The Two of Swords: Part Ten

June 1, 2017 at 5:00 pm (Reads)

swords10The Two of Swords: Part Ten by K.J. Parker

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Writing a book as a serial, I think, is a lot like writing a graphic novel. We get arcs that are interesting, interspersed with arcs that move things forward, but are, honestly, a bit boring. I’m seeing that with The Two of Swords, too, as the action has to ebb and flow to support the story. Part Ten feels like a chapter of introspection to fill in some of the details of what we haven’t seen thus far.

This time around, Oida finally takes the stage, after he has separated from Telamon in Part Nine. He’s on his way to a couple of concerts, with some Lodge business to take care of along the way, so much of the story is just him traveling through the countryside. True to Parker’s style, though, what we see along the way tells us much of the state of the empire. The war has left a lot of devastation, not just among the armies, but among the populace, as well. It’s not at A Song of Ice and Fire levels, but it’s certainly not insignificant, either. That seems to be the point of this chapter, though Oida’s duties for the Lodge carry that portion of the story.

What gives this chapter its one-two punch is the ending. It’s hard to praise it without spoiling it, but Parker’s knack at building characters shines here. Part Nine didn’t have much happening, either, but it was a formidable part of the story because of how Parker progressed the story, and how he highlighted the relationship between Oida and Telamon as a way to speak more about the Lodge. We don’t see that kind of relationship here, but we do get more insight into Oida, while learning a bit more about the war that’s taking place behind the stories.

The chapter ends suddenly, enough so that if I didn’t already have Part Eleven in my queue to read, I’d be a bit torqued. I can’t say that’s a bad thing, since it shows I’m wrapped up in the story. I only have five more chapters to go before I have to play the waiting game like all the other folks reading the series. I’m not looking forward to it, but that I’ve come this far into it and want to know what happens next is saying something.

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