Dud: “Agyar,” by Steven Brust (2004)

"I'm not a vampire! Let's talk about Rimbaud and this peacoat I'm wearing."

This was the first time I’ve dipped a toe into Steven Brust, who is perhaps best known for his work with Neil Gaiman on Sandman and his 13-part Vlad Taltos series, which began in the early ’80s. Brust is a niche writer revered in certain pockets, and Agyar, while certainly not his best-known book by any stretch, comes with a hefty degree of critical acclaim.

Why, I have no idea. This is a short book in which literally nothing happens for the first 100 pages. It gave me no reason to keep going.

Agyar‘s claim to fame is that it’s a vampire novel that never mentions the word “vampire.” Instead it’s more of a reflection on the nature of immortality and love through the eyes of our titular bloodsucker. What it actually amounts to is the boring memoir ramblings of a vampire who discovers a typewriter in the attic and decides to write disconnected musings about house parties and some gauzy plot where another not-vampire asks him to take the blame for a murder she’s going to commit. That’s about it.

Agyar wanders around and thinks deep thoughts like a freshman Lit major at your local liberal arts college. Shame the guy is like 200 years old and never evolved past this.

Unfortunately there’s not much else to be said about this book. I think vampire fans will read anything that has even a remote connection to the undead and give it 5 stars. I’ll probably give Brust a second chance by checking out the Vlad Taltos series at some point, but I won’t be in any rush after picking up this snoozer.


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