I received an ARC of Ruin of Angels from a fellow blogger and friend, Marzie’s Reads for my birthday earlier this month.
I can’t tell you how much I love Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence. I just can’t. The words for me to do so just don’t exist in English. The closest I can come is some incoherent screaming as I brandish the (thick) book in the direction of people’s faces as I try to convey how much I love this series. This blog post will have to do for those who can’t experience my love in person. (Or, you could go read it and see what all the flailing is about.)
The background: Ruin of Angels is the sixth book in Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence and the first that has to be read in any particular order. The first five books can either be read in publication order or chronologically – which are not the same order. The sixth book, Ruin of Angels, should be read after the first five books have been read in either order.
In this series, Gladstone builds an incredible universe with a very complex system of magic and economy. With this world building, Gladstone demonstrates an incredibly deep understanding of many complex issues and concepts and how they influence each other in our world. To name just a few: religion, micro and macro economics, art, political systems, history, legal systems – including contract law, gender politics, race relations… the list goes on and on.
But you ask, Alex, how does all of that fit into a fantasy novel setting without being incredibly boring? Magic. Gladstone must be a literal sorcerer. I personally have learned a ton about how our world works by reading the stories set in his world. From the first book, I’ve been impressed and engrossed. I BLEW through the first five books in the series, and I am planning a reread soon – this time in chronological order, rather than publication order.
One of the things that impresses me the most about his writing is that he writes women, people of color, WOMEN of color, and people with diverse gender and sexual identities well. His cast is diverse and each and every one of them is written with respect and an impressive thoughtfulness. In Ruin of Angels, Gladstone even manages to write a flashback for a trans character in a way that doesn’t misgender the character.
But what about the plot, Alex? Worldbuilding and characters aside, is the plot any good? Oh yes, reader. The plot is a fast-paced, twisty, turny heist with many moving threads and pieces. Ruin of Angels has so much going on that I advocate that you put the book down. Not for good, no, just every couple of chapters to really let yourself absorb what all just happened.
A lot happens. There is backstabbing, romance, intrigue, and conspiracy. There’s also treasure hunting, art, necromancy, and reality bending religious struggles.
I haven’t heard anything about a seventh book, but I can only hope (and beg, and beg, and beg) that Tor.com will see fit to award Gladstone contracts for more books in this series.
Ruin of Angels will be released on September 5, 2017.