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Three Parts Dead (Craft Sequence #1)

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  6,150 Ratings  ·  1,048 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 (first published January 1st 2012)
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Aug 07, 2014 Patrick 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
Sep 14, 2015 Carol. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Pratchet fans? Zelazny fans? Basically, anyone who likes complex fantasy.
Recommended to Carol. by: Amanda

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.

The cover says it all! A sexy, strong, fierce woman of color with natural hair and it's a different take on steampunk. What more could a black geek chick possibly ask for?

How do I love this book? \m/ Seriously, this book is just so many types of AWESOME *sings AWESOME at the top of my lungs* The cover rocks and just for the record New York publishing, people BOUGHT IT so stop with the whitewashing, okay?

It's taken me awhile to craft a full review because I was still trying to put into words just
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
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 27, 2012 Felicia 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
Jun 08, 2016 Magdalena rated it really liked it
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
Mar 08, 2013 Amanda 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
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
Oct 08, 2015 Mimi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 20, 2016 Emma 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.
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. Bonus: she's a female protagonist of color. Her boss is Craftswoman Elayne Kevarian (another women in
Alex Ristea
Apr 27, 2014 Alex Ristea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is the best novel I've read so far in 2014.

I dare you to read the first thirty pages and not be instantly hooked. It's hard to believe that this is a debut novel—I haven't been this impressed by a new author since The Lies of Locke Lamora.

Three Parts Dead pushes all the right buttons in a fairly short novel: an incredibly rich world, believable and complex motivations for all the characters, beautiful prose, protagonists who protag (instead of just reacting to the plot), and a plot which tw
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
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
Dec 27, 2015 Jokoloyo 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 debut: 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 winners). The story
Rachel Hartman
Jun 01, 2015 Rachel Hartman 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
I really love a GOOD debut novel.

“There are as many different kinds of silence as of darkness. Some are so fragile a single breath will shatter them, but others are not so weak. The strongest silences deafen.”


Rating, 4.5 stars (another late review, finished it more than a week ago)

To tell you the truth I almost gave up somewhere 1/4 through the book. The world-building was a headache for me. Not that it was badly written (on the contrary), I just couldn't get into it, and there were a few book
Ben Aaronovitch
Oct 04, 2014 Ben Aaronovitch is currently reading it
Shelves: sf-f
God I'm really enjoying this.
Mike (the Paladin)
Jun 28, 2015 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it
This comes close to getting a 5 star rating..but there are a couple of down checks.

First, I just finished it and I really don't have a big memory of it. I look at the book and I have to think a few seconds and then it's, "oh right that book".

Second, and I've said this about other books, there's really a bit too much book here for the story it tells. There are times the story seemed to me (this is of course my opinion) became a little labored and stretched. the big final climatic (view spoiler)
Jan 11, 2015 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2015
5 Stars

Three Parts Dead starts off my 2015 reading with a bang. Gladstone has created a wonderful world that works as a Dark Urban Fantasy(UF). I can't seem to get enough of this genre these days. Stupid teen angst novels flooded the market for so long that I steered away from anything UF, and now I have found so many amazing reads that it is my go to.

This is my first Gladstone novel and I will surely move on to more. Three Parts Dead works by featuring a fantastic female lead in Tara. She is i
Dec 24, 2015 Carly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: high-fantasy
"Gods, like men, can die. They just die harder, and smite the earth with their passing."
God has died.
His light no longer warms the city.
His fires no longer keep the engines humming.
His debts must be paid.
His people are shocked, incredulous, panicked.
The only solution? Hire a fixer--from the prominent Crafter firm of Kelethras, Albrecht, and Ao, naturally--to resuscitate the god, if the justice system of the Crafters allows it. Before this is all over, there's going to be a lot of tim
Tabitha (Pabkins)
Nov 18, 2013 Tabitha (Pabkins) rated it it was amazing
A-MA-ZING! - Three Parts Dead introduces readers to a fresh and new fantasy world that I could almost picture as our own. It has a quality that feels almost as if it takes place in more than one time. You have steam power, ships, and newsboys that sing the news rather than hawk papers, but then on the next page you will read about advancements in technology that aren't due to technology but to craft - which is a form of magic.

Craftsmen and women wield power that they gather from starlight and ea
Ben Babcock
Every so often I read a book that I wish I had written. Right there, in those pages, is a universe that I don’t just enjoy but that I’m actively envious of. Three Parts Dead is not quite one of these books, but it comes close. It’s the kind of book I could see a me from a parallel universe not too far away could have written. It satisfies my current hunger for fantasy that is urban fantasy but not relentlessly focused on the paranormal or supernatural aspects of our contemporary society. It cate ...more
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
Dec 09, 2015 Stefan rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Before I get started: yes, I know, it’s ridiculous I’m just reviewing Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone now. At the same time, I have to say I’m quite disappointed in all of you because, really, not one of you could have made me sit down and read this when it was first released in 2012? For shame.

But anyway. Three Parts Dead is one of the most fun and original fantasy novels I’ve read all year, and you should read it too. “Fantasy novel” in this case really means something that falls smack in th
Sarah Anne
For once I didn't read the synopsis before I started this. Based on the cover I was expecting Urban Fantasy so I was uncertain about how much I would like it. It's fascinating, though, because in a way it is Urban Fantasy, it's just set in a fantasy world instead of our own. It was an unusual and well thought out book. The magic system was fascinating and has a lot of room for growth in future novels. There's a great bad guy that Must Be Destroyed, which is always fun.

I think that, rather than t
May 28, 2015 Andreas rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2015
A necromancer is engaged by clerics to resurrect a fallen god.

Several fascinating protagonists and an interesting setting grabbed my attention: Chain-smoking novice technician Abelard is a priest of Kos the Everburning who witnesses the fading-away of his god. Tara Abernathy, a castout necromancer of the Hidden Schools, is yet inexperienced but engaged by powerful Elayne who is a kind of lawyer working out contracts for a Craft firm. Their job is to resurrect Kos. There are sidekick characters l
Apr 30, 2014 Joel rated it really liked it

But, in the case of Three Parts Dead, that's not a bad thing. In this novel, Gladstone creates a surreal alternate world, one with unique magic and laws, with characters full of life and charisma, with some real drama and with some implied drama.

Three Parts Dead follows the adventures of Tara, a necromancer who uses magic called, almost disappointingly, "craft". She is sent to the city of Alt Coulumb, and is tasked with reviving a god/judge who is responsible for maintain
Sep 30, 2013 Wendy rated it really liked it
Three Parts Dead is a unique tale that combines religion, magic and law in a world so very different from our own. It begins with the murder of a judge, the death of a god and Tara Abernathy, a skilled young Craftswoman, unceremoniously graduated from the Hidden Schools and ejected from their skybound walls. With no other choice left to her, Tara returns to her quiet farming village, but in an effort to help the villagers after a brutal attack, reveals her Craft and incurs their wrath. What did ...more
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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
More about Max Gladstone...

Other Books in the Series

Craft Sequence (6 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)
  • Six Feet Over

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“He drinks the life of those who come too close to him. Steals their youth. Also,” she said after a pause, “he moisturizes.” 11 likes
“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.” 9 likes
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