Teckla by Steven Brust
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Another very easy read, but this time Vlad has his most difficult challenge ever... His wife.
I can't think of a better way to seriously cramp the style of a man who succeeded against all the odds to win the most high-paid assassination than to have his wife decide to go all in on a revolution for the downtrodden in the slums, especially since Vlad's at the top of his game, rich as hell, and have powerful people owe him favors.
Of course, that's exactly what happens, and he's just trying to save his marriage while being unable to accept or go along with the ultimately doomed idealism. Hell, this would have made a fine novel, full of outrage, love, hopeless fear, and sadness, and all without a touch of fantasy. Fortunately for us, we've got a flying novel that goes down so smooth it might as well have been a dragon dipping into a lake.
I never felt so close to Vlad as during this novel, and that may be because I'm already invested in the character, or it could be because the conflict is real, immediate, and scary, while only occasionally turning into a bloodbath.
Revolution. It was painful to read mainly because it seemed so ill-prepared and idealistic, which was probably an artifact of seeing it through Vlad's eyes, but I couldn't help but agree. It's nice to imagine that hoards of angry peasants can do more than step up to be slaughtered, but come on... what was Cawti thinking?
I suppose this novel felt the most real. It was a squabble between a married couple, with the regular complications of mob-wars, assassinations, and plotting one's own death... and that was only on the husband's side.
Forgive me if I am stuck wondering how this whole novel would have played out written from Cawti's point of view. It might have turned into something savagely different and fun instead of being tinged with despair. Who knows? I might be sitting on this one for a while wondering that very question. That's a good thing. I'm getting more for my money on this read. :)
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