Short Fiction Friday: The Angelus Guns

Short Fiction Friday: The Angelus Guns by Max Gladstone

During a celestial civil war, an angel-like soldier searches for her missing brother. 

If you now say the name Max Gladstone to people, they will immediately respond with Craft Sequence or one of the titles of his books. In the last few years max Gladstone has, for me, really put himself on the bookmap with his Craft Sequence, they are terrific reads and give a refreshing air to the current fantasy books. I was looking for short stories set in this series but couldn't find any instead I stumbled upon the single short story that I could find from him, The Angelus Guns and as you can see from the top, it has a very short introduction. It is often with only a single sentence that it proves to be less is more and by this it really piqued my interest. A celestial war and angel-like soldier. The Angelus Guns is quite something different from his Craft Sequence, written with a different style and of course theme. But as a short story delivers and leaves you wanting more. 

The story of The Angelus Guns picks up with focus on the soldier Thea. Thea's brother left to join in the revolution in The Crystal City and she decides to follow him. It's more of a plead of her mother to get Thea's brother and her son back. You learn that Thea herself was a warrior once but they choose to become Scholar and take the path of less violence. After a pretty weird elaboration a few days after their conversation Thea sets out but her mother catches up with her and gives a sword, that Thea should use when required. Now Thea is ready to search for her brother Gabe for good. But the path she chooses is far from straightforward as Thea has to make her way past several blockages. Even though they are all of one kind present in Crystal City not everyone wants to help Thea. After a search she does manage to catch up with Gabe but then it also proves hard to convince him to return home before the angelus guns ring, Gabe has set out with a quest, a quest where he will do anything to see it succeed.

The story of The Angelus Guns does feel like something much more is going on and that this could part of something much bigger. The start-up of the story comes a bit sudden and you are thrown directly into the depths of the it all. This did remind me a bit of Three Parts Dead as there are many bits and pieces that you have to find out for yourself. However this did make the story for me actually that much more interesting as Max Gladstone really puts the stress on your own imagination. He introduces some weird dealing with Thea and the angel like creatures: part-machine, part human. It's weird but lets you make up and interpret it in your own way as you don't get any explanation at all. And as I said, this is a good thing. 

The world that Max Gladstone builds in The Angelus Guns is to put it remarkable and still after having read the story it still sit their in the back of my mind playing tricks on me. It's unorthodox and just as what I have come to expect of max Gladstone, his stories are provocative and very engaging. But lets also not forget the writing style which is used to write The Angelus Guns, this again is something totally different, at least it feels different, from his other stories. It feels like poetry, perhaps this is bolstered by the limited descriptions of everything but it's just beautiful and readily makes you fall in love with it. Top stuff. 

I did see that The Angelus Guns got a lot of mixed review those that loved it and those that loves it. Well I am from the latter category. To be honest I had set my mind on reading something different than what I found in The Angelus Guns but it just comes down to this: similar with the Craft Sequence, you shouldn't make up what you expect to read, as Max Gladstone will keep on surprising you, instead embrace it from the first word and let it all sink in. The Angelus Guns is an unorthodox read that you will keep haunting you (in a good way) for a much longer time. Again Max Gladstone has proven that he is one of the best SFF author currently out there.

You can read the full story by following this link

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