Jhereg  - Steven Brust
Steven Brust's [b:Jhereg|1281575|Jhereg (Vlad Taltos, #1)|Steven Brust|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1387744811s/1281575.jpg|1521838] is the first in a long series of books, focuses on the adventures of Vlad Taltos, a witty, amiable, and ruthless assassin belonging to the House of Jhereg. He is accompanied by his familiar, Loiosh, and his shamed-Dragon assistant, Kragar, among a host of other characters in this truly epic cast.

The central plot of this book is that Vlad must find a way to kill a man who has stolen from the House of Jhereg, without betraying his employer's oath that the man will not be harmed (while in his house). Forces conspire to raise the stakes at every turn, and Vlad learns much about the world he lives in and his own history along the way.

I came upon this series through the high recommendations of a friend, and had been told such good things about it that I probably was over-estimating how much I would enjoy it when I began reading. The story is written in a witty, sometimes curt first-person, and while I enjoyed the banter, at times I just wanted the story. For that reason, and the inexplicably large cast of characters that Vlad meets with in the first third of the story, I had a hard time getting through the first hundred pages. I would begin to read, and grow impatient, or bored, and finally, I'd put the book down.

However, there is a point in the book, starting when Vlad finally begins to piece the whole mystery together, that the writing, the characters, and the conflict all click together, and drive through to the end with surprising and exceptionally well-written tension. Once I got to that point, it was near impossible to put it down, and I am greatly looking forward to continuing the series.

Had it not been for the cumbersome need to world-build in the beginning of the story (so that the later parts of the plot would make sense), I probably would have given this story five stars. As it stands, it's still a very good book, and I can heartily recommend it to people who like games like Skyrim or Assassin's Creed, or the idea of a cross-over between an evil Robin Hood and The Three Musketeers.