Home - is where I want to be / But I guess I'm already there /I come home -
she lifted up her wings /
Guess that this must be the place...
- Talking Heads, "Naive Melody"

Sunday, January 31, 2010

3. Iorich

I hate to say this, but I am starting to wonder if Brust is losing his touch. I liked this one a lot better than the previous book (Jhegaala), but it felt rushed and a bit sloppy. The plot was okay to my mind, and it was nice to see Vlad back in his element, to meet up with characters we haven't seen in a while (I am fond of Kiera, though I almost wish Vlad had never found out, as I'm getting tired of the winking). I was astonished and somewhat peeved to find that we have skipped eight years in what I think of as the mainline continuity. We do finally get to see Cawti and young Vlad, though in a somewhat perfunctory fashion.

Perfunctory is also the word I want to use to describe the ending to Iorich. I think it would have been more interesting if Vlad had screwed it up, to be honest--had gotten the wrong guy, or something like that. For all of the years and the weird things he's been through, in this book he seemed to be operating on an autopilot keyed to the first couple of books; I'm not seeing the growth I would have expected to see with such a time lapse.

There is a lot of snappy dialog, lots of bits that I liked, and things move along briskly to a happy ending, but as a whole work...? I am starting to worry that Brust has no idea where to take the series at this point. There were Vlad's early years, and those were fine, and then his life sort of fell apart and we got into the whole massive meta-plot with the gods and the Jenoine and the Great Weapons, and then... well, I have no idea what happened, but we seem to be back in a new stasis, forward in time.

Vlad has been on the run from the entire Jhereg forever now (and yet manages to spend this book running around Adrilankha without a major problem), and has now managed to piss off the Left Hand as well as the Right. He's in a completely untenable position, it's getting a little old for this reader, and I'm not sure the author has a plan to get him out of it.

Of course, he also has a Great Weapon, which has yet to do anything, so far as I've noticed. It does, if I remember the early years of the series correctly, offer Vlad a hedge against the fact that the Jhereg wants to destroy his soul, and I will be quite interested to see if it is ever so employed.

Basically I enjoyed this book, I just wish that we would get some kind of resolution, or even discernable forward motion, on... something.

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