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Andrea K Höst

Australian writer of science fiction and fantasy.

Three Parts Dead

Three Parts Dead - Max Gladstone Very interesting book.You recall, no doubt, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off, Angel who fights lawyers. There the lawyers served demons. Here, the lawyers are in the process of becoming demons. Magic in this world is basically contract law, exchanges bound by clauses. When mages ('craftsmen') first began to properly work magic, the gods (which consume faith in return for favours) were jealous and attacked the craftsmen, and appear to have had their asses handed to them by said craftsmen. There's very few powerful gods still about, and one of them seems to have just died. It's up to two necromantic craftswomen to figure out just what happened, to resurrect what they can of the dead god so his contacts can be served.The world-building of the book, and the mysteries involving the god, and why the main character starts the novel being nearly killed by her school, are the two hooks which draw you on. I didn't particularly like the various characters, but I definitely wanted to know the answers to the mysteries. And though the world-building edged a little on the "let me talk on and on about my wonderful magic system" at times, it was deeply imagined and at least not the same as everything else.I'm a little doubtful about how well Denovo's lab meshes into contract law magic - the disparity of the exchange, the lack of consent involved, the complaint any relative of the damaged students he uses could make...all of this is the kind of thing I struggled to believe that the school would accept or encourage. Not because they're necessarily good, bad or stupid, but because it doesn't work _contractually_ - the consequences are too advantageous to one person, and create too many people who would have reason to not have him continue. It's all very well for Tara to raise a fuss and the school to shrug, but this guy is basically draining the life/talent/whatever of a hundred talented students - all of whom have friends and relatives and a not-inconsiderable stake in the fact that the school has not only failed in whatever level of duty of care it offers to students, but actually appears to condone these actions. [Particularly in the case of Tara's room-mate, apparently a child of a family of craftsmen.]And I also find it very tedious when powerful women turn out to have once been in love with some smarmy guy who took advantage of her, and that guy turns out to be the villain - whether she gets revenge or not. The love interest weakness is kinda predictable.Oh, and if you're a reputable firm of craftsmen who send a couple of employees to resurrect a dead goddess, and one of them rebuilds that dead goddess into something which _obeys him_, then your reputable firm of craftsmen would be in line for a whole heap of damage control/pain, even if you fired the guy soon after.Still, very entertaining. Will probably check out the next book.