Read Jhegaala by Steven Brust Online


Fresh from the collapse of his marriage, and with the criminal Jhereg organization out to eliminate him, Vlad decides to hide out among his relatives in faraway Fenario. All he knows about them is that their family name is Merss and that they live in a papermaking industrial town called Burz. At first Burz isn't such a bad place, though the paper mill reeks to high heaveFresh from the collapse of his marriage, and with the criminal Jhereg organization out to eliminate him, Vlad decides to hide out among his relatives in faraway Fenario. All he knows about them is that their family name is Merss and that they live in a papermaking industrial town called Burz.At first Burz isn't such a bad place, though the paper mill reeks to high heaven. But the longer he stays there, the stranger it becomes. No one will tell him where to find his relatives. Even stranger, when he mentions the name Merss, people think he's threatening them. The witches' coven that every Fenarian town and city should have is nowhere in evidence. And the Guild, which should be protecting the city's craftsmen and traders, is an oppressive, all-powerful organization, into which no tradesman would ever be admitted.Then a terrible thing happens. In its wake, far from Draegara, without his usual organization working for him, Vlad is going to have to do his sleuthing amidst an alien people: his own....

Title : Jhegaala
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780765301475
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 301 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Jhegaala Reviews

  • Bradley
    2019-06-02 23:55

    This 11th book takes us back in time to the point where he'd just left his wife and needed a place to hide away from all the hoards and hoards and hoards of people he'd pissed off, long before he became a godslayer.Wanna move back home, Vlad? All fine and dandy, except these human yokels have never heard of you and the reverse is also true. Oh, Vlad, what are you doing here?Well, suffice to say, he gets embroiled in a murder investigation, gets tortured, and discovers that going back to the old world is generally never a good idea. Plus, it's smelly. And corrupt. And pretty much just like the place you came from except for the whole short, brutish, lives they live and the witchcraft, but, you know, DETAILS.I may not really like this novel for the same reasons I don't like most of the Vlad In Exile books, mostly because I think he works best as a city boy, but let's be honest here... Brust writes a better fantasy than most writers out there, with such clarity of vision and interesting characters that it's hard not to just put him in a class of his own. When I say I dislike one of these books, I'm only saying I dislike it for purely personal reasons and preference, not because the book is at all uninteresting, has story-related problems, or that it isn't satisfying.... Because it was interesting, it didn't have any unresolved issues, and it was satisfying. :) It just happened not to be up to the same standards as the REST of his books. :)And yet, I'm fully looking forward to the next in the series. :)

  • Jim
    2019-06-01 17:58

    Another interesting, but rather confusing story from Brust with one of my favorite characters in fiction. That means I was somewhat disappointed. I don't know if I'm just not able to pay proper attention since I only get to read in snatches of 30 minutes or so at a time or if Brust is just getting more obscure, but I have a feeling it is the latter. I like books that make me think, have subtle story lines & mysteries, but this was too unsolvable. When the story finally came together, it just read as too arbitrary & convenient. I'd taken a long break from the series. I was all caught up with it & had to wait on the next book, but several (5?) years passed before I got back to it. I was careful to look up the order of the books & re-read Dzur thinking that would be helpful for keeping the continuity of the series, but there were references that I couldn't place about his trip back east. I blamed it on time & my old memory. Turns out the story hadn't been told until now.I don't mind series that are not chronologically in order IF that adds to the story. Modesitt does a great job of growing Recluce, its magic & themes, by skipping around in time. Brust did the same thing with the early books of this series, but then settled into a chronological order. Now he breaks out of that again. I didn't appreciate it. It served no useful purpose, just made the previous book even more confusing.Brust likes to preface chapters with something different that says subtle things about the upcoming chapter, sets the mood, to some extent. In the last book, it was each course of a fantastic dinner. Interesting at first, I thought it was strained at times. This time, he has not one but two of these going; a naturalist treatise on the life cycle of a jhegaala & a comedic play. One or the other would have been fine. The combination detracted rather than added to the story.I have Iorich & Tiassa, but I'm taking a break again. Hopefully it won't be as long & I'll be in a better mood when I come back to the series. Right now, I'm just kind of ticked off.

  • Terence
    2019-06-04 18:00

    I've enjoyed Steven Brust for many years now, ever since reading To Reign in Hell, though I think he has a tendency to become too self-consciously arch in his writing (a tendency that ruined all the subsequent novels in his Khaavren Romances sequence after the first one). Fortunately, that habit is more often muted than not in the Vlad Taltos novels.I enjoyed the first few novels in the sequence when they seemed to be going...somewhere. But now they seem to have fallen into a holding pattern not dissimilar to Robert Jordan's "Waste" of Time series. Not the 767 that Jordan pilots; more a single-engine prop - the latest work clocks in at little more than 299 pages in my edition.What makes this lack of direction tolerable for me is that the focus is on one character who I actually like. Granted, Vlad is a murderer and a thug but he's smart, has a measure of conscience, and he's humanly complex. Over the arc of the now-eleven novels, we've come to understand how Vlad has become the man he is.In this volume, Vlad and Cawti have just broken up, and the Jhereg are hell-bent on killing him for his activities in previous episodes. His best course of action is to head back East, into the human lands, and try to avoid being noticed. With no other likely destination, Vlad decides to return to his mother's village of Burz and look up her relatives, the Merss. He arrives in Merss and, in all innocence, manages to upset a delicate balance of power between the local count, the merchants' guild and the witches' coven, resulting in murder, torture and general chaos.I enjoyed the novel, overall. Brust's writing is quite good and engaging, and as I wrote above, I do like the main character. I'd liken the Taltos novels to the occasional letter from an errant nephew or the annual Thanksgiving dinner visit from crazy uncle Manny - brief & interesting & they don't overstay their welcome.

  • Jamie Collins
    2019-05-27 19:02

    Another entertaining Vlad Taltos book. This one is set chronologically just after Phoenix, and Vlad is newly on the run from the Jhereg, who will kill him completely dead if they find him.Not having any particular place to go, Vlad decides to visit his mother’s hometown, where he discovers that something hinky is going on. The first half of the book is slow - Vlad walks around, asks questions, eats dinner, complains about the coffee, etc.. The action picks up significantly in the second half, where we finally find out what happened to Vlad’s finger.This series continues to be a lot of fun. I’m reading them in publication order, and I like the way Brust skips around in Vlad’s timeline, and spends almost no time recapping events that happen in other books. I only have two more to go before I’m caught up, but I still have the Khaavren Romances ahead of me.

  • Contrarius
    2019-06-19 00:23

    This installment in the Vlad Taltos series was a sort of comedic murder mystery/comedy of errors -- only with waaaay too much pain to be funny. And Brust made certain that readers drew this parallel by including snippets from a fictional murder mystery play (think Thin Man mysteries, or Jeeves and Wooster) at the beginning of each chapter. Those snippets were pretty hysterical at times; the mystery itself, not quite so much. But I understood the spirit of the thing -- there was poor Vlad floundering around without a clue what was going on, with everybody else scheming wildly behind the scenes. And in "real life", as opposed to stage plays, naturally the result of all this scheming was pain for everyone instead of good clean fun.I didn't appreciate this story as much as some of the others I've read so far, but it was good to see Vlad being forced to adapt to new circumstances. One aspect really bugged me, though, and still does -- and I'm knocking my rating of this book down one star because of it: (view spoiler)[we know that Spellbreaker can heal wounds, since we saw it heal a knife wound in an earlier book. We also know that it is made from gold Phoenix stone, so it is not itself inhibited by his Phoenix stone amulet. So whyintheHECK did he not use Spellbreaker to help heal his injuries after he'd been tortured?? (hide spoiler)]

  • Susan
    2019-06-04 19:19

    I'd have to call this one of the less exciting reads in an outstanding series. If you like fantasy, Brust's Taltos series is just amazing. It's about an assassin (who eventually leaves his trade) and his dragon familiar and their adventures with the Empire, a goddess, various near-immortals, and occasionally his very wise grandpa.The problem with this particular book is that Vlad is sort of wandering around, wondering what to do, filling time, and then trying to make sense of a town and situation that doesn't make sense. It's logical for Vlad in the series, but it's just not as exciting to read. I suspect that if I'd just recently re-read the whole set, I would have liked this more just because it is a natural next step in the larger plot.On the other hand, Vlad and Loiosh (his dragon familiar) are still themselves, and that's always worth your time to read.If you're inclined (and I hope you are, because it's excellent) I'd read the series, but start at the beginning with Jhereg.

  • Hallie
    2019-06-10 01:14

    I loved this step back in time, although the truth about Vlad's time back east (immediately after he fled the Jhereg) is pretty grim. I'll possibly come back to this but whether it's simply me or whether it's that Vlad and I share very few personality traits, or whether Brust and I see relationships differently, I DO NOT GET the one thing Vlad and Cawti have in common: a hatred of having been saved by anyone. It would make sense if one was relatively powerless and had to sit at home waiting to be rescued all the time, but that is absolutely not the case. On a much less sensible note, it was rather a shock to find out how bad the events that had caused the loss of his finger had been, given the relatively light-and-breezy story he told Kiera in Orca. Dude. A bit of sympathy from someone other than poor Loiosh probably wouldn't kill you.

  • Christopher
    2019-05-30 22:08

    A forgettable episode, probably irrelevant to the overall story. It's a fast read, like all Vlad Taltos stories, but this one is low on action, low on wit, low on fantasy elements, and devoid of interesting characters other than the protagonists. It's basically a pulp detective story--a man comes to a small town, gets beaten up, and tries to figure out why (cf. everything from Hammett's Red Harvest to Child's Nothing to Lose)--but it's missing the gritty violence and stark imagery. A bunch of crosstalk with a pet minidragon doesn't quite make up for it.

  • Ties
    2019-05-25 02:05

    A story without all the characters I like. Not worth it to be honest

  • Becky
    2019-06-12 00:16

    It was good to see Vlad among the Easterners.

  • Karen
    2019-06-17 23:19

    I like some of Steven Brust's other books in the Taltos series but really didn't care for this one. There were very few interesting characters, I spent a bunch of the book confused about what was going on, and overall the story was very dark (torture, dead children, etc). I really didn't enjoy this one.

  • Michael
    2019-06-12 21:06

    This book was not that good of a Vlad Taltos novel. The first 60% of the book was Vlad going out, complaining about the smell, talking to one or two people, then going back to the inn he was staying at.I will say that the last 15% of the book was actually pretty good.I really hope that this ends up being the low point of the series.

  • Guy
    2019-05-25 22:13

    Wow. I really like almost all of the other books in this series (Teckla is the other one I didn't really like), but this has to be the worst. In fact, let's all just pretend this book never happened.

  • Chy
    2019-05-25 00:15

    Okay, seriously, lay it out straight for me: What is this cover?Heh.The only thing I can figure is that it's the that's-not-Loiosh-dragon-thing they like to put on the covers, only...metamorphized (I like this word better than any 'real' ones). I mean, it's definitely not a jhegaala (which is very near like a winged frog.)So...anyway. Enough about the cover.I skimmed my previous review (immediately follows this one), but I don't feel right about rereading it. I know I probably both enjoyed it more and less than this time around. More, because I'd actually been waiting for more than a year for "the next Vlad book." (The first book I had to actually wait for, because of when I started reading, was Dzur, the one published just before this one.)Less, because I'd been hoping for more from Vlad's usual friends. This time, I knew not to.My main sadness about this books is two-fold; you pretty much have to have read all the others to enjoy it, yet it's almost written as this stand-alone mystery thing. Way off in the East. Away from everything Vlad readers are familiar with.Okay, it was cool for character reasons, only it was focused on the mystery, so that didn't have a strong effect. And Vlad, I'm sorry to say, made me a little aloof about the mystery because he kept putting things together and not sharing them at all. By the time he dumps all that (literally) on the reader, I don't remember most of it, because the action that he sets off because of knowing stuff happens first. So it's hard to see how it fits together. And I've read the damn thing before. It also means it’s hard to care about the action, because I’m not sure what it means.(Okay, so that guy did that horrible thing, but why? If I don’t know why, here where the narrator knows why, then it’s hard for me to understand how much I need to hate him. Worst of all, I can’t “be there” with the narrator.)Not to mention that after that, there are pages and pages (!) of info-dump to explain everything that just happened. Was very sad-making of a fan.Another thing that disappoints me is the fact that there isn't a Jhegaala in it. That is, a dragaeran of House Jhegaala. In the other novels, there's usually at least one member of the title house that hangs around enough for the reader to get a feel for what members of that house is like. It's one of the things I get entertainment out of.And that might not be so bad, except I can't think of a single significant Jhegaala in the whole series. So I got, like nothin' on that angle, man, except some excerpts about the animal jhegaala and a bit of exposition from Vlad about members of the dragaeran house.Blast!But there were some things I really admired. Like the specific and Vlad-artful way of “glossing over” the torture, while still finding ways to sneak in just how bad it was. It was…oof. It was artful and characterizationaly (sure, it’s a word) and still informative and…I was just really impressed with how Brust handled that.And I do like that Vlad went to the country of his ancestors and tried looking up some of his family and all that. And the what of what was really going on was good. (It’s just that how of revealing it all to the reader was…not reader-friendly. Or story-listener friendly, at all. Didn’t fit what’s supposed to be how we get the story. Yanno?)And there are some great one-liners. Always that.And, and, putting perspective on Athyra---knowing what-all Vlad had just come from. Because if I’m remembering correctly, Vlad puts himself at having been on the run for about a year in that novel, and also mentions having gone East. And this, in ways, accounts for that year and---oof, Vlad.Review from July 11, 2008:Short Summation This one takes place just after Vlad has fled the Jhereg. After a short visit with his grandfather, he heads east, over the mountains, to the homeland of his people. Humans, that is. With just the simple thought to seek out his mother’s family, he manages to stumble into a big mess. What I love is that if you hadn’t picked up on the titling of the books thus far, you get an out-and-out jab at it, even if you don’t pick it up because of the science book excerpts before each part and by the fact that you don’t see a single Dragaeran in this book. (And yet, it’s still named for one of the Dragaeran Houses.)Why this book?This is the latest book in the Vlad Taltos series. If it weren’t for Brust’s Vlad and Orson Scott Card’s Ender, I might never have gotten over my aversion to series. This is also the only book I have ever pre-ordered.How’d it go? You do know that Vlad’s stories are not in chronological order? This book is an excellent example of why published order is best. There were a couple of instances that would have made me scowl at Vlad if I didn’t know a major thing he found out in Dzur, which is the “latest” adventure, according to the timeline. Instead, I kinda jerked back, reread, and then got to think, “Aw, Vlad, that’s one of the things you forgot?” Then I got to sit back and wonder why that’d be something he’d forget and come up with my theories. Then I got to cry about Issola all over again. Mike says I’ve read the series too many times. I say he’s just mad that he didn’t catch as many things as I did. Oh, chronological order might have been cool, too. You could figure it out in a different way. Maybe it’s just that anything said about Morrolan sticks out in my mind. All right, for real, now. Talk about a mess. Vlad strolls into this human village and goes to looking for his mother’s family. Pretty soon, it’s apparent that this isn’t going to be so easy. And before it’s all over, you realize it’s one big mess. But it’s highly entertaining to watch it all happen. Three factions run the town, all of them working against and depending on one another. Meanwhile, Vlad is fresh from his run from the Dragaeran empire, so he’s also worried about the Jhereg catching up to him. Since he’s Vlad, he ends up at the hub of a four-way wheel of chaos, and it’s great. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but I will say that the last time Vlad got into this sort of “What the hell’s going on?” situation, I got impatient. I’m talking about Orca. Maybe it was because this one was straight Vlad narration, but this time I was totally into it. The only complaint I have has to do with the way he laid it all out for the reader at the end. You know the ploy: he laid it out, in dialogue, to someone who was still wondering about the same things we were. What did make me giddy was not only to find out what happened to the finger he keeps making up stories for how he lost, but that I also now know why he’d make up a different story every time. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Okay, I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get any hints to the story/stories in Brokedown Palace. Or, if they were there, I missed ‘em. I know there’s one -- I think there’s one -- in a previous book in Vlad’s wanderings, but I can’t find it again to make sure. I’m glad I had that BP on the brain, though, for the “I’m sorry” he hears at one point. I think Dzur would have made it almost as cool by itself, though. Actually, Dzur was the main reason it was cool, which is good, right? Aside from the convenient way the kinks got laid out straight at the end, I very much enjoyed this one. It’s amazing how much Vlad can get done while he’s on his back. As an added bonus, I can even see how he’d start veering toward the sort of man he is later in the stories. If I’d gotten the speech he got on why I was an evil bastard, even if I decided to never think about it again, I don’t see how it wouldn’t affect me. Subtle stuff, that. I’m glad Brust kept it that way.

  • Alex
    2019-06-15 22:25

    Ok really, it's like 4.5. I highlighted so many little turns of phrase that just tickled me. I always do with these books. They're fun, dammit. If the model for these books is "Vlad acts like a member of the house mentioned in the title, which acts like the animal for which the house is named," this is a bit of a stretch. I get that Jhegaala are known for metamorphosis. They adapt to their environment, but also they go through a cycle of change. Ok maybe that works here?Mostly, this felt like a cosy mystery, with Vlad the traveling detective. Not even like a great mystery, but very cosy. I'm in the home stretch of this series and am really tempted to just start the next now. Pretty sure I just got it on a book perk so, good timing.

  • Scott Shjefte
    2019-06-19 20:01

    Book grasps the concept that great accomplishments can occur with minimal actions. Perhaps that hurricane causing flapping butterfly wing in Africa was really Vlad Taltos. In someways this story is not as interesting as previous ones as it deals with our own well defined stereotypical human characters instead of nonhumans but it is a nice change of pace, although the action also boughs down here and there. Revenge and justice served are motivational and ethical issues left at the readers doorstep.

  • Sarah
    2019-05-25 22:14

    Another excellent novel in this series. Interesting to see what a village of Easterners looks like. The end of the book gets a little difficult... I have to remind myself that we have seen Vlad in books chronologically later than this, so he does make it past these difficulties.

  • D.
    2019-06-23 19:07

    A great read and entry to Vlad's journey. I think what I loved best was how much Vlad was out of place among his own biological kind and seeing him have to deal with an investigation without his crew.

  • Miramira Endevall
    2019-05-31 18:04

    I enjoyed this story more than the last two. I really got bogged down in the few books that are nothing but the 'breakup blues.'

  • David Fuller
    2019-05-29 19:59

    In a genre better known for sprawling, multi-volume epics, American writer Steven Brust's fantasy novels are a tonic: short, snappy and blessed with a sense of humour.His take on a tired genre is to use it as background for noirish thrillers and mysteries -- complete with a cynical, honest and wisecracking narrator, Vlad Taltos.Jhegaala is the 11th in his long-running series about Vlad, an assassin-turned-fugitive, which began with 1983's Jhereg.Brust has drawn from his own Hungarian ancestry for this series. For those keeping score, Jhegaala is set before the previous two books, Issola and Dzur.This time out, Vlad seeks refuge in his ancestral home town of Burz while on the run from the Jhereg, a Mafia-like organization he used to work for. With him as always is his flying reptilian familiar, Loiosh, who gives him plenty of advice -- which he ignores.The refreshing, if occasionally maddening, thing about Brust's Vlad books is that each stands alone. If you haven't read the others, Brust lets you know in bits and pieces that Vlad obsesses over his recent divorce, practises witchcraft and dislikes Dragaerans.It helps if you know that in Brust's world, Dragaerans are a long-lived, sorcerous race who treat humans much like medieval Europeans treated Jews and Gypsies. In an earlier book, Vlad cracks that he became an assassin so he "could beat up Dragaerans and get paid for it."Vlad stumbles onto a mystery when he hits town -- everyone is afraid to talk about his mother's family, and the local guild seems to run every business, except the count's paper mill.Half the appeal is the first-person narrative, in which Vlad dwells on food, the foibles of the 17 Dragaeran noble houses, or the virtues of klava (similar to coffee made Hungarian-style), which (sadly) isn't available in Burz.Brust has fun, as always, with Vlad's running telepathic dialogue with Loiosh.But Vlad's inquiries result in terrible consequences for his family.It's a rude awakening to find that after growing up in the massive cities of the Dragaeran empire, Vlad has no network in or even familiarity with his own people. He's sized up as a stranger and a threat by the locals.And like the jhegaala the book takes its title from -- a made-up amphibian that goes through many metamorphoses -- Vlad changes a bit himself. There may not be an ancestral home for him. Maybe, after years associating with Dragaerans, he too looks down on humans.Vlad seems to realize this when pumping the self-satisfied local priest for information. "There was an air about him as if he and I were in some sort of elite club that was above the commoner. And he wasn't elite enough to be in my club."Vlad can be forgiven for his hubris, if only because, aside from his actual talents as an assassin and sleuth, circumstances (and Loiosh) take him down a few pegs.For Brust fans, Jhegaala is another great story. For those wary of unending fantasy series, it's a good place to start.David Jón Fuller is a Winnipeg Free Press copy editor.Originally published in the Winnipeg Free Press July 20, 2008

  • John
    2019-06-12 22:17

    Nothing except moving and getting married in the same week could have stopped me from reading this book when it came out July 8. As it happened, I only got my grubby paws on it a couple days ago and tore right through it.First, some background. This is the 11th book in the adventures of Vlad Taltos. The story started with a book called Jhereg, originally published in 1983 and now reprinted in a collection with the next two books in the series. Here, we were introduced to Vlad Taltos, an "Easterner" (human) living in the Dragaeran Empire (humans call them "elfs," they call themselves "human"). Vlad works as an assassin and minor crime boss when we first meet him. He's intelligent and witty, brash and wise-cracking. He hates Dragaerans, who have always looked down on him for being an Easterner, though he has a number of close friendships with individual Dragaerans. He takes pride in his Eastern heritage, to the extent that he practices Eastern-style swordplay and witchcraft, but other than his grandfather and his wife, doesn't associate with or have sympathy for his own people. Over the course of the early novels, Vlad had all sorts of capers, often solving some mystery and getting out of some jam, with the help of his friends. One of the charming things about Vlad, I think, was the way that he did have to rely on friends to get anything done: his relationships with others were essential for the stories and for the success of his plots. Over the course of the first five novels, we see Vlad become gradually estranged from his wife, who starts to develop a sense of class consciousness and works to help better the plight of Easterners and other oppressed elements of the empire. This puts her at odds with the criminal organization that Vlad works for (and which she used to work for as well), ultimately leading Vlad to betray the organization in an attempt to save her, even though they are estranged. The sixth, seventh, ninth, and tenth novels have carried the story forward from there, showing Vlad on the run from assassins. In these novels, we see him as quite a different character than he was at the beginning of the series, matured in several ways.As he has done several times before with new novels in the Taltos series, Brust dips into Vlad's past, this time to fill the gap between the fifth book and the sixth (though there could very well be more space). Brust does an excellent job bridging that gap not so much with plot as with character development. Sure, there's a whodunit sort of flavor to the novel, but the primary interest comes from Vlad's development. He's dealing with the dissolution of his marriage, he's working to come to terms with his Eastern heritage, and he's getting by without his criminal network or his good friends. What's particularly masterful about Jhegaala is the way Brust manages to get back into Vlad's character as he was six books ago and reconcile him to the character we've seen in later books, paving the way for the further changes we see in those volumes. I can't say that Jhegaala is anywhere near my favorite in this series, but it certainly stands as a worthy addition.

  • Jen
    2019-06-14 18:57

    Not just one, but two plot devices in this novel: excerpts from a play and the description of how a Jhegaala (Vlad Taltos, #11) ages. That there are two does this novel no favors, since they seem to directly contradict each other about the type of tone they want to set for the novel and for each chapter.This novel is set out of chronological order. It belongs between Phoenix and Athyra as it tells the tale of Vlad's first adventure while in self-imposed (I mean, he could have stayed and been killed) exile. This novel fills in the allusions to Vlad's 'trip back East' from Dzur; we finally get to find out about Vlad's missing pinkie. To quote from the review by Terence: In this volume, Vlad and Cawti have just broken up, and the Jhereg are hell-bent on killing him for his activities in previous episodes. His best course of action is to head back East, into the human lands, and try to avoid being noticed. With no other likely destination, Vlad decides to return to his mother's village of Burz and look up her relatives, the Merss. He arrives in Merss and, in all innocence, manages to upset a delicate balance of power between the local count, the merchants' guild and the witches' coven, resulting in murder, torture and general chaos.In terms of how I felt about this novel: I've disliked others more, but I've also enjoyed others more. I'm very ambivalent; hence the three stars. One reason is ... well, reviewer Chy says it best: Vlad, I'm sorry to say, made me a little aloof about the mystery because he kept putting things together and not sharing them at all. By the time he dumps all that (literally) on the reader, I don't remember most of it, because the action that he sets off because of knowing stuff happens first. So it's hard to see how it fits together. ... It also means it’s hard to care about the action, because I’m not sure what it means.(Okay, so that guy did that horrible thing, but why? If I don’t know why, here where the narrator knows why, then it’s hard for me to understand how much I need to hate him.)And another reason is ... well, again reviewer Chy nails it:...There isn't a Jhegaala in it. That is, a dragaeran of House Jhegaala. In the other novels, there's usually at least one member of the title house that hangs around enough for the reader to get a feel for what members of that house is like. ... And that might not be so bad, except I can't think of a single significant Jhegaala in the whole series.

  • Al Tarancón
    2019-05-27 21:11

    Esta es una de esas raras veces en las que me tienta darle una puntuación aún más baja a un libro. Normalmente si el libro tiende a tirar hacia una estrella o 2, jamas llego a acabarlo. Me aburro, y lo dejo en una mesa, cogiendo polvo, atrapado para siempre en la etiqueta de Goodreads de Currently Reading. Ahí se acumulan no solo los que voy leyendo, sino también los que he iniciado y no he sido capaz de concluir, sea por la razón que sea. Quizás, en un futuro próximo, los retome y descubra algo que no vi en su momento, y puede terminarlos y disfrutarlos debidamente. No seria la primera vez que me pasa. Jhegaala ha estado cerca de convertirse en uno de ellos. Lo deje descansar desde finales de Diciembre hasta los últimos días de Diciembre. Otros libros se inmiscuyeron, libros que me motivaban más, que captaban más mi atención. Porque Jhegaala no lograba hacerlo. Siempre he disfrutado de las novelas de Vlad Taltos, pues es un personaje interesante, aunque la lectura de sus novelas me resulte confusa. Tarde muchos años en poder continuar más allá de lo que publico Martinez Roca, un tiempo en el que domine el idioma inglés lo suficiente como para poder animarme a leerlo. Pero el propio autor va dando saltos temporales, cada novela situada en momentos diferentes. Nunca tengo claro por donde voy, ni que he leído. A día de hoy, estoy casi convencido que alguna novela se me ha escapado entre las grietas del tiempo. Siempre tengo que revisar listados de lectura cronológica antes de embarcarme en una novela para ver si no he vuelto a extraviarme. Resulta confuso. Lo bueno es que, por lo general, cada novela es bastante independiente. Puede que haya eventos relevantes ocurriendo durante las mismas, pero Vlad sigue siendo el mismo, bien como líder criminal, bien como fugitivo de sus anteriores jefes. Quizás algún día logre captar toda su historia de manera adecuada, ordenándola mentalmente. Pero de momento, vamos tirando.Esta historia en concreto resulta ser totalmente inconsecuente e irrelevante, narrada de una manera lenta, tediosa y decepcionante. Trata de ser un misterio en el que el protagonista se ve envuelto, pero es tan confuso y el propio personaje esta tan fuera de su elemento, que te pasas el libro sin tener ni idea de que va el asunto, hasta que el propio personaje, tras casi la mitad del libro afirmando que ya sabe de que va el asunto, finalmente lo explica abiertamente, en lugar de hacerse el misterioso y soberbio. El que Loiosh, su fiel familiar jhereg este sufriendo la misma exasperación que el lector porque el protagonista se niega a implicarnos en el misterio solo hace que el cabreo sea mayor.Si, suelo ir perdido con la cronología de las novelas, pero siempre las disfruto por si mismas. En esta ocasión, por desgracia, me siento decepcionado y algo estafado. Y tentado seriamente de bajar a un 2 la puntuación...

  • Steven R. McEvoy
    2019-05-25 19:00

    It really is amazing that this the eleventh novel; in the Vlad Taltos serirs is as captivating as the first. Steven Brust attempts to write each novel so that it can stand on it's own, and again in this one he has done so. When I recommend people read them books, it varies on my approach. Always start with Jhereg but to some friends I recommend reading in order of publication and some in order of chronology. This book steps back from the last few and tells of an earlier tale. A tale of a man in search of his past and his family. It is also a tale of murder, intrigue, confusion and misunderstanding that all leads to a high body count.In each of the Vlad Taltos novels Brust approaches them differently. He has created such a believable world that side stories and books mentioned become something the read would like to possess. In this book each chapter begins with quotes from a play Six Parts Water by a playwright named Miersen. These snippets leave you wanting to read or see the play. It is hard not to like the witty and humorous Vlad Taltos, even if he is an assassin by profession, even if he betrayed his 'crime family' to save his estranged wife. Even is he got most of his distant family murdered because he did not understand a situation he blundered into. This is Vlad Taltos, the man we would like to meet and know and count among our friends. He has impeccable taste in food and drink and live by a motto akin to 'Life is to short for bad food or drink.'In this book we see a very different side of Vlad, he is not an Easterner trying to fit in without fitting in; in the Dragaera Empire, he has returned to the land of his ancestors in the east. He is a human among humans and yet he fits in even less than we are used to. In part because he has live his whole life in the west. Because of that in this book we see for the first time Vlad take a major misstep and pay a personal price, he is injured worse that we have seen yet in any of the books.This book will be a great summer read for any fan of the fantasy genre, or for people who are already fan's of Brust works. It fills in some of the story between early books, and answers some of the reader's ongoing questions about Vlad, unfortunately it also raised many new questions. But those must be answered in another tale. Hopefully soon.(First Published in Imprint 2008-06-27.)Read the review and with links to other reviews of books by the author on my blog Book Reviews and More.

  • Sara
    2019-06-20 21:15

    ***If you haven't read the other books in this series, there are spoilers ahead***In his eleventh adventure to date, Vlad Taltos finds himself in a difficult position. His marriage, that he had thought was perfect in just about every way, has just collapsed. Oh and there is one other minor detail, the Jhereg organization as a whole is on his tail, a Morganti blade in hand. With nowhere left in the Empire to hide, he decides that now would be a good time to learn about his past. So armed with minimal leads from his Noish-pa about his mother's people, he heads east to the small town of Burz where he finds himself embroiled in the center of a standoff between three different and equally powerful groups of people. ***End Spoilers***I think it's been too long since I've read a Brust novel. I always love everything this author has to offer but I didn't find myself nearly as engrossed in this tale as I have previously. Maybe a reread of the other 10 stories would have helped or maybe it was the story itself. Most of my favorite characters, including Aliera, Morrolan, Lady Teldra, and Sethra Lavode, were completely absent. Given the storyline, that is to be expected, but these characters add so much to the stories, that this one suffered as a result. Yes, the sarcastic interplay between Loiosh and Vlad was still humorous, but overall the story felt lacking. In addition, the lack of explanation about anything until the very last pages got annoying. Normally you would get some sort of idea of what was happening through the conversations between Vlad and his familiar, but instead there was a lot of Vlad telling Loiosh that he wasn't sure or he didn't want to talk about it. This made for a frustrating read. Notwithstanding, I will definitely continue with the series. I love the characters and the world is a really unique one to fantasy literature. I just hope that sooner or later my old favorite characters reappear and that the stories are less convoluted.

  • Joe Hill
    2019-06-02 02:22

    This one seemed remarkably similar to Athyra except for the absence of Savn. Small town, mystery to solve, tortured to within an inch of his life.I enjoyed it but wanted Vlad to learn more about his roots and to become more involved in the Easterners' politics on a larger scale to kind of explore that side of the world outside of the Draegara we've come to know so well, to make allies and to possibly find an emotional reason to connect with his people outside of Cawti and Noish-Pa.I think the Eastern side of the world and witchcraft in particular deserves more fleshing out in Vlad's world.For a town that is supposedly full of witches there is remarkably little magic going on and the lack of exploration into his birthright and the other half of the magic that makes him so interesting is frustrating.Granted we're given the Phoenix stone as a good reason not to use witchcraft, but this does not prevent him from using it at least once nor should it be a reason not to explore the deeper ties Easterners have with that form of magic.The fear of a Jhereg assassin continues to be a theme that demands resolution, but so far Brust keeps this conflict over our heads forcing Vlad into exile from friends and family; he should address this in every book as a problem to solve and if not find a resolution be confronted by a frustrating compromise with himself.There are too many things that don't make sense in the book. It is difficult to connect to the motivations of the major antagonists, to an 83 yo bed-ridden Count who suddenly has a lot of energy for intrigues and protecting the person he betrayed or the head of the Guild or the Coven because not enough time is spent developing their backgrounds or fleshing out the characters that represent them.Brust is great and I love the Vlad character, but this is one of my least favorite. Which is sad, because I think it could have been my most favorite.

  • Pdoe
    2019-06-18 01:55

    The nice thing about reading the Taltos series in order of publication, rather than internal chronological order - and, I suspect, one of the reasons he writes it in this skip-about way - is that you can come back to earlier bits that you liked better. I like the "Vlad and his world" stories better than I like the "Vlad and the gods/alien overlords" stories. And I wish like fire Brust would quit dangling the strange child in front of us and get around to explaining her. I also hope dearly that Vlad and Cawti will patch things up in the end.This particular story is one that's been alluded to in other books. Vlad, having just inspired the Jhereg to go after him with Morganti weapons, takes off for the Easterners homeland, hoping to find some of his family history. He walks, of course, right into something Messy and Bad and while I feel I have little right to complain about darkness in a series about a guy who used to be a thug, crimelord and assassin, still, it's getting me down. Vlad used to be happy and he did have a code of ethics. Not one you'll find in the Bible or anyone's equivalent, but it was there, anyway. Now he's not happy and the series is much less fun.On the other hand, this could be part of Vlad's journey to redemption. Vlad seems to be realizing, step by step, just how bad his previous life-style was and, incredibly, changing. The revenge he takes on the count in "Jhegaala" is poetic. (Also funny as heck, if you ask me.) It's not violent, which it would most certainly have been earlier in his character arc.It's perhaps telling that this book is "Jhegaala" and liberally sprinkled with talk of transformations. So while I didn't enjoy this book as much as I have enjoyed others, if the transformation is going where I think it is, I can't say it's not worth it, either.

  • Nathan Trachta
    2019-06-05 20:21

    Ahhh, an old friend returns. I've been following the adventures of Vlad Talos since the mid-80's. What can I say, I enjoy a little mafia type actions and some reading the adventures of an assassin in a fantasy setting is just so good. One of the most interesting items of Mr. Brust's Taltos series is seeing Vlad working in an organization when he's really an outsider; a very interesting perspective. This time, Mr. Brust thrusts Vlad into a new foreign environment, the Eastern world where his family is from. This book takes place shortly after Vlad betrayed the Jhereg and left the Empire. As he's on the run, Vlad decides to leave the Empire for a short while and visit Fenario, the land his family's from. Despite looking like the other humans (the Dragaerans are called elves and are different than the Easterners by being taller, looking different, and practicing magic) Vlad has the problem of not being native to the culture and thereby making this a story where Vlad is a foreigner. Because of this, we get to read about Vlad learning about the local culture and learning to work things without his `organization'. This was a very nice and enjoyable book; much more cohesive than Dzur (Vlad). Mr. Brust did an excellent job going back in time (slightly) and telling us about Vlad learning about his family and his people. There are good character interactions between Vlad and the secondary characters with a nice complex plot/environment for Vlad to work with. Mr. Brust's descriptions are nicely delivered but not as rich or robust as I might like; but it fits the Vlad Taltos stories. As with all of the Taltos series, Mr. Brust does an excellent job of blending Vlad's actions with the Dragaeran house in the title. A most excellent story that's worthy of 4 stars.

  • Ian Mathers
    2019-05-31 20:17

    So after Issola and Dzur made for a rare direct chronological sequel in the Vlad Taltos books (Brust loves skipping around in time), we go back again, this time to the beginning of Vlad's exile from Adrilankha and the life he knows. And we finally find out what happened to his missing pinky. Brust has done an excellent job, when skipping around, of setting up small mysteries and then actually playing them out in satisfying fashion.If recent (chronological) story events have seen Vlad becoming a slightly more positive, nicer person, well, Jhegaala takes place before that. Directly after Phoenix, actually, and it features Vlad impulsively going East to find out more about his mother (who died when he was very young) and between the reception he gets and then-recent events, it's not a surprise that he's in an even worse mood than he normally is. At first it's slightly disappointing that Jhegaala isn't one of the more structurally daring entries in the series; Brust is certainly capable of it, and the animal this particular noble house is named after changes form repeatedly over its lifespan. The way that theme plays out in the novel winds up being more subtle, and I enjoyed how long it took me to catch up (your mileage may vary, of course).And then some bad things happen; Vlad is as resourceless as he's ever been in this one, and he manages to get some innocent people killed, and he doesn't lose that finger in a wacky mishap. It must be a challenge to write so many books from not just a first-person voice, but mostly from the same first person voice, but the way Brust depicts these events is proof that he's extremely good at it.

  • Julia
    2019-06-21 21:09

    While Steven Brust is in his usual fine form as an author, and Vlad Taltos and his trusty Jhereg companion remain compelling fictional characters, I can't help but feel that this is a darker, nastier Vlad than previous outings.Yes, I know he's been an assassin for 10 books now, that's not the point. Previously, there was always an air of flippancy and devil-may-care and lightheartedness to the stories, but this tale seems down-right depressing in comparison. There are scenes in this book that will take Vlad more than a day to heal from. I won't give away plot points, but you'll know when you arrive at those moments in the book. They are permanent, indelible, and not at all easy to get over.Also, the person writing Vlad seems to be pissed from page one. I can't help but feel that Mr. Brust's real-life divorce (and other life-experiences?) has colored his writings, and it comes out in Vlad's long-dead relationship with Cawti as well as his interactions with everyone else on the page. I hold up for comparison "Teckla", where Vlad and Cawti's relationship deconstructed; MUCH better story, much less depressing, many similar plot points!! Go figure. Art is imitating life at long last, I suppose, and the story suffers for it.My two cents.