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Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Book review: Pulling The Wings Off Angels by K.J. Parker





AUTHOR INFO: Having worked in journalism, numismatics and the law, K. J. Parker now writes for a precarious living. He is the author of Devices and Desires, Evil for Evil, The Devil You Know, and other novels, and has won the World Fantasy Award twice. Parker also writes under the name Tom Holt.

Publisher: Tordotcom (November 15, 2022) Page Count: 144 p

Pulling The Wings Off Angels follows a clerical student with a weakness for gambling. Local gangster Florio captures him and asks him to pay his debts or die/lose limbs. A simple choice, provided you have money. Happily, Florio turns generous and offers the narrator a lifeline - if he delivers an angel to Florio, all is forgiven.


But where does one find an angel? Sure, there's a rumor that the narrator's grandfather caught and imprisoned one, but why would anyone believe that? Long story short, the rumor turns out to be true. The Angel is indeed detained in a room built with the help of the infamous Saloninus as the only place on earth that's hidden from and undetectable by god. In this room, one can do and say ANYTHING and won't be held accountable for it in the afterlife.


Florio decides to aim high and blackmail his god, The Invincible Sun. The story's narrator discovers he will have to pay for the sins of his grandfather. Like always, Parker delivers lots of exciting thoughts, plenty of sardonic wits, and a healthy dose of cynicism I adore. Parker has no mercy in pointing out logical fallacies of religion and beliefs. Anyway, the narrator doesn't even believe in the supernatural.


"I believed in the Invincible Sun when I was a kid. After all, there He was, up in the sky, so bright. He hurt your eyes. It was only when I went to the seminary and started studying to become a priest that I stopped. There's nothing quite like the scriptures for killing faith stone dead".

And then, the supernatural turns his life upside down in unexpected and undesired ways. It's a novella, and in novellas, every scene matters, so I won't rob you of the pleasure of reading and discovering stuff for the first time. Suffice it to say, Pulling The Wings Off Angels delivers twists, intriguing thoughts, and solid pacing. I admit I didn't enjoy it as much as Salonimus' stories, but it's still worth a shot.

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