The Last Witness by K.J. Parker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Some ideas are meant for novellas; sadly, there are good ideas which have been thrown on a rack and tortured into novel-length monstrosities—or worse, serial monstrosities. In “The Last Wish”, K. J. Parker weaves a tapestry whose slightly frayed edges suggest that this could have been one such book, had the author not had the wisdom to keep the driving conceit in focus. The book plays with the idea of memory transfer, willing and unwilling, across a spectrum of circumstance, while examining the effects foisted upon victims and participants. Parker gives the notion well and thorough treatment, wasting neither scene nor character in service to the muse. The memory stealing protagonist’s fluid identity gets a bit confusing at times, and some supporting locations and characters would benefit from additional detail, but such transgressions are forgivable when everything else delivers such satisfaction.
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