on 22 June 2015
The following thoughts regard the whole trilogy rather than just this final part "Memory". No spoilers, promise.
How good is a book, or, rather a whole trilogy, that you want to re-read again SOON and whose main character (Poldark) you can't get out of your head even while you're reading other novels? There's only one answer: VERY, VERY GOOD.
Is the Scavenger-trilogy perfect? No. But Holt set the bar extremely high with three thick books (1600+ pages) in which the lead character can not remember who he is after he wakes up on a battlefield on page 1 until all is revealed at the end of book three. Poldark does learn bits and pieces here and there over the course of the trilogy, but some of it is not true as people (try to) use him for their aims.
Books 1 "Shadow" and 3 "Memory" are very similar in style and voice, while Book 2 "Pattern" is completely different and for the sake of comprehension you could just skip it and would not miss anything - but please don't: it's well worth reading.
on 18 March 2009
Oh my God! I cannot conceive how anybody could enjoy these books! Although, I must say, these books incited in me some of the strongest feelings I've had reading fantasy fiction. Frustration was an overriding sensation as these books, instead of improving over the trilogy, actually managed to become less intelligible and increasingly soulless. In addition there was anger, that the author couldn't even remember the names of his main characters from one chapter to the next (don't doubt me, he actually does get his character names confused in the second book), and confusion resulting from fundamental mistakes in the text. Finally there was a deep feeling of regret upon completing the trilogy of having wasted my time and my energy, which would have been better employed injecting myself with deadly microbes and slowly watching myself decay in front of a full length mirror.
If you are in any doubt still as to whether you should buy this book, here are a few other observations.
The main character is entirely detestable, never at any point giving you any reason to support him and his pointless existence. At one point he massacres most of the people on his home island for some inconsequential reason that I have blocked out in order to preserve my sanity.
The author would also appear to have an unwholesome interest in writing lengthly instruction manuals on blacksmithing. If perhaps I had bought a book entitled "how to make a small boring looking knife in seven easily digestible chapters" then this would have been forgivable. However, I mistakenly thought I was purchasing a work of fantasy fiction, with all of the well-rounded characters, snappy dialogue and exciting plot turns implicit in such a genre.
In closing I should just like to mention that the entire point of the plot is hinged upon one small pointless occurence in the last chapter of the final book. If you do indeed wish to know how, or if, Poldarn is the cause of his civilisations downfall then I suggest you just read this chapter. Believe me you will have saved yourself a lot of time, and will not have missed anything by way of enjoyment, or plot backstory.
on 27 November 2003
Remember how exciting it was reading the last chapter of an Agatha Christie book, with all the revelations of things that you kick yourself for not thinking of? Well just imagine spreading that over 550 pages and you've got this book. Every chapter brings revelation after revelation, but just to keep you on your toes, there's still the odd extra question thrown in too. It's just one long tease, building up to a big climax and I love it!
Actually - confession time - I've still got one-and-a-half chapters to go so I've not yet seen how it finishes. But I won't be able to write up a review for a few days after I've finished. So I thought I'd better get it down now while I'm experiencing the thrill.
on 30 October 2003
So finaly the scavenger trilogy comes to an end. To be fair I found the first two books occasionaly tough going, not because Parker is not a good writter (his world is intirely beleivable and there are no traces of the laziness that runs through out most fantasy books) but because the books did not seem to go any where, little action and even fewer answers. So what made me keep reading?
Because I WANTED the answer, I wanted to know who Poldarn was and how he fitted into the greater story. This is K J Parker's true talent in regard to these books, the ability to give you what at first seems like an unsouvable pussle and a main charcter you can emphasise with because he's just as confused as you.
The connection between Poldarn and the god in the cart was obvious from about half way through book two, but again I wanted to find out what that had to do with anything, how it all tied up with Poldarn's previouse life(which he has fogotten, having lost his memory at the start of book one).
And here it is, all the answers, was it worth the wait? Worth the fact the when you realy look at the triology nothing much happens apart from Poldarn blundering around making a pigs ear of things?
The answer is yes. Though the revelations of Poldarns previouse life are a bit mundane and spewed out in a terrible bit of exposition (one character delivering a monolgue for three pages and most of it you can peice together from the earlier parts of the book).
But that is secondary to the main thrust of the books, namely the connection between Poldarn and the god in the cart and when you finaly close the book after reading the last page you'll feel like someones bashed you round your head a couple of times and gone on to kill your favourite pet.
That is why I have given this book four stars, for that last emotional page that made the whole prevouse 1,500 odd pages worth while.