Michael J. Sullivan garnered critical raves and a massive readership for his Riyria Revelations series. The first book in his highly anticipated Riyria Chronicles series of prequels, The Crown Tower brings together warrior Hadrian Blackwater with thieving assassin Royce Melborn. The two form a less-than-friendly pairing, but the quest before them has a rare prize indeed, and if they can breach the supposedly impregnable walls of the Crown Tower, their names will be legend.
©2013 Michael J. Sullivan (P)2013 Recorded Books
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.
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.
The audio version definitely brings something new to the table. I already love these books, so it's hard to love it even more, but being able to listen to Royce and Hadrian bicker and snark at each other is a great experience.
I love pretty much everything from when they finally reach the tower to the end of the book. There is just so much action and development that you're on the edge of your seat until the very last word. Plus, those are some of the parts told from Royce's point of view, which is a rare treat.
He is absolutely amazing at male voices! I admit, Gwen's voice rubbed me the wrong way at first, but you get used to it. But man, male voices and dialects, Reynolds just knocks those out of the park.
It was supposed to be one job. The Crown Tower was just the beginning.
I cannot recommend this book enough! It is an amazing adventure and the beginning of one the greatest duos in epic fantasy. It is a nice break from the dark, gritty fantasy that is sweeping shelves right now. You won't regret this one!
Happily married father of 4 with 3 of the meanest Grandchildren in the US :) I am a paving Forman for a large construction company Alabama.
Great books..I really don't care for prequels, but I loved the first ones so much I took a chance. Dang I'm glad i did... It's almost as if M.J.S. Planned it this way. After I finished with the two prequels, I went back and relistened to the first 3, and wow I got so much more out of the whole series.
Stated with this book and then went straight through until the last. The narration of this series is outstanding but the story is the real winner.
Great story!! You get a better understanding of Royce and Hadrian's motives and youth. Even though readers/listeners of Riyria Revelations know a bit about the Crown Tower job - it ends up we didn't know much. You get to see the beginnings of the friendship that we all loved. Plenty of surprises to keep you guessing. I enjoyed listening to how Gwen pulled herself up by her bootstraps, more about her gift.
The story is full, complex, and realistic. The characters feel real and are believable, and yet The Crown Tower manages to maintain the mystic notes pervasive in the fantasy genre. Intense moments, followed by suspense and dread keep the story flowing and constantly interesting.
The turn of events between the two main characters on the tower itself, where the assassin finally realizes the soldier with him is not just a waste of space.
Simply put, he brought life to the story.
I laughed at several moments, and felt genuinely sad at other moments. The build-up in this story is wonderful, however, and situations that may seem to go from bad to worse turn out to actually shift things for the better.
The only bad thing I could possibly say about The Crown Tower is it ended too soon. I can't wait until Audible gets the next two books in the series.
How they met
All three of the Riyria Revelation books as they feature Royce and Hadrian.
It's a coin toss between Royce and Hadrian in the last hour of the book.. Both were so well done!
If I were dead, I doubt there would be geese.
Such a fantastic prequel.. I'm not normally a fan of prequels, but Michael J. Sullivan knows how to tell a unique story while staying within the guides he set in the other books.
Love the development of Gwen as a strong character and a risk taker/change agent on her own. Looking forward to hearing the rest of the story. : )
Report Inappropriate Content