December 03, 2020, 08:17:02 PM

Author Topic: KJ Parker  (Read 20626 times)

Offline Nighteyes

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Re: KJ Parker
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2014, 06:17:27 AM »
I've only read KJ Parker's standalone novels - I keep meaning to read The Engineer Trilogy but other books get in the way.  The Hammer though is outstanding and would be a great next Parker standalone.   
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Re: KJ Parker
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2014, 08:09:29 AM »
I once tried reading Shadow, but I had to give it up as I really didn't like it.
When I commented this to a friend, he told me I should read instead the Folding knife - from what you mention, I might enjoy it more.
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Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: KJ Parker
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2014, 06:43:29 PM »
I'm reading Sharps right now. I still haven't decided if I like it or not.

Offline cupiscent

Re: KJ Parker
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2014, 11:53:22 PM »
I love Parker. One of my very few buy-without-even-looking authors, because whatever the story is about, I know it's going to be intricate, ambiguous, challenging and fascinating. The standalone books - Sharps, The Hammer, The Folding Knife, The Company - are great ways to figure out if you like what Parker does, and yes, they're all wonderfully condensed and pointed fantasy achievements.

Of the series, I think Parker's first work - the Fencer Trilogy, starting with Colours in the Steel - is ambitious and a little disconnected because of it, but really worth a read. It looks at a lot of the more traditional tropes of fantasy that are eschewed in later work - magic and consequence; prophecy and free choice - along with some stalwart Parker themes of making and doing, family and how it shapes you, war and empire.

But my absolute favourite is the Scavenger trilogy, but it can be a tricky fish - the characters are all a little (or more than a little) unlikable, and there are inconsistencies and confusions built in as essential to the overall story arc. My husband and I argue about what's really going on every time one of us re-reads the series - and we've both read it three times now! For us, that wealth of possibility and lingering uncertainty is part of what's great about the series, but I can see how it might not be for everyone.

The Engineer Trilogy, for my money, is a little less masterful in the journey, but has the most brutal suckerpunch of an ending. I do love an ending that leaves you gasping. :)

Offline moonspawn

Re: KJ Parker
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2014, 08:05:05 AM »
But my absolute favourite is the Scavenger trilogy, but it can be a tricky fish - the characters are all a little (or more than a little) unlikable, and there are inconsistencies and confusions built in as essential to the overall story arc. My husband and I argue about what's really going on every time one of us re-reads the series - and we've both read it three times now! For us, that wealth of possibility and lingering uncertainty is part of what's great about the series, but I can see how it might not be for everyone.


Yes, the Scavenger Trilogy looks even more appealing now. Not that I particularly enjoy confusion, I just enjoy an author who actually forces the reader to think! I often find myself enjoying well written books that aren't for everyone. I hear one of the biggest complaints about KJ Parker's work is unlikable character. I didn't find that to be the case at all with the Folding Knife but if that does turn out to be the case with most of his/her work I don't think I would mind. Caring about characters is nice and everything but I don't have to care about them; they should hopefully be well developed though.

Offline pornokitsch

Re: KJ Parker
« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2014, 03:10:58 PM »
You really can't go wrong! All Parker is good Parker :)

SHARPS is the most like The Folding Knife, and if you want to continue in a very similar vein (but with more swordplay) that's a good next book... it is a mystery about treachery and politics still, but also has some convoluted and disturbing characters. And swords.

Scavenger is (possibly) my favourite of the trilogies - it can be a bit of a slog, be warned, but it is incredibly tricky and really, really wonderful.

Cons: it is extremely elaborate, and has a lot of odd twists, and it plays with concepts of memory, so it can be kind of a headache. Also, literally, it ends with the very, very, very last paragraph of the very, very, very last book. So you'll read 1000 pages, and everything will resolve in a single line. Seriously. So it is best read as a very long standalone, if that makes sense. You won't want to take breaks between books.

Pros: really cool setting - a sort of minimalist fantasy world. One of the most badass reinterpretations of swordplay ever - seriously, it turns everything on its head when it comes to combat, and I'd take one of Parker's sword-monks over anyone else in fantasy. A fantastic atmosphere, and, as noted above - loads of twists.

Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: KJ Parker
« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2014, 11:45:33 PM »
I think I'm going to give up on Sharps for the moment. I'll probably come back to it at some point, but I'm just not feeling it right now. It's well written, but I don't care what happens.

Online DrNefario

Re: KJ Parker
« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2015, 01:50:12 PM »
I accidentally bought The Folding Knife yesterday (I was only planning to add Parker's first book to my kindle wishlist, but Folding Knife was £1.49), and have a quick question. It didn't seem worth a whole thread of its own, so I've revived this one from a year ago.

Anyway, as I understand it, all (?) of Parker's books take place in the same world. Is that right? And if so, is there a name for that world?

Offline Idlewilder

Re: KJ Parker
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2016, 09:28:34 PM »
I accidentally bought The Folding Knife yesterday (I was only planning to add Parker's first book to my kindle wishlist, but Folding Knife was £1.49), and have a quick question. It didn't seem worth a whole thread of its own, so I've revived this one from a year ago.

Anyway, as I understand it, all (?) of Parker's books take place in the same world. Is that right? And if so, is there a name for that world?

Apologies @DrNefario - only just seeing this now! I don't believe there is a name for the world, and I can't imagine him giving it one. Really it's mostly that place names, character names, religions etc. pop up in each of his stories and books that make it clear it's all part of one world and some semblance of a shared history. But he will happily jump from (his equivalent) of 500AD to 1800AD from one story to the next, and make it clear that history has played havoc with anything that's gone on in-between. And on top of that, every single one of Parker's stories is told from the point of view of extremely unreliable narrators (to the point where some of them will actually tell the reader that they are lying to you!) so you have to take everything with a pinch of salt.

Anyway, the reason I went hunting for this thread is that I recently finished his story collection, Academic Exercises, and have been reviewing each story individually for over a year. Thought it might interest those of you who've yet to try out KJP. He's not for everyone, but I reckon the man's a genius...

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/943191402
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Offline eclipse

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Re: KJ Parker
« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2016, 09:34:48 PM »
Its going to take some time for my mind that KJ Parker is male so used to people saying this author is female lol
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Offline Idlewilder

Re: KJ Parker
« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2016, 09:37:40 PM »
Its going to take some time for my mind that KJ Parker is male so used to people saying this author is female lol

I think I even refer to Parker as 'her' or 'she' in some of the earlier reviews - what a difference a year (and the ditching of a pseudonym) makes!
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Offline Rostum

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Re: KJ Parker
« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2016, 10:14:40 PM »
Tom Holt refers to KJ Parker as her and he should Know  ::)

Offline Nighteyes

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Re: KJ Parker
« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2016, 10:17:19 PM »
Ended up not reading any Parker in 2015. Need to correct that in 2016. Have two novellas lined up and will try and do one of the trilogies. Did anyone keep up to date with the serialised novel KJ Parker has been doing?
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Offline Arry

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Re: KJ Parker
« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2016, 02:31:21 AM »
I haven't been keeping up with the serialized novel (Two of Swords), but I read his novella The Last Witness and loved that. Halfway through another novella , The Devil You Know and liking it, but will have to finish before knowing if I like it as much as the other.
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Offline Idlewilder

Re: KJ Parker
« Reply #29 on: February 08, 2016, 08:35:09 AM »
Ended up not reading any Parker in 2015. Need to correct that in 2016. Have two novellas lined up and will try and do one of the trilogies. Did anyone keep up to date with the serialised novel KJ Parker has been doing?

I thought I'd wait until it was done, but with Part 18 (!) scheduled for July 2016 and no sign of it being the end, I've no idea when that will be. I imagine @pornokitsch has though. It sounds like maybe it was meant to be a trilogy, or a two-parter, rather than strictly a 'novel' as no single Parker novel can be that long, surely.
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