Max Gladstone’s Ruin of Angels is the sixth book in his Craft Sequence, a series that’s set in the aftermath of the God Wars, where necromancers fought against the old gods and the world was changed. In this one, that’s an even more direct setting than usual, because its story is set in a city that was Alikand before it was partially destroyed in the God Wars, and which was subsequently settled by the Iskari, who rebuilt the city as Agdel Lex.

Each of Gladstone’s books use their setting to consider social problems through a fantasy lens, and this one is no difference, because it’s as straight-up an examination of colonialism as you’ll see, looking at how Alikand and Agdel Lex co-exist and how the families of Alikand try to preserve their history and culture while the Iskari try to impose their version of order. Except of course, it’s all richer and more fantastic than that (Alikand used to house angels, for instance, and the Iskari are servants of a Cthulhoid master), and it’s a story told through a mystery, a heist, and a bunch of stuff it’d be a spoiler to even mention. The plot moves along briskly and is never dull or rote.

And of course, the characters are great, too. One of the protagonists of this book is Kai Pohala (who was also a protagonist of the previous book in the series); another is her sister, and the relationship between them drives a lot of the book; but the rest of the supporting cast—a handful of new characters, and some returning favorites from previous books—all have their own stories to be told, and they’re fleshed out enough that it’s almost plausible to just say that the book has a good solid half-dozen co-protagonists. There’s a lot going on here.

The Craft Sequence is a great series, and this is an excellent installment in it. Read these books.


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