Phoenix (Vlad Taltos #5)

Title: Phoenix

Author: Steven Brust

Series: Vlad Taltos #5

Vlad Taltos is an assassin, and used to taking jobs without knowing all the details—but he’s certainly wondering why his own goddess needs to hire him for a hit. And she isn’t aiming small, either. But a job’s a job, even if this one is bound to have consequences well beyond the usual.

Although Vlad does figure out much of the reasons why by the end, I still felt this one was a bit weaker than some of the other ones I’ve read. The Demon Goddess is either lying (which didn’t seem likely) or appears to be as manageable as a particularly powerful bit of sorcery, neither of which does her much credit as a goddess. And I was a bit irritated, too, at Cawti, for not attempting to save her marriage with the same intensity Vlad is, or at least acknowledging that Vlad has put everything on the line for her. Vlad knows she’s put her cause above her marriage, but even so can’t help getting himself into worse and worse trouble to try to get her out of danger. But her love seems less committed, and she only helps out when the circumstances have nothing to do with her revolution.

In other respects, though, this is still a lot of fun. Vlad’s desperation increases as he’s trapped in physical dangers and moral quandaries with no clear way out. Even his alliance with some of the most powerful Dragaerans in the kingdom can’t fix things. And his grim humor keeps things funny, even when he’s hard-pressed.

Overall, this is still a good read, although one of the few in the series I think shouldn’t be read without having read at least one other. I rate this book Recommended.

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