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Three Parts Dead | [Max Gladstone]

Three Parts Dead

A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, a first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethras, 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’ 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.
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Publisher's Summary

A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, a first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethras, 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’ 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 listeners to an ethical landscape in which the line between right and wrong blurs.

About the author: Max Gladstone went to Yale, where he wrote a short story that became a finalist in the Writers of the Future competition. He lives in Boston.

©2012 Max Gladstone (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“Max Gladstone has created a fascinating universe and equally fascinating characters. It’s a world in which magic is craft and religion has some very practical rules, and he shows it through the stories of some very interesting characters. This is his first novel. I can’t wait for his second.” (Jerry Pournelle, New York Times best-selling author)

“This has so many of my favorite things: an intriguing world, fun characters, a puzzle of a story that manages to be both funky fantasy and legal thriller. Three Parts Dead is simultaneously fast paced and thoughtful, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.” (Carrie Vaughn, New York Times best-selling author)

“The story remains suspenseful and fast-paced throughout, and the diverse, female-led cast is a joy to follow through the fascinating and unusual landscape.” (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (125 )
5 star
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4.0 (106 )
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1 star
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3.6 (107 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    John Denver, Colorado, United States 07-27-14
    John Denver, Colorado, United States 07-27-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    59
    ratings
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    88
    46
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    Story
    "Great story, but the narrator was off"

    I really liked this book. The story was significantly above average in quality, but not perfect. I will be reading the following books in this series in the months to come despite the imperfections. I could consistently see humor and good story telling in the story, which I thoroughly enjoyed. My one suggestion to the author would be to add more humor in the future, so we had something funny or a joke every two or three pages instead of every ten or twenty.
    My main issue was the narrator. She just didn't click with me. I liked 9/10ths of the voices she used, but disliked the voice she used for Tara. She made one of the main characters sound as if she had a lisp, or something. It was super minor, but it bugged me.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine St. Johns, FL, United States 02-27-14
    Katherine St. Johns, FL, United States 02-27-14 Member Since 2014

    I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1370
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    "Inventive"

    Three Parts Dead is, as one of my fellow reviewers said, “wonderfully inventive.” I enjoyed the story but felt a little lost in the world sometimes — it’s so inventive that I never felt quite grounded. I did, however, like the characters and the story. I listened to Blackstone Audio’s version which was read by Claudia Alick. It took me a while to warm up to her because at first she has one of those rhythms that sounds like she’s reading to children, but I sped her up a bit and that helped. I also think her reading smoothed out a bit as the story went on. I think we both got more comfortable and compatible a couple of hours into the audio.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rosa F Austin, TX, United States 04-18-15
    Rosa F Austin, TX, United States 04-18-15 Member Since 2014

    Neko chan at heart =^.^=

    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
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    9
    7
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    "An average experience all around."

    I listened to the book over the course of 3 weeks for my book club. The story was entertaining enough, but it wasn't tantalizing. It's a weird mix of "who done it", mystery, Sherlock, magic-something. It's not one of those tales that keeps you in your car after you park because you simply MUST know what happens next and you are stuck staring into space for a minute or two with your hand on the ignition. Also, you don't get a lot of explanation about the craft; you are dropped into this world without much background and the twists this story takes don't make much sense or give you a sense of "A-HA!" because you weren't aware that The Craft could do that. It has potential though. Lastly, I couldn't tell if this world was supposed to be some sort of parallel to our known world. The language was "of this earth", and so were the drinks (whiskey, gin and tonic?!). It almost gave me a sense of an alternate earth universe or something.
    The narrator was ok... Aside from the two main characters, the voices weren't really distinct. But unlike some other reviewers, I didn't think she was terrible.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Country Bookworm Farmer's Branch,TX 10-10-14
    Country Bookworm Farmer's Branch,TX 10-10-14 Member Since 2014

    I love BOOKS!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    "A narrator can make or break a book for me."

    I wanted to like the book but this narrator just wasn't for me. I thought she asked a question, and so I replayed that part and it was not a question. I couldn't get into this book at all. I kept rewinding it over and over, it just didn't work for me. I'll just buy the ebook and read it someday.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Bryan Tucson, AZ 07-24-15
    Michael Bryan Tucson, AZ 07-24-15 Member Since 2012
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    9
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    Story
    "Interesting genre bender"

    I loved the world building in this story. Afresh take on the fantasy genre. I did not love the narration: found it off putting and annoying.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad Parks Brooklyn, NY 07-22-15
    Brad Parks Brooklyn, NY 07-22-15 Member Since 2015

    writer, singer, bon vivant

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    Story
    "A thrilling start"

    For pure entertainment value, Three Parts Dead has everything I look for in a story. Beyond that is a wonderfully detailed world, with a plot and characters that take full advantage of all that world offers. I was constantly surprised and delighted by how the story curled in upon itself, revealing a new complication or twist hidden in the details. The narration is highly enjoyable, with subtle differences in character voices that helped keep me oriented and made the book a performance. A great book, well read. I will listen to the other books in the series!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-01-15
    ratings
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    10
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    Story
    "Cool story, awful horrible narration"

    Unlistenable narrator. Story seems really cool though. Would have to recommend staying away from the audiobook version of this.

    Claudia Alick reminds me of a muddle aged librarian reading to children, and in general was robbing any kind of interest or depth from what otherwise seemed an enthralling story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DabOfDarkness Ojo Caliente, NM, United States 05-06-15
    DabOfDarkness Ojo Caliente, NM, United States 05-06-15 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A new twist to the fantasy genre!"

    Tara barely graduated and was, in fact, kicked of of school upon gradation. Still, she managed to land a provisional job with a firm. Her first task is to use her Craft to find out how and why the fire god Kos died. The city of Alt Coloumb, once powered by the fires of Kos, is slowing down; soon, there may be riots, or worse.

    This is a wonderfully complex tale, full of the imaginative (using star-light fired Craft to argue legalities), the unexpected (gargoyle protectors and vampire sailors), and the impertinent (Tara, our lead character). The world in which Alt Coulumb is set is big, but thankfully, the author has nearly all the scenes set in the city itself. There is a lot going on this world and this city is a great place to get some of the basics down. In a world of multiple deities, and some dead ones, we also have the once-human Deathless Kings, vampires, Stone Men, Wardens, and much more. There is plenty here to keep the reader entertained.

    The magic system does take some getting use to. At first, we learn a few bits and bobs and then just have to believe it works. As the story unfolds, Tara, and her mentor Lady Elayne Kevarian, explain more of the mechanics to Abelard, a priest of Kos. Abelard doesn’t need to know how Kos’s power works; faith alone is enough for him. However, he can’t help but be curious as to what Tara is doing with her powers, and the body, in figuring out the mystery of who is responsible. So don’t worry too much about the mechanics of the Craft. Much will be revealed, a little won’t; but it’s all entertaining and worthy.

    Tara herself is a joy to follow around. She has a sense of humor, a strong idea of write and wrong, and just enough crazy to jump in with eyes closed when that seems like the quickest route (or the only way). She was a wonderful character to explore this new world with. Her partner in justice, Abelard, was also fun, but in a different way. He approaches life quite a bit differently, through faith, and leather pants. Then there was Lady Kevarian – who may be good, may be evil, or simply might be on Tara’s side for now because it is convenient. I like having characters like this in the mix – they keep me (and the characters) guessing.

    With more than one dead body to mess with, Tara has her hands full. Then toss in the Wardens, the Stone Men, and some other hazardous beings and you have a very good time (even if Tara doesn’t, running around constantly trying to keep herself alive).

    The Narration: Claudia Alick was a good fit for Tara. She gave her the right mix of sincere quest for the truth and a shrug of the shoulders as you dive off the cliff. She had a variety of male and female voices, plus really spooky voices for some of the not-quite-human beings we run into.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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