Review: Jhereg by Steven Brust



by Steven Brust
Narrated by Bernard Setaro Clark
Series: Vlad Taltos, Book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Audible Studios, 2012 (originally published 1983)
E-book & Audiobook, Purchased
239 pages
8 hours, 40 minutes
Grade: B+
Narrator Grade: B+
Synopsis: The first to be published, this is actually the fourth novel in the timeline of the VLAD TALTOS series. The books recount the adventures of the wisecracking hired killer Vlad, a human on a planet mainly inhabited by the long-lived, extremely tall sorcerers known as the Dragaerans. One of the most powerful bosses in the Jhereg–Dragaera’s premier criminal organization–hires Vlad, one of their guild members, to assassinate Mellar, who stole millions from the Jhereg leadership and fled. Unfortunately, this thief turns out to be protected in a way that makes it difficult for Vlad to do his job without gaining the permanent enmity of a friend. The reader also learns more about Vlad’s past in this, and in other, lives.

Always speak politely to an enraged dragon.


  • I really like this story.
  • Vlad is a great character. I don’t feel like I know too much about him by the end of the book, but that’s okay. He’s mysterious…an assassin, also a human on a world with very few humans.
  • We would classify Vlad as a criminal, but he has carved a life for himself on a world where most humans aren’t even considered “human.”
  • In this world death isn’t necessarily permanent. An interesting concept.
  • The world building is also rather mysterious. Not a great deal is explained about this world, but it’s an interesting world. One I want to find out more about.
  • Manners are very important in this society and one must know the manners in each group and follow them if one is going to be successful and survive.
  • We learn a bit about Vlad’s companion (familiar) named Loiosh and how Vlad came to acquire him. That’s a story in itself. They communicate with mind speech and Loiosh isn’t very polite!
  • The narrator definitely increased my enjoyment for this story. He was very good. I wish I could afford to get all the books as audiobooks.
  • There’s a bit of mystery to the story.


  • I’m puzzled since in the synopsis it states this is actually the fourth book in the series even though it was published first. In the chronologies I always see this book listed first.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy in the 1980’s, but I hadn’t heard of this series or read anything by Steven Brust.
  • Since these first books were published in the 1980’s they aren’t always easy to find. The earlier books aren’t available yet as e-books. The books were republished 10 or 15 years ago as omnibuses with 2 or 3 books per edition.
  • Some of them (such as this one) are audiobooks. I originally found Jhereg for sale on Audible and knew nothing about it, but it sounded interesting. I’m so glad I bought it and listened to it.
  • A new book in the series–Hawk–comes out the first part of October. It is is the 14th book in the series! So these books are alive and well!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • The 2014 New Author Reading Challenge hosted at the Literary Escapism blog.
  • 2014 Audiobook Challenge hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs.

Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

6 thoughts on “Review: Jhereg by Steven Brust”

  1. I’ve seen this book floating around as a staple of the fantasy genre but knew nothing about it. It’s fun to discover these older series! I recently did this with Dave Duncan – an author I had never even heard but am now thoroughly enjoying one of his series written in the 1980s.


  2. That sounds pretty good! Not my typical fare but I do love a little sneak into fantasy now and again. The dragon advice is excellent. Have you seen the one about being nice to dragons because you’d be tasty with ketchup? lol


  3. This book was so fast-paced and threw you into the story right away, so much so that I actually had a moment or two where I wondered if I was actually reading book one of the series. But after a couple books of Vlad Taltos, I realized that was just the way it was meant to be. I liked what I’ve read so far, and it’s impressive how much world building Brust can cram into such a relatively short book.


    1. Yes, it did kind feel like I was in the middle of a series or middle of a book. That’s really kind of a neat way to get immersed in the story!


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