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Full Fathom Five Read-Along {Part 1}

Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone Read-Along

Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone Read-Along

Hello and welcome to the first week of our Full Fathom Five read-along! Full Fathom Five is the third book released in the series, but they each stand-along quite well so you could easily start with this book and join us still :D. Check out our SF/F Read-Along group for this and other upcoming read-alongs and to propose books you’d like to read with us! There will be spoilers below up through chapter 13!

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 are non-sentient?

What a great start to the story! I completely understand Kai’s reaction. I don’t think that I could have stood by watching that suffering and not been moved to try to stop it, no matter what logic I knew backed up the current events. There is just something that pushes past all logic to try to stop the suffering of other things. It seems like there might be more going on with these idols than everyone is saying too given what Kai experienced.

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?

It’s so interesting seeing all the different parts of this world! It makes a lot of sense that some people would want a more chill alternative to the gods I guess given how much sacrifice we’ve seen some of them demanding. It seems like it kind of just depends on your definition of god though if these idols can take prayer and return benefits to their worshippers, that’s pretty god-like ya know?
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?

Aaaaah such a hard question but omg yey first book I’ve read with a transgender main character!!!!! I’m pretty happy with my body I’d say, though I think it’s awesome that Kai was able to change to a form she was more comfortable with! It is conflicting though that you get more power in the pool if you change your body, so that would make me want to make a big change D:.

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. Kaverian! Cat! I’m so excited!!!! I guess I didn’t have expectations really but it makes sense. Ms. Kaverian is really just continuing to do her job and Cat is continuing to struggle with her addiction and relationship with the goddess. I really hope that Cat can get to a better place in this novel though.

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?

*hugs Izza* I definitely understand her struggles. If she is going to be taken if she stays it makes sense for her to try to get the kids to a place where they won’t be lost without her and she needs to be a bit selfish to keep herself safe. I think she’s doing a good job balancing those goals, though she should probably stop stealing now that she has enough left for them!

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?

It seems like there is more going on with these idols than everyone is letting on and I think Margot was called by the idol and that’s how he got that line in the poem. It sounded like at the end of the section that he would get the poems into his head like from a divine being, so that’d make sense. I’m not sure how Izza will fit into the plot though, but that connection seems to have started when Kai saw Izza running past, ha.

Again, I just have to say how excited I am to finally find a spec fic book with a transgender main character, really great to see!

What did you notice about this section? Excited with the way things are starting?

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings -Anya

© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. I was pleasantly surprised to see a transgender protag.

  2. Yeah, some of the gods are pretty demanding– I think I’d rather have idols than the Two Serpents, for instance.

    I have not run into many transgender characters in spec fic (A.M. Dellamonica’s Indigo Springs/Blue Magic and Caitlin Kiernan’s Drowning Girl come to mind), and I think this is the first time I’ve read one with a transgender main character, too. She’s pretty cool :).

    I’m really hoping Cat ends this story in a better place, too.
    Allie recently posted…Read-Along: Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone, Part 1My Profile

    • Haha exactly! I’ll take an idol over the two serpents any day!

      Yeah that’s the thing, I can think of ones where there is a transgender secondary character, but so often with diversity the main character is still cishet-white so it feels like a step in the right direction but not enough.

  3. I love that the main character is transgender and I love the whole concept of her being able to fix herself with the pool. Sadly, not something that can happen so easily in reality, but the representation is so important.

    • Agreed! I can only imagine how much a transgender reader would appreciate Kai and at the same time be jealous of the amazing opportunity she gets that we don’t have in our world, stupid lack of magic!


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