Three Parts Dead
By Max Gladstone
Published on October 2nd 2012
Published by Tor
Published by Tor
Chantaal's Review...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.
It doesn't take reading too many of the same cookie cutter paranormal romance or urban fantasy novels to tire of the genre and start looking for something new. Three Parts Dead delivered on that from the moment I saw the cover - badass colored main character! - and I was in once I read the summary. It all sounded so mysterious and had just enough of a fantasy tinge to keep things interesting.
Much like any fantasy novel set in a made up world, Three Parts Dead throws you in the deep end and trusts that you will not only float, but swim as well. That trust in the reader's intelligence is one of the things I enjoy most about novels like this, even though there were times my brain would reject everything because there was SO MUCH to try to piece together into a world that makes sense.
The world in Three Parts Dead is pretty damn neat, though.
Tara, our main character, is not just a badass magic (or craft, as it's called here) wielder and detective, but she's easy to get to know and sympathize with as we get glimpses into what makes her tick. There were times I felt she was a little too awesome, but that's not even a real complaint. I was just as intrigued by Abelard, the priest of the dead god who is tasked to help her. Abelard goes from a lowly priest to someone who has to confront the death of his god, and deal with all the craziness that comes with Tara and her craft. Poor guy.
The secondary characters, such as Tara's boss, Abelard's friend who is a body for the all encompassing quasi-deity called Justice, and a delightful vampire, all make for a well-rounded cast. It felt like they were all main characters whenever the narrative focused on them, which made for a really great reading experience.
The action and pacing move pretty damn fast, making for an intense read that I couldn't put down. I began to resent having to sleep, guys. How dare my body deny me precious time better spent in Tara's world? Hmph.
Though the second novel in this series doesn't deal with the same characters, I'm so impressed by Max Gladstone's writing that I'll be grabbing it as soon as it hits shelves.