Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Book of Jhereg

The Book of Jhereg is actually an omnibus of the first three books of The Adventures of Vlad Taltos series, Jhereg, Yendi, and Teckla. Vlad Taltos is an assassin and small crime boss in the Dragaeran Empire, a human in a society of the centuries-living and tribal Dragaerans. He is also a practitioner of both sorcery and witchcraft and is telepathically bonded to a miniature dragon. As one can guess from Vlad’s profession, he often gets involved in the darker side of Dragaeran politics.
I liked the books, but something was a little off. For one thing they were a bit confusing. There have been eleven books published in the series so far and two of them, Yendi and the fourth book Taltos, are out of order chronologically. This means that while Jhereg is the first book in the series, it reads like it’s from the middle. It’s not a serious impediment to the plot, however there are references to earlier events that make little sense. Also, aspects of Dragaeran culture and society are not sufficiently explained. It’s as if the author decided to jump right in and flesh out the rest later. So while normally I would suggest reading a series in the order it was published, the books make more sense if they are read chronologically.
Whichever order you choose to read them, the Vlad Taltos are fairly good sword and sorcery yarns. They read a bit like young adult novels though they would be enjoyable at any age.
Final rating: 7/10.

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