Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Three Parts Dead (Craft Sequence, #1)” as Want to Read:
Three Parts Dead (Craft Sequence, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Three Parts Dead

(Craft Sequence #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  13,832 ratings  ·  1,998 reviews
A god has died, and it’s up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His city falls apart.

Her client is Kos, recently deceased fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. Without Him, the metropolis’s steam generators will shut down, its trains will cease running, and its four million citi
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Tor Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Three Parts Dead, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Yingzi Chen Pros of publication order:
- The world building is pretty dense and Three Parts Dead does a better introduction to the world than Last First Snow. Thr…more
Pros of publication order:
- The world building is pretty dense and Three Parts Dead does a better introduction to the world than Last First Snow. Three Parts Dead has a viewpoint character.
- The author's writing improves through the series (they are all amazing books, his writing does get better though). I feel that publication order is less jarring to read.

Pros of chronological order:
- Last First Snow doesn't get spoiled. (according to many of the reviews who found the book less interesting because they knew what happens at the end, I disagree)(less)
wnd No, it doesn't. It has offscreen relationships between people but nothing intimate or inappropriate for a pretty young person, although there is a qua…moreNo, it doesn't. It has offscreen relationships between people but nothing intimate or inappropriate for a pretty young person, although there is a quantity of violence!(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,832 ratings  ·  1,998 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Three Parts Dead (Craft Sequence, #1)
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Earlier this year, I met Max Gladstone. We were both attending a convention in Boston.

Simply said, I really liked him. He was funny, articulate, and smart. He'd traveled the world and had interesting stories to show for it.

So I picked up his book. Because when I meet an interesting author, I like to see what they've written.

To be completely honest, this isn't the best way to pick up new books. Someone who is funny in person isn't always funny in print. A person might be delightfully verbally a
It isn’t often that I find a book that hits that fantasy sweet spot. An interesting lead character who rises above gender stereotypes, world-building inventiveness, a storytelling style that keeps me engaged, a clever little mystery, a willingness to poke at authority, and did I mention inventiveness? Three Parts Dead? has a few bumps, certainly. But it was one of the better fantasies I’ve read this year, and if you’ve been considering it, I suggest giving it a try. It exceeded my expectations.

Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews
Aug 17, 2022 rated it did not like it
Check out my YouTube channel where I show my instant reactions upon finishing reading fantasy books.

A bland writing style with far too many info dumps for my personal taste

While I'm sure this is going to be an unpopular opinion, this book just did not work for me and I ultimately got near the end but couldn't finish it. I enjoyed the overall concept of the story as an idea on paper, but I found that the storytelling and the characters were both quite bland. I'm confident that if you asked me
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imaginative and unique, think of City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett with a little touch of Sanderson’s magic system and you’ll get Three Parts Dead.

Three Parts Dead is Max Gladstone’s debut novel and it’s the first installment in his Craft Sequence series. Ever since I finished and loved The Divine Cities trilogy by Robert Jackson Bennett, I’ve been craving for a similar kind of urban fantasy series to read. Readers and reviewers have directed me towards this series and I’m really glad the
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
OMG this really hit the spot. I expected an UF with an interesting premise about the Craft which seemed part witchcraft and part necromancy with something to do with gods, but I didn't expect a sharp exploration of a kind of magic-users who DEFINED and held gods to LAWS. lol

So yeah.

As far as I can tell, it's one part courtroom drama, one part epic necromantic universal magic-struggle, and one part pure awesomeness.

I didn't expect to have the coolness of Gaiman's god-system turned into a crafty
I read and discussed this one with a couple friends, and though all three of us have very different reading personalities, we pretty much all felt the same way about this book: It had potential, but was ultimately just a mess.

There was just too much going on in this book, and not nearly enough story to support it. It felt manic, like the author tried to cram every cool idea he had into it, but didn't explain anything in a way that felt natural or even coherent. Everything was just presented, wo
Dec 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
quick review of TPD: this novel meets my expectation for mystery/thriller dark urban fantasy. The mystery is still good enough to fool me in a fair game, with an excellent fantasy setting.
I can't help myself comparing this debut novel with another novel with similar theme: City of Stairs (COS)*. Both novels combine mysteries and untraditional fantasy universe with dead gods. Both are excellent reads with well thought setting (I believe both authors care with the settings, both are the
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a weird book that some people may not like, but I REALLY liked it, so there. It's not romance-y, it's steampunk/religious/thriller/alt-verse/fantasy. It's gritty and a bit complicated but I enjoyed it a LOT because it was DIFFERENT.

I love the idea of Living/Dead Gods (PC HODGELL'S GOD STALK is one of my faves) and this book really is intriguing in its dealing of the subject, and immense magical power harnessed by humans. I dunno, I just really liked it, the lead woman was ruthless and dr
This book has a fantastic and highly imaginative world-building. If you're a fan of "sense of wonder", like I am, this is the book for you.
It reads a bit like Robert Jackson Bennett's "City of Stairs", although Bennett's prose flows a bit more organically. But for a debut novel, this is a very well written and constructed book.
The world is a colorful mix of traditional fantasy ideas with Steampunk elements set against the backdrop of an urban metropolis filled with gargoyles, vampires and skelet
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
I wasn't sure on what shelf to put it on. World reminds me of steampunk and gunpowder fantasy except there are little of steam engines and no gunpowder. I'm calling it urban high fantasy and rolling with it. Big reason for that are modern corporations and corporate etiquette built into high fantasy settings but instead of inflow of money they are fighting for inflow of divine power with gods, deathless kings and great craftsman (mages) as CEOs.
Sounds weird but it's well crafted world and despit
Spencer Orey
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun, sometimes edgy. At first glance, I wasn't sure how legal urban fantasy was going to be exciting, but then I remembered all of the legal thrillers I've seen over the years. After reading, now it seems like a perfect match. Looking forward to the next in the series. ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Dec 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2015
I have for a while wanted to read this book so when I found it one Scribd I just had to read it.

Tara has been thrown out from her the Hidden School, fallen to the earth. You don't get to know why, at least not yet. She returns home to her family and resumes her life there until the chance comes to her in the form of Elayne Kevarian who hires her to work for the necromantic firm: Kelethres, Albrecht and Ao and her first job is to bring the God Kos Everburning back to life. Together with Elayne a
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
A surprise, a pleasant surprise. I was lured in by the urban-fantasy-ness and blown away by the setting, fantastical elements, and world building. As a rule, I have low expectations for all urban fantasies, regardless of hype. So I went into this book expecting it to be average at best, but the depth and scope of Gladstone’s world and the war that ravished the land won me over. Looking forward to continuing this series.

* * * * *

The actual order of these books according to the author: http://www.
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog
When your god has died, who ya gonna call? Why, the thaumaturgical firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, of course.

At least that's what the priesthood of Alt Coulumb does when their fire deity, Kos, snuffs it (a rather embarrassing turn of events for a god billed as "Kos the Everburning"). Without his power driving the steam engines of the city, Alt Coulumb will eventually come to a grinding halt, so it is up to Tara Abernathy (the newest recruit of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao) to unravel the cir
Apr 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A really original fantasy read . The author has built a fantastic world including living breathing gargoyles and the ability to steal a face! It was a story that compelled me to carry on reading and where I needed to concentrate to figure the world out. I believe the next one has a whole set of different characters which will be interesting too..I've read a few great 'living Gods' fantasies this year and this is just as good. ...more
4.5 stars. Fingers crossed I get the review out this time lmao
RTC later!

LMAO that review really never came, huh? Hopefully I'll actually write one out after I finish this re-read. I ordered Ruin of Angels a week or so ago, can't wait to finally finish this series.

3.75-4 stars, I think!

RTC.... hopefully, lmao
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating plot. Great worldbuilding. Excellent audio performance by Claudia Alick. Very entertaining!

4 plus Stars

Listened to the audiobook. Excellent!!
Experiment BL626
CAUTION: Long Review

Three Parts Dead defied my expectation. I took a risk on this seemingly boring book and it paid off!

I thought it was Urban Fantasy because of the blurb and cover.... Okay, mostly because of the cover. And technically it wouldn't be inaccurate to say it is because there were vampires and Craftsman (mages), a kick-ass heroine and a chain-smoking hero among many parts of the book.

However, the book was Fantasy. TDP was set in a completely different world where gods and godly Craf
Executive Summary: I'm not much of a fan of urban fantasy, but this one was different enough than many I've read such that I'll be happy to pick up the next one. 3.5 stars rounded up for its uniqueness.

Full Review
One of my reading goals the last few years has been to not get suckered in by daily deals and continue to add books to my owned and unread shelf. So of course I bought 5 books in this series when they were on sale last year based on the strength of some of my friend's reviews of thi
Nov 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an entertaining and refreshing read, and a book which is difficult to classify within a specific subgenre... perhaps "Secondary World Urban Fantasy" would be the closest fit, if I were hard-pressed to do so. But truly, there are elements of everything from epic fantasy (gods! monsters!) to legal thriller (no, I'm not kidding, and it's certainly an intense bit of courtroom drama!). Regardless of what we call it, it's an interesting story.

The characters are well-written, each with unique q
The city stretched there, a teeming metropolis beneath slate-gray skies, beating heart of commerce, bridge between the god-benighted Old World and the Deathless Kingdoms of the West. Millions breathed, worked, prayed, copulated in those palaces, parks, and tenements, sure in the knowledge that Kos Everburning watched over them. If their faith was strong, they could feel the constant presence of his love, sustaining and aiding them in a thousand ways, breaking fevers and checking accidents and po ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress
Three Parts Dead is a fantasy novel that teases at the senses and perceptions of the reader. Gladstone takes some fantasy concepts and weaves them into a creation that has its own flavor and feel. It's not urban fantasy in the common sense. It's not epic fantasy, either. It's a novel that forges its own path.

Gladstone takes the sticky territory of faith and belief in a deity and asks the reader to trust him and to follow where he's going. For those readers who are believers in God and who consi
3-1/2 stars, rounded down because even though this book was set in an interesting, well-developed fantasy world that was just familiar enough for me to settle into it comfortably and just different enough to keep me intrigued and on my toes, and had a terrific idea for a mystery (a god has disappeared/been murdered), I found myself putting it down and not caring if I picked it up again. This was entirely my problem, stemming from the multiple POV's, which change every few paragraphs or so, prett ...more
Lost Planet Airman
Wow, a fun mystery/crime procedural in a New Weird world where law and contracts are fueled by magic rather than mere culture.

Forgot to add that it is an SFFBC Reed-All-the-Books entry and a step forward on my Monopoly board for New Weird (it's on a goodreads New Weird list, yes it is!)
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This book will make many readers happy, particularly those who enjoy plot-driven, worldbuilding-heavy fantasy. Three Parts Dead has an alternate-world, urban steampunk setting, and features a murder mystery surrounding a dead god, seemingly limitless magic, some paranormal elements (including vampires, but no romance) and a megalomaniacal villain. If this sounds like your dreams come true, don’t let me discourage you from reading this book. But those, like me, who enjoy character-driven fiction ...more
I love this book. I love the characters, world-building, magic, plot, lore, and well, pretty much everything. Be prepared for gushing review.

Tara Abernathy is a necromancer/lawyer that has been hired by the firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao to resurrect Kos Everburning, the dead god of Alt Coulumb. There's so much to love about Tara. She's intelligent, resourceful, talented, and self-reliant. Better yet: she's a female protagonist of color. Her boss is Craftswoman Elayne Kevarian (another wome
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Now that was a surprising read! There are so many bad fantasy/urban fantasy books being published lately that I have come to dread picking the next one to read. I decided to give Three Parts Dead a try after reading a friend’s review here on Goodreads and I must say I wasn’t disappointed!

The premise of the book is both original and promising (a young magician investigates a god’s unexpected death) and the development of the story doesn’t disappoint. Gladstone’s writing is enjoyable and he keeps
Ben Aaronovitch
Jul 29, 2014 is currently reading it
Shelves: sf-f
God I'm really enjoying this. ...more
This happens to be a fairly old book and I’m not known to read older books much, feeling much more comfortable with the writing styles of recent releases. However, I stumbled upon the reviews for this book when I was browsing and I was fascinated. And I’m actually surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

As soon as I got into the book a bit, the first thing that came to mind was how similar the premise felt to City of Stairs - that’s one of my all time favorites, so my interest increased exponentially
Rachel Hartman
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Witty and fun. Lots of head-hopping. Sometimes head-hopping makes me dizzy, or I bounce off the surface like a stone skipped across a lake, but Gladstone has a gift for clarity which I think helps.

I am intrigued, as ever, by ideas about belief. In this case, belief is a kind of energy exchange -- you give the gods power by believing, and sometimes they give back (although the strong, viable ones take in more than they give out, rather like insurance companies). Belief is also quite clearly para
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Genesis of Misery
  • Nona the Ninth (The Locked Tomb, #3)
  • A Master of Djinn (Dead Djinn Universe, #1)
  • The Spare Man
  • Strike the Zither (Kingdom of Three, #1)
  • The Grief of Stones  (The Cemeteries of Amalo, #2)
  • The Golden Enclaves (The Scholomance, #3)
  • The Goblin Emperor (The Goblin Emperor, #1)
  • A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan, #1)
  • A Desolation Called Peace (Teixcalaan, #2)
  • Raven Stratagem (The Machineries of Empire, #2)
  • The Monster Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade, #2)
  • A Dead Djinn in Cairo (Dead Djinn Universe, #0.1)
  • A Half-Built Garden
  • The Witness for the Dead (The Cemeteries of Amalo, #1)
  • The Traitor Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade, #1)
  • The Kaiju Preservation Society
  • Defekt (LitenVerse, #2)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Max Gladstone is the author of the Craft Sequence: THREE PARTS DEAD, TWO SERPENTS RISE, FULL FATHOM FIVE, and most recently, LAST FIRST SNOW. He's been twice nominated for the John W Campbell Best New Writer award, and nominated for the XYZZY and Lambda Awards.

Max has taught in southern Anhui, wrecked a bicycle in Angkor Wat, and been thrown from a horse in Mongolia. Max graduated from Yale Univer

Other books in the series

Craft Sequence (7 books)
  • Two Serpents Rise (Craft Sequence, #2)
  • Full Fathom Five (Craft Sequence, #3)
  • Last First Snow (Craft Sequence, #4)
  • Four Roads Cross (Craft Sequence, #5)
  • The Ruin of Angels (Craft Sequence, #6)
  • Dead Country (Craft Wars, #1)

Related Articles

Are you itching to embark on an epic reading adventure? Lucky for you, this season offers some stellar (and interstellar) new books for...
133 likes · 22 comments
“The God Wars had not been a pleasant time for Craftsmen and Craftswomen around the world. One day, you’re a simple thaumaturge, idly meddling in matters man was not meant to comprehend. The next, a collection of beings as old as humanity, with legions of followers, declare war on your “kind”, and neighbours who once thought you a harmless eccentric with a fondness for mystic sigils and foul unguents see you as an affront to Creation.” 19 likes
“He drinks the life of those who come too close to him. Steals their youth. Also,” she said after a pause, “he moisturizes.” 19 likes
More quotes…