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Phoenix (Vlad Taltos, #5)
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(Vlad Taltos #5)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  6,224 ratings  ·  112 reviews
Verra, Vlad's patron goddess, hires him to assassinate a king whose country lies outside the Dragaeran Empire, resulting in increased tension between the two places. Meanwhile, the peasant Teckla and the human Easterners persevere in their fight for civil rights. As Vlad's wife Cawti is a firm partisan of the movement, and Vlad is not, their marriage continues to suffer, c ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published November 1st 1990 by Ace Books (first published October 1st 1990)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  6,224 ratings  ·  112 reviews

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Start your review of Phoenix (Vlad Taltos, #5)
The fifth book of the Vlad Taltos series, and I feel like Brust has prepared the way to get back on track again. Vlad is our friendly, neighbourhood assassin and generally amusing, snarky guy, but he has been involved in Dragaeren politics for several books, with he & his wife Cawti on opposite sides of the divide. It’s difficult to write humour for a character who is engaged in a struggling relationship, and humour is the main attraction of this series, in my opinion.

And now for something compl
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
As a Vlad Taltos novel, it doesn't follow the same tricks as the previous novels, which bodes well. The main issue, assassination, starts and finishes almost immediately, but the ripple effect tears the rest of his life apart.

I can't say that I'm very surprised that his marriage has fallen apart, because that was the main terror of the last novel, as was the revolution, which has now finally blown up the great city.

Poor Vlad. Not only is his vaunted practicality falling to shit, he's actually be
Melissa McShane
This is an improvement on Teckla, but not by much: Vlad's marriage is still imploding, Cawti is still being stupid, and there's still trouble in South Adrilankha. What makes this interesting is that Vlad's new job is given to him by none other than Verra, the Demon Goddess. She wants someone assassinated--a king, no less--and she wants Vlad to do it.

I enjoyed the setup for this one, as it takes Vlad outside the Dragaeran Empire. Having listened to this on audiobook, I don't remember some of the
Jennifer Wheeler
Oct 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This 5th book reads as if it could have been the last book in the series, but also comes closest to getting a 5 star rating out of all of them so far. Lots of action in this one, and plenty of laughs. Worth noting at this point - Kragar is easily one of the most interesting and likeable side characters I’ve ever come across in a series. His ability to go unnoticed is both incredibly useful, and a source of great humour. I expect the next book will most likely jump back in time again, and I’m loo ...more
May 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
What fine, fine books these are. Insert satisfied "ahhhhhhhh" here. I can't imagine why I never finished the series when I was reading these back in the 80's.

These books seem to have aged very well. I really see nothing that would mark them as "older" fantasy, or that would prevent anyone who enjoys "modern" fantasy from having a heckuva lot of fun with them. Brust tortures Vlad just as much as any author of "dark fantasy" does today, he's is just as morally gray (at least to start with) as any
Feb 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-audio, quest
There is something incredibly satisfying about this series. It's witty and orginal. I've fully bought into the world that Brust has built. ...more
Jamie Collins
Oct 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Not as much fun as the last book, because we're back to anguish over the pending revolution and trying to rescue Vlad's wife, who doesn't want to be rescued. Not fun to watch a marriage break up. It's poignant, but again, not much fun to watch somebody come to the realization that they might be a bad person.

There's some good stuff here, though, plenty of action and adventure. I enjoyed the drummer. I enjoyed Vlad meeting the Empress. I'm not sure where Brust is taking the character next, since t
Maggie K
Dec 05, 2012 rated it liked it
probably a bit more than a 3.0, due to the fact that the mehness I am feeling is because the main character is in a 'meh' place in his own life. A transition novel, and I am very curious about the 'new' Vlad! ...more
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Maybe the best of the bunch so far. I don't know where the story goes from here, but I'm stoked to experience it. ...more
Feb 05, 2020 added it
Shelves: f-sf
I forgot the events of Phoenix came so early in the series
Kat  Hooper
Sep 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
3.5 stars. Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.

Phoenix, the fifth novel in Steven Brust’s VLAD TALTOS series, is a turning point in Vlad’s story. By the end of this book, his life will have changed drastically. The story begins as Vlad is stuck in a situation that he might not be able to get out of alive. In desperation, he calls on Verra, his patron goddess, for help. She saves him (or so it appears), and in return she demands that he sail to the island kingdom of Greenaere and assassinate
Dec 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
I love all the Vlad Taltos series that I've read. In this book, Vlad tries to help his estranged wife Cawti, who was arrested for inciting rebellion of the downtrodden Easterners and Teckla in South Andrilankha. He is also given a job he can't refuse, to assassinate a king, which gets him into real trouble. (Vlad is an assassin and crime boss.) The ruling species (Dragaerans, otherwise known as elves) run the Empire, and Vlad is an Easterner (otherwise known as a human), but he has two familiars ...more
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-english, 2015, fantasy
One star down for Cawti being in this. I seriously hate that woman's guts and the way Vlad behaves like a pathetic puppy around her. As far as Brust's female characters go, I would much rather learn more about Kiera, Aliera, Sethra Lavode, the Empress or even Verra herself.

But Cawti aside, I loved the book dearly, mostly because Vlad finally, FINALLY admitted to himself that he loved his Dragaeran friends, Morrolan and co., and that he couldn't very well keep insisting that he hated Dragaerans
This wasn't my favorite of the series, mostly because Vlad spent too much time being troubled by his wife and other humans instead of putting pointy things in the dragaerans, but less than favorite Brust is still better than most people's best. I've only a few more to read before I've caught up--including my least favorite, Athyra and my favorite, Issola. Maybe I'll skip Athyra--boring. Or, maybe it will be better the second time around? ...more
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Each book in Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos series is named after one of the Houses in the Dragaeran society ruling class. The first book, Jhereg, is named after the House in which Vlad holds the title of Baronet, also a "jhereg" is a small, sentient dragonlet; Vlad has one named Loiosh as his familiar. In the subsequent novels, the title and characteristics of the House reflect the plot: for example, in the second book, Yendi, the story revolves around a complicated mystery, the kind of long-game t ...more
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 07, 2020 added it
Moving forward with the story line, the peasants are still revolting (thanks, Johnny Hart!), and Vlad and Cawti's relationship is still in limbo. The Demon Goddess Verra summons Vlad to the Halls of Judgement and gives him a commission to assassinate the king of Greenaere, an island kingdom a few days sailing away from Adrilankha. Vlad sees this as an opportunity to get away from the situation with Cawti and her rebellion (personal and public) and heads for the island, where he succeeds at the a ...more
Nov 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Vlad Taltos is an assassin, and used to taking jobs without knowing all the details---but he's certainly wondering why his own goddess needs to hire him for a hit. And she isn't aiming small, either. But a job's a job, even if this one is bound to have consequences well beyond the usual.

Although Vlad does figure out much of the reasons why by the end, I still felt this one was a bit weaker than some of the other ones I've read. The Demon Goddess is either lying (which didn't seem likely) or app
Mar 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Phoenix is the fifth volume in Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos series. Vlad is hired for his most risky job yet by an unlikely employer.

Vlad and Cawti continue to try and work things out, and Brust proves yet again that he can write complicated relationships well. Morrolan, Aleira, Sethra, Noish-Pa, Kragar, Loiosh, and Rocza all return as prominent characters, and we learn something new about all of them. Vlad also meets a drummer named Aibynn on the island of Greenaere who I thought was cool since
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epic-fantasy
So... for some reason I'm not completely clear on... this book confused me more than previous installments. It was good. It was interesting. I wanted to spend more time with it. Rereading bits. Perhaps referencing previous books. But the books are not available as ebooks. They're not available in regular bookstores. Used bookstores occasionally have isolated copies. I guess I could order the individual novels online. But so far I've been listening to the audiobooks. They're all on Audible, insta ...more
Michael T Bradley
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is very, VERY difficult to talk about this book without talking about the ending, which I try to avoid. So I'll just say this:

The conundrums Vlad faced in Teckla are pushed beyond their straining point, and some real change happens to the status quo. What I found especially interesting is stuff from Book 4 (Dragon? Cripes, I can't keep the names straight), which was a flashback, comes into play here, also. Brust obviously has at least a few large master plans in place, and I can't wait to see
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This Vlad book was a little depressing overall. His marriage is still falling apart, he has enemies trying to snuff him at all sides and he doesn't really know what he's doing with his life. I was most depressed about the rift between him and his wife, since it seems like they just met and were in love. I don't like the revolution stuff so much, at least this book had some assassination stuff in it. I really don't like the part where Cawti is being particularly stupid about things which she star ...more
Mar 09, 2020 rated it liked it
I feel genuinely bad about Phoenix. It's not a bad book by itself, with decent plot twists and amazing dialogues BUT: it follows Teckla and Teckla's storyline, and Teckla is such a ridiculous disaster there was no redemption possible for Phoenix.

I want however to speak about the ending (no spoilers) - have you often encountered the perfect ending, bittersweet, written in an amazing language, that shooks you to the core, that haunts you for days , letting you wonder whether your tears are from s
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Short but fun fantasy read. Nice to read something in first person for a change, and it allows some nice quirks in terms of story pacing.

Was initially very sceptical about the main character being an assassin, but pleasantly surprised he is not written as insufferably edgy and dark.

Point of note and potential spoiler: I picked up the book initially hoping it's feature phoenixes. It however features nothing of the sort, and the book seems to only have been named due to the name of the year in wh
Oct 06, 2018 rated it liked it

Cawti's revolution has sucked half the fun out of this series. I may start jumping around a bit instead of reading them in order. (The author insists that reading order doesn't really matter much anyway).

Vlad's interactions with the Goddess are pretty enjoyable though, and at least his half of the story has the same tone and entertainment as I've come to expect from this series. I just wish Cawti's band of revolutionaries weren't such a drag.
Samuel Lubell
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This book returns to the situation from Teckla. The Teckla are revolting and Vlad's wife, a former assassin herself, is now a revolutionary. Vlad is hired by a Goddess to kill a king of an island where magic does not work in an effort to give the empire an enemy to fight instead of fighting among themselves. It doesn't work as planned. ...more
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A reread from many years ago, one of those books in this series that I don't really recall anything that happened in it, possibly because I was devouring the entire series as quickly as possible, or all the books sort of blend into one another. Still, a fun read, exciting, and as good as any in the series. ...more
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Another solid installment in the life of my favorite snarky assassin. Much smoother than the previous book and it held my attention quite well. The character and relationship developments were well done--I was disappointed in some of the outcomes, but it wasn't because it didn't make sense. It was just because I want all these characters to be happy. :( ...more
Tyler Patterson
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My favorite one yet! Can't wait to continue on, Phoenix really felt like sh*t is gonna expand now. I have enjoyed the entire series so far but this one gave an impression that Vlads life up to this point has been an apprenticeship preparing for this next chapter. The only stressful thing I found was the marital issues, I can't help but feel bad for this poor assassin haha ...more
Keary Birch
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
A little less fun than the previous four but still enjoyable. Characters move on. Things happen. I will continue with the rest of the series (and the rest of Steven Brust's books) because even those that are not his best are better than most.

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Dragaera: Phoenix 1 4 Oct 12, 2012 01:33AM  

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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)

Other books in the series

Vlad Taltos (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Jhereg (Vlad Taltos, #1)
  • Yendi (Vlad Taltos, #2)
  • Teckla (Vlad Taltos, #3)
  • Taltos (Vlad Taltos, #4)
  • Athyra (Vlad Taltos, #6)
  • Orca (Vlad Taltos, #7)
  • Dragon (Vlad Taltos, #8)
  • Issola (Vlad Taltos, #9)
  • Dzur (Vlad Taltos, #10)
  • Jhegaala (Vlad Taltos, #11)

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