the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘K.J. Parker’ Category

I’ve been on a short stuff kick lately. Short stories, short novels, novellas.  There’s just something about knowing I can get through an entire story with a beginning, middle, and end in a weekend.  It’s not that I’m not reading fatty mcfat doorstopper novels, but these days they don’t hold as much allure  (except this one, of course).

 

Anyhoo, I recently zipped through these new novellas from Tim Powers and K.J. Parker. They were so quick to read in fact, that I was able to read them twice!  Downfall of the Gods by Parker came out from Subterranean Press in late March, and Down and Out in Purgatory will be available in late June from Subterranean Press.  If you’re a fan of either of these authors, watch for these titles!

Downfall_of_the_Gods_by_K_J_Parker

 

Let’s start with the Parker, because of the two, it was my favorite.  Imagine a parallel ancient Rome or Greece, where a pantheon of gods keeps the sun crossing the sky, keeps the crops growing, and occasionally visits Earth in human form for entertainment.  What I most enjoyed about this story is that it’s from a Goddess’s point of view, and how the myths and what the humans believe the immortals do isn’t exactly the truth. The Greek mythology I grew up learning humanizes, but still idealizes Gods and Goddesses.  The Goddess at the center of Downfall of the Gods has her own family issues, the aunts and uncles who hate her, the stupid things she says to her parents. She gets in trouble for forgetting things, she gets “grounded”, she’s bored out of her mind.  I loved her as a character, even if she was a bit of an emo teenager.

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Sharps, by K.J. Parker

published July 2012, from Orbit Books

where I got it: received review copy from the publisher

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In the border country of Scheria, four talented fencers have been convinced (in many cases  blackmailed) into joining a new national fencing team. The team will travel into war-torn neighboring Permia on a mission of goodwill. it’s been years since the war, and perhaps now is the time to start a discussion between the two countries. If they can’t agree on trade policies or politics, perhaps they can agree to watch the sport everyone in Permia has been going crazy for – fencing.

The story focuses intimately around our four fencers: Suidas, the champion who drank his winnings away; Giraut, who is running from a date with the gallows; Addo, the useless youngest son of Scheria’s military hero; and Isuetz, the lone woman trying to escape an arranged marriage. And travelling with them are their fencing coach Phrantzes and Tzimisces, who is a fixer/political officer.  We know very little about everyone when the story starts, and by the time it ends, well, lets just say that everyone has secrets.

Ahh, the word fencing. It can mean so many things.  Parrying with swords. Selling stolen items. Foils and thefts aside, one can fence with words es well, luring someone into a false sense of security and then causing lethal pain without even drawing a blade.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.