The Two of Swords: Part Eleven

June 2, 2017 at 5:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

swords11The Two of Swords: Part Eleven by K.J. Parker

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According to my notes, I’ve read 650 pages of The Two of Swords. That seems a bit high, considering I’m not even halfway through the entire series, based on the 23 parts that are currently available for purchase or pre-order. Then again, maybe this is Parker’s version of A Song of Ice and Fire.

(I’m fine with that, by the way. As much as I like Martin’s epic, it takes itself so seriously that it could use a nice foil like The Two of Swords. Parker’s story is just as serious, behind the scenes, but it’s awfully fun reading his style over his own kind of epic tale. It’s almost like it’s poking fun at the genre while being an homage at the same time.)

In Part Eleven, we return to Axeo, Oida’s brother (is it a return? I get the feeling we’ve already met Axeo, but I can’t recall. It’s times like these I wish the series had its own Wiki so I could keep up with this stuff), and even watch the story pick up from the moment Part Ten ended, when Frontizo was preparing to write a letter to Axeo. Oida’s brother is paired with Musen, the thief who featured in parts one and two, among other chapters, and the two of them are on a mission to retrieve something for the Lodge. The two men can only barely tolerate one another, so much of the story involves their banter, though “banter” is a generous term when Axeo is pretty much the only one carrying on the conversation here.

As the story progresses, it’s becoming clearer that the Lodge is a major force in Parker’s world, and it makes me wonder if, by the end of the story, we’re going to realize that everyone in this world is a Craftsman. The story has also referenced Saloninus, the genius who featured in both Blue and Gold and The Devil You Know, so I now know for sure that this book is in the same world as Parker’s other novels, and I wonder if the Lodge has been referenced in those books. It makes me regret not reading this series in order of Parker’s other works, but there’s not a whole lot I can do about it now.

(Also, it’s somewhat confusing to read this series while also reading Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence. There are Craftsmen in both, and I keep having to make a mental note to shift gears as I settle into one story or the other.)

The endings of the chapters are becoming more and more cliffhangers, which could be Parker trying to keep us more interested in reading the next installment of the novel, but now that the story is really underway, and we’re seeing the intricacy of the characters and the plot, it might just be that this is the best way to tell the story. Moving from one chapter to the next as I’m able to do now is helpful, but this won’t always be the case. Maybe I’ll feel differently once I have to take a seat on the waiting train, too.

I didn’t like this chapter as much as the others, since it didn’t reveal much more of the plot or the characters. There’s a good chance that it will have more relevance in later chapters, but I told myself I was going to rate these installments on their own, or at least in context of everything that preceded them. I trust Parker to keep the story interesting, but as a standalone adventure, this one lacked much of what the others had.

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