Gladstone, Max: (01) Three Parts Dead

Three Parts Dead is Max Gladstone’s first book. It’s a secondary-world fantasy that melds magic and law in a way that does not actually make me twitch as a lawyer, because it takes some of the trappings (courtrooms, big firms, soul-sucking educational experiences) and puts them to use for quite different purposes (document review through the imaginary autopsy of a god’s body, necromancy, stealing someone’s face), while still keeping useful big-picture themes in mind (the importance of persuasive storytelling, the mutability of Justice).

Plus it’s just fun. It has a high density of cool worldbuilding things, which I will refrain from enumerating partly because the fun is in the discovery and partly because this is really a post to see if I’ve successfully upgraded Movable Type two entire whole numbers (update: no! I hate computers!). I should note, however, that the first few chapters are a little rocky in terms of pace and exposition, and things smooth out once most of the characters meet up, so hang in there.

I also should note that the cover is accurate and the book is refreshingly filled with women and lacking in romance. And though the ending may be a smidge rushed, it has a number of good payoffs on the mystery, worldbuilding, and personal fronts. Definitely recommended.


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  1. I loved this book. I think Max has a good shot at the Campbell, this year!

    And the new site looks clean and solid.

  2. Thanks, Skwid! Unfortunately, as you’ll see in the post that just went up, the second book wasn’t nearly as much to my tastes, but I have hopes for the series overall.

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