Read The Tangled Lands by Paolo Bacigalupi Tobias S. Buckell Online


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 heigKhaim, 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....

Title : The Tangled Lands
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781481497299
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Tangled Lands Reviews

  • Carrie
    2019-03-17 14:36

    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.For more reviews please visit

  • Alex Can Read
    2019-03-11 16:23

    This review first appeared on my blog.textThe Tangled Lands is made up of four distinct short stories, tied together by a common land and a common problem. Calling The Tangled Lands a novel is a bit misleading and left me somewhat disappointed in the end result. The four stories are loosely tied together by place and problem, but not character. Each story has distinct characters, and while each story was very good, the overall novel doesn't seem to have accomplished much. At the end of the book, I was a little let down. Each story contained loss and victories, but those losses and victories didn't seem to add up to a cumulative effect. My issue with the structure aside, the stories were well written and fit together thematically and in style.The idea of an environmental effect from the use of magic is an interesting metaphor for energy usage in the world today. The use of magic creates bramble infestations in the world, and bramble is a nasty, murderous plant that kills those that it touches. Small magics hinder larger magics because the effect is compounded. This is a thoughtful and powerful comparison to using energy that doesn't come from "clean" sources. The more we use "unclean" energy, the more damage we do to our environment and eventually what we're left with will be deadly and have a devastating effect on our world. I received an eARC from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

  • Tracett
    2019-02-23 16:39

    Those of us living through the trump administration will certainly see some familiarity in these cautionary tales of a fantasyland. And what a well built fantasyland this is! This quartet of stories is a rich enticement to hoping for further novels set in this class driven world. The two authors stories blended easily together and the strong feminism represented was a welcome viewpoint.

  • Sarah
    2019-02-24 13:25

    The Tangled Lands comprises of four parts which I guess you could call short stories/novellas which are interconnected to form the story.It is a tale of magic and the environmental consequences that result from the use of it and the lengths people go to stop said use as well as the growth of the bramble.I received a sample of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I obtained the first part of the book which is called The Alchemist written by Paolo Bacigalupi. This book is a collaboration with Tobias S Buckell so I'm guessing that some of the other parts are written by him as opposed to the whole book being jointly written by the two. I could be wrong though. I guess I'll find out when I read the rest of the book. And I will be reading the rest of it. This sample really whet my whistle. I very much liked the tale of The Alchemist and the way it introduced us to the world, the magic system and the political structure of the place. It was well thought out and written and I very much warmed to the characters. Whether those characters will appear again later in the book I do not know but I felt that their tale was wrapped up nicely anyway by the end of this part.Bacigalupi is one of my favourite authors so I was very excited about the release of this book and especially excited to receive this sample. I'm only wishing I had received the whole book as now I have to wait for it's release before finishing what promises to be an excellent fantasy story.TO BE UPDATED WHEN I FINISH THE BOOK

  • Jo Ladzinski
    2019-02-24 14:38

    Read as an eARC from NetgalleyThis collection of four novellas surprised me in a few ways. I am a fan of stories about cities, the people who inhabit them, and the way one's evolution influences the other's. Khaim, the Blue City, has been afflicted by bramble that sprouts from overuse of magic and leaves people who get too close in a comatose state.The Alchemist tells the story of the man who invented a device that could destroy bramble, but his good intentions are twisted for corrupt ends. I loved the introduction to the world of Khaim and the special attention on bramble and its debilitating effects. The dynamics of magic in this world became fully grounded as a solid foundation for the tales to come.The Executionness introduces us to the world around Khaim, how the cities around aren't even safer, only on the surface. The executionness ran away with her axe to the nearby city of Paika. There was such a breadth of world woven throughout a personal story. One of my favorite motifs in SFF are women who have nothing to lose who get things done.The Children of Khaim gorgeously highlights consequences. A young man tries to find his sister who succumbed to "bramble sleep." He tries to save her, but magic had gone overused for so long, especially by the elite, that it has unpredictable results.The Blacksmith's Daughter was my favorite sequence. Stories of personal rebellion really work for me and she tries so hard to save her lifestyle and family. It was moving, but I'm not sure it was the story to end the book on. It would have been nice to have a tie-in with the first story, which had also been about family. That being said, the authors did a great job of weaving contemporary dialogue around environmentalism and clean energy. While I wish the book had more of a resolution, it serves as a great parallel that these complex problems don't necessarily have a resolution.

  • USOM
    2019-02-23 13:38

    (Disclaimer: I received this free book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)I was so impressed by this book. Bacigalupi and Buckell's team synergy is only more apparent as the book continues. There's a distinct sense of when these short stories end, but as a whole the overall story continues. This is a book about the setting, the lands of Khaim, and the people who inhabit this setting. The world building aspect of this book was phenomenal. Each element was not only well described, but also wonderfully important. The stories allowed enough space for development, emotional turmoil, and, most importantly, hope.full review:

  • Lindsey
    2019-03-18 20:39

    I really enjoyed this book. I loved the set up, with short stories all set in the same world during the same time period. I loved the characters and the world building. My one disappointment is that there wasn't really a resolution. It was vignettes, and each had their own sort of ending. ... but the bigger story being told through these stories never really got a resolution, and that made me a little sad. I feel like it needed one last story, perhaps, that connected everything and gave resolution. I still really enjoyed this book, though and do recommend it. There are, in particular, a couple really badass female characters. The basics: When magic is used, brambles grow from the earth. Brambles that will put you in a "sleeping beauty" like sleep and ultimately kill you if you are scratched by them. So magic is outlawed, except by the corrupt government who is using it to build a floating castle. See this world and its problems by four very distinct characters, each with their own problems. An alchemist who invents a way to kill the bramble, only to have his idea used for a different purpose by the corrupt government.The daughter of an executioner who becomes The Executioness and leads a group of warriors to take over a country who stole away their children. A formerly rich brother who will do anything to save his sister from the bramble sleep.And a female blacksmith who must make tough decisions while building special armor for a duke who has imprisoned her family.

  • Suncerae
    2019-03-14 15:38

    In the last great city of Khaim, four unrelated individuals survive in a rotting empire of tyrants and corruption. The Jolly Mayor and the last archmage need magic to build their castle in the sky, but the over-use of magic has corrupted its use, causing a poisonous plant called the bramble to grow relentlessly, overtake what's left of the city, and induce coma for anyone who touches it. Together, they outlaw magic for everyone except themselves.The four shorter length stories provide an interesting and unique form to tell the story of the last blue city. The street-level view from each perspective provides the necessary intimacy of the normal person's plight, especially in relation to the Mayor and the archmage. Each individual story is quite enticing, and work well as standalone pieces.1. An alchemist invents a way to kill the bramble, but when he shows it to the Mayor and the archmage, they use his idea to enhance their own power instead of healing the city.2. The daughter of an executioner becomes a warrior when her children are stolen away.3. A young noble no longer wealthy fights to save his sister from the pleasure markets when she succumbs to the bramble sleep.4. A young blacksmith attempts to outwit a duke that has imprisoned her family in exchange for special armor. My favorite of the bunch!Unfortunately, the individual stories do not comprise a cohesive world for me. The history of the corruption of magic and exactly how magic causes bramble growth is not revealed. The intricacies of the political order and any motivation for the horrible actions of the Mayor and the archmage are not revealed. The unrelated character rebellions against their immediate oppressors don't feel like "the people stage an uprising" in the book blurb. Instead, these are much smaller, personal stories about people who do what's necessary for their families in terrible situations.Recommended for fans of literary fiction who enjoy a little fantasy on the side!Thanks to Netgalley and Saga Press for an advance reader's copy in exchange for an honest review!

  • Iryna Khymych
    2019-03-16 14:11

    I received an egalley of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you publisher!4 out of 5 StarsThe Tangled Lands is a collection of short stories, from four different perspectives. A long time ago, magic was discovered. It was carelessly and incessantly used for everything, until it became corrupted. Now, anytime anyone uses magic it causes ‘brambles” to spring all round and anyone who touches them falls into a deep comalike sleep – unable to ever wake up.The city of Khaim (the last city standing in the empire), the corrupt government is trying to build a floating castle with magic. In order to achieve this, the government needs to use magic risking its citizens’ lives. Unable to ignore the risks, the people of the city start a revolt against the corrupt government and our story is told from the perceptive of an alchemist, a daughter of an executioner, a formerly rich man and a female blacksmith. I must say that it was fascinating to watch the story develop through four different points of view. The two authors work in harmony creating harmonious flow. The characters are well developed, well written, and interesting. Indeed, the story itself is a mirror onto our own world with the finite resources which humans are exhausting. It is rare in fantasy to find a story which mirrors the ramification of careless use of resources so much, and I for one quite enjoyed the parallels. It is even more interesting that the alchemist in the book finds the cure for the “brambles,” yet his solution is not used to save the dying empire, but to further advance the government’s agenda. This was a quick and interesting read. I understand why the authors ended the book the way that they did, however, fantasy is not real life, and I think that this would have been 5 stars if the resolution at the end was clearer.

  • Ines
    2019-03-13 16:40

    I am not impressed.This is not really a novel - it's four novellas happening in or around the same city where magic causes bramble to grow. This bramble causes deadly sleeping sickness in people and cannot be destroyed. Ergo, magic is forbidden and its use punished (or, as we all know, only higher-ups get to use it without fear of consequences).If this was a novel, it might have been interesting with some more work put into it. But as it is, the novellas are too short to do any real worldbuilding (a pet peeve of mine: names were all over the place here, from Indian to Slavic ones without any good reason), characters are just sketches that are not there long enough for a reader to care about them (or maybe it's just me being emotionless and unsympathetic again) and the plot ... just isn't very interesting. Another city doomed by magic and fanaticism, another religion claiming to be the only way, another revenge story, another bunch of vague downer endings.I know grimdarks are popular now. I know despair is in now for some reason. But even in the darkest works I've read there were spots of light and hope. Here? Nothing. Precisely nothing positive happens.And I'm getting tired of this. If you want me to care about your writing, you better give me something more than just ceaseless dreariness. If I'll ever want that, I'll just go watch the news.

  • Gary
    2019-02-22 21:16

    Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias Buckell are two of the finest living writers of science fiction and fantasy. Bacigalupi has written several novels and stories exploring futures where environmental catastrophe and response to it create unique, almost overwhelming challenges for his characters. Buckell is best known for a sequence of novels set in a future where Caribbean cultures have settled other planets. His worlds are richly realized and characters well-envisioned.This book is a collection of two fantasy novellas by each writer in a world where magic exists yet its use causes the growth of bramble, a tenacious, extremely poisonous plant which is slowly choking inhabited lands. The four novellas feature characters who must find courage to continue to live and protect their families in an environment under constant threat by bramble. It is hard not to see the magic and resulting bramble, as well as the actions by powerful people in reaction to the bramble, as akin to our own environmental crises (warming, rising oceans, melting ice caps, ecological change as armadillos and alligators move north in the US).Well-done and highly recommended.

  • Crystal
    2019-03-07 13:36

    Disclaimer: I received this book free from Netgalley in return for an un-biased review.Before now, I’ve never been a fan of short stories. I think that’s a holdover from my high school days. I loved nothing more than getting a nice big novel to read in English class. I was so sad when we, in my opinion, wasted time on an anthology of short stories. Ugh. Disappointment! I want a real book! A Tale of Two Cities! Pride and Prejudice! … wait … no … no, Hemmingway … I take it back, Mr. Cheney!That aversion to the short story started to change when I picked up a book by Alice Munro. Who knew short stories could be so engrossing and meaningful? Then, a couple of months ago I was approved to be a First Reader for a Sci-fi/Fantasy E-zine called Deep Magic. This means I, as part of a crack story reading team, read TONS of short story submissions and pass the best of the best along to the editors for hopeful acceptance into the magazine. All of this means I’ve learnedto be less prejudiced against the short story genre. Thank goodness, because if not then I’d have missed this little book entirely!The Tangled Lands is a set of 4 short stories, all of them set in one fantasy world. They are written by two separate authors, but they suit one another perfectly. Khaim is a kingdom in a world that has suffered an immense ecological disaster. In the past, Magic was discovered and used with wild abandon, providing wealth and health to it’s many inhabitants. However, overuse has created an imbalance. Now the slightest use of magic, which people have come to rely on for daily life, causes a poisonous hedge called “Bramble” to spring up everywhere. A person who touches it slips slowly into a coma/deathlike trance. They can never wake up from it. The stuff is insidious and deadly.So just stop using magic right? Look around us. How easy is it in our own world to convince people of the importance of taking care of the environment? If doing so means less money or power to the rich and powerful then how easily do they abandon it’s use? We all know the answer to that question. It’s no different in Khaim. These stories, however, introduce us to a few unassuming characters of humble origin, these few people are going to make a difference. Women and children as agents of change figure heavily in these stories. You know that makes me happy right!I enjoyed everything about this book, except it’s length. I wish it could have gone on much longer!! I hope that everyone who reads this review, and loves fantasy will buy this book. Please, give these two authors reason to write another, longer book in this fascinating world. Until then, I’m definitely looking up some of their backlist. I enjoyed their style and look forward to reading more from both of them.Song for this book: Sign of the Times – Harry Styles

  • Matt
    2019-02-27 21:18

    Overall, I thought it was a tale of a fascinating land and political structure. But it seemed that the four parts of the story had more to with the land that the characters found themselves in rather than the characters themselves. I really enjoyed the cause/effect nature that magic had on the world and the richness of the world is where the book is the most compelling. But a story where the setting takes center-stage left me wanting more. I thought each part was well written and interesting. The Executioness was awesome. Part 3 being the exception, which I thought was well written but uninteresting.I liked the lack of closure you get from the parts of the story and I think that the way that they split up the book was a very creative way to tell a story. But there was only the tiniest of threads from the first part to tie them all together. And there is something about that that I found jarring.

  • Corey
    2019-03-03 16:14

    Four great stories in the same universe where magic causes a devastating bramble to overtake cities. While the bramble is the enemy made apparent, each story reveals that humanity, in particular class warfare and religion, are really what's strangling the characters. Female protagonist, interesting characters, and amazing world-building, I hope to see more of this universe in the future.

  • Amanda (MetalPhantasmReads)
    2019-03-09 20:18

    While this book had potential, questions aren't answered and things aren't tied up at the end sot it was disappointing. If there's more books set in this world in the future that do answer questions, I'll probably read more. Check out my review here:https://metalphantasmreads.wordpress....

  • Lashawn
    2019-03-05 14:35

    Read my review at Lightspeed Magazine:

  • J.D. Dehart
    2019-03-03 21:16

    The Tangled Lands reads like an instant fantasy classic. The author’s work together, breaking the larger work into smaller sections, and create an evocative and complex world.This is a literary landscape that the reader can get lost in, with a host of characters and clear driving forces in the plot. The wheels of the engine keep turning, right up to the last pages.I found this book enjoyable and would recommend it as an example of literary talent merging with fantasy fiction.