MUST READ SFF: Agyar, by Steven Brust

– by Gitabushi

Do yourself a favor: find and read this book.  No, do yourself two favors: find and read this book, but do not, under any circumstances, read a review or back cover/inside jacket blurb.  Not even a sentence.


There’s a surprise.  I’ve probably already partially spoiled it by telling you there is a surprise, but knowing that might help you avoid reading any of the blurbs which would destroy the surprise.

Sure, without the surprise, it is still a well-written book, with a main character that grows more likeable sympathetic as the story goes on.  Excellent characterization, and a nicely intricate plot.

I wish I could tell you more to convince you to read it.  I can’t.

Just go find and read it.

Previous entries in this series are here:

The Cool War

The Morgaine Cycle


7 thoughts on “MUST READ SFF: Agyar, by Steven Brust

    1. It would help if you explained what you don’t like about either author.
      For instance, I don’t like either Asimov or Vance because the logic behind their worlds/universes is unconvincing to me. I can handle wrong science, I can handle internally-consistent non-science, but I can’t handle poorly-thought-out science or magic systems.
      That being said, if someone suggested a story by either one that was not typical of them, I’d give them another shot.
      And despite not liking them, I can appreciate Vance’s descriptions, wordsmithing, and cleverness; I can appreciate Asimov’s plots enough to have made it through several of his Robot Rules stories.
      So Cherryh: She’s difficult to get into, I understand. Her early stuff was very hit and miss…sometimes I didn’t know why she wrote a story, much less why I was reading it, in that I want/need a connection to the basic nature of humanity, and at least some utility for comparison/contrast to contemporary humanity, to really enjoy a book.
      But when she’s at her best, no one grasps linguistic principles better than her, and she has a strong grasp of human motivation. Many of her stories don’t have an antagonist other than conflicts that arise from normal human nature, others have antagonists that are clearly not evil/wrong, just with valid goals in opposition of the protagonist; and her books are the better for it.
      Regarding Brust, he is one of the most flexible writers I’ve seen, in that he experiments with different voices and different styles. His Jhereg books are one style (to a point; he experiments with viewpoint later in the series), but his Phoenix Guards series are in an eminently enjoyable Dumas style.
      So believe me when I say that not liking the Jhereg series may not have much bearing on whether you would like his other books or not.

      It is possible that our reading tastes are different enough that you should deliberately avoid anything I say is a Must Read. Which would be sad, but okay: different tastes ensure a wide range of styles get a chance.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. From other things you’ve written I tend to suspect that we have widely varying taste within the SFF genre.
        If I cared more I’d be able to discuss why I didn’t like either of the authors you’ve mentioned. But once an author gets on my “don’t care about” list, I don’t even think about them. Takes up too much mental real estate :-)

        That is quite interesting about Brust and his various styles. I might have to give his P.G. books a chance just to see if things are different enough for me to like.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s fair. It is fascinating how two people who enjoy reading so much can have such different tastes, but the same is true for cars, women, beer…anything/everything.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’s what keeps life interesting. It also means that you can’t make snap judgements about another reader, good or bad, until you’ve had some time to really dig into their likes and dislikes. It is part of why I like the people I follow. I might not like everything you like, but I like how you articulate the why’s and wherefores and THAT is important to me…

        Liked by 1 person

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