**spoiler alert** Petra K and the Blackhearts tries a little too hard.
There are the hallmarks for a very interesting world here, but it isn't fleshed...more**spoiler alert** Petra K and the Blackhearts tries a little too hard.
There are the hallmarks for a very interesting world here, but it isn't fleshed out so well. Petra K (and we never learn what the K stands for or if it's part of her last name; even her mother and father are Name K) lives in the ghetto of a town ruled by a child tyrant, in a world where automatons exist, tiny dragons called dragonka are pets/show animals, and ghosts and magic and different races of people are the norm.
That's about where anything interesting ends, unfortunately.
Petra K is ten years old, poor, and she stumbles upon a dragonka of her very own. That's sort of how she goes about her life in this entire novel, as well; Petra K kind of stumbles from scene to scene because the plot dictates it. As a result, the whole novel feels disjointed, as though each section could have been short stories, vignettes in the life of Petra K.
It also reads way above Petra K's age level. Somehow, the kids in this novel (are they also ten years old? Early teens?) are gang members, start a revolution, and even the bad kids, the eeeevil school girls who tease Petra (and MUST be ten years old as well, if they're in the same school year) act like they're adults. Or play at being adults.
It's all so weird. There are underground dragonka races/fighting, allusions to communism, kids starting a revolution, brainwashing, ghosts haunting the tyrant prince, mechanical hearts, horrible scientific experiments -- and Petra happens to not only stumble on to each of these things, but eventually plays a significant role in each part. I'm not buying it. There was only so much belief I could suspend after the first 50 pages, and it didn't get much better from there.
I think with some good editing (I kept catching grammatical mistakes) the story could be tightened and flow much better, but unfortunately this didn't do much for me.
(A copy was provided for review from Edelweiss; this had no outcome on the review.)(less)
It doesn't take reading too many of the same cookie cutter paranormal romance or urban fantasy novels to tire of t...moreMore reviews at The Best Books Ever!
It doesn't take reading too many of the same cookie cutter paranormal romance or urban fantasy novels to tire of the genre and start looking for something new. Three Parts Dead delivered on that from the moment I saw the cover - badass colored main character! - and I was in once I read the summary. It all sounded so mysterious and had just enough of a fantasy tinge to keep things interesting.
Much like any fantasy novel set in a made up world, Three Parts Dead throws you in the deep end and trusts that you will not only float, but swim as well. That trust in the reader's intelligence is one of the things I enjoy most about novels like this, even though there were times my brain would reject everything because there was SO MUCH to try to piece together into a world that makes sense.
The world in Three Parts Dead is pretty damn neat, though.
Tara, our main character, is not just a badass magic (or craft, as it's called here) wielder and detective, but she's easy to get to know and sympathize with as we get glimpses into what makes her tick. There were times I felt she was a little too awesome, but that's not even a real complaint. I was just as intrigued by Abelard, the priest of the dead god who is tasked to help her. Abelard goes from a lowly priest to someone who has to confront the death of his god, and deal with all the craziness that comes with Tara and her craft. Poor guy.
The secondary characters, such as Tara's boss, Abelard's friend who is a body for the all encompassing quasi-deity called Justice, and a delightful vampire, all make for a well-rounded cast. It felt like they were all main characters whenever the narrative focused on them, which made for a really great reading experience.
The action and pacing move pretty damn fast, making for an intense read that I couldn't put down. I began to resent having to sleep, guys. How dare my body deny me precious time better spent in Tara's world? Hmph.
Though the second novel in this series doesn't deal with the same characters, I'm so impressed by Max Gladstone's writing that I'll be grabbing it as soon as it hits shelves. (less)
Not quiiiiiite five stars because I felt there was a little too much telling instead of showing when it came to the political machinations of the war,...moreNot quiiiiiite five stars because I felt there was a little too much telling instead of showing when it came to the political machinations of the war, but still a great read nonetheless.(less)
Gave it a hundred pages, but it didn't pick up or hook me. I'm not sure how a book about mermaid siren and her romance with a flying dude can be borin...moreGave it a hundred pages, but it didn't pick up or hook me. I'm not sure how a book about mermaid siren and her romance with a flying dude can be boring, but Between the Sea and Sky managed it.(less)