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Issola (Vlad Taltos, #9)
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(Vlad Taltos #9)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  6,051 ratings  ·  127 reviews
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
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 6th 2001 by Tor Books (first published July 2001)
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Average rating 4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,051 ratings  ·  127 reviews

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Start your review of Issola (Vlad Taltos, #9)
I didn't expect this book to go where it went. Seriously. Wow.

It takes place as the latest, chronologically, with Vlad in the wilds in exile, but it just goes to show, you never know where you'll wind up. Do you think he's going home? hahahahaha wow.

As fantasy, we get to join in a war between gods, but as science fiction, I've just been titillated more about the deep SFal past in this book than all the rest, combined. I mean, there's tons of reveals here and none of them are enough to satisfy me
***Dave Hill
Nov 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: text

Not much to add to the below. The scaling issue remains a major problem, but it's partially made up for by getting to know Lady Teldra better.


(Original review Aug 2006)

Overall 3/5
Story 3/5
Re-Readability 4/5
Characters 4/5

One of bits of coolness about Brust’s Vlad tales is the extensive and intriguing backstory that he weaves in and out of the tales (often, it seems, more by hints than fully-developed concepts). The problem with that is, sooner or later, you have to
Geoff Gerrietts
Jun 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I find that I've already marked this book as read, when in fact I have not. I must have been thinking of Athyra....

At any rate, I found this volume to be Brust at his very best. I read the book in the course of two days, completely clearing my schedule to ravenously consume it.

The Vlad stories are among his finest, simply because Vlad and his pet jhereg Loiosh are such wonderful smartasses, and the pinch of sarcastic humor is exactly the seasoning a story of high magic and dark sorcery requires.
Jamie Collins
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This was a pleasant read, and Vlad’s narration is amusing, as always. I enjoyed Vlad's odd partnership with Lady Teldra.

But the story was just not my cup of tea. It’s too abstract: an incomprehensible metaphysical contest involving the Great Weapons and the gods and the Jenoine, who are described as “a vastly powerful race of extradimensional creatures”.

There has always been a lot of magic in this series, too much for my taste, but usually Vlad keeps everything grounded enough for me with that b
Mar 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: normal
You learn a lot about two characters, and a bit about how to make Klava.
Jul 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
After last volume's flashback to younger days, we're back to the present and Teldra, Morrolan e'Drien's assistant/majordomo, tracks down Vlad to ask for his help. Both Morrolan and Aliera are missing and she fears the implications since only a really powerful being could be able to capture them and prevent them from escaping.

Vlad, having returned young Savn to his family and traveling alone again, accedes to go with Teldra to Dzur Mountain, Sethra Lavode's dwelling, and decide on a course of act
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, dragon
This one was nearly perfect. Can't wait for the next one. ...more
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great! Still a lot of talking but at least we weren't jumping around in time too much. Fun developments ...more
Kat  Hooper
Jun 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
3.5 stars.

“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 h
Mar 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
More Vlad!

This is an unusual Vlad book in how, well, usual it is. That is, there's nothing weird going on structurally or plot-wise; it's a fairly straightforward quest story. There's an ancient evil (well, sort of), our hero sets off on a quest to do something about it (well, sort of), and there's a massive battle of good vs evil at the end (well, sort of).

We do get Vlad as his usual wisecracking, reluctant-hero self, we get the detailed exploration of a field/topic (in this case politeness), w
CJ Jones
May 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
In trying to remember what I had and hadn't read in this series, I ended up re-reading Issola. I'm not usually terribly enthused by the epic powerful heroes having epic powerful battles that shake the earth and shape history, striving against the gods, and that sort of Very Important Thing. But when you have Vlad Taltos in the middle of things, the king of Getting By, Day to Day, and Where's My Coffee/Klava, it brings a different flavor to things.
I cried at the ending, again.
Oh yeah. There's a *
Jun 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
I've always wondered about Lady Teldra and I was happy to finally get some answers. About the only thing I want to say about this is that it was the first time I have honestly believed a romantic relationship in the series. Not that it was a romance by any means, but Vlad and Cawti always seemed more convenient than real. This time I believed the attraction and was very much rooting for it the entire book. ...more
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, audiobook
Lady Teldra - and the issola quality of courtesy, as considered by Vlad and discussed with Lady Teldra- totally make this book.
Timelord Iain
Taking such a long break since book 8 makes it easy to start forgetting details of the 17 Dragaeran Houses... but this book was still great, especially where it ended...
Jan 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
And here's where it hits me that I don't know if I missed something, to blame Verra, or to narrow my eyes at Brust. I just know that when Vlad took off from the City, he wore a black phoenix stone. Here, he has something that seems to be a black one and gold one together. Since they're not so easy to come by, it just seems weird.

Then again, he has a little box here to keep them in that nullifies their effects, so I tend to go with, "This addition will be explained in a novel someday." I guess it
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Vlad has lost almost everything. Living in the wilderness to avoid the price on his head, he's shocked when Lady Teldra finds him. And the message she bears is even worse. Morrolan and Aliera have disappeared without a trace, which implies culprits beyond anything Vlad has faced before, as the two had been well-defended against normal attack. Now Vlad once again finds himself in well over his head, making things worse . . .

One thing I really like about these books is how well the various powers
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've said it before, but humor me while I repeat myself: I like long series, and the best long series are the ones in which the author is not afraid to throw a wrench in the works, to push his (or her) characters out of their rut and in unexpected directions.

Steven Brust has done this once already in his Vlad Taltos series... Issola is the ninth book and Vlad is still dealing with the massive shift in his circumstances from book #5, Phoenix. I can't give too much info without spoiling surprises
Joel Flank
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Vlad Taltos is still on the run from his former criminal organization, when his friend Teldra finds him. As the house Issola major domo who serves the Dragonloard Morrolan, Vlad is surprised to see her in the woods, not to mention that she found him when he's been on the run. When she tells him that Morrolan simply disappeared, and needs his help, he risks his old associates finding him to help.

After some initial investigation, he and Teldra find themselves transported to a strange world, follow
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A rather lore-heavy entry into the ongoing saga of Vlad Taltos.

I've seen other reviewers knock Issola for straying too far from the noirish roots of the series and while I see where they are coming from, I disagree. The appeal of the Vlad Taltos novels for me has always been that they so rarely tread the same ground twice, and especially from Teckla onward, each new entry has always presented something similar yet different. And while each novel appears as a mostly self-contained story, each sit
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: entertainment
5/5 because I loved every page and still feel a little like crying.

It's hard to tell what makes a story touch a readers heart. But I can tell Brust once and for all convinced me of his mastery in writing. The protagonist? Actually developing, slowly and steadily, but onward, with flaws, weaknesses, moods and changes. I wondered often if Brust is projecting himself most of the time, but either he's an excellent creator or I'd love to be friends with him.
The stories are unique, each in it's own ri
Dec 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What an excellent installment to the series. As always, Vlad is a charming and entertaining narrator, without being too overwrought or eye-rolling. I think my partner has now "read" about 50% of the book due to me reading every couple of lines out loud in delight. What was intriguing about this book was how little action there was--and how much I didn't care. The interweaving of the plot and the interactions of the characters were more than enough to keep me firmly engaged. And the ending snappe ...more
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Action, adventure, witty dialogue, epic battles, why did I ever take a break from reading these books? Vlad Taltos is one of my favorite characters and his interactions with everyone he encounters are making him the stuff of legend in his world. A title he never sought and probably doesn't want unless it will get him a peaceful meal and some klava at Valabar's, which probably isn't possible given the price still on his head.
Returning to this series after a couple of decades is what going home sh
Another so-so entry into the Vlad Taltos series. We get to see characters that we are familiar with and I was glad to get back to stories that involve them. However, the story for this particular book was very slow moving and somewhat tedious. Then, to wrap everything up, we get a very rushed action scene in which Vlad does very little and not a whole lot is really concluded. We don't get to see what Morrolan or Aliera say when (view spoiler) ...more
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, kenton-books
Sorry to say, but I've found this series to become steadily less enjoyable, and to me, this was the worst yet. Way too much time spent in expository discussions and way too abstract in its concepts. The action was minimal - sit around somewhere and talk, go somewhere else and talk. Go back to the first place and talk yet again. Throw in an occasional action scene left purposefully vague and confusing, then talk again. Vlad's sarcasm is just not enough to carry the story, and other than Teldra, t ...more
Devon H.
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read most of this series three or four times, but I think I’d only read Issola once before this reread. I remembered the major points and that’s about it. This reread, though, taught me I’d done myself a great disservice, because I absolutely loved this story. Not only has Vlad gotten himself into some ridiculously serious trouble, AGAIN, but it’s got the adventure and humor of his original stories. And the ending is both beautiful and heartbreaking. This is a turning point in the series ...more
Jennifer Wheeler
Nov 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
William Tracy
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite Vlad books since the first two. If you're reading the series, by this point you have lots of questions about just how things work and what's really going on in the fantasy/scifi world. Then this book just opens up on all of that information in like the first twenty pages. And then goes on from there! Several things that have been hinted at from the beginning finally (finally!) come to pass, and I am very excited to go straight on to the next one. ...more
Aug 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gone, fantasy
This book started out quite charming, but quickly felt like the lead character was trivial through basically the whole book. He really just made side comments while actually important people did things.
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite of the series, but still a good book, particularly towards the end. I just wasn't a fan of the alien villains, and Vlad's ultra-powerful friends just weren't all that interesting this time around. I'm still looking forward to the next book in the series, though. ...more
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Vlad gets himself involved something way above his pay grade in this one. We almost get a history lesson here with insights into Morrolan’s past, the creation of the Draegarans and an eternal struggle between godlike forces. Another great tale in this magnificent series
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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)
  • Phoenix (Vlad Taltos, #5)
  • Athyra (Vlad Taltos, #6)
  • Orca (Vlad Taltos, #7)
  • Dragon (Vlad Taltos, #8)
  • Dzur (Vlad Taltos, #10)
  • Jhegaala (Vlad Taltos, #11)

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