This is unfair to Steven Brust’s Iorich, but I wanted it to be a different book.
Iorich is set four years after Dzur, and unquestionably has a great premise: Vlad comes back to Adrilankha because Aliera has been arrested on charges of practicing Elder Sorcery—a capital crime. And it gets a great deal of the feel of legal stuff right.
But it’s four years after Dzur and Vlad is in basically the same position he was at the end of that book. (There’s one thing mentioned in passing that’s different, but it doesn’t seem to have any effect on him here.) Four years! This is the book that made me realize that, for all that he’s shown skulking in the woods in Issola, I just can’t see it: I can’t envision him having that kind of existence in the time between books. I gave Dzur a pass on not making progress on Vlad’s big-picture problems because I loved the characterization so much, but this book frustrated me when I was finished because its ending seems to promise future movement Real Soon Now, which just pointed out how much still needed to be resolved.
I also wanted this to be a different book because Vlad’s POV is unfortunately limited. The plot does not make a lot of sense to me (Chad and I, in fact, came up with completely opposite understandings of it), and I suspect much of the problem is that at least one major player simply would never tell Vlad just why they acted as they did.
There are some very good things about the book, among which are a non-annoying Cawti, a great moment with Kragar, and some hilarious “deleted scenes” at the end. Almost everyone who’s not me likes it a lot. If you haven’t read it yet, you probably will too. (Hey, I said I was being unfair.)
(Note: I originally read this in an ARC from the publisher.)