Sun, the Moon, and the Stars by Steven Brust was published
as fantasy. It is primarily, at least upon the surface, about a group
of young artists who share a studio, about the current work in
progress of the narrator, about the relations amongst the artists, and
a story that the narrator is telling to the other members of the
group. It is very good. I like Steven Brust for his excellent
characterization and for his unpredictability. His books, at least
the ones I've read, are all very different from one another, even
those within his Vlad Taltos series.
Brokedown Palace by Steven Brust, his fourth published novel I believe, is an excellent fantasy. It is set in the world of his Vlad Taltos novels (Taltos, Jhereg, Yendi, etc.), but in a different region of that world. Like his The Sun, the Moon and the Stars, it alternates between a realistic psychological style, focusing upon character and motivation, and an archaic fairy-tale style, focusing on events and dialogue. Most of the book deals with intrigue within the royal family of Fenario, a small nation with Faerie (the Dragaera of the Vlad Taltos books) on its west and barbarian hordes upon the north and south. The palace, the spiritual heart of the kingdom, is bit by bit falling to pieces (hence the title), and there is controversy, sometimes with deadly force, about what to do about it. I highly recommend this, especially to those who have enjoyed Brust's other fantasy, but also to those who may have avoided him because they are wary of open-ended series.
%T Brokedown Palace %A Brust, Steven %D 1986 (January) %I Ace Fantasy %C New York %E Windling, Terri %P 270 pp. %G 0-441-07181-3 %K fantasy Hungarian fairy-tale (5/96)
Taltos by Steven Brust is the first chronologically in the Vlad Taltos series, though the third or fourth to be published. This is set in a world inhabited by two sentient races, in which the humans are, in the region where the stories are set, weak and in the minority with respect to the Dragaerans. The protagonist (I am tempted to say "hero" but that is not technically correct) is a human assassin in the mainly Dragaeran Jhereg, the primary criminal organization as well as one of the seventeen noble houses of the empire. The whole series has very cool world-building both social, mythological and historical. Each book stands alone tolerably well, but they're best read in order (see below).
Athyra by Steven Brust, the latest in the Vlad Taltos series, maintains the usual high quality and continuing character development which the series has shown so far. This is the first Taltos book not told in the first person, and the focus of the story is not primarily on Vlad himself. Some who enjoyed the earlier books don't like the way Brust is taking the series in Teckla, Phoenix and Athrya, but IMHO this is the only way the series can go on and continue to be good -- more adventures like those in Yendi and Jhereg would quickly become dully repetitive.
FYI: the series so far (1999) (in internal chronological order, not of publication)
Each book tells a complete story in itself, but there is an ongoing story about how Vlad progresses from poor boy to assassin nobleman to... something else. I may post reviews of others when I get around to re-reading them.
The early Vlad Taltos novels have been reprinted in these omnibus volumes:
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