Yendi - Steven Brust Thank goodness I knew beforehand that the Vlad Taltos books aren't written in order of the timeline, or else I would have been really confused. This is the second book in the series to be published, but actually takes place before the first book, to the time when Vlad first meets his wife Cawti.

I really liked Cawti's character in Jhereg, and I was excited to find out she was going to have a much bigger role in this novel, based on its synopsis. So I was slightly let down when a third of the book breezed by and she still hadn't shown up; I think I was waiting with bated breath the whole time for that to happen. Eventually, amidst the Jhereg war that Vlad has started with rival Laris, she does make her appearance along with her partner-in-crime Norathar.

It was the high point for me, even though from the previous book we were told Vlad met Cawti while the latter was trying to assassinate him, so I knew what to expect. Despite that, it didn't diminish the scene in any way. A quote Vlad made from Jhereg still resonates with me, about how couples typically fall in love first then get married and spend the rest of their lives trying to kill each other, while with the two of them had it the other way around. I still chuckle when I think of it.

Still, the process of the two of them falling in love was really awkward, but somehow due to the book's style I suspect it was meant to be. It happened so quickly, with hardly any build up at all -- it seemed to me Vlad and Cawti literally jumped into bed after "Hello". Readers looking for elements of romance would be sorely disappointed, but then again Vlad doesn't seem like the type to be sentimental!

The story of the Jhereg war that started all this was very entertaining, at least, though there's a lot more the mystery angle in this book than the last. The breakneck pace of these novels means that sometimes the clues and the conclusions they lead to are sometimes hard to follow, especially since there are so much history and so many names thrown around. I think Yendi would have been more suspenseful if it hadn't been a "prequel" and we didn't already know how certain events played out, but this was another good read all in all, fast and fun.