Vlad Taltos is very good at killing people. That, combined with two faithful companions and a talent for witchcraft, makes him an assassin par excellence. But lately his heart just hasn't been in his work, so he decides to retire. Unfortunately, old enemies have scores to settle with Vlad. So much for retirement!
©1993 Steven Brust (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
Initially, I thought this entry in the series would be subpar without Vlad himself as narrator, but that misconception quickly evaporated. Although having a new point of view is jarring and doesn't get much better through the experience. The story seems a bit clunky because of the new view as well, but it is fun seeing "vagabond Vlad".
Vlad returns after several years of silence in his timeline, he alludes to several adventures he's had in the interim, one involving the disfigurement of his hand. He's a changed man, but just as snide as ever.
We meet Vlad again through the eyes of a young Teckla, Savn. Savn has had little exposure to Easterners and is not quite sure what Vlad is all about, particularly when one of the townsfolk turn up dead shortly after Vlad's arrival.
This all culminates in an interesting character piece. We see where Vlad has ended up after years on the run, and how far he is willing to go to ensure his safety. Even if it means messing up a lord or two.
As always, Bernard Setaro Clark is fantastic with his reading, but he maintains a higher pitch through most of the story to fit with the young Teckla who is telling us the story; it can get a bit grating after a time, especially when said Teckla seems to be fairly clueless about how most of the world works.
Athyra is told from the point of view of a Teckla boy just entering manhood. It is interesting to see Vlad from someone else's point of view for a change.
The Jerheg, Rocsa is performed admirably - she doesn't translate into words and Mr. Clark does a good job conveying the reptilian brain at work.
I was first put off, then enthralled by the change of perspective. Throughout the series reader's have seen the Dragerans through a human, 'easterner' perspective. The subtle difference between them and humans comes to the fore as we see the main character not as what he is to us but what he is to them.
(Please disregard spelling mistakes as audio books do not lend themselves to writing out fantasy names and races).
Vlad is out of his element in this book, which makes for a nice change of pace but the entire perspective shifts from first person narration and you lose some of the wit and humor that characterizes the other books. The story is pretty slow paced as well. I'm hoping the next one goes back to the good stuff.
I have truly loved this series up until this point...but this book have some major flaws.
Vlad and Loiosh have been reduced to sidecharacters.
And the new main characters are now Rocza and a rather slow village boy.
This would not have been so bad if Rocza could talk or if the boy was either smart, quick or witty....That is however not the case.
If a question is asked in this book there is a 90% chance that the answer will be "nevermind","I don't know" or "...nothing" this gets very frustrating after a while.
The plot ok-ish, but badly paced.
I will probably not listen to it again.
If you are wondering if you can jump this book without losing the story.
Yes, I believe you can.
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