Full Fathom Five
On the island of Kavekana, Kai builds gods to order. Her creations aren’t conscious and lack their own wills and voices, but they accept sacrifices, and protect their worshippers from other gods—perfect vehicles for Craftsmen and Craftswomen operating in the divinely controlled Old World. When Kai tries to save a dying idol, she’s grievously injured—then sidelined from the business entirely, her near-suicidal rescue attempt offered up as proof of her instability. But when Kai gets tired of hearing her boss, her coworkers, and her ex-boyfriend call her crazy, and starts digging into the reasons her creations die, she uncovers a conspiracy of silence and fear—which will crush her, if Kai can’t stop it first.
I’m having Max Gladstone killed. He’s too good already to be allowed to live. If this is his early work, the rest of us are out of a job.
—Elizabeth Bear, author of The Eternal Sky trilogy, on Full Fathom Five. (I am framing this quote and hanging it on my wall.)
A story in which the characters jump off the page as though they’re real people, every one of them ready to gut you or con you, nurse you back to health or steal your dreams.
—Brian Staveley, author of The Emperor’s Blades, on Full Fathom Five
The best yet from Max Gladstone
This is the best kind of urban fantasy, filled with diverse characters and thought-provoking philosophies.
—The Washington Post (!!!!)
Kai is a driven, spiky transgender heroine, and the rest of the diverse cast is just as much of a pleasure to follow, including teenage Izza, thief and head storyteller to a gang of street kids, and three formidable women from the previous books: ex-policewoman Cat, risk assessor Teo, and Craftswoman Elayne Kevarian. Gladstone continues to trump his already considerable accomplishments in this tightly paced fantasy legal thriller.
—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
Gladstone’s worldbuilding is both gritty and playful, bright and bizarre, influenced by baroque modernities and the deep vein of strangeness that runs through the New Weird. His world’s magic and myth is both numinous and engaged in a sharp-edged argument with modern capitalism and financial law. His characters are well-drawn, complex, and just as full of shades of grey as real human beings, but despite the fact that the world he’s created in Three Parts Dead, Two Serpents Rise, andFull Fathom Five is filled with emotional and social realism, his novels—Full Fathom Five not least among them—retain an air of dogged optimism, the sense that crappy and complex as the world’s myriad problems are, people can effect some meaningful change for the better. Even if only by increments.