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Tiassa by Steven Brust
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Tiassa is the thirteenth Vlad Taltos book, going by publication order, and goodness knows what chronologically, because it contains three main sections which are set at different points of time. (The third section does seem to be set after the twelfth book, Iorich.) Each of those section is set in the city of Adrilanhka and involves, in various ways, a silver tiassa, members of the House of Tiassa and, of course, Vlad.

“The Silver Tiassa” is told by Vlad about a job he undertook in the days between his engagement and his marriage. This section is the most lighthearted.

“Whitecrest” is set years later. (Probably between Dzur and Iorich?) It’s told in the third person, each chapter from the perspective of a different character - none of whom are Vlad. The mystery at hand is connected to Vlad but he’s not directly involved.
I liked getting to see more of Cawti and Norathar and their partnership. Cawti is at a very different point in her life to where she was in “The Silver Tiassa”, and it’s interesting to see her without the Vlad filter - through her own perspective as well as Norathar’s and Khaavren’s wife’s.

“Special Tasks” is told by Paarfi, the historian who narrates The Phoenix Guards. (I’m glad I read The Phoenix Guards before I read Tiassa. It might have been better if I had read the rest of the Khaavren books first, too, but then again, I’m not actually sure if I am going to read all of them.) An injured Eastern is fished out of the river, and Khaavren - with some knowledge of previous events - sets out to investigate.

These three stories connect to, and influence, each other, and the effect of the three of them sitting together is interesting and clever but not wholly satisfying. (Perhaps it would have been more so if I had read all the Khaavren books? Or if I had recently reread some of the Vlad books and so was able to better piece together how this one fits in?) It made me wish I was reading the series with a friend and had someone I could talk to about it.

As it is, Tiassa also has important information on some other things: how Vlad is telling these stories, about Aliera’s daughter, and a much-wanted update on a character who hasn’t appeared for a few books.

”That’s acceptable to me,” said Norathar. “You?”
[another character’s interruption omitted]
“We’re done with the part I care about,” said Cawti. “I’m indifferent towards the rest.”
“I knew that,” said Norathar. “But I had to ask.”
( )
  Herenya | Feb 4, 2018 |
Can't go wrong with another Vlad story, one of my all-time favorite characters. ( )
  Jon_Hansen | Apr 2, 2017 |
In the thirteenth book of the Vlad Taltos story, Steven Brust finally brings together his two most well known characters, Vlad and Khaavren of his other Dragaeran Empire books, the Khaavren Romances. This book spans ten years, a possible Jenoine invasion, more attempts on Vlad's life by the Jhereg (amongst others), and the mystery of a carved silver tiassa that seems to have plans of it's own.

This book was awkward. I greatly enjoy both the Vlad Taltos books and the Khaavren Romances. Both series have qualities that are quite unique in the fantasy genre and a wicked sense of humor, yet they are very different from each other. The Taltos books are written in first person and tend to beat you over the head with the wise-cracks and sarcasm, but in a good way. The Khaavren Romances, on the other hand, are stylistically written in the fashion of a Dumas novel, courtly and obsequious, the humor being both subtle and over the top at the same time. These two styles, together in one book, was jarring. The changes in tempo and style were awkward and difficult to navigate. So while, like most of his books, I was entertained by the story, the difficulty I had actually reading this book, made it hard to enjoy the book itself. I even had to put it down for a few weeks at the final stylistic change because it had just become too much.

However, this book is clearly a pivotal one in the series, so I am glad I persevered. I look forward to the next installment, which better by Teckla, because I'm getting impatient to hear Savn's story. ( )
  Mootastic1 | Jan 15, 2016 |
The character of Vlad Taltos, after so many tales become ever more complex even as he tries to live his life simply. Thwarted at every aspect of his life, clearly we are shown once again how the Gods conspire to make his life, not boring, as I think Vladimir would put it.

Here we also see D'artagnan, I mean Kharvaan come back into the story line. Several little vignettes that make-up these tales around an artifact, all though interfacing with Vlad in some way or other. (Possibly because after so many tales Brust could not think of a tale to utilize the characteristics of his Tiassa Race of Dragearans.

But, now after 12 other books about Taltos, and the 5 about Kharvaan, we are ready for the series to end. We know enough about Vlad to want to see a conclusion, and as others have complained, Brust is taking his time completing his work. To write the Beatrice and Benedict like banter can not be an easy task, one that takes refinement to create. And at first these passages are a pleasure to read. But near the end, after so many of them, taking pages to move the story an inch, it is time to skim rather than savor each word as a reader. The only banter that flows well by then is that between our hero and his familiar. They are short, quick double entendres.

Where once Taltos led a life that was LOL funny, now the capers are becoming the same as before, just a different day, and it is time to make in interesting again by doing something different. The Banter also serves to mask emotional growth, and thus characters who hide behind such only give us a facade become characters that are no longer of any interest to us.

Yet, those of us who like this creation, this empire that Brust has created would like to see the series end, and while some of the tales would be worthy of a reread, this, I think is not one of those. It is a good strong book as you read through much of the other work in Fantasy, but were you to pick this up without a strong reference to who Vlad is and those others in the Empire, you would be hard pressed to see it as a gem. Thus for Mr Burst we can only hope that he can find a way to make of this series as captivating as the first books when it was unique. ( )
  DWWilkin | Nov 16, 2014 |
I feel like this book is a very small piece of a very large thing - which, well, it is, being one part of a nineteen-book series. But I also feel like either it's a trivial part of that series or all will become clear later on. I'm hoping the latter. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Oct 10, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steven Brustprimary authorall editionscalculated
Clark, Bernard SetaroNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hayden, Teresa NielsenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hickman, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Reesa, with love
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Sethra greeted me with the words, "There's someone I'd like you to meet, Vlad."
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Years after his successes as an assassin and a mobster enabled his influential acceptance by the Dragonlords, Empire, and Jenoine, Vlad Taltos endeavors to acqure a god-made artifact that will help him execute a lucrative con.

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