Review: Yendi

Yendi by Steven Brust
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The first time I read this one, 20 or so years ago, I don’t think I truly realized how good a book this is. On second reading, it is absolutely fantastic. This book is also a reasonable choice for a starting point for the Vlad Taltos series of books as the events in the book actually occur chronologically prior to the first published book, Jhereg. (Personally, I’d say read Jhereg first, but they’re written in such a way that you can start almost anywhere and pick right up. There is a combination tome – The Book of Jhereg which collects the first three books by publishing order. Definitely go with that if you’re just getting started).

Yendi is a very early story in the Vlad Taltos series, covering several very momentous events that set the tone for events later in the series. In this novel, Vlad fights a territory war against a competing Jhereg named Laris. Both sides are supported by unseen patrons, and the events become bad enough that the Empress even notices and feels the need to intervene.

Along the way, Vlad is assassinated, meets his wife and uncovers a plot that spans hundreds of years and ultimately determines the Dragon heir to the empire.

As with all of the Vlad Taltos books, this is a fast-paced fun read. Brust writes with a very humorous style that I always find brings me several laugh out loud moments per book. While the book is quite action-packed, the backbone of the book is really a sleuthing tale wherein Vlad tries to figure out what is going on and then sets things up to try and win his war against Laris. As always, it’s a fun, engaging read and the details are what ends up making it. All of the usual characters are here – Morrolan, Aliera, Kragar. Cawti and Norathar also show up in dramatic fashion.

Definitely worth the read.

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