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A book review by Steven Wu
December 28, 2001
|Rating: 6 (of 10)|
Athyra is a solid book that avoids much of what I found annoying in the previous Vlad Taltos book, Phoenix: since the story is told from Savn's point of view, Brust avoids much of the flippant, elliptical style that had bothered me so much in previous episodes of Vlad's life. Unfortunately, the dialogue is still annoying, for reasons I can't quite put my finger on. I guess the problem is that Vlad is being too deliberately mysterious, and the characters say "Oh" too many times (as in, "Because I am an assassin." "Oh. Well, what's for dinner?").
The biggest problem with this book, however, is that it's just not exciting. The House of Jhereg is trying to assassinate Vlad: whoopee. Vlad gets injured: whoopee. And so on. I mean, the first book had the advantage of being fresh, so that Vlad's chaotic lifestyle and his arrogant tone was fun. But now it's getting a little tiresome. And Savn, though a goodhearted, well-intentioned boy, is also pretty boring.
The problem I'm having with the series as a whole is that it's becoming a very thin kind of fantasy. The first book hinted at all sorts of depth in the fantasy world, and I smiled every time Brust slipped in yet another surprising detail about Vlad's world. But the world stopped being surprising, or even interesting, a couple of books ago, and Brust has done little to reacquaint me with the wonder of this world.
Actually, Athyra is the first Vlad Taltos book that's clearly not standalone: the sequel, Orca follows directly after this one. Maybe things will get better. Maybe not. Then again, these books seriously do take me only three or four hours to read, so I might as well persevere until the end.
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