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review 2017-08-10 23:24
Full Fathom Five (The Keys Trilogy) by Anna Roberts
Full Fathom Five (The Keys Trilogy Book ... Full Fathom Five (The Keys Trilogy Book 3) - Anna Roberts

Blue, Gabe, Grayson, Joe, Charlie and Ruby have survived. They’re not happy, there’s the shadow of Eli’s corpse to clear up lying over Blue and Charlie and Ruby have a somewhat tumultous relationship. There’s the swamp wolves lurking over Joe and Grayson - and being a werewolf is never easy besides that


But Gloria’s last act seems to have taken Yael, the deep, dark, massive, dangerous spirit, finally out of their lives and out to sea


Until he is drawn home - and this time the depleted Keys pack is missing Gloria, their heart, their soul, their true Alpha, their wolf-witch. To face Yael there’s only Blue, brand new to this and reeling with both revelations from the past and Yael’s desperate yearning to be human

So… this book… this entire series puts me in one of those very very awkward ones to review.


I am impressed. I am deeply impressed by the writing. I am even more deeply impressed by the characterisation, their lives and how they react to the world around them. And I’m really impressed by the world.


The whole concept of werewolves and their struggle has permeated these books. These are beings from very poor backgrounds who rarely, if ever, get the chance to complete their education or get regular work (all those days off every month). Changing is painful, traumatising and hell on their bodies to the point where most of them are pretty damaged by the time they hit 30 and 40 is the far reaches of old age - 50 completely unattainable. The life of a werewolf is grim and painful and short.


And the Wolfwitches, even if not werewolves themselves, live among that. The same poverty, the same desperate, hurting people around them, and even if not directly affected, they’re the ones who clean up. They’re the ones who put the damaged, suffering wolves out of their misery when their bodies finally turn on them.


This permeates the whole story. Even when we see things like Grayson and Joe who are deeply in love and managing to carve a sense of happiness for themselves there’s still that underlying question: still the constant nag that Grayson is old for a werewolf, even his most loving moments undercut


It permeates the past of Yael as well - Yael and Gloria, their whole history laid out here needs to be seen in this context. Gloria, the poverty, the difficulty and in comes this spirit snaring her when she’s young and desperate and then being a constant shadow - adding deeper burdens but always coming with just enough power to be useful - until he’s just the burden, the predatory force


I like this in many ways because it humanises Gloria: she as the heart and soul of this series, the foundation, the one with Yael, the great evil spiritual force that everyone is afraid of - we see how it happened, how she first succumbed: and it’s such an easy, simple, human temptation. No woo-woo nothing like that - but simply a devil’s bargain offered to someone with few options


And I see a lot of great parallels for her in Ruby - a powerful, determined, intelligent woman who, nevertheless, is young a little foolish and seeking short cuts out of her grim situation. I think there’s a reason why these characters are presented next to each other. It also shows another reason why Gloria got rid of Blue - not just to save her from Yael possession but to save her from the temptation of Yael when she’s young. Because when you’re young and poor and angry in a very unfair life Yael looks very attractive. And how, even the best of us, at our worst moments, can wish for terrible terrible things.




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Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/08/full-fathom-five-keys-trilogy-by-anna.html
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text 2016-09-06 09:32
Books read (or not!) in August
Monstress Volume 1: Awakening - Marjorie M. Liu
Three Parts Dead - Max Gladstone
Two Serpents Rise - Max Gladstone
Fire Logic: An Elemental Logic Novel - Laurie J. Marks
The Magpie Lord - K.J. Charles
Full Fathom Five - Max Gladstone
The Mechanical - Ian Tregillis

Books started: 9 (including 1 of the 2 I'm currently reading)

Books finished: 7

Books not finished: 1


Genre: Apart from a brief foray into m/m historical, it's SFF all the way as usual.


What progress on Mount TBR?: Not the most productive of months for me, due to being on holiday (which turned out to not be so great for reading after all), but we got a couple off the list.


Book of the month: Nothing really stands out; though I liked the Max Gladstone books, the new one to me (Full Fathom Five) didn't really grab me...

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-08-25 12:02
Full Fathom Five - Max Gladstone
Full Fathom Five - Max Gladstone

Full Fathom Five is the third book in Gladstone's Craft Sequence, following on from Three Parts Dead and Two Serpents Rise, with characters from both making an appearance in a story set in another part of that world. 


Kai is a priestess on the island of Kavekana, where they make a living by crafting idols to take the place of gods in dealings with the rest of the world - as we first encounter her, she makes the decision to try and intervene to save one of those idols, only to discover that there is significantly more to it than meets the eye. As we discover later on, these idols are not as isolated from the gods who have been killed or deposed elsewhere on this world and that's a secret people are willing to kill in order to keep. 


Another perspective on the same story is told by Izza, a child from elsewhere now living on the streets of Kavekana, who encounters a strange foreigner (Cat from Three Parts Dead) who can fight the stone Penitents that the island uses to enforce the law. These are a particularly horrifying creation, stone statues used to hold and re-educate petty criminals who can be heard screaming or whimpering from inside them. *shudders* 


Anyway, with the assistance of Teo from Two Serpents Rise, Kai manages to ensure that the truth comes out at no minor expense to herself and those around her. I have to admit that I was struggling with this book in comparison to the previous two and it took a bit more persistence on my part to carry on with it, since it drags a bit in the middle, but then the pace picked up again and pretty much all the loose ends got tied up. The series continues with Last First Snow (though technically, that's a prequel to the entire sequence, as it deals with events years before Two Serpents Rise) and a copy of that is literally sat in the pile of books by my bed as I write this...

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review 2016-08-16 10:23
Unzeremonieller Abschied von einer durchschnittlichen Reihe
The Fall of Five - Pittacus Lore

Ich habe lange überlegt, wie ich die Rezension zu „The Fall of Five“ von Pittacus Lore gestalten soll. Das Buch ist für mich ein schwieriger Fall, weil ich schon vor der Lektüre des vierten Bandes wusste, dass ich die „Lorien Legacies“ danach abbrechen werde. Nun ist meine Entscheidung, die Reihe nicht weiterzuverfolgen, jedoch nicht damit begründet, dass ich die Romane schlecht fände. Natürlich sind sie keine literarischen Perlen, aber ich hatte durchaus Spaß beim Lesen. Nein, mein Unwille ist prinzipieller Natur. Ich möchte weder James Frey, der neben einem unbekannten Co-Autor hinter dem Pseudonym Pittacus Lore steht, noch seine Young Adult - Literaturschmiede Full Fathom Five weiterhin unterstützen. Ich boykottiere sie. Deshalb ist „The Fall of Five“ meine letzte Reise mit den Lorianern.


Die Garde hat den Kampf mit Setrákus Ra überlebt. Aber es war knapp, sehr knapp. Noch sind die sechs Lorianer nicht bereit, es mit ihm aufzunehmen. Trotzdem war ihr Angriff auf die Militärbasis in New Mexico ein Erfolg, denn es ist ihnen gelungen, Sarah zu befreien. John ist überglücklich, kann jedoch nicht vergessen, dass sich sein bester Freund Sam noch immer in den Händen seiner Feinde befindet. Er weiß, dass eine weitere Rettungsmission zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt Selbstmord wäre und die Garde erst ihre volle Macht entfalten muss, um gegen den furchteinflößenden Anführer der Mogadorians bestehen zu können. Gemeinsam entscheiden die sechs, dass die Suche nach ihrem letzten Mitglied, Nummer Fünf, Priorität haben muss. Werden sie Fünf finden und zum ersten Mal seit ihrer Ankunft auf der Erde wieder vereint sein?


Nach der Lektüre des dritten Bandes der „Lorien Legacies“, „The Rise of Nine“, schrieb ich, dass ich eine Pause bräuchte, weil die Bücher begannen, mich anzuöden. Diese Pause habe ich mir genommen. Sie hat Wunder bewirkt. Zwar wusste ich noch genug über die vorangegangenen Bände, um keine Schwierigkeiten mit dem Einstieg in „The Fall of Five“ zu haben, doch ich hatte nicht mehr das Gefühl, in einer Endlosschleife gefangen zu sein. Rein rational ist mir natürlich klar, dass die Parallelen zum Handlungsverlauf der Vorgänger erneut frappierend sind und ich gebe zu, dass es nicht gerade von Qualität spricht, wenn man als Leser_in 10 Monate zwischen zwei Bänden einer Reihe vergehen lassen muss, um sich nicht zu langweilen. Ich kann auch nicht behaupten, dass ich beim Gedanken an „The Fall of Five“ in Begeisterungsstürme ausbrechen würde. Aber ich wusste ja, was mich erwartet, daher möchte ich ein bisschen großzügig sein. Meiner Ansicht nach sind die actiongeladenen Elemente in diesem vierten Band weniger dominant als in „The Power of Six“ und in „The Rise of Nine“. Das Buch fokussiert die Garde; ihre Beziehungen zueinander, ihre Schwierigkeiten mit ihren Kräften und die Nachwirkungen des Kampfes mit Setrákus Ra, der sie desillusioniert zurückließ. Speziell John hat diese erste Konfrontation auf den Boden der Tatsachen zurückgeholt. In den letzten Bänden verhielt er sich oft draufgängerisch, war überzeugt, dass Setrákus Ra seinen Fähigkeiten nichts entgegensetzen kann und ein Sieg über die Mogs zum Greifen nah wäre. Diesen Zahn hat ihm der Anführer der Mogs gezogen. Meiner Meinung nach war diese Lektion in Sachen Bescheidenheit und Realismus das Beste, was ihm passieren konnte. Endlich reißt er sich zusammen und denkt erst nach, bevor er handelt. Die Gesellschaft der anderen Lorianer scheint ihm gut zu tun, denn gemeinsam schmieden sie zur Abwechslung mal brauchbare, sinnvolle Pläne. Ich weigere mich, anzuerkennen, dass auch Sarah einen positiven Einfluss auf John haben könnte, weil mir ihre Rolle in der Geschichte überhaupt nicht gefällt. Ich war ja nie ein Fan von ihr und nun sehe ich in ihr nur noch eine Last. Sie ist ein Klotz am Bein, eine zusätzliche Verantwortung, die weder John noch seine Garde-Kolleg_innen gebrauchen können. Eine Waffe zu tragen macht sie noch lange nicht zu einer taffen Heldin. Trotzdem bemitleide ich sie ein wenig, weil ich verstehe, dass sie sich neben den Mitgliedern der Garde unzureichend vorkommen muss. Die sechs entwickeln immer neue Kräfte, was offenbar eine charakterliche Entwicklung ersetzen soll. Mir reicht es langsam. Es ist genug. Mittlerweile sind sie fast gottähnlich und besitzen mehr Macht, als für sie gut sein kann, besonders angesichts der Tatsache, dass sie keinerlei Führung haben. Alle Erwachsenen, die ihnen wahrhaft hätten helfen können, wurden ja aus der Geschichte entfernt, was ich ebenfalls als problematisch empfinde.
Zu guter Letzt sollte ich noch erwähnen, dass mich die häufigen Perspektivwechsel während der Lektüre von „The Fall of Five“ irritierten, weil diese nicht länger durch veränderte Schriftarten voneinander abgesetzt sind. Ich musste am Anfang jedes Kapitels erst einmal herausfinden, wen ich auf den folgenden Seiten begleiten würde, was durch die Ich-Perspektive deutlich erschwert wurde. Das war anstrengend und behinderte meinen Lesefluss.


Ich bedauere nicht, dass ich die „Lorien Legacies“ an den Nagel hängen werde. Es gibt keinen Grund zur Trauer, denn dafür sind die Bücher einfach nicht gut genug. „The Fall of Five“ hat mein bisheriges Urteil bestätigt und erhärtet: bei dieser Reihe handelt es sich um trivialste Durchschnittsliteratur, die meine kostbare Lesezeit kaum verdient. Selbst wenn ich nicht aus Prinzip heraus entschieden hätte, sie nicht weiterzuverfolgen – ich bezweifle, dass ich bereit gewesen wäre, das Geld für die (angeblich) letzten drei Bände auszugeben. Die Geschichte mag eine gewisse Zugkraft besitzen, die hauptsächlich auf zahlreichen rasanten, actionreichen Szenen basiert, doch die Makel in Handlungs- und Charakterkonstruktion sind zu gravierend, um über sie hinweg zu sehen. Mein Abschied von den „Lorien Legacies“ fühlt sich ganz und gar unzeremoniell an.

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review 2015-08-22 04:53
Review reposted from DA
Full Fathom Five - Max Gladstone

Dear Max Gladstone,

I have read the first novel in this series “Three Parts Dead”, but skipped the second one because something in the blurb worried me. Then reviews I read seemed to say that I could read this (third) book as a stand-alone, so I dived in. I think you can easily start with this book. There is a character from “Three Parts Dead” playing an important but secondary role, and of course it further expands the world and I am sure advances some very general common themes. But it does not directly continue anything from the first book and if it touches on something from the second, my unfamiliarity with it did not take away from my reading experience.

I mentioned in a previous conversation at DA that “Three Parts Dead” delivered an almost perfect “sink or swim” experience in terms of world building. There are no explanations of what things mean, how things operate, you are supposed to figure it out on your own, but the writer paints a very clear picture of the world even if he does not spell it out for you. For example, I think that Craftsmen and Craftswomen are all lawyers-wizards, but this is not spelled out, we just see them in action and maybe I am wrong and they can do something else just as well. I still am not sure what is the relationship between Gods and Humans in this Universe, but we see Gods die and become resurrected, and we see their lives and their connection to their followers as complex and interesting. In other words, I am not completely sure what is the argument being advanced, but I am positive that I am intrigued and very interested.

As the blurb tells you, the action of this book takes place at the island of Kavekana, where priestess Kai is part of an Order that build Idols and sells them to the clients/pilgrims who come to the Island. Idols are not quite like Gods, but they can bestow gifts on the worshippers, for the right price. Oh, and there is a “soulstuff” involved in building them – bits and pieces of the souls of the people who want to worship Idols and get the gifts. I am not sure how taking the bits and pieces of one’s soul works in this world – but I know that it is a very valuable commodity. Do souls restore themselves? I don’t know but I am interested in learning the answer.

Idols also can die if several business deals of their followers go wrong, and I assume for other reasons too. The book begins when one of the Idols is dying. Instead of letting the death take its course, Kai jumps into the Sacred Pool where the Priests and Priestesses hold the Idols and tries to save her. And then things go terribly wrong – the Idol still dies, Kai is very hurt, and all hell breaks loose when Kai wakes up in the Hospital. Elaine from the first book (fancy lawyer and Craftswoman) is investigating the Idol’s death, why Kai tried to save her, and what Kai’s Order did and did not do, because Elaine’s clients paid money and lost money.

Kai’s Boss Jase does not exactly fire her, but Kai is demoted to a role that includes meeting and greeting the Pilgrims and trying to convince them to do business with the order, rather than building Idols and taking care of them.

The mythology of this series is complex, and once again I cannot be sure that I understood everything. But I am guessing I was not supposed to just yet. As the story progresses, for example, we learn that some time ago the Gods of Kavekana supposedly left the Island and went to fight in the God’s Wars in order not to let Craft take over. It is assumed now that Kavekana has no Gods left anymore, and they only built Idols. We all know what happens when we make assumptions, right?

One thing was clear to me – Gods and their followers seem to take strength from each other but their weaknesses also seem to destroy each other. Business contracts also seem to play important part in Gods’ health, which I personally found amusing.

“Constellations charged the dark, jewel nets melded to a mother-of-pearl sheen. And there they hung: shining shapes against the background noise of transaction and half-formed faith. Gods. More than that: idols, become gods.”

But apparently bad business transactions were not the reason why Kai’s Idols started to die and the closer she gets to uncovering the conspiracy, the more danger she finds herself in.

Kai is a main character of the book, but we also have another main character, fifteen-year-old Izza. Izza is a street kid, or rather a street teenager, who steals things to survive and to help other street kids who depend on her. Izza also tells stories to other kids about non–existent Gods who come to her in dreams. When the book begins, Izza has had enough of the street life and the constant threat of being caught and thrown inside the Penitent as punishment for any kind of law breaking, whenever the officials so desire. I will let you discover what the Penitents are if you decide to read the book. The book is written from both Kai and Izza’s POV in the third person – the narration switches between them. Izza also becomes involved in the mystery of the dying Idols and eventually she and Kai join forces.

I could not stop reading this book – some reviews have said that it moves slower than other books in the series. If that’s true I did not notice – I was too involved in trying to figure out what would happen on the next page.

“The ground approached.


Time slowed.

They fell through space and worlds, following that unseen beacon. They did not slip from realm to realm so much as burst through. The color of the sea changed, wine-red and spreading. Constellations danced and transformed.

The volcano’s mouth approached. At its bottom, pinhead small but growing larger, lay the pool, another sky into which they could fall forever. The size of a cherry now, a fig, lemon orange apple pineapple watermelon –

She braced herself for impact, too late.”

Grade: B+

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