Sullivan is an author at the top of his game here. I have enjoyed reading several Riyria Chronicle books, the Crown Tower takes it up a notch.
This story is just so damn fine. Its simple, its not an 'end of the world over the top super human' fantasy novel. Its downplayed. The characters are real. They are well defined. Its almost all character development in fact. And this makes it just soooo good.
There might be a couple of other fantasy authors I would rate as being 'the best' working today. Rothfuss. George RR Martin. Brandon Sanderson... For myself, Michael Sullivan with this story joins this pantheon of greats. Beautiful work.
I bought this on a lark and wasn't expecting too much. I found the world as well as the people in it to be surprisingly interesting and engaging. To be blunt the the tale was shockingly good and I was very intrigued by its many twists and turns.
Say something about yourself!
I found this first part entertaining, had a good plot and was well narrated. I will read the next one. If that goes as well as this one, I'll move on to the revelation series.
I had reservations about reading a prequel to the original series but the story has not been diminished in the slightest by knowing the future. I'm grateful to the author for giving us more of Royce and Hadrian. It's been a while since I've gotten this attached to characters.
Furthermore... the narrator likely the best I've heard. He manages to provide the right substance to the characters and I can pick out the characters just by the way he voices them. Superb, through and through!
Love audiobooks Duh! Also love photography, baking, my 7 cats and 4 parrots and family not necessarily in that order.
Only one book left for now. Please Michael hurry and write more after Rose and thorn. Got 12 years of their partnership right?
I still can't get enough of Royce and Hadrian. I'm reading in published order and really enjoyed every single book! The characters stay with me and I simply can't get enough. Well written and thought out books. A must read.
With almost 800 books in my library, I am an experienced listener. I appreciate a well written good story. I am pretty critical of trash.
I have repeated this review for other books in this series, but wanted to include it especially for the first book. I can't get enough of it.
I really can say it all, when I state that I have read this book four times. Also the first book. this happens to be my idea of great entertainment.The Rose and the Thorn, and Heir of Navron, were my least favorites so I only read them twice!! I LOVE the characters, and the narration takes it to my five star experience. It is often quirky when it comes to idiomatic plausibility, but I just chalk it up to daring writing and making the characters have real personality. It would be hard to create the intimacy one feels with the main characters, if we were subjected to the language that would have been appropriate for its' time. It would have distanced us from the engaging nature of Hadrian, and the powerful magnetism of Royce. I really enjoyed this series. !!!!!!!!
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.
Excellent writer; excellent narrator. Audio Books bring the characters to you with great reality. I probably will never read another book, I love the books being read to me. Thank you.