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The Book of Athyra: Contains the Complete Text of Athyra and Orca Paperback – 1 Feb 2003

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 436 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books; Later Printing edition (Feb. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441010105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441010103
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.4 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 287,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Steven Brust isn't afraid to stretch the boundaries of contemporary commercial fantasy. ("Newsday ")

"Vlad is an engaging, wise-cracking, hard-boiled sort of character...bright, bracing, with an appealing sardonic edge." ("Minneapolis Star-Tribune")

"Suggestive of Raymond Chandler or the early Roger Zelazny. It's a breath of fresh chilly air." ("Mile High Futures")

"A memorable fantasy world, to which it is always a pleasure to return." ("Locus")

"Watch Steven Brust. He surprises you." (Roger Zelazny)

"Engaging...written with a light touch...good stuff." ("Publishers Weekly")

"Steven Brust isn't afraid to stretch the boundaries of contemporary commercial fantasy."--Newsday

"Suggestive of Raymond Chandler or the early Roger Zelazny. It's a breath of fresh chilly air."--Mile High Futures

"A memorable fantasy world, to which it is always a pleasure to return."--Locus

"Imagine James Bond in a world of magic."--VOYA

"Engaging...written with a light touch...good stuff."--Publishers Weekly

"Watch Steven Brust. He surprises you."--Roger Zelazny

Steven Brust isn t afraid to stretch the boundaries of contemporary commercial fantasy. Newsday

Suggestive of Raymond Chandler or the early Roger Zelazny. It s a breath of fresh chilly air. Mile High Futures

A memorable fantasy world, to which it is always a pleasure to return. Locus

Imagine James Bond in a world of magic. VOYA

Engaging written with a light touch good stuff. Publishers Weekly

Watch Steven Brust. He surprises you. Roger Zelazny"

About the Author

Steven Brust is the author of numerous fantasy novels, including Jhereg, Yendi, Teckla, and Orca. He lives in Minneapolis.


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Format: Paperback
First, its important to mention that this book contains the complete texts of both Athyra and Orca. Now we've got that out of the way...Athyra, the first story here, is one I've been attempting to get hold of for some time. It's been out of print for years, and so the opportunity to finally read it was fantastic in and of itself. The book is different to those preceding it in the series in that Vlad Taltos is no lnoger the narrator - instead we are treated to the third person narrative of an adolescent whom Vlad meets on his travels. This was originally disorienting, but the opportunity to view Vlad 'from the outside' was intriguing, and the palpable difference in mental 'tone' between Vlad and his new associate makes for an interesting reading experience.
This book seems far more personal than its immediate predecessors, particularly Phoenix - the political viewpoint in that book has been ratcheted down, and instead the themes are more immediate, while perhaps similar: deception, integrity, the morality of death, and so on. There are moments when the dialogue resembles a philosophical debate on these issues, but it tends to be directed in interesting enough ways that one doesn't really notice.
However, if you've picked it up just for the vaguely Bond-esque action, a aution; this is far more of a 'talky' book than some of its predecessors. That said, the ending is intense, and I haven't really put it down since I picked it up; the characters continue to have Brusts great talent played across them, each reacting with at least some semblance of believable motive and personality. Personally I found the final villains slightly caricatured, but your mileage may vary) Athyra then is a book of thought and philosophy, intrigue and magic - much like the Athyra themselves in fact.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This edition, containing 2 Taltos books, takes Vlad outside his usual sphere as a mover and shaker in the criminal world of the Empire, to a life of self-exile, first in the East and then back in the Empire. Accompaning by his wise-cracking jhereg, Loiosh, he stumbles into the territory of an old adversary and befriends a promising youth, Savn, who becomes his student in witchcraft. Together they take on the evil Baron, but when Savn loses his mind saving Vlad, Vlad takes him back to the Empire to heal him. Predictably all hell breaks loose.

Steve Brust is a very entertaining writer and these books are almost as light hearted as they seem to be. He manages to slip some pretty interesting ideas into them without beating you over the head with them. Read them for entertainment and appreciate the interesting questions the derry doing hero raises.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8e765e7c) out of 5 stars 22 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e794024) out of 5 stars One good, one bad as Vlad takes a new direction 13 Jun. 2003
By David Hood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I wrote full reviews for each book. In brief
Athyra-4 stars, a nice book from an innocent's viewpoint about Vlad.
Orca-2 stars, a dull book about financial swindles.
In full:
Athyra-I have not enjoyed a Vlad book as much as this once since the first three. Switching the narrative away from Vlad was a refreshing, and necessary move to invigorate the story.
Savn, an innocent Dragaeran youth is a wonderfully sympathetic character studying to be a physicker when Vlad arrives at his town. He befriends Vlad and begins to find himself ostracized from his friends for hanging around the Easterner. Once he helps Vlad with his injuries there is no turning back.
Through Savn's eyes we get to see a vulnerable Vlad, a hurting Vlad without the cockiness, one who is rethinking virtually everything about his life, life in general and the universe. We see Savn grow through meeting the challenges of befriending Vlad, his sister also and we see Vlad changed and changing from the flippant assassin.
The pace is relaxed, without being slow, and builds to a climactic ending with consequences for everyone. A very well done effort from Brust, it was almost like reading about Vlad for the first time due to the change of viewpoint.
Orca-In this plodding tale of Vlad, much talking is done about a banking financial swindle happening. Like Vlad investigates Enron, but not that much fun. In order to help Savn, who saved Vlad previously Vlad must help out an old lady with the power to possibly heal Savn. This leads to the investigation of the financial swindle.
Vlad and Kiera play Joe Hardy and Nancy Drew, except again, it really isn't that fun. The book is dialog heavy and as exciting as my accounting textbook, maybe less so.
As others have said, the revelation in the last 10 pages is the only payoff for reading the book. Not worth it in my opinion.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e794078) out of 5 stars Weaker entries 5 Jun. 2003
By newyork2dallas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This volume contains the seventh and eighth books (chronological order in the series, not publishing date) in the continuing series of Vladimir Taltos adventures by Steven Brust. Taltos is all of the following: a sometime assassin, mobster, witch, philosopher, swordsman, noble, and detective who lives a stranger-in-a-strange-land scenario as what we would consider a normal human in a nation of 6.5 or 7-foot tall humanoids (Draegerans) who often have numerous magical abilities. The books, other than "Taltos" are named for the houses of the 16 noble classes and one peasant class in the society Taltos lives in. Here are the books in chronological order, not publishing order, with the books in the "Athyra" compendium in CAPS:

Taltos 4.5* -- Brust's funniest of the series, loaded with deadpan humor. This is a simple tale that establishes the beginnings of Taltos' relationships with many of the recurring characters of the other books. In regular paperback form it's 180 pages and you can read it in a few hours. Well-paced, good resolution of the three plotlines

Yendi 4* -- complex and satisfying for a short book, humorous

Jhereg 5* -- the first-published and best of the bunch, gives useful background and is the real starting point of the series

Teckla 2* -- maudlin and introspective without much context or reason for the tone

Phoenix 4* -- picks up the pace after Teckla and re-establishes some of Taltos' business arrangements (he's an assassin and a small-time mob capo), has a complex and twisting plotline and has more of the humor of the first three books. Nonetheless, it still has some of the pall from the Teckla woven throughout the story.

Dragon 4* -- published 8th, returns to form of witty banter, smart introspection and twisty plotting of earlier books

ATHYRA 1* -- meandering and depressing; only book not told from Vlad Taltos' first-person point of view, actionless and largely themeless

ORCA 4* -- better plotting and pacing for this Athyra follow-up, plus intricate mob-financing issues explored by Taltos in unmasking Orca-house mob syndicate

Issola 4* -- Newest entry is a philosophical stemwinder about the history of Vlad-world and the purposes of the g*ds. Therefore, Issola is not the place to start but it is a solid addition to the series if you've read some of the others.

All said, two of the weaker entries (Orca ranks seventh of the nine books) in the Vlad Taltos series are compiled in the Book of Athyra. Athyra itself is dour, boring, and unquestionably the worst of the lot (most of which, in contrast, are good to near excellent). Athyra is the only one not told from Vlad Taltos' first-person perspective, is one of the longer books in the series, and has neither the humor nor adventure that characterize the other eight. Brust is an experimenter as a writer -- a praiseworthy concept -- but Athyra essentially goes awry.

Orca is not overly memorable, but at least it is within the expectations of the rest of the books -- some swashbuckling, wise-acre humor, twisted plot and solid resolution. Buy it separately and skip Athyra altogether and you really don't miss anything.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e7944b0) out of 5 stars Brust continues with the adventures of Vlad Taltos 15 Mar. 2003
By Omar Siddique - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The two books in this volume, Athyra and Orca, differ from the other volumes up to this point in the series in that they are not primarily narrated from the point of view of the Vlad Taltos. While it is interesting to hear from the views of others, including that of a jhereg (the creature), some of the narrative is less compelling than in earlier books.
By all means, if you have gotten this far into the series, do read these. I just personally found the narrative from multiple viewpoints less appealing than the single-point narrative in the earlier volumes.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e794498) out of 5 stars Vlad lover 12 Dec. 2008
By M. Ade - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I absolutely loved Orca. It was really thought provoking and it added an interesting dimension to Vlad's character. In this book, you get to see the more sensitive side of Vlad the assassin. All the action and sarcastic jokes are great and all but it get's kind of boring after a while, especially in long series.
He doesn't turn in to a sap or anything.. or at least you can't tell since the stories told from the perspective of the boy he kind of adopts.... Anyway, it's a nice change.
I actually bought this book and have read it on several occasions. It's good through several readings and it's possible to gain new insight every time you read it. So READ IT!! [Note: Sorry for the rambling...]
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e794960) out of 5 stars The saga of Vlad Taltos and his jhereg continues 31 Mar. 2010
By Just Geek Enough - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
The Book of Athyra contains two volumes in Brust's tales of Vlad Taltos, former assassin for the Jhereg organization, now on the run from them. The first book, Athyra, details Vlad's return engagement with the wizard Loraan (now undead), from whom he had rescued Aliera e'Kieron (with Morollan's help, of course) and stolen Spellbreaker.

Athyra represents a departure in viewpoint for this series, which was a bit of an adjustment at first, but worked well in the end. Instead of being first person from Vlad's POV, it's limited third person from the viewpoint of an adolescent Teckla peasant named Savn, whose life begins to change when he meets Vlad.

This volume also contains "Orca", which is the only Vlad book I haven't read yet. I'm practically drooling with anticipation. Steven Brust is simply my favorite author, bar none. His book The Phoenix Guards is my all-time #1 read.
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