Three Parts Dead

Three Parts Dead - Max Gladstone Three Parts Dead is outside of our genre, as it falls squarely into the category of high fantasy, rather than urban fantasy, though it does include mages, vampires and gargoyles. In an alternate earth there are Gods which are worshiped for their ability to provide for human society. Essentially a legal contract is formed with a God in which they agree to provide certain services for worship. The crafts people are in charge in writing these contracts and ensuring that the letter of the law is followed. When Kos dies, it endangers the city of Alt Coulumb. He must absolutely be resurrected but with various claims on his person, this is going to be difficult and Kos will not necessarily come back as the God Alt Coulumb knows.Tara who is an associate at international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao is tasked with bringing back Kos and arguing the side of Alt Coulumb. With the help of Abelard, a priest who practices his faith by chain smoking, they must take on Tara's nemesis, and deal with gargoyles who have their own claim to Kos' body. I chose to read this book because it was recommended to us and the cover showed a Black female protagonist. Let's be honest, people of colour are highly erased in the fantasy genre and when they do appear, they are most often sidekicks. Had I not seen the cover of this book however, I would have no idea that Tara is Black. I understand that in an alternate world, markers of Black culture would most assuredly be different but non-existent does not make sense. I don't even really remember a descriptive passage in which we are told what Tara looks like.I really wanted to like this book, but I feel that Gladstone got to caught up in his own story. After about 60 pages in, I actually started to wonder whether or not I was reading the second part of a series rather than the first book. The fact that I had to turn to Goodreads to confirm that I was really reading the first book evidences a shortcoming in how Gladstone chose to frame his world. There was not nearly enough world building and I felt as though I was reading an already established cannon, rather than being introduced to a new world. I constantly felt like I was missing something and the story didn't really pick up for me until about the two hundred page mark. Having to read 2/3 of a book to get some excitement makes for a slow and boring read.On the plus side, all of the female characters in this book were incredibly strong. There was no spunky agency and each character used their talents to their best advantage. I did however have a problem with a rape analogy which was used. Cat who is Justice (note: her body gets taken over by the remains of Goddess and she dispenses justice in the city of Alt Coulumb) is addicted to being fed on by vampires. This fills the void that is created every time she takes of the Justice suit. In one scene, she is sent to check on Captain Pelham - a vampire and she uses this opportunity to feed him her blood. Apparently, even at rest, if offered blood a vampire's instinct is to feed. When he awakes and realises what cat has done, he is upset.Read More