The Ruin of Angels (Craft Sequence #6), by Max Gladstone
While this can be read as a standalone, note that this is a sequel and you might get spoiled if you keep reading further and haven’t read the previous books (especially Full Fathom Five) yet.
Description: (from Macmillan)
The God Wars destroyed the city of Alikand. Now, a century and a half and a great many construction contracts later, Agdel Lex rises in its place. Dead deities litter the surrounding desert, streets shift when people aren’t looking, a squidlike tower dominates the skyline, and the foreign Iskari Rectification Authority keeps strict order in this once-independent city—while treasure seekers, criminals, combat librarians, nightmare artists, angels, demons, dispossessed knights, grad students, and other fools gather in its ever-changing alleys, hungry for the next big score.
Priestess/investment banker Kai Pohala (last seen in Full Fathom Five) hits town to corner Agdel Lex’s burgeoning nightmare startup scene, and to visit her estranged sister Ley. But Kai finds Ley desperate at the center of a shadowy, and rapidly unravelling, business deal. When Ley ends up on the run, wanted for a crime she most definitely committed, Kai races to track her sister down before the Authority finds her first. But Ley has her own plans, involving her ex-girlfriend, a daring heist into the god-haunted desert, and, perhaps, freedom for an occupied city. Because Alikand might not be completely dead—and some people want to finish the job.
Expected publication: September 5th 2017
A review copy (eARC) of this book was provided by the publisher. Some things might change in the final copy.
Reminder that my review for the first five books in the Craft Sequence is here.
“YES.” That is the only word I found when I went to look at my first draft of this review and I thought I should keep it. It really translates my state of excitement and happiness upon finishing this book, how this book did justice to a remarquable cast of characters, while juggling with an epic number of plotlines.
It is important to note that 90% of the characters in this books are women and I loved all these ladies SO MUCH. When I say that this book has almost only women protagonists I’m not kidding, I can only remember one or two names of men, and they were really secondary characters. Women were everywhere in this novel: as side characters, main characters, antagonists… This was amazing to me. It didn’t even strike me before nearing the end of the novel and trying to do a mental list of the important characters.
Regarding the chronology in relation to the five first books, this is the equivalent of the start of the second season of the Craft Sequence. (Max Gladstone said that in answer to a goodreads question here.) So this is the sixth book both in publication and chronological order, and mostly set some time after the events of Full Fathom Five since Kai is back as a main character in The Ruin of Angels. This book could be read as a standalone, but I still think it would be even MORE enjoyable if one has read the others! There are guest appearences of some characters previously met in the other books, mentions of some events of importance… I had binged-read the first five right before jumping on that one and I can say this was the best experience possible!
There is A LOT happening in this book. It felt like a murder mystery, with thefts and family secrets and big corporations and… you got the idea! The start of it all is that Kai is back in this really weird city because her sister asked for her help. She’s unconvenienced by this but family is family and she went anyway. I have mentionned it in the review of the first five books, but I feel compelled to say again that Kai is a trans woman of color. There is also a heist happening at one point of the novel involving several women, and a lot of them are queer. Like, all of them if I’m not mistaken. Like I said, SO MANY COOL (QUEER) WOMEN.
Max Gladstone made a little twitter thread on what this book is about and he says it best:
WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT. This book has everything, everything I tell you.
The wolrdbuilding going into this city is mind-blowing, when Kai first put step into the city, she almost passed out and I can say that it has the same effect on the reader. There is a lot to take in but it is so rewarding in the end.
And the end! Oh my god ( 😉 ), it hints at something big coming, at more stories, more more more and I’m super ready.
This series keep on proving to me with each new book that yes yes yes this is one of my new favourite that I will re-read a lot in the future. One of these where I will discover new details and secrets with each new reading, where I will fall in love with the characters again and again, and be eagerly waiting for more wonderful additions to this wonderful sequence. Add to that those gorgeous cover art and I’m sold for ever and ever to the Craft Sequence.
Here is an excerpt!!