Hurrah for Michael J. Sullivan! He has taken so much care with his characters. He has maintained their essences while allowing them to evolve into the men they are in the Revelations. The author also has taken great care not to reveal anything prematurely in the Chronicles while at the same time providing us with greater insight into both the characters and the plot.
I was very hesitant about listening to the prequels, but I enjoyed this almost as much as the Revelations. As always, I was engaged from the very start. I was amazed that I liked Hadrian and especially Royce as much here as I did in Revelations. I'm giving an overall four stars instead of five, and I'm not sure why. Maybe because it ended way before I was ready (it is shorter). I do know, though, that I'm very glad I decided to give the Chronicles a try. Thank you, Michael J. Sullivan, for your wonderful craftsmanship and care you have taken with Royce and Hadrian and their lives (and thank you to your wife for loving Hadrian, too!).
I would recommend this book for the writing and for the great narration.
Reynolds reads all if the characters well and he gets the humor as if he were the characters.
This was an extraordinary prequel because it emmersed the reader into the story immediately and explained so much about the main characters that I went back to read the first series again. You do have to read these series in sequence. And I recommend buying the second in the Chronicles series as soon as you can because they are so good.
I don't usually rush out for all the "best sellers", but give each intriguing book/author a look. I have found many diamonds in the rough.
A wonderful start to a fantastic series that is centered around two very audacious characters. Hadrian Blackwater was raised by his father who taught him the blacksmith trade but beyond that, demanded relentless, everyday practice, in the art of combat. Royce Melborn is an odd fellow, never accepted by society and raised by a group of thieves called, The Wolves. These two men are brought together by Arcadius, a Professor, (who some think to be a wizard), at a college for Royals. Arcadius often visited Hadrian and his father when he was but a child and now has summoned him to return from a foreign battlefield. Arcadius has also rescued Royce from a salt mine for criminals, where he was serving a life time sentence for thievery. Neither Hadrian nor Royce know why he has chosen them for a mission to steal a book from the Crown Tower, only to have them return it, but both know that they are indebted to Arcadius and must complete his request. The obstacles that they encounter during their quest are deadly and endless, and somewhere along the way, they realize, that their strength as a unit is undeniably beyond compare. These two men are not at all fond of each other, have completely different morals, and would both like nothing better than to be rid of the other, and yet, as their journey comes to an end they understand that together, they may just make an infallible team.
I loved the Riyria Revelations so this is a treat to go back to the beginning and see where it all began. All of the books in this series are always excellent and over far too fast because the characters and their daring adventures are so exciting, humorous, and addictive. These stories do not have a great deal of magic like some fantasies but Michael Sullivan's meticulous writing and Tim Gerard Reynolds skillful narration make for a splendidly, rare coupling.
I like Zombie Fallout, Wheel of time, Game of Thrones, Joe Ledger series, Jack Reacher series, and pretty much any zombie book
Very fun story
The relationship between main characters
I thought he did a great job, with the male characters
"Traditional" fantasy is usually not my thing but I was utterly blown away by this character driven "buddy" book. To let you know just how much I enjoyed this book I finished all 12+ hours in one day. Great story telling and the narration by Tim Reynolds couldn't be better. As bad as I want to move on to the second prequel, 'The Rose And The Thorn' I'm going to jump ahead to the legitimate beginning, 'The Riyria Revelations' - I think prequels are better when you've listened to the oringinal series first.
I saw this book advertised on Audible and on a whim, I purchased it. It turns out to be a great choice, better than I expected.
First, this is excellent writing -- it's just very polished. The words have texture and paint great pictures. The plot is complex enough to be interesting and yet each element is important and logical. This is the way I like to listen/read books.
While the book purports as fantasy, and I guess it is, it's not run away fantasy. In fact, with a little tweaking it could fall into the camp of historical fiction. In a way, I would say that if Ken Follett wrote fantasy, it would be this type of writing.
The characters are bigger than life and somewhat predictable. However, I want to point out that "predictable" here is not a negative. A better description might be consistent. The book is not predictable, but when things happen, you know what the characters will do. The tension is in what happens next. The book, on the other hand, is NOT predictable, but is logical. So when you're done listening, you have clarity about complex events and exactly what just happened. For me, this shows a developed author and a polished story teller. What more could you ask for in a novel?
Here's my summary of whether the book would be a good pick:
1. If you enjoy light fantasy, e.g. Game of Thrones without the zombies and not as dark, and also not as grinding, that's a plus.
2. If you like Ken Follett style of writing, that's a plus.
3. If you enjoy light reads, entertaining but not over the top, that's a point.
4. If you enjoy or sometimes enjoy melodramas, where the story changes around the character, but the characters are flamboyant, colorful and consistent, give that a point
5. If you like plot lines that are non-linear, that's a plus.
6. If you enjoy stories where the protagonist (in this case two protagonists), are at odds with one another to create tension, (think of medieval Trading Places or medieval Beverly Hills Cop), then that would be a bonus.
And of course if you hate stuff like the above, then don't get the book. But if you can score 4 of the 6 above, I think you will be very happy.
As a side note, I also read the second book and it was even better than the first. Dido on everything above.
I hope this is helpful. It's a fun read that will leave you smiling. One warning, there are apparently only two books so far in this series. If you purchase the book after reading all this review, I suspect you will be frustrated at not having more. Oh well, I'm thinking about trying to get the out of print books previously written -- not something I ordinarily do.
High School teacher and audiophile...I listen to no fewer than four books a week. It is my escape. I listen for information, entertainment and sometimes just brain candy, so my audio library is eclectic. I offer no profound literary analysis, but I can tell you if a book is fun to listen to!
I purchased this book as a discounted text. I was well-rewarded for my thrifty investment, and Audible was well-rewarded by my purchase of the 5 other titles in this series!
In this alternate human landscape where elves, dwarves, wizards, kings and lords all exist in a medieval setting, Michael Sullivan has written an amazing story that, ultimately, spans 14 years of the characters' lives. He weaves together histories, predictions of future events, and builds characters with depth and many facets.
Coupled with one of the greatest narrators I have ever heard, the story is an amazing listen. As many of you already know, plot holes, inconsistencies and poor writing cannot withstand the audible format. Sullivan's stories are seamless, his mysteries remain hidden, continuity is maintained...and Reynold's narration provides distinct character substance.
This is the first (or the fourth, depending on where you start the series) in a 6 book series. It is masterful and totally engrossing. I cannot recommend this series highly enough and look forward to more from both author and narrator.
yes. I enjoyed the flow of the story, balancing between two lines before they converge.
Michael Sullivan creates a world with characters that are brilliant, fallible, warty, beautiful and all-consuming. Tim Gerard Reynolds gives perfect voice to them.
These tales are the King Arthur sagas with a sense of humor. Highly recommended.
I seldom go back to a book, but this may be on that short list.
Pillars of the Earth
All charades had a believable and recognizable voice.
It was informative and make me snicker a time or to.
May consider at the rest of the series.