Well, it looks like I won't probably get through my summer reading project before my class starts. Under a recommendation from havocthecat's request for book recs post, I picked up "The Craft Sequence" by Max Gladstone. Which is basically an omnibus of his first five novels. They are not short novels.
I've finished two and a half of them (Three Parts Dead
, Two Serpents Rise
, and Full Fathom Five
, for reference) and I think I kind of need a bit of a break? On the one hand, they are well written. There's also some pretty conscientious work on the part of the author to make the varying lead tertiary characters something other than white and straight. In the three books, there hasn't been a traditional hero's journey or arc. The closest to that was probably in 2SR, but ( spoiler )
And even the Rookie Wins The Day trope ( spoiler. )
All that said, I'm having a bit of a hard time with FF5. I think the whole thing got answered for me a few minutes ago when I read a review calling it Fantasy Noire. Which, that seems really apt? But I fucking hate noire? It - as a genre - is just kind of incompatible with how I see the world and how I want to enjoy my fiction? But the characters are awesome. It makes me a bit sad that this is the first published work I've read where( spoiler )
. I need to work on that harder. And Kai is awesome! But I am having a really hard time connecting to her as a person. A lot of that, though, rests on the author?
On the one hand, it's really nice to have an author just toss you into the world and let you sink or swim with hints at cultural differentiation. But these books only kind of
build on cultural knowledge gained from book to book? So unlike, for example, the Peter Grant novels where you see more and more of PETER'S London, this series bumps you from continent to continent for each book, and while some base stuff stays the same, the cultural component varies wildly. For example, 3PD is set in a kind of Not!Berlin/Maybe Not!New York City, while 2SR feels a lot more like Not!São Paulo/maybe Not!Mexico City. Last we have FF5 which is Not!Hawaii. Think about how NOT THE SAME the people in those places are?
To be fair, I think I wouldn't be having the same issue in terms of cultural whiplash if it wasn't also the same world with inter-related characters? And that the culture
is a lot of the point in the book? Because there IS build from book to book.
Basically, I'm feeling a little lost in this series. It's not a bad thing, just different and a bit frustrating. With Kai, I'm not sure how much of my disconnect with her is my general disinterest in spirituality, my frustration with just not knowing what the fuck is going on in her head despite being in her head as a pov character
, or the fact that I kinda got tricked in to reading a mystery novel where I just don't know what the damn mystery is supposed to be?
It's a good book, but Jiminey Cricket, I kind of just want the ~flowering narrative~ moment to COME already. I hate James Joyce as a writer for everything this book chooses to be. And while I am going to finish it (probably), cripes.
Have any of you read these books? Super curious!