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Vallista: A Novel of Vlad Taltos    by Steven Brust order for
by Steven Brust
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though I have been enjoying Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos series from its beginnings, I struggled to keep reading Vallista. The series stars Easterner assassin antihero Vlad Taltos and his winged, wisecracking sidekick Loiosh (now accompanied by Loiosh's mate). They're been on the run for many episodes, dodging relentless attacks from Vlad's old associates' hit men, after he broke some of their most serious rules.

Another key player in Vallista is small, powerful Devera. She keeps turning up in Vlad's life and calls him uncle. This time she's asking for his help to escape from a mysterious manor that overlooks the Great Sea. So, of course, he enters the manor and then spends the rest of the book wandering through it, also back and forth in time, and experiencing odd encounters (including with a warlock and a demon), while trying to make sense of it all. As does the reader!

As always, the best parts of the story are Vlad's ongoing conversations with his jhereg familiar Loiosh, but even those failed to hold my interest throughout. Vlad does solve the puzzle of this place, which relates to an obsession regarding a 'crossplanar platform', and deals with its (sort of) inventor, then returns to his normal hunted life. Though Vallista is an impressive piece of work, I would only recommend it to very committed series fans.

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