Craft Work

Number six. Like the Cylon.
I'm about to start to read Ruin of Angels in addition to about ten other books right now. (It's sort of a weird habit with me; don't ask.) I'm excited because I have read Max Gladstone's other books in The Craft Sequence and, outside of the cover art not being done by Chris McGrath or fitting in the usual cover color scheme, I'm hopeful it will be as good as the rest of the series. What's crazy is this was a series I didn't even want to read.

I'm not a huge fantasy guy. Outside of that fairy tale portion of most young people's lives and a period in high school and early college, my choice has always been the science fiction part of the sci-fi/fantasy combination. I always found magic to be too much to deal with. The rules of science fiction can at times be ridiculous but they are usually consistent. Magic and fantasy seemed to be at times an anything goes endeavor. Anything is possible with limited to no repercussion. Outside of a few properties like Full Metal Alchemist, there is little balance in the magic worlds we encounter. And I know it seems like a ridiculous thing to complain about but here we are.

The Craft Sequence as imagined by Gladstone has definite rules. There are systems set up for magical usage and prices to be paid to utilize magic in his universe, sometimes very steep prices. Sacrifices have to be made to achieve new levels of power. Little sacrifices of the blood and human lives nature. There are also governing bodies that regulate how and when magic should be used. If I told you these books were about magical law, it would be a true statement. It would also sound like a truly dull set of novels to read and they are not. Calling them magical law stories undersell all the other reasons why I like them.

The Craft Sequence is composed of now six books- Three Parts Dead, Two Serpents Rise, Full Fathom Five, Last Fist Snow, Four Roads Cross and Ruin of Angels. This is the order in which they were released but is by no means the order in which you have to read them. In fact, they are out of order chronologically in their world. The key to reading them in chronological order, if you want, is by color and title. The numbers in the book titles indicate where they occur timewise, with Ruin of Angels being the odd book out. I read them in release order but others have read them in historical order and have enjoyed them. It works both ways because the characters overlap and return so a character who was secondary in one book may be the main character in another book and vice versa.

All the characters.
And the characters? Wow. The characters are fully developed through the progress of the books. They have different motivations for their actions, that can almost all be argued to be in the right. They are also diverse. The world is not just one type of human with random monsters and creatures who represent other races, sometimes in a horribly racist manner. There are other creatures in this world but the people are people and range from people who resemble strong indigenous populations to a young black magic/law student to a transgender woman who reads as Asian. They all have different reasons for the actions they take, they all have different histories and alliances and this makes for an interesting series. It isn't pain by number good and evil and the person that you might think is on the wrong side might be behaving a certain way to accomplish a noble goal.

I'm ready to tuck back into this series. I'm excited for where Max Gladstone is going to take me on this leg of the journey and wonder who we will meet this time. As long as he stays true to the rules of his world, I'm pretty sure I will not be disappointed.

Sean Fields is an aspiring writer and has been in the education field for more than a decade. He works mostly with teenagers nowadays which both keeps him well informed on pop culture and makes his hair turn grayer daily. He has a few blogs but is currently focused on this one and this other one. You can also find him on TumblrTwitter and Instagram, if you want to be entertained or infuriated.
Craft Work Craft Work Reviewed by SeanFields on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 Rating: 5
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