NB: I am not really back. If I were back I would be reading your posts and posting comments that are witty and insightful as my comments always are (RIGHT?), and I really miss reading y’all’s posts because I love y’all. However, I am still doing The Transition, and also while The Transition is going on, my laptop is being repaired, and sadly there is some sort of general delay on parts, so it is taking ages for my laptop to become healed, so I am borrowing my aunt’s computer and I feel guilty using it for hours like I want to. If you are curious, the job is great, and finding housing is…less great. In fact finding housing is terrible and stresses me out so much I want to hide under a rock and never emerge. So I am trying to think mostly about the job. But on to K. J. Parker, pseudonymous military fantasy writer.
I…hardly know what to say about this trilogy. Except that it contains what I think may genuinely be the number one most yuckiest thing I have ever seen in a film or read about in a book. And yes, I said “most yuckiest” and I stand by it, because a single superlative would not do justice to how gruesome this thing is that happened. It spoils the ending of the second book, so I have elected to place it at the very end of this post, with spoiler warnings plastered over it. You do not have to read it. But if you do not think this series is for you, I would appreciate it if you read the spoilery gruesome thing, and then commented to tell me how right I am in calling it the world’s yuckiest ever plot element.
But onward. I overcame my reservations and got the Fencer Trilogy through interlibrary loan, because I could not see my way clear to carrying on without reading them when the temptation to read them was so strong. They are all about this man called Bardas Loredan, a veteran of the recent(ish) wars against the plains tribes outside the impenetrable city of Perimadeia. Following the war, he became a fencer-at-law, fighting to the death to settle the legal quarrels of the Perimadeians. Meanwhile there are some dudes who work within the Principle, which (they keep insisting) is not magic but nevertheless keeps on showing them the future and they keep (maybe) changing it in ways that (maybe) make it horrifically worse. Cities collapse and families implode, and poor old Bardas Loredan has to carry on and on and on. K. J. Parker is very good at doing the kind of unhappy ending where people are trapped in situations they’ve made for themselves (as opposed to the kind of unhappy ending where everyone dies, although K. J. Parker does that too.)
(K. J. Parker is still of indeterminate sex.)
K. J. Parker had a few tricks in this book that either could have gotten old but didn’t, or could have gotten old and did and I wished K. J. Parker would stop doing them and never do them again. It was neat when the various characters would suddenly slip into a dream (within the Principle) where they would be seeing the future, or the past, or a possible future, or a past that didn’t happen, and talking about it with other characters who turned up in the same dream. I carried on liking that all the way through the trilogy. However, K. J. Parker has to stop doing that thing where a section of narrative starts, and the point-of-view character is only referred to as “he” or “she” so you spend ages guessing who it is. Do not like. Found it affected.
I was going to say that I need a break from K. J. Parker, but before my break happens I want to read the rest of the Engineer Trilogy, the second two books of which my lovely mumsy got for me at the Strand, and get started on the first in the Scavenger Trilogy, which the lovely Erin of Aelia Reads sent to me. So I guess that really doesn’t suggest needing a break from K. J. Parker at all. I guess that means I still love K. J. Parker in spite of the most gruesomest thing ever and in spite of the affected point of view thing that K. J. Parker does.
WHAT THE YUCKY THING WAS (with spoilers) (and extreme yuckiness)
There are these two brothers, Bardas and Gorgas, and while Gorgas is off at war, Bardas finds out that Gorgas betrayed him in a really rotten way. So he goes away to his workshop (in addition to being a fencer, Bardas is also a bow-maker), and he makes the world’s best ever bow, and he sends it to Gorgas at war with a note that says I have made you the world’s best ever bow, good luck in the war, love and kisses from your fave brother Bardas. And Gorgas is all, hooray, hooray, he forgives me and we are friends, and he wins the war very effectively, with his bow and with his soldiers. At the end of the war he comes home and he’s all I am home thx for the bow it rully helped wow it smells awful in here, and Bardas is all, Oh hai, come right through here, that smell is your little son’s rotting corpse because I made your bow out of him.
HE MADE THE BOW OUT OF HIM.
Ewwwwwww. Ew. Ew. Ew. EW.