The Two of Swords: Part Nine

May 30, 2017 at 5:00 pm (Reads)

swords9The Two of Swords: Part Nine by K.J. Parker

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Story-wise, not much takes place here. We see the clock of machinations tick forward one second, which is important (those loose ties from earlier parts are starting to tighten), but to say that not much takes place in this part isn’t correct. We get another story from Telamon’s point of view, this time with Oida. It opens with Telamon making a prison break, and ends with another one. Who it is and what it means I’ll leave for you to discover; narratively, the two scenes bookend the part.

The point of Part Nine, I think, is to focus on the relationship between Telamon and Oida. Parker’s characterization skills shine here, as he builds up their relationship through frustration, annoyance, and respect. Oida is supposedly a womanizer, but it’s hard to get that from the way Parker portrays him throughout the entire story. We only ever see him interact with one woman, Telamon, so it’s hard to understand why he has such a reputation, unless, as is Parker’s style, it’s a red herring. By now, we know that there’s something more to Oida, not just because he’s a Craftsman; maybe his womanizing is an act to keep his cover. Time will tell, I’m sure.

This part keeps the story moving, but just barely. Still, it’s an enjoyable read, more so because we get to see more of the banter that is such a strong part of Parker’s style. It looks like Oida is going to be the point-of-view character for the next chapter, which should be interesting. So far, we’ve only seen him through the perspective of other characters. George R.R. Martin showed in A Song of Ice and Fire that when we only see characters through the eyes of others, we never see their true selves. Parker seems to be following that same kind of narrative, so it will be interesting to see Oida’s true self in the next part.

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