READALONG: Full Fathom Five, by Max Gladstone: Week 4

Here we are. The last week of the readalong, the last chapters, the last set of questions for this novel. It’s been a fun ride!

This week’s questions are brought to us courtesy of Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow!


1. So Jace was in fact responsible for the rogue Penitent, and for what was happening to the ‘idols’… And my guess last week regarding his reasons (that it was bad for business) wasn’t far off the mark… What did you make of his confrontation with Kai and his justifications?

You know, in a weird way, I think he thought he was doing the right thing. Seeing signs of change that threatened their way of life, and taking steps to remove those changes. Never mind that the change could bring improvement, or that the change was part of what the whole island was waiting for in the first place. Sometimes people get more caught up in the actions than the meaning of them, and I think this was Jace’s flaw. He really did see himself as doing the right thing, even if it involved being ruthless and taking the burden of responsibility on his own shoulders.

And as for it being bad for business, well, he’s right. If people found out what was going on, all the security of his promises would mean nothing. No guarantees, no clients, no business. Even if you ignore the farther-reaching cultural implications, getting rid of blips in the data serves to make your data look wonderfully streamlined, all the flaws rendered moot. And who wouldn’t trust such steadiness?

I disagree with him. But I can see how he came to his conclusions, and from his own standpoint, his argument was pretty flawless.

2. Mako’s involvement in the subsequent events was a bit of a surprise. Or was it? Did you expect the old man to be involved at all, much less the way he was?

Page 338. That was when I figured out who Mako was. When he said that he knows Penitents and they know him. It clicked right then, and all of his previous actions in the story made a lot more sense. It wasn’t that they hadn’t made sense before. But there was a new layer of significance to them now.

That reveal made me want to read Full Fathom Five all over again, just to read the sections that involve him, so I could appreciate it all on a different level.

3. Izza steals a goddess! What are your thoughts on the way her story ends (or begins, as the case may be)?

You know, depending on your interpretation, Izza didn’t steal a goddess. She liberated one. That goddess belonged, in part, to a lot of different people, as much as any deity can, and Izza was freeing her from chains more than she was actually being a thief.

Semantics. Aren’t they great? :p

I kind of like how Izza’s story ends, actually. She didn’t get to do what she originally set out to do, but I think she found something much more meaningful to stay for. And I think that right from the beginning she was looking for a reason to stay, too. She has a strong sense of duty, sure, which is why she wanted to take care of the kids she’d leave behind, why she helped care for Cat, why she did all the things she did. But speaking as someone who’s had to cut a few ties in order to stop being held back for the sake of others, sometimes when you have to more forward, you have to leave everything behind.

And I don’t think that Izza quite realized that. Or if she did, she was deliberately delaying her departure, needing to do this or that before she moved on, and that was what got her tangled up in everything to begin with. She could have washed her hands of everything early on. But she didn’t.

4. We leave the story with Kavekana “waiting for the world to come”… Do you think this particular ending is for the best, or would you have preferred to see the island remain apart, and peaceful?

The world never stands still. Isolation always comes to an end, one way or the other.  While there is some appeal in the island remaining apart from the rest of the world, true to itself and its own culture and needs, that couldn’t happen forever. Not without stagnation, and not without dissent.

So on the whole, I think it’s best that things ended up as they did. They were bound to at some point, after all. There’ll be some resentment, I’m sure, and some people will fight against the changing of the only way of life they’ve known, but that’s part of progress.

I’d be interested to see how Kavekana changes over time, actually, for this very reason.


Well, that’s the end of Full Fathom Five. There’s been some talk of a similar readalong for Last First Snow, and I’ve been putting off reading that book for this very reason, so I hope it begins soon.

My overall review of this novel will go live later on in the week. Until then, happy reading!

2 comments on “READALONG: Full Fathom Five, by Max Gladstone: Week 4

  1. I think that was the one part I could understand in Jace’s reasoning. The way it built up, one decision after another, always thinking he was doing the right thing for his island. I still don’t agree with him either, though!

    I got the sense that Izza didn’t really want to leave, deep down, but she knew it wasn’t safe for her to stay. I really liked how her story ended up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s