Parts Dead (Craft Sequence, #1)
A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international
necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life
before His city falls apart.
Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of
the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will
shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citizens will
Tara’s job: resurrect Kos before chaos sets in.
Her only help: Abelard, a chain-smoking priest of the dead god, who’s having an
understandable crisis of faith.
When Tara and Abelard discover that Kos was
murdered, they have to make a case in Alt Coulumb’s courts—and their quest for
the truth endangers their partnership, their lives, and Alt Coulumb’s slim hope
Set in a phenomenally built world in which
justice is a collective force bestowed on a few, craftsmen fly on lightning
bolts, and gargoyles can rule cities, Three Parts Dead introduces
readers to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs
A vampire, a sorceress, and a chain-smoking priest walk into a bar...
Three Parts Dead is Gladstone's debut novel, and it's the first in the
long Craft Sequence series. Every novel is a self-contained story, that takes
place in the same shared universe, which is something that I like about this
series. You don't have to read the first two books to enjoy the third.
Here, we follow Tara Abernathy - a strong-willed young Craftswoman who
has been kicked out of the magic school. Injured and disgraced, she comes back to her home village. But her home
bliss doesn't last long as she is soon hired by an old Craftswoman from a
prestige necromancy firm. Their first mission takes them to the city of Alt
Coulumb, where they must resurrect a recently deceased god without whom the
city that worships him will fall apart. Tara's first
case will involve murder, conspiracy, vampires, and it will bring her
face-to-face with demons from her past.
For a debut novel, Three Parts Dead is really good. It's a
straightforward, confident novel, with an exciting story, which rests on a
foundation of a well-realised world. Gladstone borrows elements and tropes from
an array of different genres, such as fantasy, steampunk, and vampires, and
incorporates them into his own unique universe. And he does it, for the most
There are some inconsistencies; some details that I wish would have been
explained better. For instance, Alt Coulumb is a modern city with skyscrapers,
and most of the attributes of a modern, post-industrialist society, but the
city's only means of transportation are horse-drawn carriages. Can it be one of the setbacks that the city is facing after the
devastating God Wars? Or could it be that the citizens simply prefer not to
pollute their city and their lungs with exhaust gas? It's discrepancies like
this that make it kind of difficult to understand this world sometimes.
Nonetheless, I really like this "post-war fantasyland", as
Gladstone himself describes it. It breathes with life and colours. It's
diverse, in terms people, cultures, and philosophies. I like the hostility between the clergy and the Craftsmen. There's a great
deal of politics, and legal stuff that make this world more real, and
Just like in the case of Full Fathom Five, I ended up liking the world
more than the story itself. It's a solid story, a competent mystery with a lot
of dark turns and juicy conspiracies. Some questions are raised about morality,
duty, faith, and corruptibility of the church. However, the book doesn't delve very deep into these subjects. The characters here deal with quite
heavy issues, but once the main conflict is resolved, these issues kind of...
well, I wouldn't say go away, but the discussion kind of stops there.
The language is beautiful, but it lacks the poetry, the nuance that made
Full Fathom Five so great, but that's more of compliment to Full Fathom Five
than a critique of Three Parts Dead.
All things considered, this is a confident entry in a series with a lot
of potential. I can't wait to
go back to that world.
You can read more about the Craft Sequence on the author's website, MaxGladstone.com
Labels: Craft, fantasy, Max Gladstone, necromancy, steampunk, Three Parts Dead