Weeeeeeeeeee’re baaaaaaaaaaaaack. This time, we’re reading Full Fathom Five the third book in Max Gladstone’s The Craft Sequence. We’re meeting another all-new cast and an entirely different setting. Let me give you the schedule once more.
Week 1: July 20 Ch 1-13 – hosted by Allie from Tethyan Books
Week 2: July 27 Ch 14-32 – hosted by me
Week 3: August 3 Ch 33-50 – hosted by Heather from The Bastard Title
Week 4: August 10 Ch 50-62 – hosted by Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow
(Remember, if you’d like to take part or even just follow along as we read, you can sign up and/or keep track of the proceedings at our Goodreads group page. ^_^)
This post (and indeed this book) contains mild spoilers for Three Parts Dead and lots of spoilers for the first quarter of Full Fathom Five.
And now… To the questions!
1) Kai kicks off the story by risking her life in an attempt to save the idol Alpha Seven. Why do you think she chose to try? Do you think idols truly non-sentient?
At this point, I think it’s perhaps a little too early for me to feel comfortable answering the last question. Idols don’t seem to be non-sentient, but given the plot of Gladstone’s other books, chances are good that first impressions can be deceiving. (Or they’re totally right. I AM LOOKING AT YOU, THREE PARTS DEAD. *ahem* Anyway.)
I think Kai tried to save Alpha Seven because it’s… an artist thing? Sort of? I’m not sure how much sense that makes off the bat. But… I’m an author. I have seen a zillion articles and discussions telling writers (and other artists) that their art is not their baby. Not if you’re looking to publish it and share it with the world.
Honestly, if we go with the idea that art is your baby then the moment you publish it is the moment your baby’s all grown up and moves out to venture into the world without parental guidance. Or something phrased like that.
My point here is that artists (of any kind) often have a protective streak about their work that they need to deal with and that’s not necessarily going to be different for Kai. I’m not entirely sure whether they really build the construct housing the gods or whether they just handle the contracts and priesthood aspects, but it sounded to me like Kai and other people doing her job do get attached to their idols in a comparative way to what artists often feel about their work.
I think you can see some of that in Jace’s (effective) demotion of Kai to work with people rather than idols, because that can read as “Stop thinking of that manuscript as your baby. This is what happens when you release it into the world and let other people interact with it”.
Whether that means she thinks the idols are sentient or not is another question altogether and… I’m really not sure. I think so. The way she handled the contract suggests that there is at least some truth to that idea.
Sorry, I feel like I’m rambling incoherently. (Gladstone’s books take me a while to settle into and I spent most of my reading time with a headache.)
2) I think this is the first time we’ve seen idols, and they have their similarities and differences to gods and craftsmen. Do you think they serve a useful purpose? If you were in this world, would you prefer faith, Craft, or idols?
Ha! We’re not starting with easy questions, are we? XD I think they do serve a useful purpose, yes, and I think what we’ve read has some pretty good examples of how that works. Kai’s chapters discuss what use the idols are to other people. (I think it was her discussion with Kevarian?) But we also see Izza and the other streetkids where their Blue Lady and the storyteller give them… something. I’m being deliberately vague on what that something is, mind. I just thought it was worth noting that the streetkids do clearly get something out of the beliefs they hold. (Pointing out the obvious, that’s me!)
And there’s also Cat with her relationship to a goddess and I’m curious to see how her story is going to fit into the others.
If I were in this world, I… Actually, I honestly don’t know. I probably wouldn’t prefer Craft. Gods… Well, we’ve seen what gods can ask of their followers in Two Serpents Rise, didn’t we? So… Probably idols. (Mind you, I wouldn’t want to be in this world anyway. I kind of like not trading bits of soul away as currency.)
3) I found it interesting that priests/priestesses are able to change or reform their bodies in the pool, during their initiation. If it were possible, would you want to make use of this power or not?
That was interesting! If it were possible, I’d definitely make use of it, though, yes. I’d go for generally small changes (such as eyesight correction), though. I’m pretty okay with the way I am now. It’s just little niggly things (and the fatigue, but I don’t think there’s much the magical pool of magicalness could do about that).
4) A few familiar faces show up from Three Parts Dead, Cat and Ms. Kevarian! Is this how you would have expected them to be living, after the events of that novel? [Three Parts Dead spoiler warning for answers to this question]
Ms. Kevarian, yes. Cat… not so much. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting and I don’t yet know enough about her story post-Three Parts Dead to tell whether it maps onto anything I might have been expecting. If that makes sense. I try not to dwell on what happens after a story is concluded because I’ve got more than enough of them swarming and swamping my mind as it is. (I am the world’s worst fan.)
It’s easy to answer what I expected of Ms. Kevarian’s life since Three Parts Dead pretty much spelled out that she was going to keep working as a Craftswoman the way we see here. Cat’s fate was left, as I recall, a lot murkier and Full Fathom Five hints at some pretty big changes for her.
5) Izza is in a difficult situation; she wants to take care of the other street children, but she also wants to protect herself. What do you think of how she is attempting to meet both goals? Do you think she was right to stop leading the stories and rituals for the other children?
Can I say ‘both’? Because it’s one of those questions that’s all about perception and angles. Even if we take just one of the two, ah, groups (Izza or the children) the answer is going to depend on how you look at it.
I was surprised that she didn’t seem to be stealing anything for herself, though, and intrigued by how much she’s living day-by-day.
6) There is a lot that is hinted near the end of this section, with the line “Howl, Bound World” and the poet Edmond Margot. What do you think it is that ties together Seven Alpha, Kai, Izza, and Margot?
I have no clue whatsoever as of yet. So I shall offer the wild speculation that Cat and her issues with Seryl are what ties everything together. Also those shards of Seryl that got mentioned relatively off-handedly. I could see Cat being sent to look for them and, for all I know, they’re what powers Kai’s pool or the idols.
I did notice that the book has mention of more missing gods, though, so I suspect that those will show up in plot-important ways at some point. Put that way, perhaps “Howl, Bound World” is a god’s way of saying “Help me. I’m tied up and want to be free”. Which, you’ll note, is pretty much how the book has styled it and, so far, Gladstone has had a tendency to throw out red herrings and go with the expected plot anyway. (Who knows. Maybe this time I’ll actually be somewhere close to the mark with my guessing!)