine heard her. The claws at her arms extended thin points of lightning that tickled the inside of her elbows, sought and found the veins there. The hairs on her arms snapped to attention. She was the core of a thrumming beast. All she had to do was straighten her arms, and plunge the lightning needles in.” Finally: ““The truth.” He chuckled, meanly. “Never ask a poet to tell you the truth. We have ten different ways to describe a drink of water, and each is true and all lie.” With his toe he nudged a crumpled shirt on the dirty carpet. “This room says all you need to know.”” Max Gladstone is an amazing author and now after three books I am a fan for life. Full Fathom Five is a more mature book than the first three and the payoff is awesome. I am in love with adult oriented fantasy that blurs the lines between the traditional and the urban. I cannot recommend him enough to my friends and my family. The Craftwork Sequence is one not to be missed…

  5. 5 out of 5

    The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears

    Bought for the cover...obviously. Stayed for the awesome story. This was fantasy at its best. Those novels that grab you and bring you into a world both rich and strange. Let's talk about that cover! I mean look at it! Two WoC on the same cover. The world didn't come to an end. Guess what, I bought the Kindle version and a hardcover because I love the cover. Max Gladstone's 'Craft Sequence' novels are the reason I return to my beloved fantasy genre time and again. Not to mention the prominence of w Bought for the cover...obviously. Stayed for the awesome story. This was fantasy at its best. Those novels that grab you and bring you into a world both rich and strange. Let's talk about that cover! I mean look at it! Two WoC on the same cover. The world didn't come to an end. Guess what, I bought the Kindle version and a hardcover because I love the cover. Max Gladstone's 'Craft Sequence' novels are the reason I return to my beloved fantasy genre time and again. Not to mention the prominence of well-crafted PoC characters. These are not light and fluffy reads, but immersions into places both familiar and yet not. Kai and Izza are intrepid heroines from two different worlds on the same island. One is a formal priestess, the other reluctant. Idols can be worshipped, they can be murdered, a poet can be the voice of a goddess long thought dead. Full Fathom Five was an engrossing tale that one doesn't just read, but immerses oneself in. I hope Max Gladstone returns to the Craft Sequence world soon.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tabitha

    Currency has never been quite so important as it is in the Craft Sequence books. Since Your soul stuff is the money and one person is only born with so much. It makes me wonder what happens when someone get dangerously low. What kind of gruesome bankruptcy awaits them should they use their last dregs of soul? But I’m rambling now – because that isn’t really what Full Fathom Five is about. It’s less so about soul stuff and more about perception of one’s life, surroundings and choices. Or at least Currency has never been quite so important as it is in the Craft Sequence books. Since Your soul stuff is the money and one person is only born with so much. It makes me wonder what happens when someone get dangerously low. What kind of gruesome bankruptcy awaits them should they use their last dregs of soul? But I’m rambling now – because that isn’t really what Full Fathom Five is about. It’s less so about soul stuff and more about perception of one’s life, surroundings and choices. Or at least it was to me due to the way it followed these two characters who seem to be at pivotal points in their lives. Full Fathom Five had much more setup going on in the front end with the characters then the previous two books. Keep in mind that you do NOT have to read the first two to read this book. Each of these books have read very much like stand alone novels, featuring new characters and story lines. I absolutely loved the first two books: Three Parts Dead and Two Serpents Rise. I’m sad to say Full Fathom Five didn’t quite have the same effect on me as the previous ones. I’m at a bit of a loss as to why exactly that is other then the fact that it moved so much slower. It’s still a really strong book with excellent characters, a wealth of world building, indeed a world that you just want to fall into, as well as a writing style that literally paints pictures in my mind. So it definitely must be that it took me until about page 200 for the pace to pick up. Up until that point both of the main characters were moving through their lives, one with the plan of running away from her current life, the other trying to figure out what went wrong and the scene was being set and all things were just slowly building up. KAI – makes fake ‘gods’ (or idols) for clients and does the worshiping of them in their place and has her attempt at saving one of the dying gods foiled by some well meaning co-workers. Damn those do gooders! But hey what was she really trying to do anyways and why did she feel she could do it seems to be what everyone wants to know, especially Ms. Kevarian (cameo appearance from a Three Parts Dead character) the craftswoman/lawyer of the client who the dead god belonged to. Kai hears the god speak at the end of her life when these ‘gods’ aren’t supposed to be sentient or be able to speak. They are created merely as constructs, tools to allow for the storage and contracting of the client soulstuff. This sends Kai on a hunt to try to figure out: is she going insane and has really just been overworking herself as her boss says, or is there something else going on and she was correct in her belief that the ‘god’ could have been saved? Izza – street urchin, thief and once ring leader of a bunch of other street kids. She is now determined to leave the island of Kavekana before she reaches the age where she might end up inside one of the stone penitents. The penitents are a way of rehabilitating criminals (or pretty much just anyone that steps out of line) – a scary fate to be locked inside one of those things. In scenes where one appears the person locked inside is always crying, wailing, screaming – yeah its amazing when they let people out that they aren’t stark raving mad. Izza is a loyal friend and still cares about all of the children she wants to leave behind but she also wants to look out for herself. When she has decided she is going to leave she runs into Cat who is battling a penitent. Cat is another character who is a reappearance from a previous novel Three Parts Dead. In that novel as well as this one she was a one of the main secondary characters. Cat ends up seriously wounded and Izza hides her and helps her during her recovery for the promise that Cat would take her along once she leaves the island. Overall, Full Fathom Five was still a really great read, but when I compare it in my mind to the first two it didn’t pack the some punch for me. But that definitely doesn’t change the fact that it was an excellent book and that I’m still eagerly awaiting further books in this world. Overall 3.5 stars *This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dara

    I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue on with the Craft Sequence books after Two Serpents Rise. I really didn't like that book and it kind of turned me off from the series. For some reason in the depths of a reading slump, Full Fathom Five called to me and I'm glad I listened. Full Fathom Five is the 3rd published Craft Sequence book but is 5th chronologically and it gets confusing sometimes. The story follows Kai, a priestess that creates idols for her Order, and Izza, a street urchin thief. I r I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue on with the Craft Sequence books after Two Serpents Rise. I really didn't like that book and it kind of turned me off from the series. For some reason in the depths of a reading slump, Full Fathom Five called to me and I'm glad I listened. Full Fathom Five is the 3rd published Craft Sequence book but is 5th chronologically and it gets confusing sometimes. The story follows Kai, a priestess that creates idols for her Order, and Izza, a street urchin thief. I really enjoyed the slow buildup of their stories and how they slowly wound around one another before interacting. They're both vibrant characters with flaws and their own stories that make them come alive (I particularly like the fact that Kai is trans but it's not a defining characteristic or a plot point at all). There are a couple returning characters. Teo Batan from Two Serpents Rise is featured, though I had trouble remembering her because I didn't like that book much. Cat from Three Parts Dead also returns who I remember vividly. I love that the main characters are all women and they are all complicated, real people with flaws who make mistakes and each in turn have something valuable to offer each other. Max Gladstone is still a wonderful wordsmith. He's descriptive in a way that is directly informed by his world. His characters are lived-in people that have their own distinctive styles of speaking and thinking. You can tell that Kai has lived her whole life on Kavekana by the way she speaks and the things she references. It's those kind of touches that make the world feel substantial and realistic. I'm very glad I continued to read this series and maybe I'll like Two Serpents Rise should I re-read it. So far, Full Fathom Five is my favorite... so far. A-

  8. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    3.5 stars. It's such interesting world building and I do get a good picture of the characters. Not quite a 4 because the writing can be so baroque- too many words wrapping around the descriptions that I want to skip ahead and not read them all.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Paul Weimer

    (A version of this first appeared at SF Signal) Kai is a priestess without a God, at least in the traditional sense. She manages and builds Idols, financial instruments for managing soulstuff for those engaged in the cutthroat world of international commerce in Max Gladstone’s Craft Universe. They accept sacrifices, provide a rate of return, and protect those who invest their worship in them. But these Idols, although they have the financial obligations and entanglements like any God, are not rea (A version of this first appeared at SF Signal) Kai is a priestess without a God, at least in the traditional sense. She manages and builds Idols, financial instruments for managing soulstuff for those engaged in the cutthroat world of international commerce in Max Gladstone’s Craft Universe. They accept sacrifices, provide a rate of return, and protect those who invest their worship in them. But these Idols, although they have the financial obligations and entanglements like any God, are not really Gods. They are not sentient, they have no awareness, and are just pure financial instruments. Why is Kai and her peers called priestesses, then? Therein lies a story, a story that will be revealed when she falls from favor for an action that seemingly is the right thing to do. In the meanwhile, Izza, a thief-urchin on the mean streets of the paradise called Kavekana, lives far below Kai, socially and physically. She has a Goddess, though, or had one, anyway; a Goddess who is now dead. Just like the succession of other deities who have risen and died while she and her fellow kids have worshipped and relied on them. But what are these Gods doing on an island dominated by Idols and the Penitents, devices of punishment and social control housing the guilty? Izza wants out of it all, but obligations and events swirling around her have other ideas about her future. And Izza’s story has far more in common with Kai’s than either of them can imagine. The strength of Full Fathom Five, the newest Craft Sequence novel from Max Gladstone, is without question the diverse set of characters — a predominantly female cast of characters, of all sorts of races and backgrounds. A tropical, volcanic island, a crossroads of commerce and finance, is naturally going to have a diverse population of residents and transients. Gladstone’s world has a very different sort of balance of power between genders, and the result is a set of mostly female characters of color. But it’s more than having a cast of characters who aren’t the typical monochromatic male archetypes that have so long dominated genre fiction (and cover art that reflects that). A tortured poet, a young girl torn between escape and aiding her compatriots, a priestess whose devotion to duty is not rewarded. All of them have character arcs of growth, change, test and trial, and come out to be transformed by the events of the novel. Fittingly, given how much Kavekana is a crossroads, we also see a couple of familiar faces in the novel from both Three Parts Dead and Two Serpents Rise, in more minor roles. I admit, though, that I could have wished for more of my favorite, Elayne Kevarian, but as she is in an antagonistic role in the novel, it’s understandable that her appearance in the novel is relatively limited. The rich world of the Craft Sequence gets even more development and exploration in this novel as compared to the previous ones. Here, as opposed to the Death of a God, or the dangers of old ones cracking an entire continent open like an egg, this time we get strange doings with instruments of craft that are explicitly not Gods at all. Or are they? If Three Parts Dead explores Zombie Banks, and Two Serpents Rise explores Too Big to Fail (Awaken), then Full Fathom Five explores what are pretty clearly offshore bank accounts in the Craft Sequence’s equivalent of the Cayman Islands. What are Craft Sequence offshore bank accounts like, and what don’t the users themselves understand about what they created? That would be telling…and is part of the richness of the plot. It does follow and build on some of the ideas explored in his previous novels, and it’s an extrapolation that is clear as well as not completely predictable and straightforward. I already know that I want a GURPS or FATE worldbook based on the Craft Sequence once Gladstone is done with it. I’d not only play the heck out of it, I’d just love to flip through some of the ideas and corners of his world. The more I see of this world, the more of the edifice he builds, the more I am impressed with it. As you might guess, then, the major weakness, in my reading of Full Fathom Five is that although the sequence are not direct sequels to each other, the author does seem to rely on the reader having read Two Serpents Rise and (especially) Three Parts Dead to do some of the gap-filling in for a bunch of the foundational worldbuilding. Even with not very strong links in terms of characters to those novels, the world we see here, and its implications, really work best if the reader has been exposed to the more accessible and hand-held portions of the earlier novels, especially Three Parts Dead. Without that foundation, really seeing what Gladstone is doing here, with all of its implications and richness, extending some of his ideas, is difficult, and I think would not do the book justice. This is a criticism that, I think, can also be leveled on, Choice of the Deathless, the text-based adventure game based on the Craft sequence universe. That said, then, readers curious about Gladstone’s work and universe should not start with Full Fathom Five to really get the full experience of what the author does here. They should, however, not hesitate to pick up Three Parts Dead and find out what the all the fuss is about. You won’t need a deposition from Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao to read more of his work, afterwards, I promise you.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    Third in the series but I think it may be the best one yet. The world is starting to tie together in lots of interesting ways. This time we are taken to a city that wants nothing to do with the gods and deathless kings that rule other parts of the world; religion is not snuffed out but rather minds are reprogrammed the right way by giant stone terrors known as penitents. Rather than gods or goddesses this is a land of idols; keep some of the benefits but none of the pesky will that deities tend Third in the series but I think it may be the best one yet. The world is starting to tie together in lots of interesting ways. This time we are taken to a city that wants nothing to do with the gods and deathless kings that rule other parts of the world; religion is not snuffed out but rather minds are reprogrammed the right way by giant stone terrors known as penitents. Rather than gods or goddesses this is a land of idols; keep some of the benefits but none of the pesky will that deities tend to have. Alternating between two characters, a street rat that who befriends a hidden angel (that’s what I am calling her at least) and a priestess who watches the death of a god she helped create. One remembering a dead god who should have never existed, the other mourning one that died under seemingly normal circumstances. Eventually they are tied together by a poet who’s rise to fame can only be described as a minor miracle- in a land where that should be impossible. Some series makes the reader fall in love with the world and this is no exception. This strange semi-urban setting Gladstone lays out continues to impress. Many of the larger concepts important to Full Fathom Five were laid down by earlier books; human soul as currency, necromancer lawyers, and living gods remain important. Each city visited so far have interacted with gods in different ways but the deities presence are strongly felt in each of them. Better still is the way Gladstone continues to give an entirely new cast with each outing that immediately catch my interest. This is a bold approach, we know people often invest more in characters more than they do in authors, to start over each time is not an easy trick. Kai the priestess and Izza the thief show that this approach works though. We follow them for different reasons; Kai seems more important to the larger picture of the city but Izza acting a priestess of gods that shouldn’t exist provides the earlier hook into the world. It allows a slower set up for Kai, who eases into her role, because Izza’s path is action packed from the get go. Of course as the story goes on we find they both have equally important parts in this play. Everything I have said complementary about previous works in this series still apply; imaginative, deep, smart, and wonderful. Seeing characters start to show up from the previous books is feels natural; life is moving forward and all that. The Craft Sequence is one of my favorite series going these days, I can’t recommend it enough. 4 Stars

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Just a couple of thoughts on this one: 1. Much, much better than its predecessor Two Serpents Rise. Like that one, the first half of Full Fathom Five is fairly slow going. Unlike that one, I didn't totally lose interest and stop reading. Things start juggernauting rapidly towards the end of FFF and Max Gladstone does a terrific job of pulling all his disparate threads together. 2. While I like Gladstone's twisty, deep state plots, I think what I really appreciate about his books are the quality of Just a couple of thoughts on this one: 1. Much, much better than its predecessor Two Serpents Rise. Like that one, the first half of Full Fathom Five is fairly slow going. Unlike that one, I didn't totally lose interest and stop reading. Things start juggernauting rapidly towards the end of FFF and Max Gladstone does a terrific job of pulling all his disparate threads together. 2. While I like Gladstone's twisty, deep state plots, I think what I really appreciate about his books are the quality of his female characters and the flashes of heady weirdness and insight. The Penitents - huge, moving statues that trap criminals and literally reshape their minds as they carry out justice - are phantasmagorical in a setting that otherwise much resembles Hawaii. I also enjoyed the pool of idols in a caldera that, in waking life, is just a pit of lava, and the nightmare telegraphs that are a standard form of communication in this world. Also, prickly, misanthropic, emotionally disconnected Kai is so my type of girl: This is is why she hated humanity. Idols were clear. Such and thus a rate of return. [...] Humans hid their goals within a mess of flesh and lies. [...] People cherished lies. Kai herself had believed she was in love for years. Human beings. Liars all, and surprisingly it worked. She'd heard that the Badlands east of Dresediel Lex harbored tribes of scorpions grown large and sentient, which skittered, hunting, across the desert. She wondered if they were any easier to handle. I think her interaction with her ex Claude is one of the saddest and truest depictions of a failed relationship - in which the two people know each other so well, definitely well enough to pinpoint their weaknesses, but no longer feel a vested interest in their wellbeing...but remember what it felt like to care. Eager romantics, this one's not for you. 3. Finally, I appreciate the way Gladstone works a lot of diversity into his books without once making it an overt issue or patting himself on the back for his progressiveness. Other authors (ahem, Seanan McGuire) come off as heavyhanded, but here we are with a trans heroine whose past only comes up in light of the fact that her remaking of her body in the Pool gives her an edge in dealing with idols in the Pool, and a cast that mostly seems to be non-white. As with previous book, almost all of the main characters are female. Creative, interesting, unpredictable stuff. I'm definitely up for more from Gladstone.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    Max Gladstone continues to amaze me with the unique world of the Craft Sequence, as well as his prose. I love the way he juxtaposes opposing images of beauty and trauma in just a few seemingly simple words. I read this book as part of my first ever read-a-long which was a really great experience. First of all, it motivated me to get on with reading it, and because I had to keep stopping to avoid spoiling myself each week, it led to a lot of incredible speculation in discussion with my friend and Max Gladstone continues to amaze me with the unique world of the Craft Sequence, as well as his prose. I love the way he juxtaposes opposing images of beauty and trauma in just a few seemingly simple words. I read this book as part of my first ever read-a-long which was a really great experience. First of all, it motivated me to get on with reading it, and because I had to keep stopping to avoid spoiling myself each week, it led to a lot of incredible speculation in discussion with my friend and through the questions presented by the group. The clues Gladstone drops along the way make for very tantalizing mysteries, more so in this case with characters showing up from the first two books for the first time. However, the books in this series are standalone so, while connected, they can be read in any order (including the timeline implied by the titles themselves.)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Aliette

    Awesome world building as always: set on an island in which priests build and service idols, constructs without freewill or consciousness that allow people to place their soulstuff safe in the knowledge that they're not supporting the worship of mercurial and dangerous deities. Kai finds herself shunted off to a desk job when something goes wrong with her friend's idol--and soon into deeper waters as it becomes obvious that it's not just one idol that went wrong... A strong mixture of characters Awesome world building as always: set on an island in which priests build and service idols, constructs without freewill or consciousness that allow people to place their soulstuff safe in the knowledge that they're not supporting the worship of mercurial and dangerous deities. Kai finds herself shunted off to a desk job when something goes wrong with her friend's idol--and soon into deeper waters as it becomes obvious that it's not just one idol that went wrong... A strong mixture of characters; legal and financial wrangling atop a layer of traditional fantasy, and a great addition to the Craft universe. The plot is a tad predictable (though there's one "OMG shit moment that had me flipping back through the book), but it's still gripping and wonderfully paced.

  14. 4 out of 5

    The Captain

    Ahoy there me mateys! So in previous times, wendy @ the biliosanctum set me on a series of adventures that led to me reading the first book in The Craft Sequence, three parts dead. I absolutely loved it. The second book was two serpents rise. That was not nearly as good as the first but I adore the world and certainly wanted the next book. Like the others, I read this one without reading the blurb first. No real spoilers aboard but read at yer own peril . . . This installment turned out to be muc Ahoy there me mateys! So in previous times, wendy @ the biliosanctum set me on a series of adventures that led to me reading the first book in The Craft Sequence, three parts dead. I absolutely loved it. The second book was two serpents rise. That was not nearly as good as the first but I adore the world and certainly wanted the next book. Like the others, I read this one without reading the blurb first. No real spoilers aboard but read at yer own peril . . . This installment turned out to be much better than the last. It was also a companion novel featuring a new city and new characters. The difference in this book was that some characters from the other two books appeared in this one! It was fun to have the books tie together in a fashion. This one takes place on the island of Kavekana. It is not run by a god or a deathless king but by a business entity. The conglomerate creates idols for use in business transactions for those who don't want to worship in other cities. The idols don't have feelings or true consciousness but can "die" in business deals gone wrong. Kai is one of the creators of the idols. When she witnesses an idol about to die, she dives into danger hoping to prevent its' demise. Instead she ends up severely injured and has jeopardized the business. For her botched attempt, she is moved to another department until the company can decide her future role. Everyone thinks she has gone crazy. Is she or is there a bigger game at play? Besides Kai, there is also a spunky street urchin named Izza that is the other main point of view. I loved the interplay of all of the women in this book. Also while there some elements of Kai's relationship with her ex in this novel, it serves a function in the plot and does not overtake the story. In general, I found the machinations of the idols and the business to be fascinating. This novel weaves the characters and their wishes and aspirations together in a very powerful mix. Gladstone yet again takes the novel in directions I wasn't expecting. I will be reading the fourth book at some point and, no, I won't be reading the blurb for that one either. Wish me luck. Arrrr!!! Check out me other reviews at https://thecaptainsquartersblog.wordp...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kelley Ceccato

    There's so much to like in this book. Its most obvious feature is its complete uniqueness -- nothing else quite like it exists in the genre, and so it persistently eludes classification. Is it epic fantasy? The cities and countries are fictional (albeit clearly based on real places), yet the descriptions of those places and the people in them feel distinctly modern. So it's urban fantasy, then? Not quite that, either. It is ITS OWN THING, and that's a very good thing. The prose itself goes far be There's so much to like in this book. Its most obvious feature is its complete uniqueness -- nothing else quite like it exists in the genre, and so it persistently eludes classification. Is it epic fantasy? The cities and countries are fictional (albeit clearly based on real places), yet the descriptions of those places and the people in them feel distinctly modern. So it's urban fantasy, then? Not quite that, either. It is ITS OWN THING, and that's a very good thing. The prose itself goes far beyond the workmanlike. It's vivid, sharp, evocative. It's tougher than the out-and-out lyricism we might find in a book by Charles de Lint or Juliet Marillier, yet sheer beauty emerges in bright flashes from the page. It's a joy to read, even when it ventures into dark places. Like Three Parts Dead, this book weaves its plot threads around the kinds of questions of faith, responsibility, and the nature of godhood that are always relevant. Whatever faith we the readers may espouse, if we're fantasy fans we're bound to find the search for answers intriguing. And of course, because I'm me, I have to mention the female characters, as this book does brilliantly by them in terms of both quality and quantity. I dream of a day when excellent characterization of women won't merit special mention, except as far as we feel moved to praise or criticize a writer's skill with characters in general. But we haven't quite reached that day, and in a genre that I dearly love but still, year after year, brings us books in which the roles of women and girls are stereotyped, minimized, or just plain omitted, a book like this one, in which ALL the major roles are played by interesting female characters, flawed but capable of great courage and kindness, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. This is also one of those too-rare but treasurable works in which female characters actually like, respect, and support each other! No catfights over a love interest, thank you very much. Here, as in Three Parts Dead, romance is kept to a minimum. Gladstone, gods bless him, understands that female protagonists are good for much more than just falling in love. To make things extra good, one of those female leads, Kai, is a non-Caucasian transgender woman, and a featured character, Teo, is a lesbian who's also non-Caucasian. Gladstone weaves diversity seamlessly into his entertaining story. Other writers, take note -- this is how it's done.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    And Gladstone does it again. His books pass the Bechdel test in spades. The world building is great, and heavy concepts are dealt with extremely well.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lianne Pheno

    http://delivreenlivres.blogspot.fr/20... Si au niveau du facteur Waou et de l’émerveillement dû à la cohérence et à l'imagination du monde inventé par l'auteur ce tome est toujours au top du top, j'avoue que niveau intrigue il est néanmoins un cran en dessous des précédents. Nous sommes dans un monde ou la magie peut être quantifiée sous forme d'énergie, notamment le Soulstuff qui est l'argent. Et quand une personne ou une entreprise veut investir une certaine quantité de soulstuff, ils peuvent al http://delivreenlivres.blogspot.fr/20... Si au niveau du facteur Waou et de l’émerveillement dû à la cohérence et à l'imagination du monde inventé par l'auteur ce tome est toujours au top du top, j'avoue que niveau intrigue il est néanmoins un cran en dessous des précédents. Nous sommes dans un monde ou la magie peut être quantifiée sous forme d'énergie, notamment le Soulstuff qui est l'argent. Et quand une personne ou une entreprise veut investir une certaine quantité de soulstuff, ils peuvent aller sur l’île de Kavekana ou dans la caldéra du vieux volcan qui domine tout, les prêtres des anciens dieux, qui ont disparu lors de la grande guerre des dieux, utilisent maintenant leur énergie dans des Idoles. Ces Idoles (qui sont des constructions magique du même ordre que celle qu'ont essayé de créer les personnages pour remplacer le dieu du feu dans Three Parts Dead), en plus de les protéger des autres dieu qui voudraient mettre les pieds sur l'île (et utiliser une fraction de leur énergie pour créer les pénitent, qui sont la sorte de police magique de l'île), servent d'interface magique en quelque sorte, investissant l’énergie données dans le but d'en récolter plus. Une partie de l'argent récolté sert à payer les prêtres qui prierons et ferons la maintenance de l'idole (car contrairement aux vrai dieux, une idole ne gère pas elle même ses contrats, il faut donc le faire à l’extérieur), lui donnerons l'énergie d'exister individuellement et qui déciderons ou investir l'argent/énergie restante de l'investissement. C'est donc toute l'industrie magique de l'île qui est centrée autour des idoles et des touristes qui viennent ici comme dans un paradis fiscal. Chaque Idole a sa propre façon d'investir l'argent. En gros elles font office de fond d'investissement pour les individuels si on compare avec nous. qui investissent l'argent sous forme d’énergie dans des "paris" plus ou moins risqués. Bien sur tout ce qui est mis en œuvre pour créer et maintenir les idoles est tenu secret, premièrement parce que s'approcher d'une idole pourrait donner des informations confidentielles sur ceux qui investissent en elle (il ne faudrait pas que les noms de leurs clients soient dévoilés ailleurs quand même) et en plus parce que leur fabrication est jalousée de partout par ceux qui aimeraient bien pouvoir faire la même chose. L'île est en fait une image d'Hawaï, un écrin tropical au climat agréable avec sa mythologie et son ambiance vacances. Je n'en dirais pas plus sur l'intrigue qui tourne, vous l'aurez compris, autour du secret des Idoles, car elle met vraiment longtemps à se dévoiler et je ne voudrais pas vous dévoiler des faits qui se déroulent au delà de la moitié du livre. ***** Au niveau des personnages ce qui est original par rapport aux tomes précédents de la série c'est qu'on retrouver des personnages et des organisations qu'on connaissait déjà. Avec notamment un des personnages principaux de Three Parts Dead et une représentante d'une des forces de Two Serpents Rise. Une autre originalité même si c'est totalement anecdotique, car c'est considéré normal dans ce monde et du coup on n'en parle que très peu, est le fait que le personnage principal de ce tome est une femme trans. Mais vu que c'est assez rare, surtout en SFFF, je pense que c'est important de le noter. Au delà des faits concrets je pense que ce qui me séduit toujours dans cette série c'est vraiment l'ambiance. On est plongé dans ce monde qui semble si logique, si bien réalisé, à la fois tellement complexe et ou tout coule de source. Je suis limite fascinée de voir tous les détails qui ont été imaginés et la quantité de boulot que ça a du demander de tout mettre en place pour que tout ai sa place. Et en même temps on est vraiment sur un monde très différent du notre, totalement alien limite. Tout en ayant pas mal de ressemblance dans leur façon de gérer les choses, car les humains restent des humains. De ce coté la j'avoue que ce tome n'a pas dérogé à la règle. J'ai retrouvé toutes les émotions que m'avaient fait ressentir les précédents. D'autant plus que l'auteur continue à nous distiller les éléments du monde et de l'intrigue vraiment petit à petit et sans mode d'emploi. Même en connaissant le principe de base du monde chaque tome reste une nouvelle plongée dans l'inconnu car on nous fait découvrir de nouvelles façon d'être suivant les zones ou se passe l'action. La petite différence dans ce tome c'est que l'intrigue enquête est moins importante que dans les précédentes. Déjà elle commence très tardivement, au delà de la moitié du livre. Même si c'est vrai qu'en tant que lecteur j'avais bien entendu des tonnes de questions qui tournaient dans ma tête dans la première partie. Du coup au début on a plus l'impression d'être dans un roman de fantasy classique que dans un policier et tout redevient à la normale ensuite. Une autre conséquence pour l'enquête est le fait que du coup elle était pour moi trop rapide et trop facile. Je n'avais bien entendu pas tout deviné, mais pour ce qui est de la personne responsable de tout c'était pour moi tellement évident que ça ne pouvait pas être quelqu'un d'autre que j'ai longuement râlé quand j'ai vu que le personnage principal mettait tellement de temps à s'en rendre compte. Je trouve ça vraiment dommage mine de rien parce sans ce point la on était quasiment sur un sans faute sur la série depuis le début. J'espère que le tome suivant rattrapera tout ! 16.5/20

  18. 4 out of 5

    Pearl

    4 stars This month’s reading has been going quite well, this book is one of the stand-outs of the month for me. It felt like a book perfectly crafted just for my reading enjoyment! • Female protagonists with believable and complex characterisation ✓ • Interesting and unique world that the characters live in✓ • Improvement on the preceding book ✓ I preferred the writing style in which this was written in comparison to “Two Serpents Rise”, the way Max Gladstone wrote his prose felt quite different to 4 stars This month’s reading has been going quite well, this book is one of the stand-outs of the month for me. It felt like a book perfectly crafted just for my reading enjoyment! • Female protagonists with believable and complex characterisation ✓ • Interesting and unique world that the characters live in✓ • Improvement on the preceding book ✓ I preferred the writing style in which this was written in comparison to “Two Serpents Rise”, the way Max Gladstone wrote his prose felt quite different to the other books I had read in this series. I connected more to these characters too, in comparison to the book before it and it brought back all the excitement I felt when I first got my hands on the first one; “Three Parts Dead”. It was also nice tying in some plot-points from this book to the others and seeing some familiar characters like Teo Batan and Cat). Reading this book felt like such a great immersive experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. It definitely gave me more of a push to continue on with the series, after the hesitancy I had felt after the second book for sure!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina

    This is a hard book to rate, because honestly I didn’t comprehend large parts of it. This world has always been very complex and mysterious and I was barely able to understand all concepts and their meanings. But “only just” understanding made this world so very special and extraordinary. It’s sort of the same feeling like after seeing the movie “matrix”: you do not fully get it, but you kind of understand and love it for it. However, this one was different, I was left in the dark for too long an This is a hard book to rate, because honestly I didn’t comprehend large parts of it. This world has always been very complex and mysterious and I was barely able to understand all concepts and their meanings. But “only just” understanding made this world so very special and extraordinary. It’s sort of the same feeling like after seeing the movie “matrix”: you do not fully get it, but you kind of understand and love it for it. However, this one was different, I was left in the dark for too long and when things began to make sense, I was already completely lost. So because it’s probably not the book, but me, I’ll rate this 3 stars. If you’re smarter than me (or read this in your mother language) you’ll probably going to like this ;-)

  20. 4 out of 5

    beentsy

    This was my second crack at this book. My first run at it I could not seem to get into it. It was very much a slow boil and apparently I was impatient and not willing to wait. This time around, once I got to the merge of all the story lines, I loved it. Glad I gave it another go.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    This world never ceases to enthrall and entertain. Maybe the best of the series so far.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    Really? Held on for fifty pages, then gave up. Didn't connect with either POV character. I liked the previous books in this series, but this train never left the station.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    This series has gone from "great" to "really damn excellent" in three books, and I'm not sure I have anything useful to add to that. Except to pass along the author's comment (at a bookstore signing) that the numerals in the titles denote chronological order. Might be handy to know. Oh, I'll give you the setup. The island nation of Kavekana has been theologically empty ever since its gods swam away to fight in the God Wars. (The other side won.) But empty doesn't mean bankrupt. The priests of Kav This series has gone from "great" to "really damn excellent" in three books, and I'm not sure I have anything useful to add to that. Except to pass along the author's comment (at a bookstore signing) that the numerals in the titles denote chronological order. Might be handy to know. Oh, I'll give you the setup. The island nation of Kavekana has been theologically empty ever since its gods swam away to fight in the God Wars. (The other side won.) But empty doesn't mean bankrupt. The priests of Kavekana now construct idols -- non-sentient constructs of soul energy -- suitable for worship on any terms, excellent rates of return on prayer, hedged against financial crises of faith, and immune to audit by any sacrifice revenue service. Imagine Hawaii as the Cayman Islands, only money is souls and magic is money. Of course no financial instrument can *guarantee* return. Occasionally an idol goes bankrupt. The priestess Kai makes a last-ditch effort to save one, and trips over a web of shady dealings. Simultaneously, a street thief named Izza helps a fugitive witch -- or fugitive something, anyway -- and a poet gets writer's block. All these things are connected, of course. The magic-as-capitalism-as-everything metaphor is the fizz in this series, but it's the character writing that makes it great. Everybody is awesome. Even the poet, who is a self-important snot, is awesome. Nobody is there just to hold up a length of plot; nobody is stupid. Nobody is entirely trustworthy, because they all want things, and nobody is entirely awful, because they all want things and you can understand why. Nobody is entirely admirable but they're all people. So.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael Burnam-Fink

    With Full Fathom Five, the Craft sequence finally lands square on its feet. Not the that the previous books were bad, but they were a little too taken with flashy descriptions of magic or pure idealism for my taste. This time around, Gladstone grounds his setting in very real and relatable concerns. The formula is much the same: a noir mystery or Grisham-esque thriller translated to high magic fantasy, but now executed perfectly. Kai is a priestess of empty idols, a kind of divine hedge fund mana With Full Fathom Five, the Craft sequence finally lands square on its feet. Not the that the previous books were bad, but they were a little too taken with flashy descriptions of magic or pure idealism for my taste. This time around, Gladstone grounds his setting in very real and relatable concerns. The formula is much the same: a noir mystery or Grisham-esque thriller translated to high magic fantasy, but now executed perfectly. Kai is a priestess of empty idols, a kind of divine hedge fund manager who stores wealth away from the greedy eyes of true gods and Immortal Kings. When she recklessly decides to save Seven Alpha, an over-stretched idols being torn apart on volatile futures contracts, she accidentally exposes a flaw and a crime at the heart of her Order. Meanwhile, Izza is an orphan refugee, an unwitting priestess of mayfly gods on an island cleansed of the divine. Their paths intersect through poetry, prophecy, and the tortured golem-human police officers called Penitents. Characters from the previous books return as well, the truly terrifying Ms. Kevarian, Cat, and Teo are all wound up in this plan. It's hard to specify why I liked this one a little better. Kai is yet anther damaged workaholic, but her quest for justice seems more human than the ones that came before. The plotting is slower, taking about 2/3rds of the book to move pieces into play, but the deliberation pays off. I'm glad to see Gladstone improving, and excited to see where this series goes.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    From the titles to the page, the first three books in the Craft Sequence marry numbers with magic. The stories themselves explore different parts of society, but always on the bedrock of a spiritual economy, with soul stuff being traded and bartered to power the world. FULL FATHOM FIVE weaves together new and old characters on an island of idols and mysteries, creating a slowly building hope that is impossible to resist. As with THREE PARTS DEAD, this story starts in the clinical mechanics of a s From the titles to the page, the first three books in the Craft Sequence marry numbers with magic. The stories themselves explore different parts of society, but always on the bedrock of a spiritual economy, with soul stuff being traded and bartered to power the world. FULL FATHOM FIVE weaves together new and old characters on an island of idols and mysteries, creating a slowly building hope that is impossible to resist. As with THREE PARTS DEAD, this story starts in the clinical mechanics of a spiritual economy, and builds to hopes of a more balanced world, if no better or "perfect" than the good intentions that preceded it. Having familiar faces from prior books working in the background added particular weight to the job of unraveling motives and mysteries in this book. And with the addition of Kai, a priestess once born in the body of a man, and Izza, an orphaned refugee living in the cracks and shadows of society, the story presents both the center and fringes of a narrative in alternating chapters. The Craft Sequence series works best when grounded in an accessible world, and the flowing character perspectives of FULL FATHOM FIVE give a gorgeous human weight to events as they unfold. Gladstone is a master at building contagious emotions, and FULL FATHOM FIVE will once again take readers from wonder to despair to the most delicate of hopes. Sexual content: References to sex.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dee

    Great. Great in many and varied ways, and such a delight to see elements from the first two books come together here. (Speaking of which, how delightful is it that this ends up being a gang of five bad-ass ladies, three of colour, including a lesbian and a trans woman, who are incidentally depicted on the cover? Very damn delightful. Some sort of Puppy-nose-tweaking critical mass of delightful.) There's an almost Pratchettarian depth, simplicity and truth to the themes at play here - of the mutua Great. Great in many and varied ways, and such a delight to see elements from the first two books come together here. (Speaking of which, how delightful is it that this ends up being a gang of five bad-ass ladies, three of colour, including a lesbian and a trans woman, who are incidentally depicted on the cover? Very damn delightful. Some sort of Puppy-nose-tweaking critical mass of delightful.) There's an almost Pratchettarian depth, simplicity and truth to the themes at play here - of the mutual need of gods for humans and vice versa; and of how humans don't needs gods to do terrible things to themselves and each other (that being very timely coming after the religion-messes-you-up vibes of Two Serpents Rise). On which note, the Penitents are a magnificent creation, terrifying on so many levels and such a beautiful externalisation of the punishment society metes out to those it has failed. Thinky and a rollicking good story and just plain great.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Beth Cato

    I've thoroughly enjoyed the previous two volumes in the series and anxiously awaited the third. It lived up to expectations, even though it didn't quite have the flow of #2 (Two Serpents Rise). Gladstone has a knack for writing books where characters feel contemporary even though they live in another world, one with magic, gods, undead kings, and all sorts of peculiarities. Sometimes the weirdness makes it hard to follow, but it's so much fun that I keep on reading. The two principal POVs were q I've thoroughly enjoyed the previous two volumes in the series and anxiously awaited the third. It lived up to expectations, even though it didn't quite have the flow of #2 (Two Serpents Rise). Gladstone has a knack for writing books where characters feel contemporary even though they live in another world, one with magic, gods, undead kings, and all sorts of peculiarities. Sometimes the weirdness makes it hard to follow, but it's so much fun that I keep on reading. The two principal POVs were quite engaging: Kai, a transgender priestess and creator of idols for mass investment, and Izza, a street-wise girl whose goddess has died. The setting is inspired by Hawaii and felt brilliant and fresh with a secondary-world fantasy take.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

    I really regret putting this series aside for as long as I did! This book was great, despite the fact that it took me foreeeeeever to remember the characters that overlapped from the previous books. Definitely excited to uncover the grand sinister plot Gladstone has for this world he's created.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anya

    I think this is my favorite of the series so far! I love seeing a trans main character, the magic and mystery of the idols was fascinating, and we see old faces again :D. I had a bit of trouble following all the little details at times, but I love how expansive this world is becoming.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Pierce

    So this is my third book by Max Gladstone and I have been impressed every single time. The world of this series is complex and he is not afraid to shy away from characters that geek out on numbers and research. You start to see some returning characters from Three Parts Dead and Two Serpents Rise, but the book can be read by itself, even if I recommend reading the other two because they are AWESOME!

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