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Yendi by Steven Brust
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1,117167,389 (3.9)1 / 68



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Though the cover blurb says "sequel to Jhereg" it's actually a prequel. I would never have been able to tell from his relationships with the various Dragaeran lords and ladies and references to past events, but the lack of a wife stood out. In fact, this is where he meets Cawti. It's a rough first date, since she assassinates him. This is time filler at best. The Sopranos meets fantasy, as the plot is primarily a turf war, plus a little detection on Vlad's part as he unravels a centuries old political dirty deed.

OK for fans of the series and of casual fantasy adventure. ( )
  ChrisRiesbeck | Jun 3, 2017 |
a complicated plot between Draegons involves Taltos. Very shallow, quick wit remarks and lots of turf war style fighting seem to be the hallmarks of this series. ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Yendi is set sometime before the events of Jhereg. The books are independent and can be read in any order.

Vlad Taltos, the protagonist and narrator, is a member of House Jhereg, which seems to be the criminal organization of this world. Vlad controls his own area of the city, but another member of House Jhereg starts muscling in. What results is a war between them over territory which comes to be connected to a conspiracy of the highest order.

Yendi is a short book – just over 200 pages, but the pacing is slow in the beginning and it took me a few days to get through it. It takes a bit for the gang war to start up, and then much longer for the conspiracy to be brought in.

Yendi‘s biggest flaw is lack of characterization. All the characters are thin and forgettable. Everyone felt just like a name, and I never got the sense of anyone’s personality.

What I liked most about Yendi was the world. When I read Jhereg, I had a hard time understanding the complexities of the world that Brust has created (I discuss some of the details in my Jhereg review). For whatever reason, I didn’t have any problems this time. I remembered some of the basics from Jhereg, and this helped me immensely. Other things were vague, but I was able to figure it out. If I ever do read another Vlad Taltos novel, it will be for the world that Brust has created.

As the back of the book says, Vlad ends up falling in love with the woman who kills him (people can be “revived” after death in this world). This happened remarkably quickly. One moment they’re killing each other, the next they’re falling in bed together? Even accounting for their similar backgrounds, this all happens within the span of days.

Also, Yendi was a lot better on the female character front than you’d expect from a pulpy 80’s fantasy novel. At least four women were significantly involved, and while they were as thinly characterized as the male characters, they weren’t any worse either.

In the end, I enjoyed Yendi but am unlikely to seek out more books in the series.

Orignally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | May 3, 2015 |
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/reviews/yendi/

Loveable assassin Vlad Taltos is back in Yendi, the second in Steven Brust??s VLAD TALTOS series. Yendi is actually a prequel to the first novel, Jhereg which introduced us to Vlad, his wife Cawti, his familiar, and several of his friends and enemies. Vlad is a new mob boss who is trying to protect his territory from the encroachment of neighboring mob bosses. When one of them sets up a racket in Vladƒ??s territory, Vlad has to take him on. As usual, heƒ??ll need all his wits and all his friends just to stay alive.

In Yendi we learn a little more about the Dragaeran Empire, the Dragon Lords, and the activities of Vlad and the other bosses, but for some readers the most significant event is the story of how Vlad met Cawti, how she killed him, and how they fell in love. I was looking forward to this story, but it was a disappointment. The romance was dull and not very believable because of how instantaneous it was. Another complaint I have is the same thing I complained about in my review of the first book, Jhereg: Vlad solves crimes or mysteries by using convoluted suppositions that just happen to be right and thereƒ??s no way the reader could have figured out what was going on. This is disappointing because Iƒ??ve learned that itƒ??s not much use to try to use my brain to remember clues or reason out a conclusion ƒ?? Iƒ??ll never work it out on my own.

This sense of feeling slightly lost is part of Steven Brustƒ??s unique style. He drops you right into his complex world, but only gives cursory explanations of the characters, politics and history as he goes along. Generally I like this technique because it doesnƒ??t interrupt the plot, but there were several times while reading Yendi that I wasnƒ??t certain that I understood the implications or all the nuances of what was happening. I was reading the audio version, so Iƒ??m not sure if I missed a glossary in the back, but fortunately there are plenty of resources on the internet for those seeking to study more of Brustƒ??s world.

Even though I donƒ??t fully understand Brustƒ??s world yet, I like it. I like Brustƒ??s sense of humor (very dry) and I like Vlad Taltos and his turf war. Iƒ??m going to keep reading this series for these reasons and because I have friends whose opinions I trust who love this series. I expect that the more I learn, the more Iƒ??ll like it, too.

I read the audio version which was recently produced by Audible Frontiers and read by Bernard Setaro Clark who is excellent in every way. Yendi is less than 7 hours long. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
This book occurs before book 1 of the series (chronologically). I did not know this when I picked it up so was bit confused as to the goings-on - particularly when some stuff that happened in this story had already been referred to in book one.

There is a bit less of urban fantasy vigilante novel feel and a bit more of a detective novel feel. And a bit more investigating and a bit less action. Not sure if this was a good thing, or a bad one though... I like having the action to move it forward and feel like justice is being served, but the detective part helped flesh out the world and characters.

All in all, it was pretty good, and I have bought the rest in the series. Though I do hope it goes back to the tone/feel of book one. ( )
  crazybatcow | Mar 23, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steven Brustprimary authorall editionscalculated
Clark, Bernard SetaroNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hickman,StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When I was young, I was taught that every citizen of the Dragaeran Empire was born into one of the seventeen Great Houses, each named for an animal.
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