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Jhereg by Steven Brust
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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
The first in a series in a world where humans and reptilian'ish humaniforms coexist, but not peacefully.

Vlad Taltos is a human who lives among the Draegon. He becomes an assassin and works his way up the ranks, basically being a mob boss. This reminded me of a murder mystery in a fantasy setting from the Mafia's point of view. Interesting. ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
When I originally read this when it came out 30 years ago, it was a 4-star book for me. Fantasy with dragons the way Hammett might have written it, with politics, violence, rival gangs, upper vs lower class tensions, and a main character, Vlad Taltos, who moves between the two levels. It remains a fun read and the start of a long series, but I can now see flaws of a first novel, namely a few too many info dumps about the long history of Dragaera, characters such as a wife that pop up almost out of nowhere a quarter of the way into the book, and some major revelations about Vlad's relationship with that history that mean a lot to Vlad, but nothing at all to the reader. These would have been much more impactful after several more volumes in the series, when both the world and Vlad were more established.

You could do a lot worse for a couple days reading. ( )
  ChrisRiesbeck | Nov 17, 2016 |
When a council member of the Jhereg's has stolen 9 million, Vlad Taltos is called in to take him down. But it's not going to be an easy task when he finds out that his target has taken refuge in one of an untouchable castle.
Trickery needs to be done, and he's on a clock.

I enjoyed this book in the sense that it was a very quick, easy, and fun read. It didn't have much substance besides introducing a new world with its specific quirks and rules. But discovering a world is always fun.

This is a particularly fun world because it holds both favorite tropes and new ideas alike. There are factions, each with their own specific trait. I love this sort of stuff because it gives rise to all sorts of underhanded politics and undercurrents.
Also, death is viewed in a particularly different way. Very interesting (more on this later).

I have a lot of problems with the book though- not massive ones, but enough to give me the impression that this book wasn't up to par.
First, the side characters. For goodness sakes, his familiar is basically a servant that is told to shut up every other time he is talked to. And the poor creature used to call him Mommy. Or his wife. Or Daymar. All of them are just convenient and powerful characters with no depth to help him execute his oh so brilliant plans.

Second. The massive reveal. I literally was chanting to myself, no not revenge. Don't make the reason revenge. Not something that stupid. Surely this guy Meller who hoodwinked three Houses has a grander scheme than just that! But.... Nope. Wow. I am not impressed. It was not a brilliant plan. It was an obvious one.

Third. Not amused at the reveal of Vlad's heritage. It seemed like a twist that was there just to give you a shock but didn't actually have a point. Maybe it's setting up the scene for future books, but here it was rather like... Okay. Cool. There's another reason you're special. It makes me regret it a little because I always prefer the main character to win or succeed based on his or her own merits, rather than a prophecy or genetics.

I think that's the basis of the story. It tries to be impressive with schemes and plots, but the actuality of it all is quite mundane. Perhaps I would have enjoyed this book far more when I first started reading fantasy novels. Maybe I am just jaded by tropes and cannot see the brilliance of the story. Who knows.

But my absolute favorite part of this world is the death perspective. Wow. I've never seen it treated so cavalier. Absolutely fantastic. Makes assassins seem more plausible than other worlds because death can just be a warning, no biggie. Brilliant.

I also loved his wit. There are some moments I just had to stop and grin and how clever some of the lines were. My favorite might have been:

“She smiled at me. We were all friends here. Morrolan carried Blackwand, which slew a thousand at the Wall of Barrit’s Tomb. Aliera carried Pathfinder, which they say served a power higher than the Empire. Sethra carried Iceflame, which embodied within it the power of the Dzur Mountain. I carried myself rather well, thank you.”

I am not that entranced by this book. Sure it was fun and quick and there are parts that I really loved, but I don't need to learn more about him or this world. I probably won't pick up the sequels unless bored out of my mind.
2.5 stars rounded up. I liked it. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
Reread Feb2012, review added.

I originally gave this 4 stars, although I've read it numerous times & really enjoyed it. I just never thought it had any redeeming features beyond sheer enjoyment. Now that I've read most of the rest of the series, I see on a re-read that the craftsmanship of this story demands another star.

This is not the first book in the chronology of the series, but it is the first published. Why should you read it first? Because the author couldn't have picked a better way to introduce the reader to an entirely new world & mythology. The story demands our likable anti-hero, Vlad Taltos, look deeply into another character. His search uncovers more than expected & gives us an understanding of the world that we never would have had otherwise. Not only is it entirely entertaining & fast moving, but I had no trouble at all remembering odd names & characters. Each comes alive in a way that sticks in the memory, with a depth that is incredible for the terse wording. Not just the main characters either, although there were most of a dozen of those alone. It's truly an amazing feat.

Now I REALLY want to go on to the next book, [b:Yendi|817357|Yendi (Vlad Taltos, #2)|Steven Brust|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1302450419s/817357.jpg|1058], but I have other commitments - damn! ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
DNF at 76%.




No, really. I don't. I tried. It starts off amazingly and I was all set for a great read, but then it quickly became something else completely. This is pretty boring, actually. And convoluted. It's one scheme after another after another. There's a whole lot of discussion about that's going to happen, but I have just the one life. I'm not gonna waste it waiting for shit to actually happen. Things that I like in a book are seemingly present, but it still didn't work, because this book is a mess. Don't ask me to explain the plot, because I dunno.

This came highly recommended, so I felt obligated to continue, but I just couldn't anymore. You know it's bad when you can't even finish out the last 24%.

This is a DNF for now, but it's not outside the realm of possibility that I will one day (one day far away) pick this up and try again. But don't hold your breath. You'll die.





( )
  JennyJen | Aug 14, 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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There are many ways to advance in the world. Vlad Taltos chose the route of assassin. His qualifications:quick wits & sword, a smattering of witchcraft & his constant companion- a young jhereg, its leathery wings and poisonous teeth always at Vlad's command, its alien mind psionically linked with his own. . .
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Collects the first three adventures of the swashbuckling assassin Vlad Taltos and his smart-mouthed reptile familiar Loiosh.

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