chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)
[personal profile] chomiji

Brilliant and determined young Tara Abernathy has overreached herself in an attempt to make use of her training in the Craft and seems likely to pay with her life. Fortunately, fate intervenes in the form of Elayne Kevarian, a senior adept with the necromantic firm of Kelethras, Albrecht, and Ao, who makes Tara a job offer she can't and in fact doesn't want to refuse. Soon they are deeply enmeshed in the affairs of the great city of Alt Coulomb, which has been until recently ruled by the benign god Kos Everburning … who turned up dead recently during the regular post-midnight watch of the young cleric Abelard, whose cigarette addiction is an act of devotion to Kos' fiery nature.

The might of Kos will linger until the next dark of the moon, powering the trains and furnaces of his city, but Tara and Ms. Kevarian are running out of time to solve the mystery of the deity's death and arrange for his resurrection to keep Alt Coulomb from falling. There are plenty of other mysteries to be solved as well, which may or may not have to do with the death of Kos. For instance, who killed Judge Cabot in such a spectacularly grisly fashion? With Abelard in tow, Tara runs errands and does research for her boss in a city filled with unlikely wonders, and when the advocate for Kos' creditors shows up, both Tara and her boss come face to face with pasts they'd sooner forget.

Blogger-critic James Nicoll said of these books: "I am very annoyed at the people who have been selecting my reading material for the last 13 years for not having ever sent me a Max Gladstone book and with Gladstone for not having more books in print now that I have discovered them." I feel much the same way. Magical technology, technological magic, women who are badass mage-lawyers, female mentor-apprentice relationships, men and women who are old buddies but not lovers, dead and resurrected deities, vampire pirate captains, cities with jammin' nightclubs and living gargoyles, and so much more: this is one of the most exciting new fantasies I've read in decades.

One other really great thing to note. See this cover for Three Parts Dead? It's accurate in its portrayal of Tara, who is described at one point as "Dark skin, five seven, curly black hair, curvy, freckles. Last seen surrounded by a halo of flame …." Oh yes, Gladstone has no trouble at all with presenting a very diverse cast of characters.

Date: 2015-03-20 01:32 am (UTC)
isis: (Default)
From: [personal profile] isis
I tried to read the first book a while ago, and...it was just boring, and I abandoned it about 1/3 of the way through. I'm not sure why I felt that way, as it contains a lot of elements that usually interest me. I think, though, that I never had the sense of Tara as a person, as characterization and backstory and sentiment, despite the cool worldbuilding.

Date: 2015-03-20 02:51 am (UTC)
isis: (Default)
From: [personal profile] isis
Oh, I didn't mean to harsh your squee! Sorry! Just that I found Tara (and the rest of the characters) dull. Not that I did or didn't identify with them, just that I did not care enough to continue reading.

Date: 2015-03-20 03:41 am (UTC)
isis: (Default)
From: [personal profile] isis
That could be. I do like a measured amount of introspection - not excessive, but there. I think it gives insight into the characters.

Date: 2015-03-20 03:10 am (UTC)
yhlee: wax seal (Default)
From: [personal profile] yhlee
I had a similar reaction--a lot of elements that I saw are elements that I frequently like in fiction, and yet I just couldn't get interested in Tara or the setting.

Date: 2015-03-20 03:47 am (UTC)
yhlee: (AtS no angel (credit: <user name="helloi)
From: [personal profile] yhlee
I've never had that kind of reccing work for me consistently, which is why I have the no-recs rule on my DW; it's just too annoying telling people over and over and over that no, I don't want to read your rec because I know my tastes.

And I don't think it's uncommon for people to feel the way you do! I run into it from the other end frequently, when people are distressed at me because I didn't like their book rec. I just have weird tastes so I'm personally used to people I like not liking what I do.

Date: 2015-03-20 02:19 am (UTC)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
From: [personal profile] kate_nepveu
Glad you liked it! I wasn't as impressed with the second, but the third was nearly as good.

Date: 2015-03-20 02:09 pm (UTC)
flemmings: (Default)
From: [personal profile] flemmings
I loved this book nearly as much as I love Aaronovitch's oeuvre. I liked the fact that Tara and Ms Kevarian are in a field I wouldn't touch with a bargepole but I can still sympathize with their motivation. (Full disclosure- four close family members are/were lawyers: and my father, the corporate lawyer of the lot, always advised leaving the law strictly alone as much as possible.)

I like the unlikely mishmash of genres-- magic and law have been done before, but magic and modern *contractual* law? That's a new one. Nor do brave heroines wear sober business suits suitable for courtroom appearances. And, most refreshingly, this one speaks politely to her superiors. Ohh am I tired of wise-cracking mouthy protagonists, the assumed equal of any kings and queens they meet.

IOW, TPD is as far from the quasi-medieval, 19thC steampunk, and modern urban fantasy topoi as it is possible to get.

Agreed, the next didn't live up to it-- Gladstone has an authorial weakness for people having narrow but stunningly bad judgment about people-- but Three Parts Dead did all the things I want books to do and then some.

Date: 2015-03-27 10:41 pm (UTC)
nenya_kanadka: lightbulb moment (@ inspiration)
From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka
I just finished this one the week before last! It took me a while to get into it, because I was a little worried that the magic parts would be darker than I like, but I ended up really really liking it. The relationship between Tara and Ms Kevarian was great (though if it were even more fleshed out I'd have loved it even more) and the whole thing where they both had backstory with the guy who turned out to be the villain was also excellent. Cat and Abelard's friendship, and the vampire captain--and "Haven't you heard of consent???" from the vampire! The mystery slowly unravelled and I guessed part of the ending (about relationships between gods) early enough to enjoy the reveal.

I didn't know there were sequels! Are they more with the same characters, or just set in the same world, or what?

Anyway--I got the book because of the cover, having heard people going "omg a woman of colour being badass and nonsexualized!" and I'm glad I read it.

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