Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Phoenix by Steven Brust

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 assassination, but fumbles the getaway pretty badly - a latent depressed death wish, perhaps?

The plot line in this one very skillfully weaves together some interesting elements, as the assassination triggers a war between the Empire and Greenaere, which is not nearly as powerless as one would think. The war serves as a distraction that could result in the success of the Teckla rebellion, or vice versa. Also, while Vlad is there, and when his friends are effecting his rescue, it turns out that the island and its people are protected from psionics and sorcery by a type of mineral that is native there - white phoenix stone. The phoenix stone becomes key at the end of this book, and in future installments, as Vlad is eluding the people in the Jhereg that want him dead.

Vlad continues to experience some personal growth, as he thinks seriously about the type of person he has had to become to be a successful killer and minor lord of the Jhereg. As I mentioned in my review of Teckla, I find this to be one of my least favorite in the series, as it drives the final nail in the coffin of his marriage, despite the heroic efforts Vlad puts forth to save Cawti from the dungeons of the Empire, after plotting by the leaders of the Jhereg lands her there. Call me an old softie, but I just hate it that they can't save their marriage.

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