Premise: All is not well in Alt Coulumb, where Kos, God of Fire, has just been murdered. But who murdered him? Tara, straight out of Craft school, is determined to find out, along with a crew that includes her formidable new boss, a novice priest to the dead god and a vampire junkie. Published 2012
I LOVED THIS BOOK! LOVED IT ENTIRELY! COMPLETELY!
All of My Favorite Things: (1) THE CHARACTERS! Especially Abelard the priest, who is completely adorable.
When Abelard and Tara’s boss discuss something weird:
ABELARD: “It all seems…unnatural.’
BOSS: ‘Whereas using the love of your god as a heat source for steam power is perfectly normal.’
ABELARD: ‘Yes,’ he said, confused” (192).
ME: <33 Abelard
Also, Tara is an awesome female protag.
(2) The concepts, oh, all the many pretty concepts. The author balances the power between gods and humanity in a really interesting way—and the gods themselves are quite interesting constructs. I look forward to finding out more about them in future books. I also love how the different characters relate to the gods—Abelard, trust; Tara, suspicion; Tara’s boss, professionalism (toward the god who is her client); the bad guy, greed (over the god’s power and immortality). The idea of Craft also intrigues me; it seems unique, distinguished from your usual magic system by a distinctly…”professional” air. I really like it. I don’t understand it very well because Gladstone throws us into the story without a lot of explanation (which is why I was able to jump right in and love it from the start). I think future books will portray more of it and what it means. (3) The worldbuilding. Unique—kind of steampunk mix of urban and high fantasy, mostly magic-powered as opposed to technology-powered. The story stays mostly in Alt Coulumb, but the world is clearly large and well-constructed, leaving much room for further explanation. (4) The quick, twisty plot is fairly understandable for character-driven readers, but still unpredictable. Part mystery, part “overcoming the monster.” (5) The comedic factor is one of the most refreshing aspects of this story. I LOVE the voice. It adds to the tone, which is optimistic in the face of large odds. I also love the character-based humor.
What I Disliked: Nothing. Literally nothing, I loved it all.
Themes: humanism verses medieval-pagan-remix priesthoods, church corruption, prejudice, faith, crises of faith, other cool things.
Recommendation: Any fans of urban fantasy. I see a lot of positive reviews by Jim Butcher fans. (I enjoyed this more than the 2.5 Harry Dresden books I read a few years ago. Sorry! I’m sorry! But it’s true.)
What’s Next: BOOK II, HERE I COME!
P.S. The Audiobook: I listened to the preview and it sounded…meh. I definitely recommend reading the hard copy or e-copy of this one.
***** 5/5 STARS
My thanks to Anthony Vicino (and his blog One Lazy Robot), whose post “Top 5 Books of 2015” convinced me to read Three Parts Dead.