(First published Feb 18, 2014)
Today’s Book: “Dragon” by Steven Brust.
The Plot: Vlad Taltos, an assassin / witch / general-purpose organized criminal, gets drawn unwillingly into a war between Dragonlords following the theft of a mysterious weapon.
(FYI, this is the eighth book in a series that will eventually have 17.)
Autistic Character(s): Daymar, a Hawklord and powerful psychic.
Daymar isn’t described as having any particular condition, but I am not the only reader to interpret him as being on the spectrum. He is responsible, efficient, and very good at his job, but is at the same time confused by many social expectations and reactions that the other characters take for granted.
While this in itself is a familiar autistic archetype, the details of how Brust writes Daymar go pleasantly against stereotype. Instead of showing his confusion through rude and arrogant behaviour, as many fictional Aspies do, Daymar’s response when he doesn’t understand something is to ask polite questions. I find this rather adorable. Vlad finds it annoying; but Vlad is something of an ornery antihero anyway and I do not think that his opinions reflect those of the author.
Unfortunately, as Rose Lemberg warned me, Daymar doesn’t get much screen time. I happen to quite enjoy Vlad and the Dragaera series in general, though I have been reading the books piecemeal and shamefully out of order. But if you aren’t already a fan, it’s probably not worth reading the whole book just for Daymar; plus, there are aspects of the story which won’t make as much sense to readers who are unused to this storyworld.
Daymar may or may not have more to do in “Hawk”, another installment of the series, which may or may not come out this year.
The Verdict: Marginal
For a list of other past/future/possible Autistic Book Party books, or to recommend a new one, click here.