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Monday, October 21, 2019

Steven Brust - Taltos / Yendi / Jhereg / Teckla / ...

Review.

Time to check out Vlad Taltos... I'm reading the books in chronological order, not the sequence Brust wrote them. At least they were published in a different sequence... There are some inconsistencies in the series, but they don't hurt the overall plot all too much.

I've not yet read all the novels in this series. I need to do some re-reading and then try the newer ones.


Verdict

Before the spoilers 😅 Good stuff.

Quite a few of these are pretty good (except for Taltos, avoid that one, and perhaps Athyra which doesn't live up to its brethern). Note that I did not read the latest / final four titles. That will happen some day...


Titles

Vlad Taltos

  • Taltos
  • Dragon
  • Yendi
  • Jhereg
  • Teckla
  • Phoenix
  • Jhegaala
  • Athyra
  • Orca
  • Issola
  • Dzur
  • Iorich
  • Tiassa

Khaavren

Same universe, much earlier...

  • The Phoenix Guards
  • 500 Years After


Prequels

If you like Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers then you should definitely have a look at The Phoenix Guards and 500 Years After, set in the same universe but long before Vlad Taltos was born. And heavily leaning on Alexandre Dumas' work, yet quite enjoyable.


The ones I read

Spoilers ahead! Minor ones, but still...



Taltos

I guess the worst of them all. Vlad's youth, his rise in the Jhereg, becoming an assassin, and finally walking the paths of the dead to bring back a body and / or soul. Some scenes in this book conflict with the other parts of the series. Overall verdict: you can safely skip this one.


Yendi

Vlad is doing well. Too well. He gets into a fight over territory, gets killed and meets his wife (or the other way around, depending on your point of view).

And she happens to be a killer just like him. It all runs in the family, I guess...


Jhereg

The best book in the series IMHO. Vlad has to trace down and kill a cross breed that is planning to bring down the empire. In the prologue it tells us how Vlad picked up his first familiar.


Teckla

Where Vlad's wife decides to support the poor servants... Not his cause, you know... After all, they are revolting Teckla. And Easterners.

Vlad's (try to) takeover of the Teckla section of town saves his wife's life. But he cannot save his marriage. (Continued in Phoenix.)


Phoenix

If the Demon Goddess asks you for a favor, what do you do? You go out and kill for her. She's a god! But she's just a god and gods can (and do!) make mistakes. Vlad saves the empire by himself... by making himself a refugee.


Athyra

Vlad and not Vlad. Written from a third person point of view. I'm not sure if I liked this one. It shows a more sombre Vlad (can that be?) and while Vlad takes care of an old enemy, he destroys the mind of a young (just 500 years or so) Teckla in the process.


Orca

Vlad's return... Mixed mode book, two 'first persons', Kiera and Vlad, tell about their shared adventures. Vlad tries to save the property of a woman that might heal the boy under his protection. (Follow up to Athyra...)

Two remarks: it's a good thing Vlad doesn't know much about the homefront, and I don't understand all the reasoning behind Kiera's double identity. Overall verdict: okay. Brust is returning to his original style. Vlad is moody, yet more himself again.


Update. It's almost twenty years later, and I guess I'll have to schedule some re-reads then catch up with the later books. On the to-do / to-read list...



Dapper / TellTales! 16



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