by Steven Brust
Jhereg is the first book Steven Brust wrote about his imagined world, Dragaera. Aliens once visited this planet and genetically mixed humans with native animals, creating seventeen different humanoid forms and factions. They have special abilities, live to be hundreds of years, and are over seven feet tall. Normal humans are despised and on the bottom of society. The main character, Vlad Taltos, is a human who inveigled his way into one of the lower factions, the House of Jhereg. He becomes a successful assassin, using disreputable methods of sorcery and the dangerous companionship of a dragon-like jhereg as protection and leverage. I was attracted to this book by the cool-looking cover image, the description of Vlad's acquisition of the jhereg-egg, and the fact that the creature has a telepathic connection with him. But it's more about a mafia-like organization, crime, intrigue, power struggles and death duels than the animal figures or magic. Not a usual subject for me, but this one is written so fluidly, with humorous observations by the young, ambitious Vlad that I actually enjoyed it. I read the next two books (though they're not really written in chronological order) Yendi and Teckla before leaving the series. Now there's at least ten of them, with all kinds of interesting names.
Rating: 3/5 Published: 1983, 239 pp