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The Paths of the Dead (The Khaavren Romances #3)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  1,877 ratings  ·  34 reviews
The Paths of the Dead is Steven Brust's long-awaited sequel to The Phoenix Guards and Five Hundred Years After.

Two hundred years after Adron's Disaster, in which Dragaera City was accidentally reduced to an ocean of chaos by an experiment in wizardry gone wrong, the Empire isn't what it used to be. Deprived at a single blow of their Emperor, of the Orb that is the focus of
Paperback, 448 pages
Published August 18th 2003 by Tor Fantasy (first published 2002)
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Nov 12, 2012 Rich rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Rich by: I did
This book, and for that matter the entire series, has elicited a wide range of critical responses, many of which, it startles me to say, included commentary that can be most accurately summarized as describing the book as too wordy. My counter to this line of thought is this: I disagree.

Now that this issue has finally been laid to rest, I'd like to point out that the series is fun and that the reason Señor Burst has used this type of flowery language is that he's trying (successfully) to evoke
This book is an overblown, wordy wasteland. Nothing happens except that characters are introduced and travel around a lot. The writing is self-indulgent and the characters bland. There are about three chapters of good material here, and the rest should have been slashed. When I gave this book to my husband, I circled the handful of pertinent passages and told him, “Just read these, then skip to the next book.” I wish someone had done the same for me.
Orb is re-releasing the final three books of the Khaavren Romances by one of my favorite authors, Steven Brust. “The Paths of the Dead” (Orb, $15.99, 399 pages) and “The Lord of Castle Black” (Orb, $17.99, 397 pages) continue the saga of a fantasy world that’s, yes, pre-industrial and has magic, but Brust’s style is completely at odds with the 21st century emphasis on gritty realism, suffering and negativity.

In fact, Brust harkens back to the work of Victor Hugo, which proceeded at a most delibe
I'm stingy with my 5 star ratings, but even so I'm tempted with this book. I love the world that Brust has created (or discovered, hah). I've read all or almost all of the books, some more than once. I actually don't recall if I read this book earlier or not, but I enjoyed it. His characters are superb, very believable and well-formed. The story is interesting, and fills in some crucial gaps in character backgrounds and the history of the fictional world.

But as anyone who has read Brust knows,
***Dave Hill
(REREAD) The weakest of the Khaavren Romances, largely because it is a time lacking in (for the moment) adventure, a Dragaeran world diminished by the Interregnum, and all the more mundane for all of that. The final three KR novels are, clearly, a single tale, broken up for either financial or time commitment reasons, and the ending of this volume -- which is mostly setting the stage for the next two -- is exceedingly abrupt. Still, it's fun to see the gang, even diminished and off at the far co ...more
This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For
The Paths of the Dead continues the Khaavren Romances series of Steven Brust. Depending on your point of view, it is either the third book of five or the first third of the third book of three. Unlike the first two books, this one definitely ends more abruptly with much of the story untold so Brust's contention that it is really just the first part of a longer book and should not be considered a book in its own right makes some sense.

The style is whatever the extreme opposite of terse is. As wit
Ashley Honecker
As I previously mentioned, the story itself is good, being a prequel to the Vlad Taltos collection where we are introduced to characters whose origins were previously unknown to us. However, the book is a somewhat bitter-sweet experience, offset by the unusual writing Brust chose to incorporate into this installment of the Khavreen Romances. As one person puts it, it is narrated "..with a distinctive voice that satirizes the flowery and verbose style of Alexandre Dumas and his contemporaries." N ...more
Jan 07, 2013 Charl marked it as quit
Very, very frustrating. I love most of Brust's work, especially the entire Vlad Taltos series.

And both the Khaavren and Viscount series cover events earlier in the history of the same mythos that I'm very interested in.

But Brust chose to write them in the same style as Dumas and other writers of that period.

"And pray tell, what is the problem there?"

"It drives me crazy!"

"How, crazy?"

"Most certainly!"

"In what way?"

"Do you want to know?"

"I am nearly certain I do, perceive, I did just inquire."

Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
This was a re-read (in preparation for Tiassa). I hate to say it, but as much as I enjoyed the Khaavren romances, I didn't enjoy this one. Somehow it fell completely flat. The Morrolan segments felt very skippable and, well, boring.

Re-read in January 2013. I'd picked up The Phoenix Guards to re-read and continued on to Five Hundred Years After, and it seemed natural to continue on to this, which is either the start of a trilogy or a three-volume novel or one novel split into three books, dependi
Brust continues to spoof Dumas style, following the model of the Viscount of Bragelonne to add depth and breadth to his fictional world. In this case it works less well than usual because as it is clearly part of a bigger work rather than a book expected to stand by itself, he does little more than present some characters, set some plots in motion, and present in an overworded way the setting.

It is this overlap between verbosity and lack of resolutions what sets this book worse than others of t
Kat  Hooper
Originally posted at FanLit.

The Paths of the Dead is the first book in Steven Brust’s THE VISCOUNT OF ADRILANKHA trilogy, which is a sequel to The Phoenix Guards and Five Hundred Years. Each of these books is an installment in Brust’s KHAAVREN ROMANCES and they’re all related to his VLAD TALTOS books which, at this moment, consist of 13 novels. All of these books have just been released in audio format by Audible Frontiers. I picked up The Paths of the Dead after reading that it can stand alone.
Brust's story of how the Empire was reestablished, as told in the voice of Paarfi, the verbose and anachronistic historical novelist.

The Paarfi books are a lot of fun, and while not very much actually happens here over nearly 400 pages the reader is rarely left with the feeling of being short-changed. There is much humour, witty banter, a little derring-do and quite a few asides in which Brust makes more-or-less direct commentary on writing and the styles of other authors.

The plot also allow hi
Well, I loved Dumas, so obviously I would like this homage to The Vicomte de Bragelonne. After ten years of writing in this style Brust really got it down, and these last three (or, really, a single novel in parts, like its prototype) are the best of the five.

I've been reading Brust since 1987, when my friend Sam Jones introduced me to him, while warning me that "he's not actually a good writer." It was true then, though I didn't believe it at the time; but he has become a very good writer, and
Steven Therrien
A wordy "Book within a book" style bunch of facts and figures that end up going nowhere. Listened to the audiobook for close to two hours and still didn't know what was going on.
Joe Hill
Good story, forced writing convention. The book is a good companion to the Vlad Taltos novels fleshing out the history of the Draegaran Empire. The story itself I like, but it was difficult to get past the narrator who is supposed to be a Draegaran historian. He comes across as kind of a stuffy old windbag, which I think Brust does on purpose. It's an interesting writing exercise and will appeal to folks that are turned on by different point of view writing. I wish there had been a different nar ...more
Good, but not great. It's great to see a return to these characters and I really enjoyed the style of writing. Up to a point. After about the 5th encounter of "How so, you have a question?" "I believe that I do." "And are you prepared to ask it?" "Perhaps now I am ready." "Then I am ready to hear it."
it gets a little tiresome.

Not really much happens the plot pretty much crawls along and there's very little swashbuckling that the earlier books contained. Hopefully the middle book will speed thing
The style - Steven Brust is writing as a translator of a (fictional) historian of his fictional universe - made me laugh out repeately - then became very wearisome - then made me laugh out loud again. The story itself - first of a trilogy of the Viscount of Adrilankha - fills in a lot of the backstory of many of the characters in his earlier (but set later in "history") Vlad Taltos books.
... And if that is at all confusing, then Steven Brust is *much* too confusing for you.
Not for the casual fan, nor a good place to start reading about the Dragaeran Empire. The overblown writing style is a deliberate choice, and done well (and certainly exhaustive), but I'd like Brust to come out with a Cliff Notes for this and the other four written in this style (collectively the Khaavren Romances). Take out the formalized writing, the tedious asides and the stylized dialogue conventions, and you'd be left with 5 lovely short stories.
Michael Coats
"That, then, is the plan: we will have adventures, and then we'll meet girls."

If you've been reading the Khaavren Romances, you will be continuing here. If you didn't care for the first volume (and why not?), then I suppose you'll skip this.

The writing is clever and fun. The action is fast-paced and breathtaking. The characters leap of the page and command attention. Read this and enjoy it!
Maybe I'm just getting tired of the writing style, but I had a lot more trouble paying attention to this one and caring enough to keep the characters straight (there are a lot in this one and not really enough time to get to know any of them). Maybe it will get better with the next two, I gather these three are really just one book broken into 3 for publication.
The third of five books in the "Khaavren Romances". It starts the story of the restoration of the Dragaerean empire after the Interregnum. It is even slower than the previous two books and the charm of the style has worn thin. Read only if you are really interested in Brust's Dragearean world.
This series is really growing on me. At first I found the writing style a bit tedious, but now I am in the groove. This book is not a stand alone work as the two previous books in the series. On the last page you are looking for the next book immediately.
Rachel Rogers
After waiting with baited breath for a follow up to 500 Years After, here it is! It was great to return to Kaavren and company. Brust has obviously been laboring for a while to make this perfect. He succeeded. Couldn't wait to read more.
Mary Lauer
I am trying to figure out how so much can happen and yet it doesn't seem like it. Somehow the authorial perorations seem to take more space/time than they acctually do. Which is not a bad thing ... it's still an amusing book.
This is an okay fantasy. I dislike the third person viewpoint in this seris. I prefer the first person style of the Vlad Taltos novels. And the characters are not that interesting. Stick with the Vlad Taltos novels.
Juuuust barely made it through this. Balances on the edge of wanting to know what happens but not wanting to wade through the godawful prose.
C is for **censored**
The star rating given reflects my opinion within ‘the official goodreads rating system’. (Notice the two important words... OPINION and RATING)

1 star: Didn’t Like it
2 stars: It’s Okay
3 stars: Liked it
4 stars: Really Liked it
5 stars: It Was Amazing

I don’t really give a rat-fuck that there are some who think I ‘owe’ an explanation for my opinion. Nope, nada, and not sorry about it.

Sometimes I may add notes to explain what my opinions are based on, and sometimes I don’t. I do this for me, on my boo
Sera Lewis
Convoluted writing and no plot. Gave up after 50 pages.
Love love love these characters.
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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...

Other Books in the Series

The Khaavren Romances (5 books)
  • The Phoenix Guards (Khaavren Romances, #1)
  • Five Hundred Years After (Khaavren Romances, #2)
  • The Lord of Castle Black  (Khaavren Romances, #3: The Viscount of Adrilankha, #2)
  • Sethra Lavode (Khaavren Romances, #3: The Viscount of Adrilankha, #3)
Jhereg (Vlad Taltos, #1) Yendi (Vlad Taltos, #2) Taltos (Vlad Taltos, #4) Phoenix (Vlad Taltos, #5) Dragon (Vlad Taltos, #8)

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