30 Day Book Challenge Day 7 – Most Underrated Book

It is very easy, when choosing a book that you would consider “the most underrated book you have read”, to feel that you could say this about half the books you own. I know I certainly do when glancing at my bookshelves. However, for a nice change, the answer to this one stuck out quite quickly for me, and there is quite a good chance that many of you will not have even heard of this author (which is, umm, kind of the point of this particular blog entry, I suppose).

Devices and Desires by K.J.Parker (not to be confused with other books of the same name, particularly one by P.D.James) is the start of a fantasy trilogy called The Engineer Trilogy (which continues with Evil for Evil and The Escapement). Now as I think I mentioned in an earlier blog (I think? Maybe I didn’t…anyway), I am pretty picky when it comes to fantasy books. I like them, but there is a lot of rubbish in that genre, and a lot of readers of fantasy seem to limit themselves to it. For me, it probably accounts for less than a tenth of my total book collection, so what little fantasy I do have is stuff that I really enjoy. This book got me hooked onto the mysterious author that is K.J.Parker – which is in fact a pseudonym for the author, who we know little about other than some of the jobs they have done, and, most curiously, they seem to have purposely not revealed their gender (a fact I won’t go into at this point). Parker now has 12 books, 9 of which are parts of trilogies, the latest three all being stand-alone novels, and all of them are excellent.

Devices and Desires

The story follows Ziani Vaatzes, an engineer who is forced into exile from his home city, the home of a huge empire, all because of a petty transgression of the guild laws regarding how the engineers must build certain items. Torn away from his wife and children, he comes up with a plot to be reunited with his family, a vengeful plot which will see the fall of entire kingdoms in the process. In an interview, Parker admitted that this whole trilogy is really just about love, that the driving force behind not only Ziani but other main characters is always love, or the loss of love, and that in each case it seems to wield an almost ridiculous, but somehow believable, destructive force. What I also love about this book and its sequels is that while it contains the made up history and geography with a medieval feel that is so common to fantasy novels, there is not a trace of magic, making it considerably more convincing. K.J.Parker also has a long history of actually making the weapons and other objects in the books so as to gain a genuine feel for how they work when it comes to describing them in the story, and this certainly makes a difference when reading this epic saga.

If you like fantasy and you want a book that is different, definitely try this book, and this author. If you don’t like fantasy, I would still recommend trying this book, as it is all humans and all feels very real, and is most definitely a severely underrated book.

What books have you read that you feel are underrated? Do you find a lot of underrated books you have stumbled across fall into a particular genre? I’d love to hear from you!

11 thoughts on “30 Day Book Challenge Day 7 – Most Underrated Book

    • Thanks! And glad you like the background change, as soon as I saw it I was like “I WANT. I MUST HAVE. NOW.” (I can’t help but think the capital letters I just used don’t manage to convey the expression on my face when I saw the background…)
      But anyway, I found it just on google images. Can’t remember what I typed in to search for, but I found this eventually. I need something new for my banner up the top too, I think I might make something, if I can figure out how. πŸ˜€

      • Don’t worry I have a well developed imagination, I could totally see your face expression as your jaw dropped to the floor and your eyes started to shine as you were chanting “my precious…myy precious…” ahahhah xD
        I’m sure you could make something! I made my own header too once and really liked it. Actually the header I have noe is photo I took when I visited Norrland a few weeks ago. Edited it a bit to give it that magical winterland-feel πŸ™‚

    • Hahahahaha, the image in your head of me is far better than what really happened πŸ˜›
      Ahhh cool, I like you header actually, it looks amazing, that’s even cooler that you actually took that photo. Sigh, you’re just trying to make me want to visit that part of the world even more, aren’t you? πŸ˜›
      Also, when you wrote ‘noe’ instead of ‘now’, in my head, the voice that was reading your comment suddenly became scottish… πŸ˜›

      • Of course I’m trying to drag you here. I mean.. Sweden Is The Most Awesome Place In The World.. err haha
        Ooh, maybe I should start writing as I want it to sound. Then I can act scottish all the time πŸ˜‰

        • Hahaha, you don’t sound so convinced yourself about Sweden πŸ˜› But hey, some pretty cool things have come from Sweden (get it…cool things… πŸ˜› )
          Spike Milligan in some of his books wrote his dialogue to sound like an Irish accent, he did it really well actually, but you’d stop reading the book and talk to someone and suddenly be speaking in an Irish accent, which tends to attract some concerned looks from people haha

          • Haha, no I actually love Sweden. Even though everything isn’t perfect (obviously) I consider it as a much better place to live in than many other countries.. And the nature is a Big plus πŸ™‚ Yeah we have pretty ‘cool’ things in Sweden.. like uhm.. uhm.. SNOW! πŸ˜€
            Haha if I heard someone speaking Irish accent I would just be like: ahh ma gaaawd that is soo awesome duude! Haha okay maybe not in that American silly way but I would think it was Pretty cool!

            • Yeah, Sweden does sound pretty nice, I only ever seem to hear nice things about it (you never actually came up with any bad things when we were talking about it, by memory πŸ˜› )
              Hahahahahaha what? What was the random American accent just then about? I nearly fell of my bed laughing hahaha πŸ˜›

  1. I love finding underrated books that nobody knows about its like is my secret book that nobody but me is reading and enjoying. But truthfully its a shame these books are so underrated, they deserve more attention.

    • I feel like that sometimes too. But I love having people to talk to about the books I love too, so sometimes that is a downside of underrated books, and a reason to share them more I guess. I still think one of my most proud moments as a teacher came with an immensely popular author – when half my students discovered I also read John Green, they were so excited it wasn’t funny, and they kept asking me my thoughts on his books for the rest of the year. It was really quite nice.

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