2 June 2016
Book Review: Full Fathom Five
Author: Max Gladstone
Year of publishing: 2014
Publisher: Tor Books
On the island of Kavekana, Kai builds gods to order, then hands them to others to maintain. Her creations aren’t conscious and lack their own wills and voices, but they accept sacrifices, and protect their worshippers from other gods—perfect vehicles for Craftsmen and Craftswomen operating in the divinely controlled Old World. When Kai sees one of her creations dying and tries to save her, she’s grievously injured—then sidelined from the business entirely, her near-suicidal rescue attempt offered up as proof of her instability. But when Kai gets tired of hearing her boss, her coworkers, and her ex-boyfriend call her crazy, and starts digging into the reasons her creations die, she uncovers a conspiracy of silence and fear—which will crush her, if Kai can’t stop it first.
Choosing books at random in the library without any prior knowledge about the plot or the author is a little like going on a blind date. You give it a chance, and if you still don't want to bail after ten minutes, then you're probably going to have a reasonably good time.
With this book, I didn't just have a reasonably good time. I couldn't put the damn thing down. It starts off a little slow. There is almost no exposition in this book, and you just have to be patient, as more details about this world unravel. You have to trust the author to lead you through the first couple of chapters before you know what the story is going to be about. And once you get into the story, and once you feel at home in this new world, you don't want to leave it.
I like the the fact that I have read the third book in a series without having read the first two and still enjoyed it immensely. Even if it's a part of a series, a book should still be able to work on its own. And this one does.
The best thing about Full Fathom Five is the language. Reading it is like jumping into a pool filled with vivid colours and beautiful imagery. Gladstone weaves words into a thick and beautiful tapestry, and builds one of the richest and best developed fictional universes I have read.
I actually found this world more interesting than the story itself. It's a great story with a sinister conspiracy in the middle, but I found it difficult to relate to any of the conflicts.
That being said, the characters, the people who inhabit this world are great. There are a number of secondary characters who are not only interesting but fascinating. They're so real, and tragic and you really want things to work out for them in the end.
In conclusion, I'm very glad I read this book. It's mesmerizing, it's suspenseful and it has interesting people in it. And if you like books that raise questions about the free will, and faith in humanity, I cannot recommend this book enough.
My rating: 4 stars.