Author: Steven Brust
Publication date: 1938
Genre: Hard Fantasy
Recommended for: 15 and Up, Tolkien Fans
The Kingdom of Dragera is a vast one, spanning half a continent. It has little competition. It finds its roots in 17 tribes including the Jhereg. Each tribe became a house which provided the empire with services. The Jhereg is a house made up of outcasts. As the Jhereg is the only house in which someone could buy into and maintain autonomy, it attracts a large number of the Easterns, an oppressed race. Vlad Taltos is one such member and just like every other member, he is a part of the house for one reason, for dirty money. At a young age, Vlad found a passion for assaulting his oppressors. Once his father bought a title in the Jhereg, Vlad saw an opportunity to do what he did best. He started as a lowly bouncer and soon rose to head his own small criminal empire. In addition to this, he takes on assassination missions and runs his own perfectly legal herb shop. Along with his partner Kragar, and his sarcastic familiar, Loiosh, he marks his place in history. In the particular instance of Jhereg, he finds himself taking on a contract for The Demon, the youngest and most vicious member of the Jhereg Council, who upholds the honor among thieves. He is thrust between a running Jhereg and an angry Dragonlord.
Now that the introduction is out of the way I’ll give my two sense on the book: I absolutely love it. If you’re a fan of sarcastic humor and believable worlds, this is the book for you. I was introduced to this book by my mother, an avid book reader like myself, and I’ve found myself burning through the entire extended series. Now, I may be subject to a small pair of red-tinted glass here as this book is what pulled me back into reading, however, over the course of the book, Brust establishes a great plot and good characters. The imagery is done well, the fights are written amazingly, the twists work, and the jokes punch. Even the world feels well developed. If there was anything I could compare it to, it would be Tolkien’s works, but that doesn’t really work. Tolkien invented a genre, Brust just writes the genre well. The book’s length also helps quite a lot. Clocking in at around 300-ish pages, the book never feels stretched. If the short length leaves you unsatisfied then there are sixteen other volumes released and the author plans to release a total of 18, spin-offs not included. If that amount of reading isn’t your style then each book can stand on it’s own quite well. WARNING: Brust is quite sick at the moment so new releases are sparse and there’s no guarantee that he’ll be able to finish it. That said, if anyone decides to pick this up for a read I hope you enjoy as much as I did.