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 riot.
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 of survival.
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-MA-ZING! – Three Parts Dead introduces readers to a fresh and new fantasy world that I could almost picture as our own. It has a quality that feels almost as if it takes place in more than one time. You have steam power, ships, and newsboys that sing the news rather than hawk papers, but then on the next page you will read about advancements in technology that aren’t due to technology but to craft – which is a form of magic.Craftsmen and women wield power that they gather from starlight and earth, or the soulstuff of others. They can do undreamt of things that once only gods had the power of doing. These same gods function now essentially like a credit system. Followers of a god can extract power on credit in return for their devotion and parts of their own soulstuff. So when humans can now do what only gods before them could, what need do they have for them if they have have such power themselves?We mostly follow the perspective of Tara, a young craftswoman who was expelled from the hidden schools of craft upon her graduation. Luckily for her, Elayne Kevarian of the firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao thinks she has moxy and not an inconsiderable amount of talent. She takes her on a case to revive a recently deceased god in the city of Alt Coulumb. So when I saw ‘firm’ it makes you think of a law firm right? Well you wouldn’t be too far off on your thinking. A lot of things in this world in regards to the powers of craft as well as divine power are treated like contracts. Interested parties sign contracts in exchange for goods, in this case some service or power related to craft or the divine. So when a god dies fulfilling a contract Tara and Elayne are hired by the Church of Kos Everburning to determined how and why he died and to resurrect him in the closest form possible to his original self before his creditors can have their way.I have to say right from page 1 this is a mad dash ride of twists and turns with ever building mystery. I had absolutely no idea what was going to come next and I reveled in the fact that I didn’t care, I wasn’t even trying to figure it out – I was just loving every minutes of it, that’s right, loving – every – minute – of – it! *hums*
While I felt like Tara was the real main character, Three Parts Dead was not solely from her perspective. It seems as if we pretty much got a taste of perspective from all key characters. Each one captivated me as much as the next and I really hope we get to see more of these characters in the future.
As I come to understand it – Three Parts Dead appears to be a stand alone novel. I don’t know if the author, Max Gladstone plans to revisit some of these characters in future novels. The second book Two Serpents Rise is already released and looks like it features an entirely new cast of characters. I am extremely thrilled by this prospect. While I love series fantasy I also love stand alone novels. So perhaps I might end up getting the best of both those things with this series. Only time will tell. What I do know is that this book refuses to be categorized. It has a bit of an urban fantasy feel, with a high fantasy flair.
Admittedly, I have fallen hard for Max Gladstone’s writing as much as I ever did for Brandon Sanderson. If you recognize that name then you know I mean business and you should just go out and pick up Three Parts Dead right now.
What you’re still here? Ok…I do have one final thought to add. I had the awesome experience of both reading and listening to this book on audio. If I had my hands too full to pick up the book at that moment I would pop in my earbuds and continue to listen instead. Indeed, I would even listen to the parts I had just read so I could hear the marvelous narration job making my reading time twice as long as it normally would be because I just couldn’t get enough. So you know those people who finish a book, turn around and immediately read it over? The same could be said here for what I did. I highly recommend either format, readers will not be disappointed.
Oh yes…and did I mention there are vampires and gargoyles and other creatures? I know…it just keeps getting better and better – you can thank me later.