REVIEW SUMMARY: Feeling like a who’s-who of Vlad’s friends in Adrilankha, Hawk balances fatalism with hope, and never misses a beat with the humor and rapid fire dialog for which Brust is known. Long time fans of the series will appreciate seeing their favorite supporting characters.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Done with running from the Jhereg, Vlad returns to Adrilankha. But this time, he has a plan to get the Jhereg off his back for good.
PROS: A surprisingly great starting place for readers new to this series; perfect pacing; spotlights Brust’s famous dry wit.
CONS: The trendy-sounding slang may sound dated after a few years.
BOTTOM LINE: Brust succeeds wildly in playing the long game, and in making this “nearly the end of a series” book completely accessible to brand new readers. Fans of the series will appreciate that Hawk moves the chronological plot line forward.
This is Brust’s 14th Vlad Taltos book, a series that stars its titular character and takes place in and around the Dragaeran empire. Each of the seventeen Dragaeran Great Houses are named after an indigenous species, and members of that House are rumored to share the qualities and mannerisms of that animal. Vlad, an Easterner (that means he’s a human), obviously wasn’t born into a Dragearan house, so his father did the only thing one could do it that situation: he purchased a title in the house of Jhereg. Lord Vladimir Taltos, Count Szurke, sometimes-friend of the Empress, broke the rules and has been running from the House of the Jhereg ever since. It’s an issue, because the Jhereg don’t just want him dead, they want him soul dead, the type of assassination that can only be done with a rare Morganti weapon. Oh, didn’t I mention? The House of Jhereg runs all the organized crime in the empire.
[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]
Stew. Beer. Earl Grey, Hot. I *know* there are more interesting science fiction and fantasy foods out there! With that in mind, here’s what we asked our panelists:
Q: What’s your favorite food or drink from the world of speculative fiction? Any thoughts on how you’d go about making it?
Here’s what they said…
REVIEW SUMMARY: A dialogue-driven novel that harnesses the powers of both authors to make an entertaining read.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Phil, the oldest member of a secret society of immortal personalities determined to improve the world, finds the recruiting of its latest member to be a fraught experience.
PROS: Strong dialogue; excellent use of theme and form; interesting ideas and execution of same.
CONS: Talky nature may turn off some readers; ironbound reliance on first person POV leads to some structural weaknesses.
BOTTOM LINE: An entertaining novel where the writers’ enthusiasm comes across on the page.
Steven Brust is the author of Dragon, Issola, the New York Times bestsellers Dzur and Tiassa, and many other fantasy novels. He lives in Minneapolis. Skyler White is the author of And Falling, Fly and In Dreams Begin. She lives in Texas.
Together, they are the co-authors of The Incrementalists. Both were kind enough to answer questions about their collaboration.
Tor.com has posted the cover art of the upcoming novel The Incrementalists by Steven Brust & Skyler White.
Here’s the synopsis:
My recent and long overdue discovery of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories made me wonder about other good sword and sorcery stories, so this week’s panelists were asked:
Q: What are some of the best sword and sorcery stories? What makes them so good?
Check out their excellent suggestions…(and share some of your own!)
is the author of seven fantasy novels, including The Wizard Hunters
, The Ships of Air
, and The Gate of Gods
, and the Nebula-nominated The Death of the Necromancer
. Her publications also include two Stargate: Atlantis
novels and several short stories.
I’ve read and enjoyed a lot of sword and sorcery, including the Fafhrd and Grey Mouser series, and Robert E. Howard’s Dark Agnes stories. One of my earliest favorites was Charles Saunders’ Dossouye stories, which first appeared in the anthologies Amazons! and Sword and Sorceress in the early 80s. When I read the first one, “Agbewe’s Sword,” I was about fifteen years old and desperately looking for strong female protagonists. The setting of an alternate version of Africa, using cultures and myths that I wasn’t familiar with, also really set the stories apart for me. The stories are available now in a collection titled Dossouye, and I highly recommend it.
I also loved Tanith Lee’s sword and sorcery, like The Storm Lord and Vazkor, Son of Vazkor, the sequel to The Birthgrave, and her Cyrion stories, which had the main character solving magical mysteries during his adventures. The settings are so lush and rich and detailed, with the feeling of starting out in a strange place, only to follow the characters somewhere much stranger.