Jhereg by Steven Brust: Fantasy February Group Read

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2013

Aderi ao LibraryThing para poder publicar.

Jhereg by Steven Brust: Fantasy February Group Read

Este tópico está presentemente marcado como "adormecido"—a última mensagem tem mais de 90 dias. Pode acordar o tópico publicando uma resposta.

Editado: Jan 31, 2013, 12:26 pm

Welcome, friends. I have coerced coaxed a small group to join me in reading Jhereg by Steven Brust during February. Feel free to join us.


ronincats (Roni)
humouress (Nina)
drachenbraut23 (Bianca)
soulofthe rose (Heather)
Tanglewood (Michelle)
drneutron (Jim)
Streamsong (Karen)
markon (Ardene)

Jan 20, 2013, 1:00 pm

Present and correct. Sah!

er ... I mean Thank you.

Jan 20, 2013, 2:11 pm

I'm here too - I've had this one for ages...

Jan 20, 2013, 2:52 pm

I'll be joining too. I should be getting my copy next week.

Jan 20, 2013, 9:30 pm

Hmmm. Not a bad choice! Me too.

Jan 23, 2013, 12:13 pm

Please add me too, Roni!

Jan 23, 2013, 1:13 pm


Jan 24, 2013, 2:12 pm

I read Jhereg last summer, so it's not really time for a re-read, but I'll be following your discussions!

Jan 29, 2013, 11:52 am

My copy arrived from the library yesterday - it is currently on the list to take with me when I leave town Wednesday:) We'll see what the packing goddess has to say.

Editado: Jan 31, 2013, 7:24 am

Still haven't been to the library to look for a copy - school and after-school activities have just started again this week for a new year, so I'm doing the old headless chook impressions.

Let me know if anyone manages to fit Jhereg into a TIOLI February challenge.

Jan 31, 2013, 7:48 am

I'll join in too. Audible (finally) got Brust's novels in and I picked Jhereg up in December.

10> We need a LTer named Vlad...

Jan 31, 2013, 11:20 am

>10 humouress: I found one site that claims Steven Brust was born in the U.S. So Jhereg will fit into TIOLI #10 if someone not from the U.S. has a friend from the U.S.


Jan 31, 2013, 2:14 pm

12: Ooh - I could do that. Actually, I did think of it myself - after I posted, but didn't get around to coming back until now.

Jan 31, 2013, 10:41 pm

Countdown has begun! Jhereg was published in April of 1983 by Ace Books as a mass-market paperback. In that format, it has 239 pages. There are 17 chapters plus a prologue and an epilogy. 17 is an important number in this series.

Brust lives in Minneapolis, which had and has a memorable group of writers. He was a member of the writers' group The Scribblies, which included Emma Bull, Pamela Dean, Will Shetterly, Nate Bucklin, Kara Dalkey, and Patricia Wrede. This is how he came to my attention, as Bull, Dean, and Wrede were favorite authors at the time (and still). Brust is a flamboyant figure who loves to flaunt his Hungarian heritage, but our own Morphy can witness he is not always the most courteous or sensitive of people.

I was looking at the reviews on Amazon, and the three people who gave the lowest ratings gave the reason as being the frequent referral to past events of which the reader knows nothing. This is true. May I suggest you accept this as evidence of rich world-building? If you really want to know all that background, you will find about 8-10 books that will do that for you. But I think part of the fun, in this the first book written, is discovering things as we go along.

Fev 4, 2013, 2:24 pm

Anybody working on this?

Fev 5, 2013, 6:54 am

I've managed to request my library to buy a copy; now just waiting to see if it's approved, and then if it comes in in time.

Fev 5, 2013, 7:33 am

#14 Roni, thank you for posting that - it's really helpful. I haven't started yet and I probably won't start until the second half of the month as I want to finish Tigana and Excellent Women for other group reads first. I will defintily be reading it though!

#12 I have friends from the US so I'll add Jhereg to TIOLI #10 if it's not there already.

Fev 5, 2013, 8:51 pm

>14 ronincats: - 15 Hey Roni - I second Heather; thanks for the info re: the Minneapolis crowd. As for when I'll get started, it'll probably Thursday. I'm working on a nonfiction book The Ghost Map - I'm only about halfway done. So Jhereg is next!

>16 humouress: I hope you get Jhereg quickly - how nice of your library to order it!

>17 souloftherose: Thank you so much, Heather, for adding Jhereg to the TIOLI - I've joined you!

Fev 5, 2013, 8:55 pm

That's great! I went ahead and read it first thing, to refresh my memory, but it's a quick read and you have all month to get to it. So come back when you get a chance. Etiquette and Espionage showed up on my front porch earlier today and I'm off to start it!

Fev 10, 2013, 11:04 pm

Just bringing this up to the top again. I know Dejah has finished and Bianca is reading, after her bout of pneumonia--now that's dedication!

Fev 11, 2013, 5:53 am

Not that there's any pressure or anything ;0)

We're going to the library tomorrow for our (at least) once weekly visit - it's story-time for my 4 year old - so I'll check on the status of Jhereg.

I haven't managed to convince my sister to join her library and pick up Tigana for me, though. But I did read it lo these many years ago, so I might pop over to the discussion thread, anyway, at some point.

Fev 11, 2013, 8:46 pm

I finished it the other day. I'd read it before, years ago, and since then I've read all the others in the series. And not only had I completely forgotten when this one took place, but I also just realized that I've been mispronouncing the word Jhereg this whole time... the things you learn from audiobooks...

Editado: Fev 12, 2013, 6:10 pm

So how do you pronounce it?

I'm thinking a hard 'H' sound, like the Spanish (as in Javier, jamon, Jerez) ('scuse spelling).

Fev 12, 2013, 1:21 pm

Just finished Jhereg today and thought it was a very entertaining fun read. Started already on the second book Yendi, also it appears that this story is set BEFORE the events in Jhereg. Well, at least Vlad isn't married.

Editado: Fev 13, 2013, 4:06 pm

#23 Soft Jh, with the accent on the second syllable. zhe-REG. Assuming the narrator was pronouncing it right, of course. I'd always pronounced it with the accent on the first syllable.

EDIT: He was. Pronunciation guide here, with audio clips from Brust himself, in case anyone is curious. Apparently some of the omnibus editions have guides in them, but I don't think the old paperback copy I read the first time did.

#24 Heh, yeah, exactly why I had the timeframe wrong on Jhereg :) I'm tempted to go download Yendi now myself.

Fev 13, 2013, 7:25 pm

Jhereg was the first book published. Now, if you liked it, Yendi is the story of how Vlad met Cawti, and Taltos is the story of how Vlad and Morrolan met--both occurring before Jhereg. If you look at the series information (link under the book title on the work page) you can look at both publication order and chronological order. Dragon is the other book occurring before Jhereg, where we get to know Sethra.

I also always pronounced the accent on the first syllable, zher-eg. Now I know.

Fev 13, 2013, 7:43 pm

Much like Jerez (de la Frontera)?

Editado: Fev 19, 2013, 4:46 pm

I've been thinking zher-eg, too. I don't know that I'll willing to change that!

Thank you so much, Roni, for pointing me toward Jhereg - what fun! It struck me that had it been written in a different era or if it had been a later book by a well know, successful author, it could have been much longer. There is a great deal happening in the book and so very many other stories alluded to that I'm sure he could have written a longer book - but I don't think it necessarily would have been better. In the 1980s, publishers seemed to favor books in the 200 page range, unless the author had the power of previous substantial book sales behind him or her.

Fev 19, 2013, 4:37 pm

Well, part of that is that this will be a 17 book series, not counting the 5 book prequels, and so there is time to tell some shorter episodes. And it is mostly the early books in the series that are shorter.

Editado: Fev 20, 2013, 10:46 am

Well, folks, since it was my reading The Phoenix Guards that prompted this group read (*sneaking all the credit away from Roni*), I was determined to join in. So I abandoned the kids (do you see what LT can make you do?) ;0) and trekked to the other side of Sydney to pick up what seems to be the only copy in the public domain. And now - after joining yet another library system, I have it.

Now I just have to read it - and finish it in time.

Editado: Fev 20, 2013, 1:45 pm

Nina, I am so proud of you! How amazing! No, really. Dedicated.

A note to the group. The prequels to the Vlad books are not written in the same direct vernacular style as Vlad's story. They are written in conscious homage to the d'Artagnan Romances by Alexandre Dumas. The Phoenix Guards = The Three Musketeers, Five Hundred Years After = Twenty Years After, and the three books making up The Viscount of Adrilanka = The Vicomte de Bragelonne. Paarfi, their author, writes in a flowery convoluted style similar to Dumas, and to me that becomes part of their charm, although it irritates some people to death. You either find Paarfi a hoot, or you want to throw him against the wall.

In contrast to the Paarfi books, the Vlad books, especially the first ones, are short, direct, and very easy to read.

Fev 20, 2013, 1:48 pm

Roni, thank you for the info. I definitely, will carry on reading this series. As I mentioned before the book I got contains the first 3 published books. Once I finished them, I will try the other ones.

> Yeah, Nina well done what Roni said you are such a dedicated reader. That's absolutely amazing!

Fev 21, 2013, 4:30 pm

#31> I liked Paarfi, but then I liked Dumas too. I can see where he'd drive some people crazy, though. I have The Phoenix Guards on audio too, unlistened-to.

So, on another topic, I read Lauren Beukes' Zoo City recently, and I was thinking about the presentation of the world-building and backstory in it vs Jhereg.

Admittedly, it's been a long time since I read Jhereg for the first time. I remember being curious about all the references, but not bothered by them even when the book ended without them being addressed. In Zoo City, though, there were a couple of things that irritated me to no end when they were just dropped.

I'm having a hard time pinpointing exactly what the difference is. It may just be that these things were brought up more than once in Zoo City (Zinzi's brother, in particular) as being important, where in Jhereg they're more just references of the "oh, that just reminded me of..." variety. Or maybe it was that Zoo City felt shaky in places, in my opinion... a few too many "I hope this has a good explanation" moments, where Jhereg feels more solid. Not sure.

I will say that it was fun rereading Jhereg now that I know more of the backstory.

Fev 26, 2013, 12:22 am

I've got Zoo City on the shelf, but haven't felt motivated to pick it up. I think I'd rather read another Brust book...

Fev 26, 2013, 12:28 am

I had trouble with that in Zoo City as well, whereas I don't remember it really bothering me the first time I read Jhereg. I also don't like where it devolved, for me, into political thriller near the end--I was hoping for more with such an original premise.

So, we've had 5 people finish Jhereg, I think--Dejah, Heather, antqueen, Bianca and me. And hopefully Nina is working on it. What did you or did you not like about the world-building here? Anything irritate you? What did you like most? What did you like that was different?

Fev 26, 2013, 6:53 am

I've finished! I liked the world-building - I thought Brust did a good job at giving hints of past events and background without it becoming too overwhelming. With Zoo City, I don't remember feelijng annoyed at the references but I did find the world-building more overwhelming and spent a large proportion of the book feeling like I didn't have a clue what was going on.

I found the humour irritated me a bit - I don't think I like the wise-cracking style (this was also something that annoyed me in the Jim Dresden series). It didn't annoy me as much with Jhereg and I'm hoping that continues as I'd like to read the sequels/prequels.

I liked the mix of a fantasy world with the intrigue and plot twists of the crime/mystery aspects of the book.

I'm going to be ordering the omnibus edition Bianca has and I'm looking forward to reading Yendi and Taltos.

#31 I really like the Dumas books so those prequels interest me a lot. When would you say is the best time to try them?

Editado: Fev 28, 2013, 5:33 pm

>31 ronincats:: Thanks, Roni. I've now finished Jhereg, and will review it shortly. My reading time (as usual) was rather fragmented, so I have to gather my thoughts.

I actually picked up The Book of Jhereg from the library, so I'll be reading Yendi and Taltos soon. Will anyone else be joining me?

Fev 28, 2013, 5:29 pm

Bianca also got The Book of Jhereg and so perhaps she would join us. Anyone else?

Editado: Mar 2, 2013, 11:27 am

>37 humouress:: I've reviewed Jhereg. I've copied it to The Book of Jhereg, and the original review is here, on my thread.

I found it a nice, light-hearted book to read (in spite of the fact that it dealt with criminals); that was unusual, for me. I don't tend to find books that combine crime in a fantasy setting. (I suspect the Dresden books do that, but I haven't read them yet.)

The world-building was solid; I didn't really find myself questioning anything (though I am a fairly accepting person. If I question something, it must be glaringly off!). But having read The Phoenix Guards first, I may have already filled in gaps that others might have found wanting. Conversely, when I read The Phoenix Guards, I was left puzzled at quite a few things; and a lot of those were explained in Jhereg.

The banter was fun, though there could have been more. It wasn't as funny as The Phoenix Guards, though.

Mar 2, 2013, 12:45 pm

I'm just ready to start Jhereg--I committed to way too many group reads last month. I have The Book of Jhereg from the library, so I may well read along with Yendi and Taltos.

Mar 2, 2013, 1:19 pm

I liked the world building in Jhereg - I think the authors who don't try to explain everything, who assume that readers will understand that there is an entire universe in which the story is set with tales that may never be told in their entirety create much richer worlds.

Of course, it appears that Brust may be trying to tell all those tales given the number of related books he's published!

I'm planning on Yendi and Taltos this month, probably in that order. Shall we just continue the discussion here?

Mar 3, 2013, 12:09 am

Sounds good to me. I'm afraid I'm going to have to read along with you! I mentioned on Nina's thread that those two books are going to give her the background to really appreciate 500 Years After, the sequel to The Phoenix Guards.

Mar 3, 2013, 9:17 am

Excellent! If anybody reading Yendi and Taltos participates in the TIOLI Challenges, I've got them listed in Challenge #21.

Mar 5, 2013, 9:00 pm

Anyone ready to start Yendi yet?

Mar 6, 2013, 12:07 am

No, but I'm loving Jhereg.

The feeling of all the stuff going on before doesn't bother me at all.... it's what I loved about The Lord of the Rings when I first read it.

Mar 6, 2013, 1:41 am

Janet, I'm so glad you are enjoying Jhereg. I think you will find it goes quickly. I read Yendi this evening, for relaxation!

Mar 12, 2013, 12:59 pm

I've read Taltos, Yendi and Dragon this month, and would be happy to discuss them with any of the rest of you who are reading them, as well as Jhereg. I'm trying to resist doing a complete reread.

Mar 12, 2013, 11:34 pm

Oh Roni, why resist?

I read Yendi the other day -- it was great! I'm game to read the entire series - I'm looking forward to learning about all these other episodes Vlad keeps referring to. Don't take that to mean that I'm bothered by the references - I have no problem accepting that other events have occurred in Vlad's universe!

Should I read Dragon next?

BTW, how many Barbara Hambly fantasy novels are you prepared to reread?

Mar 12, 2013, 11:48 pm

No, read Taltos before Dragon! That's where Vlad meets Morrolan and Sethra Lavode, and eventually Aliera, and travels the Paths of the Dead. Dragon follows that.

I'd be up for the other Sun Wolf books and Dragonsbane--the original trilogy and its sequel seem rather dark to me now, although it's been so long, although I suppose I could be talked into it. I never cared for the Windrose Chronicles and Sun-cross duology that much. I do really like the James Asher books, though, as well. What are you proposing? Between Brust and Hambly, it looks like a re-read month!

Mar 13, 2013, 12:05 am

I wasn't proposing we read them all this month! Although, you never know....

Let's start with the Sun Wolf books - then maybe the James Asher books. I may save Dragonsbane for after I read the rest. I have no problem not reading the books that follow Dragonsbane - I don't think it needed to be revisited and from all I've heard they are downright dark and depressing.

Editado: Mar 22, 2013, 4:02 pm

I've just finished (finally!) Yendi, in The Book of Jhereg.

I've also discovered that, as I didn't sign up for e-mail alerts, my book is overdue at the library. This (if you remember the saga) is the one that I had to trek all over the place for, and apparently, I can borrow it back after it's been re-shelved. Since that would involve an extra 2 treks, which I'd have to find the time for (I suppose I can't abandon the kids too many times), I'll just have to read Taltos quickly, before I return it. Fortunately, it looks like it's the shortest of the three. Mind you, that didn't help with Yendi; somehow, I could never get enough time to read a chunk in one sitting.

So. Yendi. More of Vlad, with his wise-cracking and gumshoeing (is that a word? My spellchecker hasn't flagged it); possibly not as much as in Jhereg, though as my reading was so fractionated, it's a bit hard to tell.

Essentially, Vlad gets into a Jhereg territory war - but there may be an ulterior motive behind it all. He meets Cawti, his future wife (whom we've met as his wife in Jhereg), and we learn a little bit more about his relationship with Aliera and Morrolan, et al. I wondered why it was titled Yendi, and we did eventually find out, but near the end.

Similar to Jhereg, it's still well written, but possibly without quite as much snap and crackle. Or maybe that's my fractionated reading, again.

What did anyone else think?

Mar 22, 2013, 4:31 pm

Oh I liked Yendi, too. I'm not sure that there was less snap and crackle so much as it was expected this time. I've finished Taltos, too - it its the shortest and very entertaining. More and more things are being explained!

Roni says to go for Dragon next, so I've got it and a few others requested.

Mar 22, 2013, 8:04 pm

I did wonder if it was because, being the second book I read, it wasn't all fresh and new any more.

Taltos seems to be only 150-something pages, but that's in trade paperback size.

Roni may be trying not to do a complete re-read, but we certainly seem to be aiming for the whole series! I've seen Dragon in my local branch (so no trek required0, but I don't know about any of the other books. One at a time ...

Mar 22, 2013, 8:12 pm

Well, if you all do the entire series, I'll certainly do it too.

I've read the first three so many times (you know how you have to reread the earlier books whenever a new one comes out) that I can't judge any more, Nina, about the snap and crackle. This is only the second time I've read Dragon as it was published much later (8th, while it is #3 chronologically). There are certain things in these early books that will end up being pertinent in later books, so I always enjoy reviewing, as the first time I read them I didn't always pick up on them.

Editado: Abr 6, 2013, 2:09 pm

I've finished Teckla, and thus The Book of Jhereg, and made the trek to return it. The GPS said thirty something minutes, which I thought wasn't too horrendous, but it turned into just over an hour, I think. I seemed to forever be turning into main streets, with long lights against me, so I could feel the clock ticking. Coming back, I looked up the map and hopped on a long, curvy road which meandered through greenery, and I didn't have to turn off for ages, which did wonders for my peace of mind. The GPS (when I turned it on again) said thirty something minutes, and for a wonder, we weren't too far off in the end. And I was racing the clock, this time, to make the school pick-up window. Should I ever have to borrow from that library again (other than e-books), I'll go down that way. At least it won't seem like such a trek.

Back to The Book of Jhereg; did anyone notice how often Vlad cleaned up his apartment? I wonder how it gels with Morphy's experience with the author? I notice my ratings for the individual books went down progressively (4, 3.5 and 3). I think Dejah may be right - once you've read Jhereg, things aren't quite so unexpected anymore (and I did wonder at the time), but that was how I felt at the end.

Mind you, my reading experience (having to rush off to pick kids up etc) isn't conducive to maintaining a mood, nor is having to read to a deadline. (I joined LibraryElf when I went down to the library today - just in case I do use it again. Plus, it seemed a bit daft to drive all that way, return a book and turn round to drive all the way back. But there wasn't a fine, in spite of the fact that it was about 2 weeks overdue. I called when I got an overdue notice by post, and the librarian who answered was very apologetic that she wasn't able to renew the book for me, but maybe she waived the fines, since I mentioned that I was coming in from so far away. {Next time, I'll catch a plane, maybe.}) Librarians are good people.

Hmm ... so this is still about my adventures just reading the book. No matter, I've reviewed all three under The Book of Jhereg, if you want to know what I thought, and on my thread.


ETA: correct book title :0/

Mar 28, 2013, 8:55 am

I think you should get an award, Nina, for most effort made to join a read - wow! I am impressed by your determination and navigation skills!

I have to ask - what is LibraryElf?

Mar 28, 2013, 9:13 am

>56 Dejah_Thoris:: *blush* Thank you :0)

LibraryElf (I wish I'd known in time - I could have extended my book on the internet) is the system that particular library uses so you can monitor the books you've borrowed or put on hold etc. on your card. My local library just seems to use their own system, but LibraryElf caters for whole heaps of libraries, primarily in the US. It also covers Canada and the UK, as well as quite a few libraries in Australia.

Mar 28, 2013, 9:29 am

I think you should get an award, Nina, for most effort made to join a read - wow! I am impressed by your determination and navigation skills!

Nina, I very much second Dejah's opinion! I am impressed!

Mar 28, 2013, 5:24 pm

I'll third that!

One of the things that begins to happen with Teckla is that we start moving out of a "fun" fantasy romp into real life, if I can term it that. It's undoubtedly not coincidental

Spoiler space for those who haven't read Teckla yet:

that Brust was going through a divorce during his writing of this book and that is a downer for all of us. It starts to get more complex.

End spoiler space.

Mar 28, 2013, 8:43 pm

Turns out that Yendi's actually the story I was thinking was in Jhereg, when I re-listened to it. Fun, fun. And like ronincats said earlier, it's neat noticing the little details that suddenly become important, once you know the future.

I think I'll take a little break from Brust now, though. I hardly ever read a bunch of books from a series all in a row anyway, and I need a change of tone. I started Great Expectations this morning... that should do it :)

Abr 6, 2013, 4:35 am

I finished Yendi and enjoyed it although not quite as much as Jhereg. The third book in my omnibus edition of The Book of Jhereg is Teckla so that's the one I'm reading next although it sounds as if other people read Taltos next?

#59 Interesting remarks about Teckla Roni. I seem to have gone down with a cold this weekend so I was hoping Teckla would be a similar fun romp because that's what I feel in the mood for but I'll see how I go.

Abr 6, 2013, 2:08 pm

>61 souloftherose:: Oops, sorry; my mistake. I put 'Taltos' instead of Teckla. I read the omnibus edition, too, so it should have been Teckla. I'll go back and correct my post.

>58 drachenbraut23:, 59: Thanks, Bianca and Roni :0)

Abr 6, 2013, 3:47 pm

The Book of Jhereg has the first three books published, and they are all closely connected. If you want to find out how Vlad first came into contact with Sethra, Morrolan and Aliera, and traveled the Paths of the Dead, you'll want to read Taltos!

Abr 16, 2013, 6:31 am

Just bumping up the thread :) Don't want it to be lost. Have not finished with the books yet.

Abr 30, 2013, 2:45 pm

I'm certain I'll get to more Brust this May - April was something of a bust!

Maio 23, 2013, 12:34 pm

I did a quick check at the library today, but they don't have Taltos. They do seem to have the series that starts with (if I'm not mistaken) The Lord of Castle Black. I'll check the catalogues of the other libraries soon. If I can't get hold of it, would I miss out by skipping it, do you think?

Maio 24, 2013, 12:04 pm

You won't miss out on the main storyline, but will miss some key linking between the prequel series-- The Phoenix Guards, 500 Years After, and then the three books making up The Viscount of Adrilankha which start with The Lord of Castle Black. These all make up Brust's homage to Alexander Dumas and his The Three Musketeers, 20 Years After, and The Vicomte de Bragelonne as well as providing extensive background to the world we encounter in Vlad's books. With Taltos, that includes the story of his walking The Paths of the Dead, to which he refers several times, as well as some interesting facts about Aliera. So if eventually you can find these and read them, it will enrich your experience of Dragaera. But don't let that stop you from getting on with Vlad's story.

Maio 26, 2013, 11:15 pm

I'll be reading Dragon soon, Roni! Then Phoenix, right?

Jun 1, 2013, 12:07 am

That is correct, Dejah! I will be picking up Jhegaala in June--it actually happens between Phoenix and Athyra but was written much later, and I forgot about it until after I'd started the latter. This will only be my second time reading it and I'm hoping to get more out of it this time.

Jun 1, 2013, 3:24 pm

Excellent! I'm planning totally self indulgent reading in June.