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Book Review: Yendi by Steven Brust

Yendi by Stephen Brust

Title: Yendi

Author: Steven Brust

Series: Vlad Taltos #2

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3/5 stars

The Overview: Vlad Taltos tells the story of his early days in the House Jhereg, how he found himself in a Jhereg war, and how he fell in love with the wonderful woman, Cawti. -Goodreads

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The Review:

If I had to sum up the Vlad Taltos series in one word, it would be: unconventional. The writing voice is all over the place, flitting between past and present, from in-the-moment to addressing the reader directly. It’s as if Steven Brust took one look at the rules of writing and said, “eff those, I’m going to write however I please.” In my opinion, that’s playing with fire, but some of the most poignant writers take those risks all the time (I’m a firm believer that you must know them well first to break them well). There are places where I thought he took it a little too far, and the heavy voice definitely takes a bit to get used to, but his odd writing style is part of what makes the story so interesting.

Brust also throws you in the deep end of this world to either sink or swim, explaining precisely nothing about the dozens of references he makes throughout the story. He will throw in an occasional anecdote here and there, but for the most part you’re on your own. The first 25% of Yendi required a lot more concentration than normal and I didn’t start enjoying the story until I got (mostly) acclimated.

My favorite thing about the series so far is what feels to me like a merging of genres. It’s definitely a fantasy world but it’s presented with a mystery-driven plot and overlay of humor that reads more like an urban fantasy. I will definitely be continuing on. I plan to use this series as a palate-cleanser every time I get sick of the same old stuff.

Recommendations: Venture into this series with a “just go with it” mentality and be prepared for the atypical. I’d hand this to anyone who might appreciate a fantasy/urban fantasy/mystery tale all bundled into one. I would avoid handing it to someone with risk-adverse reading tastes (or people trying to get their feet wet in the genre).

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5 comments on “Book Review: Yendi by Steven Brust

    • That’s good to know. I have been trying to decide whether or not to spend extra on the audio versions so I can get through them quicker, but I don’t think a consistent 3-star quality is worth dropping $10 per book. If they got amazing, that would be a different story (haha no pun intended). I wish I hadn’t already bought ALL of the paperbacks lol.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ugh. Me too. I have an entire book shelf full of books I bought at full price and either didn’t like or don’t want to read anymore. I have done a decent job over the last couple years of limiting myself to buying just the books I’ve already read but I wish I had learned that lesson earlier on.

        By the way, I took inspiration from your awesome e-book organization and came up with a version of my own by sorting titles on a certain bookshelf on my Goodreads profile. I’ve only been running it for a week, but I’m loving it so far! It’s not quite as tidy because I have to go in and sort books individually rather than by groupings, but yeah, thanks for the inspiration. :-)

        Liked by 1 person

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