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The jacket blurb from Library Journal and Publisher's Weekly describe the arrival of a 'master storyteller' who writes about 'hair-raising escapes, flashy sword fights and faithful friendship' and believe me when I tell you that by page 216 - where I've reached at the time of writing - this could hardly be further from the truth. The escapes have been leisurely and uneventful, nobody has so much as raised a sword in anger and the two central characters hate each other. Oh, somebody did receive a hot pie in the face around page 200. If you like long, descriptive passages and endless dialogue which, by the way, is repetitive and does little to move things along, then this may well be the book for you. Otherwise, I'd leave it. I'm going to plod on to the end mainly because I've bought it and I've invested some time in getting through it this far, but I am confident that nothing much will change by the end, I won't care anyway and I won't be seeking out the next thrilling installment ! If I'm wrong, I'll write another review to that effect, I promise.
I started reading "Theft of Swords" and couldn't understand why the two main protagonists were playing second fiddle to some of the minor cast. Although I love the way Royce and Hadrian are left to your imagination, how two very different people grew to be so close was a nagging mystery to me, so I was exceptionally glad to come across "The Crown Tower", which I decided to read before continuing Riyria Revelations.
And I was not disappointed; I could tell that the writer had improved since the first series came out and the mature narrative with its smooth pacing and description really added to my overall enjoyment. While it's taken for granted that the main leads get along well and have a water-tight partnership throughout Revelations, here in Chronicles you immediately realise just how much effort went into bringing this difficult duo together.
What seems like a straightforward mission - steal a book and put it back again without the owner noticing - soon becomes a succession of failures, despite Hadrian's numerous attempts to thaw the icy distance between himself and Royce. No matter what Hadrian does, he cannot seem to impress or soften the dark-hooded stranger who refuses to compromise or cooperate as the mission progresses. So what is he to do? Entertainingly hard to know where the turning point will be, but the build-up was pleasantly worth it and I thought some of their moments were surprisingly funny (ie. when Royce thinks, through his particular logic, that Hadrian did not climb down the tower first because the man couldn't locate the rope!)
Elsewhere, Sullivan fills in the gaps, introducing us to the origins of Gwen and how events in her own life lead her to meet Hadrian and Royce at a time when they need help most. Some stories simply overlook what a woman in the comfort trade needs to do to rise above her modest station; however, Sullivan cleverly demonstrates the extent to which Gwen fights the odds against her, approaching the authorities for a license and planning permit before transforming a building from a run-down inn to a thriving, independent business. I learnt from the process and really appreciated the time Sullivan spent on outlining Gwen's business plan, even if she appeared to be making it up on the spot.
As Revelations has already concluded the lives of every character within the Riyria universe, readers have remarked on the lack of danger they feel for Royce and Hadrian as they battle opponents along their quests. Due to my interest in their relationship from the start, this aspect of the prequel does not bother me but makes it following their lives before that grand ending all the more interesting. I think Riyria is much like the Shakespeare play "Othello", in that you need to have experienced what the characters are going through in order to deeply value the purpose of the tale. In "Othello", you need to have fallen in love and felt jealousy in love to comprehend how a man like Iago could slowly turn the life of a 'friend' into terminal misery; in "The Crown Tower", you need to have made and lost a friend, seeing them both as a fond reference in a long-ago part of your life in addition to a hindrance you would rather not see or hear at all.
I reread this book twice in a week when it arrived. Like all the Riyria books, I was hooked from page 1. I love and would read any story about Royce and Hadrian but more than that I find all of the books set in Elan to be easy to read, addictive from page 1 and full of characters that I’m invested in from page 1. For me that’s unusual as it’s rare I don’t find fantasy hero’s self righteous and annoying. From someone who needs a happy ending at the end of book and to be able to trust an author not to destroy my dreams, I can honestly say that you should read this book. And all the others from this author set in the world of Elan. Specifically on this book, it’s my favourite because I read the revelations first and I know where the characters end up so it’s beautiful to see the start. Also funny. It’s like Robert Jordan merged with Terry Pratchett to be the best of both worlds together.
This is arguably one of the best prequel novels ever written! This, the first book in the Riyria Chronicles, takes place twelve years before Theft of Swords. Hadrian Blackwater is youthful mercenary fighter returning to his homeland after being away for some time, he has received the summons of a Professor at Sheridan University and so the story of Riyria begins!
This is an excellent well written novel in Michael's easy to read style with some great action scenes and intrigue, mirrored by the story of Gwen and where she came from.
Was looking for a new read while waiting for the next volume of other series and saw this series recommended. Hoped it would be good and was not disappointed! Can be tricky finding new authors that give you the escapism you are looking for but Michael J Sullivan has done just that. Thoroughly enjoyed the next 2 revelations books and ready for the next volume.
This is one of the best books I have ever read. The story line is very compelling, throughout the whole book the characters are interesting and vibrant. It does not have that dry boring section in the middle where nothing is happening. The way Michael writes is excellent, easy to read, and for a kindle book, there are no spelling mistakes and the punctuation is first class. I can recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy novels I don't think you will regret it.
I stormed through this book. The main characters were very interesting. The plot was fairly simple, although there was a nice back and forth narrative between different (seemingly) unrelated characters that you could tell was going to meet at some point, although you could predict exactly how.
This doesn't get 5 stars from me because the level of writing is not up there with the very best in the genre, like Robin Hobb or George RR Martin, but that doesn't detract too much from what is a very enjoyable and well paced read.
The Riyria Revelations series was amazing, I was disappointed at the end, but only because there was nothing else left to read. So when I heard these chronicles were coming out I was delighted.
There are no spoilers to the revelations novels and as almost an origins type book it was very good. If you enjoyed the first three you will be very happy with how this all comes together, the banter between the two, they truly hate each other.
My only bugbear was that it seemed a little short.
This is the first book I've read by this author and it was very good. The story is not too complex, but flows well and grips you to find out more. The most striking thing is the believable characters who are always forefront with an intriguing and well thought out world woven around their stories but not overdone. The relationship between Hadrian and Royce makes for a great story.