Three Parts Dead (Craft Sequence, Book 1)
January 28, 2020 11:02 PM - by Max Gladstone - Subscribe

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.

Book one of Gladstone's Craft Sequence introduces his world where humans, gods, and creatures of all kinds practice magic, but there are contracts and rules.

Part whodunit mystery, part fantasy courtroom drama, it's a bit like if LA Law and Perdido Street Station had a kid. Lawyers fly around on lightning bolts, police are living embodiments of the concept of Justice, vampire captains sail the seas with their crews in search of trade goods, and gods can die but somebody has to settle their estate.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit (11 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This first-published book in the Craft Sequence is still probably my favorite, with Ruin of Angels being a close second. It seemed to me that it took Gladstone a while to get his groove back after this one (this may be in part because I found Caleb Altemoc, who happily is not yet introduced in this one, to be a terrible character who ruins everything always.)

Anyway, this book is bursting with ideas, and would be riveting on the strength of its world-building alone, but it also has great characters and an awesome plot. Two creepy immortal skeletal thumbs way up.
posted by kyrademon at 4:24 AM on January 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

I read these in chronological sequence accidentally, since for whatever reason the list I saw them on ordered that way and didn't contain publication dates or something. I ended up confused after the "first two", wondering why I had to read about someone who WASN'T Elayne Kevarian (I was already grumpy the second book wasn't just about her), then happy Elayne was still in it, then I completely forgot I was annoyed in the first place.

I love these books. Just a week or two ago I was hyping this book up to someone after a conversation about vampires turned towards whether or not vampires could live underwater. I also vastly prefer it to Perdido Street Station, which may be a fascinating book, but is happens to also be a book with characters I almost universally disliked or ended up feeling underdeveloped.
posted by wakannai at 4:39 AM on January 29, 2020

I was only recently introduced to these books, this one was referenced a while back as part of a discussion about magic requiring rules. And I really loved This is How You Lose the Time War so it was a pretty easy sell.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:27 AM on January 29, 2020

Gladstone's description of the books: The Craft Sequence
The Craft Sequence books are legal thrillers about faith, or religious thrillers about law and finance. Plus there are hive-mind police forces, poet gargoyles, brainwashing golems, nightmare telegraphs, surprisingly pleasant demons, worldshattering magic, environmental devastation, and that deepest and darkest evil: student loans.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:08 AM on January 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

Elayne Kevarian kicks ass and takes all the names.
"Language, Elayne."

"My apologies," she said after another sip of vodka. "One gets carried away when one feels one's dinner companion has made an inexcusable moral error."
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:03 PM on January 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

I really loved this book -- I remember seeing reading order stuff that had other books first and couldn't figure out why (they weren't just in-sequence order, which is fine). I wasn't hugely fond of book 4 (in-universe-sequence), which didn't feel like it clarified the stuff I already knew in book 5, and I think Max Gladstone learned a very important lesson about not being so clever with book orderings.

Sadly I am not sure he's still working in the world? He wrote one final book but I don't see anything new upcoming in that universe.
posted by jeather at 7:15 AM on January 30, 2020

I read this last year and was generally delighted with it - what a genuinely unique concept, tidily executed. The scene in the dark stuck with me, too, as a very cool sorcerer-meeting-sorcerer duel-of-wits. I haven't read any of the sequels yet but I'm excited to!
posted by WidgetAlley at 9:41 AM on January 31, 2020

I read them all in one go a while ago, so really can't remember the order, just that all but one of them were really great, and one was ok. I like having books that take half of your attention just trying to figure out the world in which it exists (this is also why I love the game Disco Elysium) as long as there is a coherent logic behind it (looking at you, Jeff Van DerMeer).
posted by Marticus at 2:21 PM on February 2, 2020

I'd like to like Max Gladstone, these look cool, but I just feel too dumb to understand him. Sigh.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:50 PM on February 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

I get it, I enjoy the books but sometimes I do feel like I'm not quite following or comprehending things in them.
posted by PussKillian at 10:32 AM on February 7, 2020

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