Three Parts Dead was lots of fun, and I had high expectations of this book. I was not disappointed. Max Gladstone has now a firm place among my favourite authors!
The Craft Sequence (so far) reads reads like a mix of the good parts of China Mieville and Charlie Stross and later Pratchett, but written by a poet. It’s exciting, and I’m happy this series exists. In some places, the poetry started to feel formulaic, “yawn, here we go being dazzled by language again”, but it wasn’t so overbearing as to be painful.
The story itself – Two Serpents Rising, quite literally, in a wonderful and strange city in a magical-yet-bureaucratical world – is heavier on the allegories than the first book. It wants to make sure that you understand that there is Subtext, and you should Think Through The Message. I don’t mind that as much as I do in other books, because it doesn’t quite do away with all moral ambiguity, but it’s skirting the edge of what I think a decent author should do in terms of moralising.
Don’t let that put you off: these are the slightly jarring notes in an incredibly fun, tense, lyrical book in a fantasy world that I cannot get enough of.