I absolutely love a "buddy" book and these two characters just fit together even if they don't realize it. After reading the Riyria Revelations it was wonderful to see where it all started.
Watching Hadrian and Royce learn about each other and surprise each other with their talents!
I think Tim Reynolds fantastic narration brings Hadrian's optimistic outlook and Royce's pessimistic one to his voice so very much better than if I were reading it in my head.
A thief and a soldier thrown together for one impossible heist!
Please Audible, bring us the next books in this series: The Rose and the Thorn and The Viscount and the Witch!!!!!
Poet, Writer, Novice Planetary Scientist, Musician, Hooligan, Former Audience Guy, Protector of Stupid Princesses.
It was very easy for me to slip back into Sullivan's world. This first prequel was great fun to listen to and the characters were old friends but still new to me. I was hesitant after the author's long introduction. I've read prequels that are just back-story published to extend a series and this is NOT the case here. It is, as promised, a complete novel, beginning to end, and not the beginning of another "Wheel of Time." (For those who are not familiar with the reference, that series was finished by Brandon Sanderson after Robert Jordan died. Jordan knew he was dying and set the stage, but the chances of another epic being finished that way are slim.) Other series go on and on like zombies, and this author wants to avoid both situations. Sullivan proposes to write a large number of prequels, all complete novels. I applaud that. I have abandoned series in the past, particularly if I have met the author and it is clear that there never will be an end to the story. I like these characters and look forward to hearing more of their adventures. I already know how the story ends, but now I'm beginning to know how it began. I am not going to email him with a request for more. This review and my purchase will have to serve.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
This is my first book by Sullivan - and, it seems, it is meant as a prequel to a more popular (or perhaps just older) series.
Anyway, I had no issues following the story or understanding the characters based on reading this one story alone. Are there references to other things/characters that might have played a role in other books, maybe (i.e. Merrick, Wren, Arcadius), but since I don't know them, and Sullivan didn't drag on and on about stuff that happens outside of this story, I don't feel like I missed out on anything.
As the story started, I had some fear that it was going to be slow and pondering - and perhaps it is (it is not an action novel, after all), but the characters are interesting and distinct and we grow to care what happens to them.
The story seemed to stop rather suddenly, but even that makes sense since it is a multi-book series, and the events in this book were adequately concluded... with lots of room for future adventures with these same characters.
The narration is very good. There nothing gory/graphic here, no sex, and I don't recall any swearing. The theme is mature though (dark, poor and violent world).
Mostly a stand-alone fantasy set in the Riyria world, this "how they met" story returns to the great dynamic duo of Royce and Hadrian, detailing how they first met and got set upon their great set of adventures. As usual, this book is full of great banter and semi-humorous moments between the two of them, mixed with good characterization and fast-paced action scenes. Michael Sullivan's writing style really shines whenever he's writing the two of them - it's like they're part of the author, and you can tell that he's spent countless hours with them over the years.
So, why only 2 stars? Well, I didn't really care for the second storyline in this book, and after a couple of chapters I started skipping the whole segments with those characters in it. It was the one about a desperate group of uneducated, abused prostitutes working to build their own brothel and overcoming the obstacles to achieving their dream...
Yeah, you heard right. Does that sound exciting to you? Thought not.
There aren't many things that I would rather NOT read about more than a group of prostitutes struggling to open their own brothel. Seriously, Michael? Seriously?? You're a great writing and you spend all that time writing this?
Honestly, I'm done with tales of prostitutes in fantasy, and I'm done with rape as a driving force in plot. It's been done, and overdone, and done again, and I think we should all be sick of it and urging writers to come up with something different. Now, I know that life in the Middle Ages was not all that pleasant for women. But if I want to learn more about how hard it's been historically, I can watch a documentary or read some historical text. This is FANTASY. If we relegate all our women to the roles of a) concubine, b) whore c) duke's wife d) farmer's wife, how are we going to have strong female characters who inspire women readers, not to mention giving us great female characters who can actually lead and drive a story?
It's not that hard to envision a fantasy society where women have some power and are treated equally with men. Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen is probably the best example I've ever seen in epic fantasy. Others, such as the Wheel of Time, have strong matriarchal societies but still have strong gender role separation. In the Malazan Empire, however, women fight in the ranks just like men and are treated equally in every respect, and there are other societies where women actually control things outright.
Think of it another way. What if Royce was a woman instead of a man? Would that change the story very much? It would certainly change the dynamic between the characters. But would such a storyline be unthinkable to write? I certainly don't think so.
In the end, I didn't feel like I lost any of the story by skipping those chapters with the prostitutes. They only loosely tied into the main storyline right at the end. If this was a way to avoid a deus ex machina ending, I feel that too much time was spent building it up to really justify the payoff.
Personally then, I would not recommend this as the place to start the Riyria stories. This is more for fans of the original trilogy of books who want more of Royce and Hadrian. I was fortunate to have read and enjoyed Theft of Swords first, so I know there are better adventures to come.
I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
When I started listening to Riyria Revelations, it was after just having listened to Way of Kings and Game of Thrones. In other words, the bar was really, really high. In that light, I found his first book to be rather lightweight and fluffy. It was fun, but lacked substance.
It took me a long time to come back and continue with the series. When I did return to Riyria, I was very impressed by how the story developed. Sullivan doesn't have anything on Sanderson and Martin where world building is concerned, but his dialog and character development is superb. Also, the tone of his books is great fun throughout.
By the end of the original trilogy I was hooked. The prequels kept the energy and tone pitch perfect, and I tore through this novel and the next in record time.
I will happily buy any future audiobooks in this series. Oh, and Reynolds does an excellent job narrating.
I highly recommend this book.
5 stars is i love and i will read agani and again. 1 is i hate and i never want to hear about it ever again. YES = :))) - NO= :'(
This is what we needed to know, how it all started. How Royce and Hadrian got to do their first quest, and what each person thought of the other guy.
I would recommend reading the Riyria Revelations series first then start with this one. You can easily start with this one first, but as the author said Riyria Revelations was written with the mystery that comes with Royce and Hadrian and the other characters.
One of my favourite things in this book is you get to really know how evil Royce was before knowing Hadrian and that was a bit shocking.
Narration is good as always !!!!
This was so much fun hearing the front story to Hadrian and Royce's relationship as well as gaining a better understanding of Gwen. After the next book, I'm going to go back and listen to the Riyria Revelations again (something I never do with audio books) just to hear it all in one neat package.
Some have said don't start here, but I don't think it would hurt anything. I do think understanding the characters before you hear this book might be useful and give you a better appreciation of it, but you would still understand the story with no problem.
If you're on the fence about reading any of these books, don't be. I have over 500 books in my audible collection and this is one of my favorite series of all of them. The only bad thing about the series is it eventually ends and you have to leave all these guys behind. Do yourself a favor and add Royce and Hadrian to your collection of fictional friends.
The foreword offers different ways to begin the Riyria collection - either chronologically, beginning with the Riyria Chronicles and concluding with the Riyria Revelation series or the Revelation series (published first) and then the prequel (newly published) Chronicles. I began here at the Crown Tower, with no prior knowledge of the series and only going by the high ratings by thousands of other readers.
First, the writing itself is entertaining. Michael Sullivan is quite inventive in his descriptions and dialogue and the contrasts between Hadrian and Royce should set up enjoyable dialogues over the course of the next volumes. A big personal thanks to Mr. Sullivan for keeping the scene descriptions and dialogue respectfully clean. (When a brothel is a major component of the story, it would have been easy for things to get tawdry.)
Second, the story prompted some disturbing questions, Some examples: why does the professor take such a personal interest in Royce, knowing what a murderer he is? It has to be more than believing "there is a human being in there." He knows that letting him run loose is going to lead to the deaths of the innocent as well as guilty. Another: Could people such as the "ladies" of the brothel and the boy Royce really not survive outside the city? And how did someone as naïve and gullible as Hadrian appears to be survive war and other challenges? Talent with a sword will only get you so far.
Third, the narrator is good, particularly with the voice of Royce, but his voice for Hadrian, lost some credibility for me. He sounded timid and childish at times, stretching Hadrian's reluctance too far. Also at times the narrator sounded like Edward Everett Horton doing "Fracture Fairy Tales," which was personally amusing but drew a little too much attention to himself.
In conclusion, Sullivan laid a solid foundation for a series, which promises to offer hours and hours of listening pleasure ahead.
Joyful return of 2 great characters.
The origins... and the easter eggs for those who have already read the other books.
OUTSTANDING!!! A simply wonderful first prequel to the fabulous Riyria Revelations with superb narration by Tim Reynolds.
Michael Sullivan weaves a most wonderful tale, the first of the early years. I can't wait for the next to be released & grateful it is only a month away.
Two men, Hadrian & Royce, forced together by a mutual acquaintance, fighting & kicking all the way and very determined not to like or need each other. You also get great background information & insight into Gwen and Arcadius as well as others.
I, like the author's wife, definitely have a crush on Hadrian,
Riyria Revelations & Riyria Chronicles should be a staple of those who enjoy epic tales of courage, adventure, struggle, friendship, and honor.