Review: Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

November 19, 2013 5 stars, Book Review 27 ★★★★★

Three Parts Dead

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.



Three Parts Dead (Craft Sequence #1)

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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27 Responses to “Review: Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone”

  1. Cait D

    Wow! Sounds SO cool! I haven’t read a lot of steampunkish stuff (is it technically steampunk?) and this just sounds epic. Gargoyles? I’m in! And newspaper boys singing the news? Neeeeed. I would probably be reeling with the mysteries and plot though. Sometimes I struggle to keep up (I probably read too fast)…so I can see how having an audio would be awesome. Still. Awesome review! I want to read this one really badly!

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      I’m so glad you are excited! No, I would not consider this a steampunk book. If you are interested in trying out a steampunk book, I would recommend Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl – I absolutely loved it.

      This one really dips its hand into a lot of different sub genres and thats what I really loved about it.. So yes there is this awesome machine within the Church that helps power things all over the city and I guess that machine could be steampunky – but having read several other steampunk books this wouldn’t be considered steampunk at all.

      I LOVED the audio – I hope you give it a try. I know what you mean by reading too fast sometimes. haha.

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Really you haven’t noticed Kindle deals? I get the daily email and April and I scour them frequently so we can post some at least once a month. I’m a compulsive kindle deal buyer hehe.

      See! You think the cover looks Urban Fantasy as well! But I don’t know if I would even consider this urban fantasy – because I think of urban fantasy as taking place in our world and I really don’t think this is our world. I can’t wait to hear what you think though cause I think this will be right up your alley.

  2. Paij Slater

    GREAT review! Thanks for the heads up on the Kindle deal, went and bought it right after I read this! I cannot wait to start. My other books may have I take a backseat for a few days. Thanks for the review!!!!

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Thanks! Yeah I always check to see if it’s on sale when I really love a book cause zowwy you can’t beat $2-3 dollar books!! This one was really amazing – I don’t know anyone that hasn’t loved it.

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Haha – I noticed that last night before the review went up – about how long it is. So you are totally right! How much I love it probably does have a direct correlation to the length of my review. I guess if I love it I have way more to say. If it doesn’t impress me then what is really to be said? When I just feel so so or ‘meh’ but can’t really pinpoint why something doesn’t work for me – its hard to put that into words.

      I really liked Raz and Cat as well. I can’t remember how it was spelled now hehe. I was really hoping Shale would play a bigger role because I absolutely love gargoyles – so I was sad that he didn’t, but oh well not everyone can be a star!

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Oh why do you prefer epub? I’m always curious about people’s preferences!

      Heck no you can’t beat $3 – and you will love it…well i hope you will. If you don’t I’ll sit on you and feed you marshmallows til you can’t say chubby bunny anymore….too much?

      Really this shouted Angry Robot to you? Haha funny that now you look at a book and description and immediately start wondering what publisher it’s from.

      • Leeanna @

        I read on my phone 99% of the time for ebooks, and there are some really good Android apps. I use Moon Reader most of the time, love the stats they offer on reading time, words per minute, etc. I’m also wary of, if say I lost my Amazon account someday, then I’d lose access to all books bought. Also, epubs just look nicer… but I notice that mostly when I’m reading ARCs, most of which are in PDF format which is just a bear to read sometimes.

        And lol! With that kind of threat, I guess I have to get it 😛

        I never would have picked up on publishers before book blogging, but I like being more aware and “guessing” – or trying to guess – who published a book.
        Leeanna @ recently posted…Book Review: Powered (Powered #1) by Cheyanne YoungMy Profile

  3. Pamela D

    Right before I got to “What your’re still here?,” I was looking to see, if my library has it. I just requested it. You need to stop reading books that are so interesting! 😛

  4. Jaime Lester

    This sounds so good. I think I would actually very much enjoy it. And it would also be a great way to expand my horizons, as I very much need to do!

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      I loved it. Its adult fantasy that feels a bit like urban fantasy. I know you read mostly YA right – so who knows you might like it. Though there aren’t any romantic elements at all.

      • Jaime Lester

        I do read mostly YA, but I am honestly working on expanding my horizons. I just got finished with The Restorer by Amanda Stevens. Loved it! And I am A-Ok with no romance, for sure