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Last First Snow, by Max Gladstone

Review copy provided by Tor. Also, Max is someone I know and like from Fourth Street.

I have been waiting impatiently for this book ever since I heard it was about Elayne and Temoc. Basically that’s my review for those who have read the rest of this series: it really is, it’s about Elayne and Temoc and it has BARRICADES go read it BARRICADES I’m not kidding. (Some people will be there for the magically fighting skeletal dragon weapon. But for me, barricades. They are like Mrisnip.)

For those who have not read the rest of the series: this is the chronologically first book, and I think it would be a perfectly good place to start, although the resonances and implications would be quite different than if you started in publication order. (Which you should! They’re in print, they’re good, there’s no reason you shouldn’t read them in publication order. Now is the time! Collect ’em all! But if you get handed Last First Snow, do not hand it back because you haven’t read the others.) This is a world in which the gods were slain not very long ago (forty years as of this volume), a world in which soul stuff is traded on markets and regrown, a world in which magic can allow someone to live indefinitely as an animate skeleton when their body gives out.

This is also a world where people disagree about important things without any of them–even the animate skeleton–being hand-rubbingly evil. People want things that are quite reasonable things to want–safety for their families, safety for their city in a number of ways, preservation of valued things about their community, a relationship with the divine, crazy magic power–in ways that rub up against each other and strike sparks. People want things that do not match. Even people who like each other. Even people who love each other. This is not a book of easy choices, and it is so very much more fun thereby.

The relationship a community has with itself, with the outside, with its lost gods and its living leaders–there’s enough for a dozen books in here, but it never feels overcrowded. Definitely recommended. So very very glad to have this.

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