18 January 2010

Book Banter -- Jhegaala

Title: Jhegaala (Vlad Taltos #11)
Author: Steven Brust
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 300 pages
Where Word Nerd's Copy Came From: Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library
Plot Basics: This is a probable spoiler alert. With 10 books already in this series, it's hard not to give anything away and still have a meaningful review.

Vlad is on the run from the Jhereg organized criminal empire, whom he has managed to piss off royally. He's also on the run from his failed marriage. Curious about his own roots -- and with few ideas of where else to go -- Vlad heads east, back to Fenario where the humans live, to seek out his family. When he starts asking questions, people start ending up dead. Vlad decides he needs to get to the bottom of what's going on, and in the process, brings down a Jhereg assassin, an iron-fisted merchants' Guild, Coven of witches and the local lord down on him. To stay alive, Vlad will have to use all of his cunning to untangle the ever-changing picture before him.

Banter Points: Though this book came out at least a year ago, Word Nerd decided to reread through the whole Vlad series before tackling this new one, a project that took her far longer than she expected. The reread was great and helped her get the timeline of the stories more firmly in place which was good for this one. Word Nerd's constantly amazed that Brust isn't telling these stories in chronological order. Jhegaala jumps back to some time before Issola and Dzur (bks. 9 and 10). The plot was the generally tangled web that Brust always manages to set up and then get Vlad out of.

Bummer Points: Word Nerd really likes the secondary characters (Morrolan, Sethra, Kragar) and this one didn't have them. Also, without giving anything more away, Word Nerd just wasn't thrilled with this, particularly with what happens to Vlad (call her crazy, but she doesn't like it when her favorite fictional characters get injured).

Word Nerd Recommendation: Word Nerd will probably go back and reread this one some time in the future and she'll probably like it better than this time through. Sometimes books are like wine. Or cheese and get better with age. And more time to breath. She will, however, gladly pick up Iorich (Vlad #12) as soon as the library fills her hold on it because all in all, it's still Vlad.

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