Book Review – Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone

Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone

Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone

The blurb deifies:

On the island of Kavekana, Kai builds gods to order, then hands them to others to maintain. 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 sees one of her creations dying and tries to save her, 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 liked the first book in this series, the second book not as much but this one was the best so far.

The mystery is good, the twists are good, the characters are good – at the end of the book I couldn’t think of anything that could be improved.

This book does share a common theme with the other books in the series (the unexpected consequences of the God War) which ties the books together, but apart from that the books don’t really overlap.  The one exception I noticed was a minor character from the first book also appearing in this one, although because the books aren’t published in chronological order it makes things a bit more complicated.

The first book seemed to be basically about a western god, the second book was about Aztec-esque gods and this one is about Hawaiian-esque gods.  The different settings and cultures in each book are interesting and add a lot of depth – it feels like the author put a lot of research and work into learning about them.

One thing this book had that the first two didn’t was a transsexual main character.  I thought it was very well done – not treated as an oddity or a stunt but just a fact of the character’s life (like Furiosa’s arm in Mad Max).  The author impressed me in the previous books by having lots of major non-white and non-male characters and in this book he’s taken it a step further.