Audie Award Nominee, Fantasy, 2013
Acclaimed author Michael J. Sullivan created instant best sellers with his spellbinding Riyria Revelations series. This first volume introduces Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater, two enterprising thieves who end up running for their lives when they’re framed for the death of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy bigger than they can imagine, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery - before it’s too late.
Theft of Swords contains The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha, books 1 and 2 of Riyria Revelations.
©2011 Michael J. Sullivan (P)2012 Recorded Books, LLC
You'll find me chattering and chasing shiny things.
If there were a way, I'd have given the story 3.5 stars. It says it in the description, but in case you missed it - this audio is two books combined into one audiobook. Which is good choice on the part of the audio publishers. If I'd listened to just the first book, I may not have continued. It's not bad, it's just not something that would inspire me to listen to 5 more books. I didn't really care about the characters and it seemed like a pretty cookie cutter sword and sorcery.
HOWEVER - in the second book, the story really hits it's stride. It's nothing revolutionary, just solid writing with fun characters and an enjoyable storyline. Which, in my opinion, is more than we're getting from a lot of fantasy writers of late. By the time I got to the end of all three audio books I was hoping to find more by this author.
To quote from the author himself about this series: "The Riyria Revelations, especially in the beginning, is little more than fast-paced light fantasy. As the series progresses, I think you'll see more depth both in the world of Elan and the characters. This was a purposeful decision and a dangerous one. It means that by design the first book is the weakest of the set, but enables me to end it with a resounding bang."
And he absolutely did.
The basic ingredients here are pretty typical for a fantasy series: multiple races, a religious mythos, plots & politics, and of course, swords & sorcery. However, Michael J. Sullivan and Tim Gerard Reynolds combine to prepare those ingredients in a masterful way that makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts. Reynolds in particular does an excellent array of voices and seems to fits the material very well.
The main characters, Royce and Hadrian, both have a sense of humor which keeps the tale humorous and entertaining throughout. Although they are both thieves who take jobs for morally ambiguous individuals, they maintain their own moral code so it is easy to root for them to succeed when things go awry. At times it can be hard to tell if Royce and Hadrian are one step ahead or one step behind but that's all part of the fun.
This audiobook is actually two books in one and well worth the single credit. The first book, The Crown Conspiracy, is a nice introduction to the characters and their surroundings and thus allows the listener to get oriented within the world. There is clearly more than meets the eye going on but the details remain hidden for the most part. In the second book, Avempartha, those details come to the forefront and the bigger picture starts to paint itself. For a while things get confusing but eventually enough details surface for it all to make sense. When book two ends there is still a lot left to sort out so the story won't feel complete without continuing on.
Theft of Swords is a worthy listen for both Fantasy veterans and newbies alike and it will leave you wanting more.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY - (Epic fantasy) I have never listened to a fantasy audiobook before, but I read several reviews that mentioned this was not the typical dark, depressing midieval tale that I so dislike. I decided to give it a try, and I'm really glad I did. It's not depressing, but it's not cute or silly either. The main characters, Hadrian and Royce, are very likeable thieves who constantly attempt impossible tasks to help people in trouble. They get into all kinds of sticky situations, giving the story exciting twists and turns. And don't forget that a fantasy must have a kingdom, a wizard, a dragonlike creature, elves, dwarves... that also keep things interesting. It is a long book that never, ever drags down or gets boring.
There is sword-fighting and killing, but I wouldn't consider it overly violent or gory. While the names of some characters and places are unusual, they're not so difficult that you can't keep them straight. The book comes to a satisfactory "semi-conclusion" that ties up a lot of loose ends, but you will definitely want to continue the series.
PERFORMANCE - Good job distinguishing between multiple voices.
OVERALL - (Actual overall rating 4.5) Highly recommended for men, women and older teens. There is no sex, and I don't remember any bad language.
This story has a potential to become a very high quality epic fantasy. One of the great things about the book is that events take place at a very rapid pace and story moves very fast. I thought that author would spend a lot of time at certain points, but story moved on to next chain of events which was surprising.
Narrator did a great job, and I hope the same narrator is used for future books by same author.
Author builds the world carefully, and provides a lot of details. One of the interesting aspect of the story is the handling of elf which are pretty much are second class citizen in human society.
I didnt enjoy a story about thieves as much since 'lies of locke lamora'. Book has pretty good sense of humor and just the right amount of dark.
The struggle between wizard and a religious order is very interesting and it is not entirely clearly which one is less brutal.
I highly recommend this book for reader looking for good epic fantasy.
Theft of Swords is a compilation of the first two books of this series, "The Crown Conspiracy", and "Avempatha". "Crown" is a nice introduction to our main characters, Royce and Hadrian, the best thieves in the realm, Princess Arista, who is clever in some ways, but very naive in others, and Ezra Hardin, the mysterious ancient wizard bent on finding a mysterious missin heir to a long-gone Empire. There is also a powerful Church, also seeking this heir, for reasons of their own. Mainly the first book is a fast, fun romp.
"Avempatha" starts giving the characters and the situation more complexity. We learn some things about Royce's and Hadrian's pasts, and more about the Church's plans. The plot revolving around Thrace and her father and the monster destroying her village is less interesting and a bit predictable, except for the end.
I hope Audible gets the rest of the series up soon! I want to know what happens next!
The first two installments of Riyria Revelations are found in this volume: "The Crown Conspiracy" and "Avempartha." I find it's easier to recall some of the plot later on in the series if you remember what book it's in. It's easy to get over the cliche characterization of the main characters (what fantasy novel doesn't have the good-natured, under-estimated fighter and his sullen-yet-clever, secretive sidekick?) because they are so well portrayed. They have pasts that are alluded to with just enough detail to make the story progress, but not so much that you have to wade through unnecessary history. No character in this series is a mere device to move along a scene. Every character comes back later in the series with an important role to play. I rather like that. This is an epic fantasy, so it is intended to be escapist entertainment. So long as you keep that in mind, this series is a lot of fun!
Its in my all time favorite list which includes: Wheel of Time Series, Shadow Prowler Series and Warded Man Series.
The part when we see exactly how good Hadrian is with his swords.
the way he reads the story makes it feel like it was a part of history and not fantasy. Very well done.
I don't listen to books in one sitting. However I could not wait to get on the train to listen to this book. I even volunteer to do the dishes more so i can listen to the book. :)
This book develops the characters in a way I'm not used to. This approach to character development felt wierd even flawed in the beginning however you get to know the characters well as the story progresses.
Its refreshing and fun. I love the characters and can't wait for the next book to become available on audio.
Sullivan is a fan of the Traditional Tolkienian Fantasy and it shows. There are dwarves, elves, and wizards. If you're like me, that doesn't bother you when the mood strikes to read familiar or predictable mythologies. Just don't anticipate Sullivan breaking any new ground in Fantasy story telling like an Abercrombie or Rothfuss.
That said, the story is fast paced and action packed. The characters are believable and likeable. The main characters feel familiar, a brotherhood of thieves that follow a conveniently honorable code of ethics a la Steven Lynch. There is an occasional chapter that is full of mythology--necessary, but extremely boring.
Tim Reynolds projects his voice well and is intelligible. He has above average accents and character voicing. However, a couple of his character are so similar, there are times it is difficult to tell which character said what.
I really enjoyed this book it was actually two books in one. So my credit seemed to go twice as far. Hadrian and Royce were great they seemed to feed off each other and I am looking forward to seeing more of them. This was a light hearted fantasy novel filled will adventures. The narration was all you could hope for and will keep you captivated.
Cross-genre tastes, but a soft spot for great Science Fiction and Fantasy
Riyira Revelations was undoubtedly my favorite Fantasy series from 2012. Sullivan clearly has a firm grasp on the series and where everyone's headed from the first pages of the novel. The result is a deeply engrossing tale with fleshed-out characters, a rich, imaginative setting, and plenty of swashbuckling roguery. It's a satisfying story from beginning to end.
I'm reminded of a notion from The Princess Bride by William Goldman. The frame of the Princess Bride is that it's actually an abridgment of a much longer, much more boring story. Goldman later discovered that his grandpa cut out a lot of this boring stuff when reading it to him as a kid. The version he heard was just the action, adventure, and fun stuff. You know, "the good parts". Well, Theft of Swords is very much a "just the good parts" novel.
"A brilliant story read beautifully"
I cannot recommend more strongly the Riyria Revelations as it tells the story of good vs bad, the Gods, love and all the ingredients a great fantasy novel should have
I think a comparison that Audible could use that readers/listeners may enjoy would be Homer's Odessey as it shows what a person may have to go through in order to get what is wished for.
Tim Gerard Reynolds's narration was excellent. He incorporated the humour, sadness excitement and the magic of the written word seamlessly and could listen to him all day
Two friends, one job, a whole load of trouble
After listening to Theft of Swords continue with the other two parts of the trilogy
"An Old-fashioned Same Old Same Old"
To be honest I'm only a third the way through. Nothing has grabbed me and I'm forcing myself to listen to more of it. It really is all the other books from the '70's and '80's re hashed. I think this is one to send back. Even the narrator is mildly annoying and would do better in children's books. Perhaps it grows further along but I'm not willing to grit my teeth any longer.
"Fantastic start to a great trilogy!!"
Great book regardless of print or audio however the narration is fantastic and characters bought to life before your ears!!
Have only listened to revelation's trilogy and chronicle's books but consistent voices throughout.
Certainly keeper me enthralled throughout.
Excellent set of books. Written well and thoroughly enjoyed especially with the humour element which broke up the dialog very well.
My first experience of Michael J Sullivan and I will be returning for more. The adventures of Royce & Hadrian kept me entertained for hours. I really like the pace of the story and how it quickly unfolded but kept the intrigue there, beckoning me on wanting to know more. Hadrian's optimistic character is a good balance for Royce's darkness. A great adventure story with a dark side.
"Excellent book and a joy for gamers."
Firstly, let me clarify that I rarely - if ever - give 5* reviews. I like to have somewhere to go if next week I hear a better book so four stars should be treated as an "excellent".
Michael J Sullivan's work is a joy to listen to, especially since Tim Gerard Reynolds does such a good job on it. There are a couple of errors but nothing that slightly better editing wouldn't have fixed and he has instantly shot into my list of favourite readers, alongside people such as Steven Pacey and Toby Longworth. The stories in this volume hit all the right fantasy tropes without overusing any or feeling too cliched and the characterisations are interesting and well rounded. I like the heroes and loathe the villains just as I'm obviously supposed to. The stories motor along reasonably well and there are just enough twists to stop them getting predictable and dull. Overall an enjoyable, workmanlike performance from both writer and narrator.
My review title said this was a joy to gamers and I stand by that. If there are any role-players reading this review then I urge you to buy this audiobook, you'll not find another book which feels more like a game session. The heroes act like PCs, the better PCs at least, and this is a grand inspiration to have playing while you write up plot for something like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder or even Rolemaster.
As a final note, congratulations to the narrator for not having the dwarf speak with a cod Scottish accent, I never understood that. Tolkein's dwarves were obviously Welsh in inspiration and yet there is an inexplicable trend to make dwarfs Scottish. I am very glad that doesn't occur here.
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