Okay, so maybe I've been living in the woods too long, where you can't even get a decent cup of klava first thing in the morning. So who should turn up but Lady Teldra, the courtly servant of my old friend the Dragonlord Morrolan?
Teldra wants my help, because Morrolan and Aliera have disappeared, and according to Sethra Lavode, it looks like they may be in the hands of the Jenoine. Do I want to mess with them? The guys who made this place? And I thought I had problems before...
Oh well, what's a little cosmic battle with beings who control time and space? It's better than hunkering down in the woods without even so much as a drinkable cup of klava.
©2001 Steven Brust (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
Definitely, but not this recording, because of the missing passage.
The voices are terrific.
There is a chunk missing in this recording, an important passage in chapter 9.
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3.5 stars. Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.
“I miss the days when I used to be nostalgic.” ~Vlad Taltos
I’ve been slightly disappointed with the last few novels in Steven Brust’s VLAD TALTOS series, but with Issola, book 9, Brust returns to what I liked about the earlier books. While I admired Brust’s willingness to experiment with his world, his characters, and especially the narrative structure of his novels, I think he’s best when the overall plot is moving forward and Vlad is using his assassin skills to solve mysteries and help his powerful Dragonlord friends.
In Issola, we’re back to a present timeline. Vlad and Cawti are separated but Vlad is starting to recover from the funk he’s been in for quite a while now. He’s been run out of his organization and is hiding from them in the woods. Then Lady Teldra (an Issola who is servant to the Dragonlords Morollan and Aliera) shows up to tell him that Morollan and Aliera have disappeared and may have been kidnapped by extra-dimensional godlike beings called the Jenoine. Vlad isn’t sure what he can do to help, but he does have a weapon that might be useful, so he and Loiosh return to Castle Black to hunt for their friends. It’s good to be back in Castle Black which floats in the sky and has rooms that go to unknown places. It’s through one of these that Vlad must look for his friends.
In Issola we learn a lot more about Vlad’s world — who made it, how some of the magic and sorcery work, what the orb is made of and what it does, what the great weapons are for, how to make a great weapon (this was cool), more about Morollan and Aliera, what Sethra Levode’s role in the empire is, what Vlad’s magical chain can do, how his world is in danger from outside forces, etc. Some of this feels tacked on since it’s the first time (in nine books) that we’ve heard of it, but that didn’t bother me too much since these novels have a breezy feel to them. We also learn a lot about the Issola in this novel. Their nature is to be courteous and diplomatic, which gives Vlad a chance to meditate on the usefulness of these personality traits and to compare them to the more aggressive Dragons. (As a psychologist, I always enjoy this part of Vlad’s ruminations.)
As I said before, the best part about Issola is that Vlad is back to his witty sarcastic self, which is a welcome change after watching him brood for three novels. It’s amusing to listen to Vlad and Loiosh’s internal dialogue:
“I like to read about history, not make it.”
“You see, Boss? It’s because of attitudes like yours that there are so few human heroes.”
“And so many humans.”
At the end of Issola, Vlad has a different outlook on life and his world has changed dramatically. I look forward to finding out what comes next in book 10, Dzur. By the way, I love Audible Studio’s versions of the VLAD TALTOS books. Bernard Setaro Clark is now THE voice of Vlad Taltos for me — I think he’s wonderful. Issola is 8.5 hours long on audio.
It's a culmination of 3 books worth of stories spanning 5 books. Finishing the most modern timeline in stellar fashion, the performance as always was superb
I'm a little bias as this series is my favourite, but of the Vlad Taltos, series this is one of 3 favourite books. The character development is amazing. I love the dialogue. This audio reading was a little lacklustre compared to others in this series by the same group, but it certainly isn't bad. This story is pivotal to the series and Brust never hesitates to be more than entertaining. My Toronto commute is so much more bearable.
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