My Opinion of the Book: B-
First, this is actually two books in one. For sake of clarity, I will refer to them as "part one" and "part two" if needed. Second, near the end of the book I realized why the flow of the story seemed familiar to me - it's like a classic initial adventure in Dungeons and Dragons, where the Dungeon Master has to bring characters together. If you have any experience with D&D and you keep this analogy in mind, it makes reading the book more enjoyable.
Both parts are primarily centered around two characters, Royce and Hadrian, but the second part has some significant focus on other characters as well. The author, Michael J. Sullivan, does a good job at throwing this complex duo at the reader without any background whatsoever. While it takes the entire two-part volume to accomplish, he develops these characters with just enough mystery that it will keep you reading... if you can make it through the first part in this volume.
Once I figured out why the first part was hard to get through (read My Opinion of the Production below), the rest of the volume was enjoyable, if a little boring at times. There is something about Sullivan's writing style that I get bored with - I still have not put my finger on it.
The first part has humor, adventure, and some small political intrigue - it's written as a complete story. The second part is more of what old-school gamers would consider a side module. Oddly enough, the second part had more character development and pulled me in more than the first. By the end, there are a handful of characters written well-enough to be intriguing.
All that said, the first part was enticing enough to have me continue to the second. Moreover, the second part, which is the better of the two in my opinion (in contrast to what many reviewers feel), has me wanting to read the next volume in the series. I should clarify that this desire is not like a burning desire to immediately start the next book (which I did want to do after reading many books in the Wheel of Time series, the Iron Druid Chronicles, or The Mistborn Trilogy). In fact, I likely will take a one- or two-book break before starting the next in this series.
My Opinion of the Production: C-
If you can't tell, I struggled listening to the first part. In fact, I had such a miserable time listening to this book that I had to take notes every so often to try and ferret-out what was making it such a drudgery. It was not until the very end of the first part that I figured out that the reader, Tim Gerard Reynolds, makes this book boring. Having heard much better voice acting on recent books, I am jaded. All the characters sound too similar and the reader gives very little personality between characters. Additionally, his pacing and phrasing completely ruined certain passages. I had to constantly re-imagine the voices and the emphasis to truly get into this book. This is a case where a reader can really ruin a perfectly good book. I found myself "shelving" it while I listened to other books. It was tough to get through.
The audiobook was produced by Recorded Books and is of good quality.
I have no idea if I would have liked the book or the author because the narrator was so very distracting. He read it like a children's book, putting emphasis in odd places and using a strange meter. Don't get me wrong, he was very easy to understand and given the right genre would be an excellent choice. But for this book I kept getting so distracted by the narration I couldn't follow the storyline.
I came across this book purely by accident, but I was pleasantly surprised. While it clearly draws upon the conventional archetypes of elves, dwarves, wizards, magic, knights, princesses, and kings, the story is fully engaging, if somewhat predictable. The narrator is excellent, and the story is pleasantly and uniquely clean. Great to see an author who relies on the merit of his story to engage readers rather than attempting to shock or entice them into reading with sexuality, vulgarity and gratuitous violence.
A fantastic combination of interesting storyline, great character, and laugh out loud moments of humor. Simply brilliant. Don't pass it up.
The plot was too predictable with all the complexity of middle school essay.
No, but I enjoy the narrator.
disappointed, especially given the high reviews.
I'm so glad to have stumbled upon Sullivan and the Riyria Revelations!
What I loved about Theft of Swords:
- Interesting but not overly complex world building
- Plenty of likable characters
- Well-differentiated and not overly-numerous characters
- Magic and wonder
- Dual protagonists.... with a fun dynamic
It's been a while since I enjoyed fantasy fiction that didn't demand that I keep track of a dozen cultures and civilizations, a dozen characters, a dozen interwoven plots, etc., etc.
Though some authors make all of that wading pay off (B. Sanderson comes to mind!), far more just wear me out.
So far, Sullivan's work is just the right balance of simple, well-tensioned story telling without top heavy historical, cultural and psychological analysis.
Can't wait to read book 2.
I would absolutely listen to all of the Riyria books again. Not only that but this is one where I might own both the Audible copy and the print copy. It's that good. Interesting characters in every single book. I listened to the entire series of books and it was worth every dollar/credit. I would recommend listening to the entire series as the story arc is well worth the time.
Has some similarities to other fantasy books but not many
They were all excellent characters played outstandingly. I could not pick one, all exceptionally well done.
I have no idea for a tag line, but someone should make it into a movie or at the very least a TV series! Could be outstanding done right!