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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  1,036 ratings  ·  68 reviews
A novel of immortality---and its price
Born over a century ago, Agyar was once a frivolous young man, before he found unwanted immortality in a woman's blood-red lips. Now he goes from woman to woman, and decade to decade, finding himself at last in an Midwestern college town, where he must choose between the seductions of salvation--and of destruction.
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published (first published 1993)
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Agyar is my first introduction to Steven Brust. It's short, a stand-alone and quite an original vampire tale. The author succeeds at being humorous and witty without going overboard, and creates introspective and complex characters struggling to survive in a world when they are "different".

The first-person narrative easily enables the reader to get into the head of the main character without the author's opinions and judgment. Agyar is certainly not the most likeable character, but he easily ju...more
I like vampire novels & this isn't one nor is it horror or romance, yet it's all 3. The word 'vampire' is never once mentioned in the book, yet you're left with no doubt as to what Brust means. I really can't say more, maybe shouldn't have said that much. The process of discovery is one of the things that makes this book so well done. Each word is crafted with a precision that leads to inescapable conclusions, yet almost made me want to re-read it to see if I could have misunderstood.

The wor...more
5.0 stars. One of the best vampire novels I have ever read (and the only one in which the word vampire does not appear). A haunting, emotional story that will stay with you long after you are finished reading the book.
Don't let the inane prologue put you off, this is a pretty good little vampire story, a quick, absorbing read. It's a first-person narrative of a rather aimless vampire who manages to repress most of his wicked instincts and so tends to think of himself as a decent guy. He comes across as likable, and only his casually ruthless treatment of a girl named Jill keeps you from agreeing with him.

It didn't really work for me as a romance. It's also not quite horror. The book is never explicit or gory...more
Chris Bauer
I've been a fan of Brust since I was in college (long, long ago) and was very interested when one of his works of a non-Vlad Taltos kind was made available for purchase.

After about 4 pages I was utterly hooked. Nobody works a book behind the scenes like Brust. His ability to impart a metric butt-ton of information by what he DOES NOT include in dialogue, descriptions and plot is amazing.

There are certain conventions one grows accustomed to after reading a lot of horror/sf/fantasy; almost like au...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
If urban-fantasy is not your favorite genre, than you'll love this urban-fantasy.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I read this book because later in the year I will be attending a workshop at which the author, Steven Brust, is an instructor. As a kind of game, I didn't read the book's summary/blurb. I wanted to let the story engage me on its own merits without knowing what it was about.

It took me a while to put together the clues. Not long, but if I had read "This is a novel about a vampire..." it would have taken away some of the fun of not knowing, of having to piece together the clues, of figuring things...more
A most peculiar book. I'm still not sure what to say about it, and I don't think I can say anything without giving too much away.

Granted, I haven't read many vampire novels, but never in my life did I expect to read one in which the word "vampire" never appears. Or in which the vampires' feedings aren't described in bloody, intricate detail. I wasn't even sure that Jonathan was actually a vampire till more than halfway through. (Perhaps that's just a reflection on my intellect nowadays, or at l...more
I know this is not part of his regular series and it is a far cry from Brust's normal story, but I loved it! I was at a sci fi convention that he was doing a book signing. Of course I did not have my books with me and I could not get to them. He had just put this one out, so I bought it there and had him sign it. I went home and read it in one sitting. I just could not put it down.
I know that this book gets very little attention, but it deserves way more. Read this book! Even if you are not a...more
cEe beE
Jul 23, 2013 cEe beE rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Fans of traditional vampire stories
Recommended to cEe beE by: Sherwood Smith
That was well done. Thank you Sherwood Smith for recommending this a long time ago.
A longer review to follow. Maybe.
Reading and liking a new book is like a good first date. Something about the book makes you pick it up-- the cover, the synopsis, a blurb, a good friend's recommendation, even a random pick hoping for serendipity. You start reading, pleasantly surprised when your interest grows with each page. Every new revelation signals even more intrigue and mystery that you're eager to uncover. But you reserve judgment, still cautious and guarded, knowing it may yet disappoint. You're a roller coaster of emo...more
Quick! Gut reaction: Whoa. Brust wrote a vampire novel.

Short Summation

Without using the word “vampire” once, or describing any of the regular vampire activities, we have a story written by a vampire. It’s kind of like a diary, which Agyar writes on this old typewriter he finds in the attic of this old house he’s currently occupying.

Agyar is just trying to live, you know, setting up a regular thrall and trying to figure out what the woman who made him a vampire is using him for, now. He’d reall...more
Alice Lee
My feelings about this book was very mixed throughout, and how I felt about Jack kept wavering between amusement/neutral and disgust.

Anyway. This book was very heartily recommended to me by someone whose opinion I value. You'll love it, he said. Well, "love" is a strong word. Let's just say I have some feelings about it.

Few points. First, the writing is so much better than I anticipated. This is my introduction to Brust, as in the first complete novel I read by him, but my cursory glance at his...more
First off, this is a vampire book. See, that's something I didn't know going in. I have so many books on my "to read" list that I never remember why I added a book, and I purposely do not read the book jacket before reading (if I had, I'd have known this was a vampire book). I like the whole story to be a surprise, like a literary Christmas.

Anyway, I think it helps to know that this is a vampire book before going in. I began reading it, and initially I was only able to read a chapter a day. This...more
Agyar, c’est avant tout un jeu de pistes dans les rues obscures d’une grande ville. C’est le récit des virées nocturnes d’un dénommé Agyar, victime de la mode, séducteur émérite, mais aussi squatteur d’une maison en ruine. Je l’ai toujours dit, je n’ai qu’une connaissance très partielle de la littérature générale. Les plus cultivés ne m’en voudront, je l’espère, pas si je dis des âneries. Mais il me semble que l’écriture de ce roman est très moderne ou, tout au moins, ressemble beaucoup à la lit...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
For some reason it took forever for me to read this book. I think it was the prologue. The prologue seemed to, well, kind of suck. I read the prologue and couldn't bring myself to read something that looked like it would be that pretentious and gloomy and all the rest. So THIS time when I sat down to read it I skipped to prologue and it went much better. Much better. The prologue had me forgetting how much I enjoy Brust's work, in all of its incarnations.

The book is about a creature of the nigh...more
V. Greene
The moment I moved from contented reader to delighted reader was the narrator's discussion of zombies with his best friend. "Not sure I believe in zombies" -- says the ghost to the vampire. After all, neither of them has ever seen one. On the other hand, very few people have seen Jim, and nobody sees Agyar for what he is. It's a funny moment, and yet there's this metaphysical tip, since if we don't believe in these supernatural creatures, and they don't believe in zombies, just how far does this...more
a very different vampire story.
most reviews make a big deal about the fact that the word "vampire" is never used - which I took to mean that it's only hinted at that the protagonist (NOT the hero. just...the protagonist. I think this character fits the "anti-hero" definition far better than most to which it is applied) is a vampire. that's not the case at all - it's simply that, from the perspective of the protagonist his vampiric nature is as natural as anything else. it's just not worth mentio...more
This is one of the toughest reviews I have ever written as most anything you say about the book will give much of the surprise away. That being said, the best advice I can give about this book is that the less know about it the more you will enjoy it.

Agyar is told from a first person perspective, chiefly in the form of the main character sitting in the attic and typing his thoughts on an old typewriter. The pacing was a little slow at times and some of the conversations were difficult to follow...more
Nick Fagerlund
I find myself in a bind w/r/t explaining what made this book so good, as part of it has to do with some formal tricks and slow revelations which are delicate and easy to spoil. (If you’re seeing this on Goodreads, don’t click through to the book’s page and risk seeing a summary — I enjoyed it greatly despite having been spoiled, but trust me on this one.)

At any rate, this is the story of a very bad person trying — perhaps futilely — to become something else. It’s a thing that’s been done before,...more
Jun 20, 2007 Loopy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Any Vampire Fans
This book is a must-read for all Vampire players and for most folks who like Vampire fiction in general. Written in the first-person perspective with the vampire as a protagonist, Agyar manages to be as compelling and sensual as the Anne Rice novels, but with far fewer "filler" paragraphs.

The vampirism is portrayed subtly, and I find that it gives this book a much classier air than your average Vampire story. Steven Brust is a phenomenal writer and uses a lot of short, witty language that inclu...more
Agyar had been on my list forever until I had stumbled upon it at a used book store.
This is a very subtle tale of a young man and his relationship with three women: his loves and nemesis'. I don't know if I can recommend it or not. I did like the writing style, as if the reader has discovered a diary, but the reason for subtleness in this context escapes me.
I mean this is a first-hand account, or confession, so why be so subtle and ambiguous about it? I want to like Steven Brust since he has suc...more
I read this book in my late teens or early 20s and liked it a lot--happened to pick it up again for something quick and easy to read. It was even better than I remembered, though there is an element of surprise in the book that I obviously didn't get the second time around. The thing I love best about this book is the surprise itself: there is a major issue regarding the main character which is never mentioned or explained, but merely insinuated, and the "ah ha!" moment is priceless. Or at least...more
This was the first vampire I had ever read, way back in 2008.

I was shelving in fiction, and this book just sort of jumped out at me.

This is not your sparkly vampire story, nor is it the terror inducing, brooding, hot mysterious and ethereal being either.

Nope. This guy wears Wellington boots and walks around a lot. And he's sort of a regular Joe kind of guy that blends in. After re-reading the first chapter, it kind of reminds me of a Vampire Dexter...slightly smug but really, really enjoys wh...more
This was incredibly well written, and with an interesting main character. The entire book is written in journal entries and the character has a wonderful voice so it works out well. Also, some of the most interesting things are what he doesn't come out and say, but which you must infer through the text.

I think I would have rated this book higher, but in the end I was quite disappointed because of my very high expectations going in, based on someone's recommendation. If I had stumbled onto this b...more
I liked this book as a Vampire/Supernatural novel because it was really subtle, not too in your face about how "he's a super hot shiny vamp OMG." It showed kinda the more gritty part, and I don't think the word "Vampire" is EVER used in the book. The ending was a huge surprise (well, kinda...I had a sneaking suspicion). Overall a good read on the difficulties of love, life, and personal interaction that even those not quite human have to face. And even though I am a happy ending kinda gal, this...more
I'll try to make this a spoilerless review. Hum, that's not easy. The book is written as though Agyar typed the manuscript as a kind of diary, with its Prologue and Epilogue added by another person. It's a successful and enjoyable framing technique. You should work out what's going on pretty fast, but the book remains engaging until the end. In fact, this is the first book I've read for a while without thinking that I must hurry through to get to the rest of the to-read pile. That's a big deal....more
This is more of a classic Vampire story in the form of a first person narrative, as if you're reading a private journal. To give it that private journal feel it often has half finished thoughts and abrupt changes in the narrative. Brust does a good job of sloooowly pulling the curtain back on the monster behind this man. It also is sort of a love story but thankfully NOT a Twilight type romance. I've long been a fan of his Vlad Taltos fantasy. I find Burst is an excellent writer and this short b...more
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Steven Karl Zoltán Brust (born November 23, 1955) is an American fantasy and science fiction author of Hungarian descent. He was a member of the writers' group The Scribblies, which included Emma Bull, Pamela Dean, Will Shetterly, Nate Bucklin, Kara Dalkey, and Patricia Wrede, and also belongs to the Pre-Joycean Fellowship.

(Photo by David Dyer-Bennet)
More about Steven Brust...
Jhereg (Vlad Taltos, #1) Yendi (Vlad Taltos, #2) Taltos (Vlad Taltos, #4) Phoenix (Vlad Taltos, #5) Dragon (Vlad Taltos, #8)

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“...As we locked the front door behind us, she said, "How do you keep getting in without my knowing it? Did Jill give you a key without mentioning it to me?"
"Trade secret," I said.
"What trade is that? Cat burglar?"
"Yes, although I prefer the technical term."
"What's that?"
"Music promoter.”
“I shall draw forth thy bones one by one ere I send thee to the devil. So that for all time thy shapeless body shall serve a a carpet for all the minions of Hell.” 2 likes
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