Steven Brust's The Paths of the Dead at once reminds me of why I hate series, and why I love them.

I hate them because there's just too damn much to remember. Brust's Dragaeran novels all share a complex world with complexly interrelated characters, with secrets and mysteries galore; finding out about these mysteries is half the fun of the books. That's all well and good, but, well, it's been a long time since I read these books. Issola was pretty recent, but I read all of the books before Orca back in 1996. If you can remember fiddly details from books you read seven years ago, you have a better memory than I do.

So right away, I feel like I'm missing out. I'm sure this book had significant revelations about Dragaera and the characters within it, but I don't know what they were. I really hate this -- so much so, that I put off reading The Paths of the Dead for months, because I didn't want to go to the effort of ramping up on the background.

When I finally did start it, though, I got absorbed quickly enough. Brust writes a heck of a story, and I absolutely love Paarfi's distinctive narrative voice. I giggled repeatedly at passages in the book, and even read several of them aloud to Anne. The book was over far too quickly for my liking.

And now, curse my fickle soul, I'm sitting here begging for the sequel. Sigh.


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