Kyle Hajek's Reviews > Sharps

Sharps by K.J. Parker
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it was amazing

I'm a huge KJ Parker fan, so I was anticipating this book a lot, and it didn't dissapoint. In fact, it rather exceeded my expectiations in quite a few ways. The plot sounds pretty straightforward- as an effort to strengthen a peace treaty between two nations, one sends a fencing team to the other to go on a sort of goodwill tour. This being a KJ Parker novel, though, there's at least one person plotting in the background, with the details and implications being slowly revealed as the novel progresses.

I was very impressed by how the author played to their strengths in this one- there's the usual explanations of complex subjects (in this case, chess and fencing) but all of it either illuminated or foreshadowed an aspect of the plot in a way that let you process it on your own, rather than beating you over the head with it. The fencing was especially well done, even if you're unfamiliar with it- there's only two actual scenes where they get to participate in the tournament, but they're riveting, and if you're wondering how there could be high stakes in a fencing match...well, the book isn't called "Foils" for a reason.

The rest of the usual KJ Parker flair is still there- people doing horrible things for what they hope is the right reason, people doing horrible things for what they know is the wrong reason, that very distinct sense of humor, all the usual, but one thing that's really been ramped up in this book is the sense of history to the world. All of KJ Parker's books are in the same setting, but this one shows the history of the world a bit more, and it also shows some of the aftermath of earlier books (The Folding Knife in particular, and a bit of the Engineer Trilogy as well). It helped give the story some added weight, since now it had weight- whatever happened in this book could effect the setting later on in some pretty big ways, and seeing the tie-ins was a nice little bonus for anyone who's read the other books in the setting. No worries if you haven't, though, since the story itself stands alone (though I still recommend reading The Folding Knife first).

All in all, a great book. I ended up short on sleep from staying up far, far too late so I could keep reading on more than one occasion, which is always a good sign.
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Reading Progress

May 16, 2012 – Shelved
July 24, 2012 – Started Reading
July 24, 2012 –
24.0% "SOOOO GOOD"
July 25, 2012 –
40.0% "Wow, I really like how it ties the earlier books in the setting together and shows the effects the events in them ended up having while being pretty subtle about it."
July 25, 2012 –
82.0% "Holy hot damn is this getting crazy."
July 25, 2012 – Finished Reading

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