Book Review – Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone

Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone

Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone

The blurb says:

In Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone, shadow demons plague the city reservoir, and Red King Consolidated has sent in Caleb Altemoc—casual gambler and professional risk manager—to cleanse the water for the sixteen million people of Dresediel Lex. At the scene of the crime, Caleb finds an alluring and clever cliff runner, Crazy Mal, who easily outpaces him.

But Caleb has more than the demon infestation, Mal, or job security to worry about when he discovers that his father—the last priest of the old gods and leader of the True Quechal terrorists—has broken into his home and is wanted in connection to the attacks on the water supply.

From the beginning, Caleb and Mal are bound by lust, Craft, and chance, as both play a dangerous game where gods and people are pawns. They sleep on water, they dance in fire…and all the while the Twin Serpents slumbering beneath the earth are stirring, and they are hungry.

An unusual thing about this book is that although it’s the second book in the series, all of the characters and the setting are different.  I like this idea of exploring a world one book/character/setting at a time – it gives a sort of kaleidoscope view, but you’ll probably see more of the world.  A possible down side of this is that if you really liked a character probably you won’t see them again.

Considering how different the books are, it was surprising how similar the plot was – both books explore the interaction between gods and Craft users in the aftermath of the God Wars, specifically (for some reason) to do with contract law.

The new setting in this book is Aztec-esque, if the Aztec hadn’t been overrun by the Spanish and had continued all the way to the present day.  Since these books are very concerned with gods, the gods in this book are inspired by Aztec mythology, which is interesting and a bit unusual.

My only real problem with the book was that I was completely in the dark until almost the end of the book when everything was revealed.  It must be a tightrope for authors to reveal just enough but not too much.  Unfortunately in this case I spent most of the book reading about event after mysterious event without any clue as to what was going on.