The Tangled Lands by Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias S. Buckell #bookreview #fantasy

Title: The Tangled Lands

Author: Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias S. Buckell

Publisher: Saga Press

Publication Date: February 27, 2018

Page Count: 304

My rating:  3 stars

About the book:

From award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias Buckell comes a fantasy novel told in four parts about a land crippled by the use of magic, and a tyrant who is trying to rebuild an empire—unless the people find a way to resist.

Khaim, The Blue City, is the last remaining city in a crumbled empire that overly relied upon magic until it became toxic. It is run by a tyrant known as The Jolly Mayor and his devious right hand, the last archmage in the world. Together they try to collect all the magic for themselves so they can control the citizens of the city. But when their decadence reaches new heights and begins to destroy the environment, the people stage an uprising to stop them.

In four interrelated parts, The Tangled Lands is an evocative and epic story of resistance and heroic sacrifice in the twisted remains surrounding the last great city of Khaim. Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias Buckell have created a fantasy for our times about a decadent and rotting empire facing environmental collapse from within—and yet hope emerges from unlikely places with women warriors and alchemical solutions.


The Tangled Lands by Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias S. Buckell is a fantasy read that is done a bit differently than normal books. When it was said in the synopsis that it takes place in four parts I wasn’t quite expecting four completely different stories. This really makes the book feel like reading a collection of novellas that all feature different characters but take place within the same fantasy world.

The four stories take place in Khaim, The Blue City, where a tyrant known as The Jolly Mayor has taken control of the world that is infested with something known as the brambles coming from the use of magic so magic is prohibited by anyone not in control of the mayor. Each story is a different take on the things taking place within this world and those fighting back.

Now my first complaint when reviewing a novella is usually the it needs more of this or that such as more world building or more character development or not enough content in the plot in such a short time. Really that same thing applies with this book even though it’s over 300 pages since you are reading separate stories in here. Each seemed like an ok read but with being so short I can’t help but be left with wanting more.

As creative as this was I have to go with the mid-range rating on this one as it just felt things could have had that bit of “more” added to them. I wondered really why choosing this format and not expanding to make a series giving more depth to the world and it’s inhabitants. The way it’s set it’s a bit of a strange jump when finishing one and moving on to the next without more details into the the world to go along.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

Find this book online: 

Goodreads  /   Amazon

About the authors:

Paolo Bacigalupi

Paolo Bacigalupi is an award-winning author of novels for adults and young people.

His debut novel THE WINDUP GIRL was named by TIME Magazine as one of the ten best novels of 2009, and also won the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Compton Crook, and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards. Internationally, it has won the Seiun Award (Japan), The Ignotus Award (Spain), The Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis (Germany), and the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire (France).

His debut young adult novel, SHIP BREAKER, was a Micheal L. Printz Award Winner, and a National Book Award Finalist, and its sequel, THE DROWNED CITIES, was a 2012 Kirkus Reviews Best of YA Book, A 2012 VOYA Perfect Ten Book, and 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist. The final book in the series, TOOL OF WAR, will release in October of 2017.

His latest novel for adults is The New York Times Bestseller THE WATER KNIFE, a near-future thriller about climate change and drought in the southwestern United States.

Tobias S. Buckell

 Born in the Caribbean, Tobias S. Buckell is a New York Times Bestselling author. His novels and over 50 short stories have been translated into 17 languages and he has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, Prometheus and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Author. He currently lives in Ohio.


Categories: Uncategorized

5 replies

    • Thanks! You got me, it was that cover that drew me in. LOL Really though how can you not stop and stare at that one? Images like that have so many layers they are just asking for attention. 🙂

      And yes, I didn’t pay much attention to the four parts part of the description really because lots of books are split into parts. I had one that instead of chapters each part was all a really long section but it didn’t switch up the characters and a whole new plot in the middle. This one starts off with an alchemist then part two brings in an executioner’s daughter…. huh? What? Start getting glimpses that yes I hadn’t accidentally loaded a whole new book and was still in the same world but I wanted more of the first section and so on and on…

      Liked by 1 person

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