Four Roads Cross

June 30, 2017 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, )

roadsFour Roads Cross by Max Gladstone


I had high hopes for the Craft Sequence. It came recommended to me by a friend of mine, and I had already planned to read it based on an article Gladstone wrote about how character drives story. The first book, with its integrated world-building and fascinating ideas, certainly impressed, but the more I read of it, the less interesting they get. With Four Roads Cross, ironically, I realized it was because the characters didn’t resonate with me. They weren’t two-dimensional, but neither could I relate to them.

Four Roads Cross is the first book in the series that feels like an actual sequel. It follows chronologically from Three Parts Dead, the first book published (if you didn’t know, the two chronologies don’t fit together), and it features not just Tara Abernathy, one of the main characters from that book, but it also touches every main character from all of the books in the series. The plot centers on Kos Everburning and Alt Coulumb, but with the revival of Seril, Kos’ old lover, it brings into question the reliability of all the loans taken out against Kos.

(Which, I believe, could be another aspect of the stories that grew tiresome: the whole lawyer-banking aspect of the magic system. It was neat for one book, but over the course of the entire series, it’s about as exciting as paste.)

There’s another book coming near the end of this year, and I’m waffling over whether to read it. On the one hand, I can’t imagine reading it right now, after struggling to get through this one for several weeks; on the other hand, if enough time passes between these books and that one, maybe I’ll find something more to like in it. It’s hard to say, but I’m at least not going to cancel my pre-order just yet.

Like Full Fathom Five, there are a lot of interesting pieces in the story, but overall it strikes me as dull. I’m well aware that I’m in the minority with that sentiment — the two- and one-star ratings on Goodreads account for a mere 4% of all ratings — but I stand by it. I have no special feelings for urban fantasy, though, and I recognize that reading these books all together as I did didn’t help, but there it is.

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