rushthatspeaks: (sparklepony only wants to read)
If you don't already read Brust's Dragaera books, this is not where you start. Really, really not. You could start with Jhereg, which is traditional, or Taltos, which would be interesting, or The Phoenix Guards if you're heavily into The Three Musketeers, or Dragon if you want to tell me if that works, because I'm curious and feel as though it might. (I met somebody once who started with Issola. The existential confusion had been going on for years; don't do that.)

If you do read Brust's Dragaera books, or want to, you want to read all the other ones before you get to this one, both the Vlad thread and the Khaavren thread. And you do want to read them, because they are snarky and sharp and have multiple different inimitable narrative voices, and worldbuilding that is practically a narcotic (doled out in sometimes very small hits). They vary in individual quality, but the plotting tends to be good on both a book and series level, and I like the characters a lot. The best way I can sum up Dragaera for people unfamiliar with it is to say that The Phoenix Guards is a very good Dumas pastiche while also being totally its own thing. When I read Robert Darnton's recent book about French occasional poetry in the eighteenth century, I found myself thinking of everyone mentioned as Dragaeran because of how they behaved, except that of course Dragaerans are also semi-immortal elves affiliated with seventeen Houses based around various animal species, practice sorcery, sometimes carry weapons of great and powerful might, and conduct epic battles against beings godlike and weirder. People in Dumas only seem as though they do all that. Vlad, our usual protagonist, is an Easterner, which means he's physically human, which means that in some ways he is what you would get if you dropped a (very sarcastic) normal person into an eighteenth-century French court, and in other ways, not, because most normal people aren't actually assassins.

Anyway, this is one of the best fantasy series presently running, and I'm starting to think Brust may actually finish it.

For Tiassa, you may want to have read all the other ones fairly recently, too. This is one of those books that calls back to a lot of different things.

A tiassa is a tiger-like feline with wings. They are associated with creativity, intuition, dreaming, non-linearity of time, some forms of plotting, some kinds of theatricality, and, I suspect, marriage and to some degree parenthood.

I really like this book. It is complex and nonlinear and intuitive and non-obvious in all the correct ways, and coalesces beautifully, and is I think the best of the Vlad books so far on sheerly technical grounds except possibly Jhegaala*, but Jhegaala is sufficiently depressing that I can't reread it very often, whereas this one is (mostly) funny and touching. And that's really all I want to say without a spoiler-cut. Does anyone know which House comes next?

*My Grand Unified Theory of What Jhegaala Is Doing That Is So Awesome is available upon request.

Spoiler-cut, stuff under here is not so much a review as various random impressions, because that seems appropriate. )

In conclusion: awesomesauce. Made of shiny. One of my favorites to this point; it will need a while to settle and a couple of rereads before I can tell whether it is my favorite.


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March 2017

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