Iorich Paperback – Feb 1 2011
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“Dzur gives us Vlad Taltos at his best.” ―Cinescope
“Fresh, snappy, and terribly likeable…Dzur shows you what heroic fantasy can be.” ―Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
About the Author
STEVEN BRUST is the author of Dragon, Issola, Jhegaala, and the New York Times-bestselling Dzur, among many other popular fantasy novels. A native of Minneapolis, he currently lives in Texas.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book was a page-turner. Once I picked it up I just could not put it down. I believe this story can stand on its own, and I know people who have started this series at almost any place. Some recommend starting at the beginning, but then you can either read them chronologically or in order of publication. I have gone back and reread them both ways and prefer the order in which they were published. Vlad Taltos is a human living in a world of Dragaerans. The Dragaerans are a society ruled by houses and a cycle. There are 17 houses, and each takes a turn ruling the empire, depending on where a house is in the cycle. They have more or less power. This book goes more into that dynamic of house position than some of the others. Each house has dominant characteristics and predominant occupations. The order of the cycle is: Phoenix, Dragon, Lyorn, Tiassa, Hawk, Dzur, Issola, Tsalmoth, Vallista, Jhreg, Iorich, Chreotha, Yendi, Orca, Teckla, Jhegaala, Athyra, and then returns to Phoenix. Most houses you are born into, a few will sell titles, or can be earned. Vlad first bought a title in the Jhereg and moved up. The Jhereg are a mixed clan, and are known to be the criminal element in this world. Later Vlad earned an imperial title with estates and such.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Unfortunately, beyond the setting there's little here we haven't seen before, so I can't give it five stars. There are no important new characters, yet less interaction with the old favorites than you might expect. The actual operation of the plot is the usual slightly implausible motives and actions of shadowy factions that Vlad stumbles around for most of the book before unravelling it in a flash, followed by a quick planning session with supporting friends and (literal) execution that wraps everything up neatly at the end.
It's nothing you haven't seen before, and while it's just as much fun as it was the last five times, it's not more.
I will give special appreciation to the chapter intros, which here consist of depositions, memos, and minutes of an investigation into the civilian massacre. Almost all of them are interesting, a few are amusing, and one (Aliera's) is hilarious. Brust also continues to impress in how he's handled the huge Plot Device of Invincibility introduced at the end of Issola to avoid making Vlad boringly immune to real danger or difficulty.
I'd like to say that the events of this book and the especially the state of play at the end sets us up for a big change of story arc or at least gut punching development ala Phoenix or Issola, but we've been suckered by that before. I do have hope the next book will continue the chronological arc forward; the recent pattern is two steps forward, one step jumping back. Jhegaala was the most recent flashback, and Iorich only gave us a few hints at what happened the last four years since Dzur, so I think we'll get one more forward push of the story line before Brust jumps back to cover the Dzur-Iorich interval.
While this book is better than Jhegaala, it simply isn't at the level of the earlier works of the series. The stakes don't seem very high for Vlad, there's little action and nearly no magic and much of the book is him grasping for clues that seem barely significant even after they're revealed. Instead of "holy cow, THAT's what they were hiding!?" it's more like "err, that's all?"
The end of the book clearly sets up the next volume and the stakes will be much higher for Vlad. Let's hope that reignites the series. Brust needs to give these excellent characters more to do!
Iorich is like a family reunion with relatives that you truly love to spend time with but leaving the reunion with no interesting anecdotes. A pleasant time but not memorable.
One of the funnest things with the Vlad series has always been the puzzle, the complexity of the problem, and the flash of brilliance and scope of the climax. This book lacks that, as others have already said. The end was almost a letdown, premature, before it even had a chance to start. Like a big firecracker that got wet.
The buildup was good though, answering a few more questions, introducing a few more (I love when Brust has the characters thinking of something briefly that may or may not be in context, and they think "But that's another story," since I always wonder then if that's a hint of a forthcoming book). This is another patch in the quilt he's been creating for years, some good insight that's worth reading definitely, but just not on par with some of the funner books in the series.
If you're a fan of the Vlad series there's no choice, you need to read it, but come into it knowing it's a lower key book.
What could be better than for "Iorich" to move along similar trajectories as those of a mystery novel, or even better, a courtroom drama. I could hypothetically see Vlad on trial, Jereg assassins trying to break into his cell (is there such a thing as a morganti shiv?), his friends doing the leg work for a change, and instead of a final battle, a legal argument revealing all that was corrupt in the Empire ("Easterners can't handle the TRUTH!"). In my mind I was hoping for a look at the Dragorean legal system, much in the same way that "Dragon" was a look at the Dragorean military system.
Which isn't to say that what "Iorich" turned out to be, wasn't good; it is similar in tone and quality to Yendi, which has always been one Steven Brust's better novels. But like several other reviewers have pointed out. As wonderful, refreshing and just plain good as this book is, we've seen it all before.
Steven Brust can be at both his best and his worst when he is playing with an idea, taking a risk and turning the genre on its head. This book isn't that... but, buy it and read it anyway, because any book by this author, even his bad stuff, is miles away better than most other authors in working in the genre.