Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone
I can honestly say that this book was nothing like what I expected.
The trickiest part about writing this review is that no matter what I say, I don't think I can adequately describe the utter uniqueness of the story. I'll try, though.
There is magic. And there is action. It takes place in a city. But the whole style, world, plot, problems, characters were not what I was expecting.
It all was a bit more corporate, and lawyer-ey (I don't care if that isn't a word, it totally fits).
In Tara's world, the Craftspeople (human magic users) battled with the gods. And the Craftspeople won.
There are still gods and goddesses, but the world is run according to Craft law. The Craftsmen and women are the ones who draft contracts and handle disputes. Life essence is currency. Of course, in a magic court, the truth is relative to whoever has the most power.
Tara is a novice who was thrown out of Craft school for some reason. She gets a job under Elayne Kevarian, a very powerful Craftswoman. They are needed to resurrect a god. But why did the god die in the first place? And what is with the gargoyles in the city? And why oh why did the opposing counsel have to be her enemy? What kind of f'ed up world is this anyways?
Here's the thing - this isn't what I expected, but I still really liked it. I had a bit of "What is going on here" in the beginning, but I still kept turning the pages, wanting to see how it all turns out.
There isn't any romance, and while there is some action, Tara is not throwing punches right and left. She has power, but she also is very, very smart. Her counterpart, Abelard, a devotee of the dead god, was very interesting to follow as well. Don't think think this is a "get the team together and go on a quest" story either. We have a team, of sorts, with varying levels of trust.
If you have strict lines where your fantasy must fall, you might have some issues getting into this one. However, if you want something different on your fantasy shelf, give Three Parts Dead a try.
[received an ARC to review.]