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Book Clubs! > Vlad Taltos [binge club]

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message 1: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments This is a thread for the Vlad Taltos series by Steven Brust. We might also do the Khaavren Romances, since they're set in the same world, 1000 years earlier in the timeline...

Vlad Taltos:

1) Jhereg
2) Yendi
3) Teckla
4) Taltos
5) Phoenix
6) Athyra
7) Orca
8) Dragon
9) Issola
10) Dzur
11) Jhegaala
12) Iorich
13) Tiassa
14) Hawk
15) Vallista

Khaavren Romances:

1) The Phoenix Guards
2) Five Hundred Years After
3) The Paths of the Dead
4) The Lord of Castle Black
5) Sethra Lavode

The books are short and go by quick, so me and Choko are planning to read really quick, but feel free to join us at a slower pace, if you're interested in the books.


message 2: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments Like I said in the other thread, I read Jhereg yesterday, and am reading Yendi right now...

I'm planning on reading a Vlad Taltos book in between every other book I read, but considering I've been reading 1.5 to 2 books a days for awhile now, that's still pretty quick...

The start of Jhereg was a bit of an infodump (view spoiler) but it settled down quick...

Yendi has been an interesting prequel story, so far, altho the development of the relationship with Cawti seems a bit abrupt...


message 3: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments I will start the first one tonight 😊


message 4: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments I finished Yendi... the formula seems to be complicated plots out of left field that Vlad figures out towards the end of each book, and thwarts... still fun, tho...


message 5: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments I really like the jhereg/dragon familiar...


message 6: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments Lots of great fan art floating around, too:










message 7: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (elizabeths01) | 989 comments I read the first six or so of these awhile ago. I was reading in publication order and for me eventually was getting annoyed about the timeline jumping and not having one continuous story.


message 8: by Timelord Iain (last edited Apr 18, 2019 06:13AM) (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments Elizabeth wrote: "I read the first six or so of these awhile ago. I was reading in publication order and for me eventually was getting annoyed about the timeline jumping and not having one continuous story."

To my understanding, the first 6 books are most of the time jumbled ones...

Yendi, Taltos, and Dragon are all prequel stories... but other than that, the story is pretty much in order for:

Jhereg -> Teckla -> Phoenix to Orca -> Isolla & Dzur -> Iorich


The early timeline is:

Jhereg prologue -> Taltos -> Dragon main chapters -> Yendi -> Dragon interludes -> Tiassa section 1 -> Jhereg main chapters

The rest of Tiassa's story happens before and after Iorich, and that's where it was published...

and Jhegaala, which came out before Iorich, actually goes between
Phoenix & Athyra in the timeline...

The newest books are jumbled again, with the chronology being Iorich (2010) -> Tiassa part 3 (2011) -> Vallista (2017) -> Hawk (2014)

Apparently there are 4 more books planned in the series...

Maybe this jumble will become a problem later, but I'm fine with it so far... Jhereg was a good intro to the series, and Yendi fleshed out some elements thrown around casually in Jhereg, such as (view spoiler)


message 9: by Timelord Iain (last edited Apr 18, 2019 06:11AM) (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments Chronology:

1) Jhereg, prologue (1983)
2) Taltos (1988)
3) Dragon, main chapters (1998)
4) Yendi (1984)
5) Dragon, interludes (1998)
6) Tiassa, section 1 (2011)
7) Jhereg, main chapters (1983)
8) Teckla (1987)
9) Phoenix (1990)

10) Jhegaala (2008)
11) Athyra (1993)
12) Orca (1996)
13) Issola (2001)
14) Dzur (2006)

15) Tiassa, section 2 (2011)
16) Iorich (2010)
17) Tiassa, section 3 (2011)

18) Vallista (2017)
19) Hawk (2014)

Bold is a record of the books that published in chronological order, as well...


message 10: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments The randomness of the ordering seems to stem from Brust's plans to make each book a standalone episode in Vlad's life, to varying success... he knows some books aren't as good without some knowledge from other books, but I can't speak on that from experience...


message 11: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments Thank you! That helps to explain some things...


message 12: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments So, I started Jhereg today. Very interested in finding out more about the world in which humans live in harmony with other, more powerful species. Also, this is the most convoluted, complicated by rules assassination system I have ever encountered!!! Wow! It will take me a second to get more acquainted with it...


message 13: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments Choko wrote: "So, I started Jhereg today. Very interested in finding out more about the world in which humans live in harmony with other, more powerful species. Also, this is the most convoluted, complicated by ..."

Yea... it's a very rules heavy society... it's also a society governed by clans... and clans seem to descend from alien animals... Jhereg being the catch-all exception that will accept anyone... but there's Dragaera, Orca, Teckla, Phoenix, etc etc etc... each book seems to be named after a clan house, for the most part...

I've just kinda let the societal rules fall to the back of my mind for now, and enjoyed the writing style and scenarios... relatively simple story that is deceptive in the stakes involved... I call the books light and fun, despite all the death and destruction happening...

I took a pause tho on reading Teckla, to continue with Daniel Faust... I'm glad to be done with the Revanche Cycle and back to the lighter UF books... Revanche would have been awesome if I was in the mood for the darkness and motives of everyone... can't argue that the ending was pretty awesome, but I just wanted to be done with it... hopefully people who follow the new proposed reading order will enjoy it more (Schaefer says to start with Revanche now, instead of waiting until after 5 Faust books and 2 Harmony Black books)... the new order is 100% chronological, and removed the tonal shift caused by reading Revanche after 7 relatively light fun UF books (Harmony Black is more of a genre-mashup with horror and sci-fi elements)...

Tangent Over :D


message 14: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments I am a big Shaefer fan, so this is a great news! I still haven't gotten to the last 2-3 Foust ones and I have to do them eventually...

Back to Vlad, I am half way through the first one and yes, I am also just letting the rules of the world fall into place as I am reading. I am fascinated by his Machiavellian thinking and really like his familiar and the thief friend 😀


message 15: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments Yea... I binged the first 5 Faust books and 2 Harmony Black books around Christmas... managed 2 Revanche books before I burned out... went to other things, then Buddy Reads kicked back up... only finally made time to continue this week... powered through the 2 Revanche books I had left, in between Vlad Taltos books, and now I'm reading The Castle Doctrine and it's been great...

Planning to power through the last couple Faust and Harmony Black books this next week or so... really looking forward to both... especially considering Cold Spectrum is the 4th Harmony Black book, and we know what the title means if you've read the first 2 books... I also plan to read Ghosts of Gotham, which I picked up for cheap on Whispersync... not to mention the Wisdom's Grave trilogy that ends the main Schaeferverse storyline (The First Story universe is the official multi-series name)


message 16: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments Back to Vlad... everything is totally casual in the Jhereg worldbuilding... dragon familiars are a thing... I do assassinations sometimes... I have past lives through reincarnation... etc... no big deal, lol...


message 17: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments I know! It is completely matter of fact 😀! Ooo, and I can unravel things into chaos with only somewhat trying... That was a bit much even for me to swallow. I did enjoy the history behind the species though 🙂


message 18: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments Speaking of Foust, this book feels somewhat like the Shaefer books, doesn't it? Just no cards and another world... I definitely like it!


message 19: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments Me too... it's the exact type of book I've been tending towards, this year... I overdid the high fantasy genre last year...


message 20: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments I understand. I am reading the eighth Malazan right now and about every 150 pages I have to stop and read something else, or I will end up in a mental hospital with depression... It is emotionally brutal for me...


message 21: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments I'm reading Boy's Life right now with Manju in my challenge tracker thread... pretty great coming of age / slice of life book in 1960s Alabama... bit of horror/mystery and magical realism, according to the genre tags and my experiences so far...


message 22: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments Reading book 2. Just got to Ch. 10... Wouldn't you love to live in a world where you can be revivefied in most cases of death? And magic obviously can have a lot of things fixed 🙂


message 23: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments Hahaha! Well, first the sex, then the L word came waaaaaaaaaayyy too fast. At least with the sex in the situation it made sense 😉... However, I know not to expect great romantic timing from good fantasy or UF writers😋


message 24: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments Yea... I don't understand their marraige... at least it's consistent tho... (book 3) (view spoiler)

I'd love to live in a lot of worlds I read about... this one tho is interesting... I can think of a number of TV shows, movies, and books that show the terrible results of near immortality like this....


message 25: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments I finished book 2 and will do book 3 either tonight or tomorrow... I am enjoying them for sure! The marriage was very quick, but as you said, it could unravel just as quickly 🙂


message 26: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments Started book 4... it's a bit confusing... seems to be jumping between 2 storylines/timelines... one about first teaming up with his dragaera partner who moves quietly, and another on a job for Sethra Lavode...


message 27: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments I think this is the formula, but I am enjoying it. You were so right, these books are like popcorn 🙂


message 28: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments After complaining, I thought the swaps were like epigraphs at the start of a chapter maybe... but then this one chapter seemed to swap back and forth almost every paragraph... it would be much easier to follow in print with line/asterisk demarcations, but on audio at 2x speed there's almost no indication of the swap...


message 29: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments Just finished book 3... I was very surprised at the realistic portrayal of what different interests and Passions can do to separate the family, or at least help it drift apart... It made me kind of sad, to have this obviously in love couple, struggling like that, but it was very real! I wanted to smack Vlad on several occasions, but I could see his point of view as well. I also still enjoy reading it though, so I will start book 4 tomorrow, in order to catch up to you;-)


message 30: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments I read book 5 at some point, and it's another book that surprised me with the direction it took... the relationship stuff continues to be very real in exploring their struggles... curious what book 6 holds...


message 31: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments This book 4 is about when he first gets to castle Black. I am excited to see how they became such good friends. ...


message 32: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments Choko wrote: "This book 4 is about when he first gets to castle Black. I am excited to see how they became such good friends. ..."

It also hits on some scenes from Yendi, while adding extra details...


message 33: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments Yeah, it is filling a lot of blanks. I see what you mean about the parallel telling of the two stories at the same time. I am hoping that it converges in some significant way at the end. For now we are just getting to the world of the dead...


message 34: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments I finished book 4. Very interesting. It answered the question about where he got his spell-breaker and the appearance of the next heir to the throne. The one thing I am a bit suspicious about is why the girl thief was not upset about him "loosing" the vile of blood... We will see in the future, I am guessing...


message 35: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments Started book 5... Like that we are back to the main timeline. Why the hell did the goddess make him do this job???


message 36: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments It feels like a radical Democrat married a radical Republican... A civil war at home... I know they love each other, but this is kind of toxic...


message 37: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments Yea... I dunno how they can resolve it... maybe the next book will help...


message 38: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments This is just so sad... I hate how much they are hurting...


message 39: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments I finished 5... The finale made sense, but made me very sad... However, it opens up the story to many possibilities, so I am very intrigued to see where we go from there... Starting book 6 right away... Just what the doctor ordered 😉


message 40: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments Oops, I have Athyra as next, while on your post we have Tiassa as next... What should we do?????🥺🥺🥺


message 41: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments Choko wrote: "Oops, I have Athyra as next, while on your post we have Tiassa as next... What should we do?????🥺🥺🥺"

Athyra is next publication-wise, and that's the order we're going by... you were looking at the chronology I posted later to show the timeline of the books, since so many are prequels (interquels?)...


message 42: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments Ooo, good! I was freaking for a second....


message 43: by Soo (new)

Soo (silverlyn) | 3552 comments Yay more people reading Taltos!


message 44: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments I am loving it! This is my first time reading this series and it is very much fun 😉!


message 45: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments Those 300-400 years old "kids" seem a bit too naive .. However, I think it has more to do with where they live, a peasant agricultural village... I like the healer master a lot though...


message 46: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments I missed that you continued... I'm going to continue with Athyra, and maybe a couple more, soon... now that I'm done with a ton of BRs and historicals for the month...


message 47: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments Athyra is nothing like I expected, given the ending of Phoenix, and the estate Vlad was given...


message 48: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments Very different. Let me know when you finish it and I will start the next one with you


message 49: by Timelord Iain (new)

Timelord Iain | 14701 comments Never quite made it back, to comment on Athyra after I finished... bad timing, I guess, because I had pretty strong thoughts...

Basically, it all boiled down to this being my least favorite Vlad Taltos book to date... mainly because it shifted from Vlad to these "kids"... I'd gotten used to getting inside Vlad's head and hearing his Jhereg talk... instead we saw almost everything in the book from the outside, lost out on the usual Jhereg, and instead got to hear his Jhereg mate talk a bit instead... a Jhereg that previously spent most of her time with Cawti, leaving me with even more questions...

Still plan to continue with Orca, soonish... probably paired with the next Kurtherian Gambit book, which I never managed to get around to early, either...


message 50: by Choko (new)

Choko (chokog) | 5098 comments Awesome! Yeah, not my favorite either. I know the author will fill us in on the things that have happened in the time that we are missing, but I still love the world! Let me know when and I'll be here for the next one:-)


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