Khaavren of the House of Tiassa is a son of landless nobility, possessor of a good sword, and “tolerably well-acquainted with its use.” Along with three loyal friends, he enthusiastically seeks out danger and excitement. But in a realm renowned for repartee and betrayals, where power is as mutable as magic, a young man like Khaavren, newly come from the countryside, had best be wary. His life depends on it. And so does the future of Draegara.
I tried to like this book, really I did. The only reason I listened to it for the 30 minutes I made myself suffer, was because of Kevin Stillwell. Mr Stillwell was the best thing about the entire experience. But even his talent for narration couldn't make this over wordy nonsense more enjoyable. I had purchased the rest of this series, (Khaavren Romances), but I will be returning them for something more entertaining. I would definitely purchase other books narrated by Kevin Stillwell, as he is one of my favourite narrators. It is highly unlikely I will waste my time and credits on anything else by Steven Brust. Not to my taste.
Inspired by Alexandre Dumas’s historical novels of high adventure Steven Brust takes us into the past history of the world he created, called Dragaera, through the Khaavren series. “The Khaavren series is presented as historical novels written by a fictional character named Paarfi of Roundwood. Paarfi is a Dragaeran presiding in the same time frame as Vlad Taltos. In fact “Tiassa,” the thirteenth book in the Taltos series can be thought of as the sixth book in the Khaavren series. The time frame between the two series is hundreds of years apart but characters can appear in both series since Dragaerans live thousands of years.
“The Phoenix Guards” is book one of the Khaavren Romance series which follows Khaavren of Castlerock; a young Dragaeran from the House of the Tiassa. He and his friends join the Phoenix Guards and set off on a high adventure.
These series of books should be of special interest to those who follow the Taltos series as it gives more background story to some of the more prominent characters of that series. In “The Phoenix Guards” I was especially interested in learning more about Adron e'Kieron, a prominent Dragonlord and father of Aliera e’Kieron, one of the main characters in the Taltos books.
In “The Phoenix Guards,” Steven Brust truly captures the spirit of “The Three Musketeers” written by Alexandre Dumas. Brust ’use of old fashion, intricate, and highly verbose writing is overtly based on Dumas’s style as Steven Brust references in his author’s notes. I found the style of writing a little odd at first, but then really entertaining, if not poetic, once I got used to it.
“The Phoenix Guards” is a strong enough story that can be read-listened to as a stand-alone book; but I believe is much more enjoyable if all of the Taltos series is read first.
Kevin Stillwell, the narrator gives an outstanding performance.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
This book, Phoenix Guards, is an homage to The Three Musketeers by Dumas and the romantic writers of that time. I have always loved this book, and the sequel: 500 Years After, because Three Musketeers has been my favorite book since I was a kid.
I had given up hoping that Phoenix Guards would get released on audio, when this came out! Then, I was cautious, because I wasn't sure they would find the right reader.
BEST READER EVER! My husband and I both, spent two days listening to, and laughing out loud in delight at the amazing job that Kevin Stillwell did reading all the different characters! The comedic timing of his pauses - he made a brilliant book BETTER!!!!!
I have already purchased 500 Years After, and can't wait to share it with my husband.
Be aware, that this is written in a very stylized manner = an unusual, non-modern style. I take great delight in it and recommend that you wait and listen to the authors' bios at the end. It will totally make you laugh!
If you aren't familiar with the Vlad Taltos series by Brust, that is OK. Read this if you loved The Three Musketeers. If you are a Brust fan, as I am, you have to buy this now and read it ASAP!
I want to thank Audible Publishing, for doing a brilliant job, and for Kevin Stillwell, who is just a genius!
16 of 17 people found this review helpful
I have loved this book since I first read it as a boy. the language is fun, the characters loveable, and the plot has enough twists and turns to keep you riveted throughout.
Burst demonstrates his capabilities as a writer and narrator yet again, but this time with an entirely distinct yet similarly hilarious voice.
Enjoyable throughout with its own share of intrigue as well.
I love the writing style of this book. The narrator did a superb job reading and providing the voices. I want more.
Tells a tale of four friends as they try to make a name for themselves and determine what they want to do with their lives and try to settle what has happened to them in their past's. Interesting story the only problem I have with it is that when the author could use one word he uses four. Story is good enough to overcome the number of words written to tell it.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
Got this because book 2 got high praise, but this book 1 doesn't deserve it. Horrible first couple of chapters! Written like a journal entry with everything in past tense with annoying author comments. Lackluster intro and characters never pulled me in. Narrator was OK given the bad source material, but lacked the broad range of voices (characters sounded too alike) I've enjoyed in other books.
What could Steven Brust have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
Grittier characters; more violence; Intro that pulls you in; and ditch the story within a story style.
Would you listen to another book narrated by Kevin Stillwell?
Yes, given better material.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Phoenix Guards?
2 of 6 people found this review helpful