05 November 2015
For a Sliver of Soul
I read a review somewhere about the fine texture of Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence world, and how he named and wrote them "out of order" -- if putting a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5... order to them is a goal.
I was not disappointed about the Craft Sequence world, all about living, sleeping and dying gods and soul as currency, where contract law and technology and magic seem interchangeable, where intangibles have shape and what can be imagined has meaning. However, I cannot speak of the order, as I'm still trying to figure out what timeline might be appropriate. It seems like this series is timeless and basically out of sequence. Do the events of Full Fathom Five (the third one published but the second one I read) take place before or after Three Parts Dead (the first one published)? The Craftsmen are writing with quills (with ink and blood) and the storage of contracts is in another world, maybe virtual, and may be accessed through magic or Craft. A contract in Two Serpents Rise is so voluminous that time and space must be folded in order to fit it all into the conference room for parties to sign. To get around a city-state which reminds me of Cairo, Egypt, one can take a giant Couathl (especially bred giant birds) which is most expensive option, a driverless horse carriage, which can balk at going to dangerous neighborhoods or an airbus, the common people's vehicle which seems reliable, extensively networked and least expensive short of walking.
And, contrary to experience, I did not read the second one Two Serpents Rise firstly, but thirdly, and I did not like it as much as the first and third. They all have strong female characters, although the main character in Two Serpents Rise is male. Maybe that was the reason for the dip in my enthusiasm -- I was disappointed to find that the strong women of Three Parts Dead and Full Fathom Five do not shine through in this second one.
Read them (favor to you) and let me know (favor to me).