Yendi

Written by: Steven Brust

Yendi Book Cover
Vlad Taltos tells the story of his early days in the House Jhereg, how he found himself in a Jhereg war, and how he fell in love with the wonderful woman, Cawti, who killed him.
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Yendi Reviews

Jen
Yendi is the second book in the Vlad Taltos series by Steven Brust. This is a bit of a flash-back book, which took me by surprise because it opens by having Vlad thought-mention that he doesn't have a wife and I rightly recalled, from having already read JHEREG, that he is married to Cawti, so my very first thought when reading this book was, "Wait! What happened to Cawti? Did Brust kill her off like they seem to do with each successive Bond girl so James can be single and sexy again?"

Then, I sc Yendi is the second book in the Vlad Taltos series by Steven Brust. This is a bit of a flash-back book, which took me by surprise because it opens by having Vlad thought-mention that he doesn't have a wife and I rightly recalled, from having already read JHEREG, that he is married to Cawti, so my very first thought when reading this book was, "Wait! What happened to Cawti? Did Brust kill her off like they seem to do with each successive Bond girl so James can be single and sexy again?"

Then, I scampered off to Goodreads (dot com), where I found out that this, while a sequel and second in the series, actually tells the story of Vlad pre-Jhereg.

So, first let me correct something. In the synopsis on Goodreads it says {emphasis mine}:

"Vlad Taltos tells the story of his early days in the House Jhereg, how he found himself in a Jhereg war, and how he fell in love with the wonderful woman, Yendi, who killed him."

This is a mistake. The woman who killed him is the woman he would later go on to marry {not a spoiler because all of this is revealed in book #1, Jhereg}: Cawti. Yendi is a house affiliation. I hope they make this correction soon.

That said ...

This book was not as good as the first in the series. Standard second-book curse, I suppose. The characters, who were well crafted in the first book, were flat. The crisis resolution that was solved with logic and wit in the first book was in this book solved with that literary technique where the detective exposits the solution while bringing up details of which the reader was never privy; Agatha Christie is the queen of this. What is this literary device called? And the romance between Cawti and Vlad read like standard romance novel fare where they jump from complete strangers to deeply in love with a minimum of interaction, words, or reasons to feel that way for one another. In fact, I think Goodreads reviewer Susan said it best in her review when she said:

"After Brust builds up all this tension with the escalation of the mob war, he digresses into scene after scene of flat exposition between Vlad and his friends, all the while making lame excuses as to why Vlad's territory isn't going up in flames while he's sitting down to tea in Morrollan's castle."

In this book we meet Cawti, learn the story of how the assassin team that Cawti was part of breaks up, and learn about how Vlad handled his first turf war as a Jhereg boss.
Aelvana
Vladimir Taltos has taken an important first step: claiming a small area of the city as his own territory. The Jhereg House dabbles in many things that are either highly taxed or flat-out illegal, such as assassinations and running the local crime syndicate. As long as Vlad can clear it with his superiors in the House--and avoid drawing the Empire's official attention--he's got a new, stable, much more lucrative line of business. Except that someone else is trying to muscle in on his territory, Vladimir Taltos has taken an important first step: claiming a small area of the city as his own territory. The Jhereg House dabbles in many things that are either highly taxed or flat-out illegal, such as assassinations and running the local crime syndicate. As long as Vlad can clear it with his superiors in the House--and avoid drawing the Empire's official attention--he's got a new, stable, much more lucrative line of business. Except that someone else is trying to muscle in on his territory, and now it's war. A war he can't afford to fight, but he definitely can't afford to lose . . .

On the one hand, this is a fun war of intrigue and assassination between two rival mob bosses both intent on claiming the same patch of turf. But it's also a story about some wider-reaching plots within the Dragaeran Empire, and despite Vlad's best efforts, how he ends up involved in far more than just trying to stay alive.

Since despite my best efforts I ended up reading this one after the third one (since I didn't have a copy until after I read the third one), this felt a bit like backstory to me to show how Vlad works out his early days as a freelance assassin. It was still an engaging story, even though I'd already accidentally spoiled myself on the ending.

Overall this is a good, short, high-stakes plot that never forgets its characters are human first. I like the layered society, the various oddities and customs, and the way various parts work together. I rate this book Recommended.

See my reviews and more at https://offtheshelfreviews.wordpress....
Joel Flank
The second Vlad Taltos book takes a step back and tells an earlier story in his career as a career criminal, mobster, and assassin. It's a slightly odd choice to tell a prequel in the second book in a series, but that doesn't stop it from being a devious twisting caper story with someone pulling strings in games upon games.

The story starts with Vlad is just starting his career, and gets into his first serious turf war. After what seemed like an easy time establishing his territory, Vlad is unpre The second Vlad Taltos book takes a step back and tells an earlier story in his career as a career criminal, mobster, and assassin. It's a slightly odd choice to tell a prequel in the second book in a series, but that doesn't stop it from being a devious twisting caper story with someone pulling strings in games upon games.

The story starts with Vlad is just starting his career, and gets into his first serious turf war. After what seemed like an easy time establishing his territory, Vlad is unprepared for clashing with a rival, and things quickly escalate from veiled threats to busting up each other's illegal businesses, to outright assassinations. Things get deadly serious when Vlad himself is targeted by the deadliest pair of assassins around. When they succeed in killing him is when things get even more complicated.

After being revived (in the sorcery rich world of the empire, even death isn't always permanent), Vlad begins to see that both he and his rival are being manipulated, and has to piece together the web he's caught in, beat his rival, continue surviving the turf war, all while starting a relationship with the love of his life, who he first met as she killed him during the assassination.

Another fun caper of devious twists and turns that's well worth the read for a charming and likable rogue category of stories.
Issola :: The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology :: The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul :: The Collected Works of C.S. Lewis :: To Reign in Hell
Lucas
Yendi starts off strongly, with a fascinating account of a turf war between assassin and aspiring crime lord Vladimir Taltos and a neighboring rival. About halfway through however, attention shifts towards a second storyline centered around a political conspiracy, which sadly isn't as interesting and lacks a satisfying resolution.

While the plot of Yendi perhaps leaves something to be desired, the characters are once again fantastic. Brust really excels at characterization. Everything I've read b Yendi starts off strongly, with a fascinating account of a turf war between assassin and aspiring crime lord Vladimir Taltos and a neighboring rival. About halfway through however, attention shifts towards a second storyline centered around a political conspiracy, which sadly isn't as interesting and lacks a satisfying resolution.

While the plot of Yendi perhaps leaves something to be desired, the characters are once again fantastic. Brust really excels at characterization. Everything I've read by him so far (the first two Vlad Taltos books, The Incrementalists, Fireworks in the Rain, and the Firefly novel My Own Kind of Freedom) has been populated by a wonderful cast of interesting, sympathetic and vividly portrayed characters, and Yendi is no exception. I look forward to reading more about Vlad, Cowtie and co. in the rest of the series.
Jefferson
A strange second entry into the Vlad Taltos series. I praised the first book for laying the groundwork of the society for Vlad, an assassin and crime lord, to operate in. The plot of Jhereg seemed secondary to the world-building, which was detailed and hinted at greater stories to be told. Yendi is not that greater story.

The events in Yendi take place years before those of Jhereg. This robs the book of any real stakes, because you already know that Vlad survives unscathed. I enjoyed the first ha A strange second entry into the Vlad Taltos series. I praised the first book for laying the groundwork of the society for Vlad, an assassin and crime lord, to operate in. The plot of Jhereg seemed secondary to the world-building, which was detailed and hinted at greater stories to be told. Yendi is not that greater story.

The events in Yendi take place years before those of Jhereg. This robs the book of any real stakes, because you already know that Vlad survives unscathed. I enjoyed the first half, a straight-forward crime/suspense novel of a territorial war between Vlad and a neighboring gangster. Then it takes a strange turn into the convoluted world of Dragaeran politics. I found it hard to work up any real interest in the twists and turns of the plot, which became increasingly arbitrary and based on wild guesses or coincidences. The tagline on the cover ("How the love of a good woman...") suggests that the overall point was to show how Vlad fell in love with his wife, but even this is perfunctory and thinly written.

Yendi seems to me to be a misstep. I still look forward to the greater stories told in this world.
Sbuchler
Genre: Fantasy

This is the second in the Vlad Taltos series, although if you follow internal chronology it predates the first novel, _Jhereg_. This is the story of Vlad as a young turf Boss, experiencing his first boundary dispute with another turf boss in the Jhereg. If you liked the first novel in the series, you'll probably like this one, as it has the same kind of pacing and humor, and many of the same characters appear. In fact, this is the book wherein Vlad meets and woos his wife (or from Genre: Fantasy

This is the second in the Vlad Taltos series, although if you follow internal chronology it predates the first novel, _Jhereg_. This is the story of Vlad as a young turf Boss, experiencing his first boundary dispute with another turf boss in the Jhereg. If you liked the first novel in the series, you'll probably like this one, as it has the same kind of pacing and humor, and many of the same characters appear. In fact, this is the book wherein Vlad meets and woos his wife (or from some points of view, is wooed by her, at knifepoint). I actually think the pacing and tension build more evenly in this book then in _Jhereg_, but Burst is having to do less world-explanation, which may account for the difference.

I remember being utterly fascinated by these books as a teenager, because how could I like the hero, he is an assassin after all!?! But now, as an adult, I don't find that a particularly vexing moral quandary, so I now find the books a good yarn, and the world interesting, but there's not a lot of substance or insight to them.
D.
The second book in the Vlad Taltos series is actually a prequel to JHEREG (the first book), and builds on the strengths of the previous book with the same "first person smart-alec" narration, intriguing world-building, and a healthy dose of politics and intrigue. Vlad finds himself in over his head (as usual) and has to try to maneuver all the players around him while he tries to stay alive and figure out if everything is as it seems on the surface, or more complicated. (Spoiler: It's more compl The second book in the Vlad Taltos series is actually a prequel to JHEREG (the first book), and builds on the strengths of the previous book with the same "first person smart-alec" narration, intriguing world-building, and a healthy dose of politics and intrigue. Vlad finds himself in over his head (as usual) and has to try to maneuver all the players around him while he tries to stay alive and figure out if everything is as it seems on the surface, or more complicated. (Spoiler: It's more complicated.)

It's nice to spend time with these characters again, and the book is a pretty breezy read, considering the large cast of characters and changing allegiances. Some of the things that were unclear in JHEREG start to make more sense here, and I'm excited to continue diving into the series.

I've read that this is Brust's least favorite of his works, but I thought it worked pretty well, with only a few "creaky" spots.
Rhiannon Taylor
So, I’ve powered through Yendi now. Found all the good stuffs from Jhereg are back, including fun characters, intriguing and convoluted plot, a wonderful world to putt around through, and Vlad is back with his entertaining way of delivering his first person narrative, full of attitude, opinions, and a whole hell of a lot of voice. Above all, the light fantasy tone. No GRIMDARK here, as my brother would say. It’s an easy and wonderfully relaxed sort of book. There’s no showers of blood, no detail So, I’ve powered through Yendi now. Found all the good stuffs from Jhereg are back, including fun characters, intriguing and convoluted plot, a wonderful world to putt around through, and Vlad is back with his entertaining way of delivering his first person narrative, full of attitude, opinions, and a whole hell of a lot of voice. Above all, the light fantasy tone. No GRIMDARK here, as my brother would say. It’s an easy and wonderfully relaxed sort of book. There’s no showers of blood, no detailed descriptions of the gore, no explicit sex scenes (though they are implied), and fairly little in the way of language...except, unlike Jhereg, it seems that...[Read the Rest of This Review]
Matt
This book wasn't bad as books in this series go. The way these novels are compiled into anthologies is a bit confusing (it isn't chronological from the character's POV) keep that in mind when reading the series.

I liked the interactions between Vlad and pretty much everyone. He has a "everyone's out to kill me" sort of attitude that seems pretty realistic. He also usually has a sarcastic comment or two to keep me turning pages.

I didn't so much like the complexity of Vlad's criminal organization. This book wasn't bad as books in this series go. The way these novels are compiled into anthologies is a bit confusing (it isn't chronological from the character's POV) keep that in mind when reading the series.

I liked the interactions between Vlad and pretty much everyone. He has a "everyone's out to kill me" sort of attitude that seems pretty realistic. He also usually has a sarcastic comment or two to keep me turning pages.

I didn't so much like the complexity of Vlad's criminal organization. It read quite a bit like politics do in other fantasy novels and really didn't do much for me. The only redeeming aspect to it was the trickery and violence introduced by Vlad.

Overall, this installment wasn't bad and I plan to read on in the series.
KG
This book started out with a lot of action and excitement, then slid down into more talk and strategy - so I started to loose my enthusiasm for it. And then, the resolution of the crisis was not very action-packed, after a significant build-up. Hmmm! It wasn't bad, but, it wasn't riviting. OH, and Vlad is really kind of a dick! If he tell's Loiosh to "Shut up!" one more time, I'm really hoping the jhereg bites him in the throat! And, as to the familiar, it seems more a tool than a character. I'd This book started out with a lot of action and excitement, then slid down into more talk and strategy - so I started to loose my enthusiasm for it. And then, the resolution of the crisis was not very action-packed, after a significant build-up. Hmmm! It wasn't bad, but, it wasn't riviting. OH, and Vlad is really kind of a dick! If he tell's Loiosh to "Shut up!" one more time, I'm really hoping the jhereg bites him in the throat! And, as to the familiar, it seems more a tool than a character. I'd like to see it be a bit more than a convenient literary device. Still, it was a good audiobook. And, the narrator did a pretty decent job.
Nazir Ahmed
Mafia undergroundesque environment in a fantasy/sci-fi setting is kind of a different combination that Burst had made in this series that actually is very good. If you take Daniel Polanski's setting and add a character like Mark Lawrence's Jal, you would be close what you get in this series. The story is set in an Elvish/sorceric world with a constant undercurrent of humor. This particular book is about a myriad permutation and combination of plot twists that leaves your head spinning to keep th Mafia undergroundesque environment in a fantasy/sci-fi setting is kind of a different combination that Burst had made in this series that actually is very good. If you take Daniel Polanski's setting and add a character like Mark Lawrence's Jal, you would be close what you get in this series. The story is set in an Elvish/sorceric world with a constant undercurrent of humor. This particular book is about a myriad permutation and combination of plot twists that leaves your head spinning to keep things in perspective. This is a satisfying read.
Maria D
I just re-read this one, more than 10 years since I touched is the first time. It surprises me every time how good the Taltos books are connected, and how all kinds of little facts that you know from later books fit in. The first half of the book is actually really fun. Also, after knowing Vlad and Cawti for more than 10 books, it's kind of cute to see them meet. On the other hand, the intrigue of the book is a bid overdone and, really, not that necessary. Still, a great way to pass the evening.
Michael
A pretty solid entry in the Vlad Taltos series - a series best summed up as first person narrated, hardboiled-style, by an ethical gangster in a secondary fantasy influenced by a mix of picaresque fiction, Moorcock, Dumas, John D. MacDonald, and old Hungarian culture.

The only thing that didn't ring true to me this time was just how fast Vlad and his lady fell for one another (in a two sides of the same coin meet-cute); it just seemed too pat and inorganic, compared to the way Brust handles the A pretty solid entry in the Vlad Taltos series - a series best summed up as first person narrated, hardboiled-style, by an ethical gangster in a secondary fantasy influenced by a mix of picaresque fiction, Moorcock, Dumas, John D. MacDonald, and old Hungarian culture.

The only thing that didn't ring true to me this time was just how fast Vlad and his lady fell for one another (in a two sides of the same coin meet-cute); it just seemed too pat and inorganic, compared to the way Brust handles the interplay between the other regular players.
Michele
A good fun read, although the plot device seemed eerily similar to that of Jhereg. Vlad is trying to solve a personal problem but discovers that all is not as it seems and his personal problem is really a hundred year long plot in the making. However, he uncovers it through the use of his uncanny intellect and superior reasoning.... sound familiar?

Still a fun read.
John
didn't enjoy this quite as much as Jhereg as it's a prequel that feels very samey. It fills in some of the blanks but I didn't feel they needed filling in - I liked how Jhereg dropped you into the deep end with all these relationships already built and backstory only hinted at. Still, fairly fun read (once you're past the first few chapters as they are basically a list of 'i did this, he did that, so i did this'.
Erik M
4/5 because it entertained me with a quick, light read.

The story, especially read after Jhereg, is...okay. Fun enough. A bit overly convoluted, but really the PI genre - whether set in 1930s LA or fantasyville Adrilankha - thrives on tangled plots.They serve to give is great dialogue exchanges, action scenes, keen introspection. Just not always the cleanest narrative.

Still, Steven, if this is your least favorite, that speaks well of what lies ahead.
Kim
Ok, I'm now firmly on the side of "read these books in chronological order, not in the order the author wrote them". This is so frustrating.

And it seems that Brust keeps using the "let's come up with a plan/have a conversation that's really important, and not tell the reader about it" which I think he lifted from a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Also: Vlad is a major jerk to everyone who works for him. What's up with that?
Scott
This one threw me for a loop at first, since it's kind of a prequel, but after the initial shock I couldn't put it down. We get some insight into how Vlad got to the point where he is in Jhereg, and we also got to see the initial meeting between him and his wife (which was pretty damn great.)

These books have a lot working for them: interesting world, great characters, decent mystery. But, really, the thing that makes them great is the writing.

Can't recommend enough
B
Sometimes the personal relationships are not so well written in this book, and Vlad doesn't get a whole lot of development compared to the first book... but it's a solid, enjoyable effort. The pacing could be better, but as far as I can tell Brust just writes Vlad as the kind to not worry much about that kind of thing.
patrycja polczyk
Yendi is a second book in series about amazing Vlad Taltos. It gives us bit of a background - where he came from, how he met his lovely wife and so on. I liked it, though bit less than first book. I like how Vlad is dealing with life and his friends are quite amazing, too :) It took me bit longer to finish it, but only because I didn’t have time. Good fun.
Brendan
Still pretty fun, but nowhere near as engaging as Jhereg. Same likable characters, same cleverly-thought-out setting, but nowhere near the plot momentum of the the first one. Not bad, but after the kickassness of Jhereg, "just ok" feels like a pretty big disappointment. Probably won't read the third one for a while.
Rachel
Another solid traditional fantasy with just enough unique details and engaging characters to keep me interested. Though I felt the beginning of it was a bit rushed, I loved the relationship between Cawti and Vlad. I also feel I have a better grasp of Morrolan and Aliera's characters now, which is exactly what I was hoping for.
Shane Noble
Another decent entry in the series. The characters are interesting, the plotting is convoluted. My only serious complaint is that as a prequel, much of the drama is taken out of it. I know the fates of these characters. Thankfully, the story is entertaining enough even though I know they're all going to be okay in the end.
Julia
Maybe not quite as good as the first book, it was still a great read. Lots of humor and witty dialog, great secondary characters and a world dark, gritty and yet so fun.

In a way, these books are Agatha Christie with dragons and magic - with a touch of Terry Pratchett. Maybe in the end they are not as good as either, the unique mix makes up for it.

Lord Humungus
Generic-feeling fantasy that was entertaining and fun to read; nothing too deep or sinister. Very inspiring for role-playing games and to read more fantasy. Probably should have read the rest of the series just for the good times.
Joel Neff
In this book:

We learn how Vlad and Cawti first met, after she tried to kill him. Vlad is involved in a Jhereg gang war that builds into an intricate plot devised by a clever Yendi to get Sethra the Younger appointed Warlord so that she can invade the East.

Set a few years before Jhereg.
Chananel Liron Erez
In this book, like the privious one , we are meeting again the love characters.
But in this book for new complicate scam. So now we learn about Vlad, from not his bright side, but by his evolving side , how to care for his employees, but also to run an underworld business.
James Gonzalez
A very fun read dealing with a territory war between Vlad and another Jhereg boss named Laris. It's entertaining to see them take turns attacking each other's businesses to try and gain the upper hand. One of the better books in the series.
Jason M Waltz
quick fun, which I haven't had in a while, so found it quite enjoyable. easy read; good, clear writing; engaging protagonist; creates a nice desire to read more of characters and overarching series plot. not a must-read, definitely a will-read.
Karryn Nagel
I didn't enjoy this one as much as the first of the series, mostly because of some serious dillydallying by Vlad. But the dry humor was as good.
I'm going to read the third one, if that tells you anything. :)
Ryan
This series is consistently good fantasy noir. If you like the genre, you'll like this.
Vaun Murphrey
Again, a good fast read. Low description but good pacing. My husband likes these a lot.
Grillables
Reading this series out of order probably wasn't a wise idea. Ah well. Still good for a fast read.
Brandt
3,5 ..

Like the universe, and the characters.. The story itself was a bit weak, and too dialogue driven...
Christopher Hernandez
Short and sweet... I love the characters, the wit, and the universe. Each book is like eating a snack. It doesn't last long, but is good in the moment.
Clio Heard
So far, this series has been a lot of fun to read. Yendi was exciting, entertaining, and gripping. I was always interested in what would happen next.
Pershire
Though a little bit slower than the first book, it was exciting, quite an enjoyable read
Derek
Vlad is pretty cool, and Loiosh is the iPod of flying reptiles - he's the funnest!
Lori
A great story of how assassin Vlad Taltos's early years made him the man we know and love as well as his first encounter with love.
Will Page
I wish I had known going into it that this was a prequel. I might have enjoyed the beginning of the book more. The story starts to pick up after he meets Cawti.
Jose
The series got better but not so much. Still fun though, even with the weird characters.
Patty
His books jump around in timeline, so when you read them in published order, don't be surprised!
Madhellena
Man, I love this guy. Even if the love story in this one was a little abrupt, I am hooked on the series.
Shannon Appelcline
The politics & plot get a little complex at the end, but otherwise an enjoyable read that nicely plays upon the first book in the series.
Randy Smith
Even re-reading this book it is still very good!
Havocvoodoo
The first book Tom ever loaned me, and it wasn't half bad. Don't think I'll read the rest of the series, though. Sorry, Tom! Love you anyway!
Charlotte Blankenburg
Not as good as his other works, but filled in a gap or two in the chronology of Vlad Taltos.
Torie
Again, I enjoyed reading it, but I'm not really sure if it's my kind of thing.
Soursock
Good book. Story is well paced. It being Scott the past threw me off at first. But it's good
Dan
This book fills out part of Vlad's past, from back when he was a low-life gangster. He spends a lot of time thugging. Okay if you're into that sort of thing.
Tim Robichaux
Got halfway through. Very let down that the story went back in time rather than continuing where the first book left off.
Karen
I found this to be pretty enjoyable, but have to admit that it could have been better. Still love the characters, and the plot is fine, but the pacing felt a bit off.
Rachel Popham
I can see why this book came second, but its plot was a lot stronger than Jhereg. Interested to see how the series continues to unfold.
Quinn
I didn't realise the whole book would be a flash back, but reading about how he meets Cawti was pretty sweet.
Michael
This wasn't as good as the previous one, but I still really liked it, and I'm glad that I read it. I'm definitely going to be reading more of this.
Nicholas
Too cute, especially with the romance aspects, but quite a good fantasy caper.
Jens
Some of my thoughts on the Taltos series are here.
Karen
Not my favorite one so far, but it was still entertaining to read. It seems like mostly middle-of-the-story-arc stuff that's necessary for later, but not so memorable in the moment.
Seth
This one seemed a bit rushed to me. It wasn't as well thought out and developed as Jhereg (the first in the series). Still love Brust's style, though.
Marianne
More like a first book, than a second. Reads well on it's own. Not as dynamic somehow as the first, but fills in the beginning of the narrative nicely.
Sydney Baggins
Really good! I liked the first one a lot and this one was no different. Probably will reread in the future.
Andrew Obrigewitsch
This was a fun read, good mystery Fantasy story with a touch of Sci-Fi.
Seth
Great book, describing the early days of Vlad.
Lance Sherrill
So far, this is my favorite Taltos book. Being assassinated and then diddling the assassin after being brought back to life? Brilliant! Quite possibly one of my favorite scenes from any book ever.
Josh
Really like this series. Fairly unique characterizations. The main protagonist feel very well thought out and consistent.
Ozsaur
This is the second book of the Vlad Taltos series, but it takes place years before the first book, sort of like a prequel. This isn't the only odd thing about Steven Brust's writing.

In both books, we get to the moment right before the mystery is solved, the moment where the suspense starts to crest and he draaags it ooout. Again and again, Vlad has to have a good think. Again and again, he talks things over with friends. Again and again, he hits a wall, AND THEN, he takes the most improbable lin This is the second book of the Vlad Taltos series, but it takes place years before the first book, sort of like a prequel. This isn't the only odd thing about Steven Brust's writing.

In both books, we get to the moment right before the mystery is solved, the moment where the suspense starts to crest and he draaags it ooout. Again and again, Vlad has to have a good think. Again and again, he talks things over with friends. Again and again, he hits a wall, AND THEN, he takes the most improbable line of ideas and comes to some kind of conclusion. I was pretty confused by then, so I just followed the action. But honestly, I've never seen a writer dissipate suspense in quite that way before.

The emotional story arcs had an odd kind of jerkiness to them. I'm not a fan of insta-love, and it didn't quite work for me here. And I can't figure out why so many people have Vlad's back, and are willing to risk so much for him. He's an interesting character, but even after the first book, I can't figure out why everyone thinks he's so special.

I still found the action pretty exciting. There were quite a few twists and turns, and the escalating conflict between Vlad and Laris was wild. Some people don't mess around!

I already have the next book, so I'll definitely be reading it, but I think I might take a break from the series.
James Proctor
Brust never disappoints. Episode after episode in this excellent series, he designs tight caper plots in a fantasy setting and exhibits a keen eye for detail. The characters are fun and engaging, which helps smooth away any distraction at anachronistic language and attitudes. I'm dependent on finding each book as I can at local booksellers and consequently reading the series completely out of order, yet the episodes are tight and self-contained enough and larger plot developments sufficiently in Brust never disappoints. Episode after episode in this excellent series, he designs tight caper plots in a fantasy setting and exhibits a keen eye for detail. The characters are fun and engaging, which helps smooth away any distraction at anachronistic language and attitudes. I'm dependent on finding each book as I can at local booksellers and consequently reading the series completely out of order, yet the episodes are tight and self-contained enough and larger plot developments sufficiently incidental that sequence is a distant concern.
Le Petit Chat
A rival is trying to take over Vlads territory and in defending himself he finds himself a pawn of an even bigger plot that has spanned years, a plot based on war and greed. Some of the old characters are back together with some new ones, most noticeably Vlads future wife.

Interesting from start to finish 3/5 - I liked it a lot.
Lisa Tollefson
Brust is really good. Vlad is a well drawn character, even in this, the first written of the series. The world is engaging, the use of magic vital but not overwhelming. Most of all, though, the writing is good. The series is one of my faves, and I'm now rereading it for maybe the fourth time.
Ben Lind
This wasn't as entertaining or surprising as the first book, though I did enjoy it. It got too bogged down in history and dialogue.
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