“Yendi” by Steven Brust

I dove into Steven Brust’s second Vlad Taltos novel, Yendi, and finished the next day, kind of bummed I had other reading to do before tearing into the third book. These are wildly entertaining sword-and-sorcery tales, and Brust can plot like a mothereffer. The world of the books is fascinating and complex. These books hold up marvelously these 20 years later, even if they do conform to a lot of the fantasy tropes that Diana Wynne Jones tweaked in her clever The Tough Guide to Fantasyland.

My only gripe is that there are brothels and the league of witches is called The Bitch Patrol. If we can create a fantasy world, can’t we imagine a world without prostitution, of where sex workers are honored, not exploited? Joss Whedon tried and failed epically to do the latter in Firefly, though Carla Speed McNeil does an interesting take on it in her series Finder.

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