Author | Title | Rating | Latest
A book review by Steven Wu
December 22, 2001
|Rating: 7 (of 10)|
Let me mention, briefly, what I disliked about it. Brust's habit of skipping blithely over certain scenes is beginning to annoy me. His account of the rebellion in South Adrilankha in particular seemed like a cheat to me; I'm sure it's difficult to write these scenes, but then that's why I put the time into reading these damned books anyway. Brust's clipped style is also beginning to wear on my nerves. While it was fun for the playful nature of the first book, it breaks up any effect that Brust was trying to achieve in this book (with a few notable exceptions).
On the other hand, Phoenix improves significantly on some of the shortcomings of the last two Vlad Taltos books that I read. Unlike Yendi, Phoenix has memorable, distinctive scenes taking place in a wide variety of locales. While I hardly remember what Yendi was about anymore, I still remember individual scenes from Phoenix with pleasure.
Phoenix also does an excellent job dealing with Vlad's increasingly troubled relationship with Cawti. While Brust's style often gets in the way (as I mentioned earlier), there are times when the pain that Vlad is clearly going through becomes almost unbearable for the reader. And the plotline of Phoenix is as zany and unpredictable as the first book's, yet it is surprisingly free (for the most part) of out-of-the-blue moments and senseless revelations. The book also ends with some fairly remarkable events. I think it is fair to say that Phoenix will mark a turning point in this series--one that I will hopefully like as I continue with the other books of Vlad Taltos's life.
It's a little hard for me to say whether I enjoyed this book or not. It was hardly compulsive reading, but it was nevertheless interesting, passionate, exciting, and at times moving. Of course, it was also aggravating, annoying, and at times frustrating, but overall it was worth the three hours or so that I spent reading it.
Steven Wu's Book Reviews