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
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.
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.
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.
I just went back and listened to the entire series again (something I almost never do) after the Riyria Chronicles came out. I'm so glad I did! I had forgotten what a treat these characters were. I had also forgotten how sorry I was after it was over. You know something is good when you mourn the loss of the characters in your daily life.
Enough people have given a synopsis of the books, so I'll skip that part. I'll just say if you're on the fence about whether or not to buy these books, don't be. You'll drive further or sit longer at your desk (I listen to books while editing photos) because these stories are like visiting with wonderful old friends. You never want them to go home.
If you've had a bad experience with fantasy, don't worry, you'll be fine with these books. The story and the characters will carry you straight through any willing suspension of disbelief you need during the process. And Tim Gerard Reynolds is superb at rendering the different voices. I would recognize Royce and Hadrian anywhere, just by hearing them speak.
A note to Michael J. Sullivan: More please!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
"Worked - in parts"
This was a decent fantasy romp with lots of the right ingredients. I liked the main characters, the plot was good & unpredictable.
However .... I get really turned off when the main characters do things I wouldn't expect after coming to know them. Or when events just fit (too) neatly together..
For example (SPOILER) .. two thieves, part of a underground hidden mysterious guild, suddenly become kings protectors (really? what about avoiding the limelight?) ... donate the financial reward to a monk (arent they thieves?) ... help a young woman for a couple of silver... It just didnt add up for me - I didnt buy into it. So whilst I kinda enjoyed the story, liked the main guys, it never really held me by the short & curlies.
The narration was great.
"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.
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.
"An Unexpectedly Excellent Story"
I have read/heard lots of stories in the same genre but there were twists in this plot that I really didnt see coming. Enjoyable rogues with well rounded characters and a plot that keeps your interest throughout. The pace doesnt really slacken and it remains good right to the end of the final book.
All the main characters are interesting - the more minor ones also have more depth than usual.
"took a while to get going and then !! i did!!!!!!!"
I enjoy fantasy and this audio book made it difficut for me to turn it off..
I used to read and now I listen and this was a good listen. A really good listen.
theft of swords
excellent and addictave,i lost all concept of time. lm starting the bext in the series imediatly . i dont know when i will be able to sleep again
"Good story, aweful reading"
Not really. I enjoyed the story, but the reading was incredibly distracting. The story pulled me along to the point where I had invested too much of my time to give the story up, although the reading often made me want to.
No huge surprises for me here. The story is reliably (perhaps comfortably) predictable which suited my listening needs at the time.
Tim Gerard's performance ruined this story for me. I found his intonation/inflection hugely distracting and inappropriate. It often trivialised the point and shaped characters into something I'm not sure the author intended. I haven't checked his CV, but I suspect Tim has done a great deal of theatre work, if not perhaps he should. I feel he over played each part and as a result the characters weren't natural or believably,
I suspect I would have enjoyed this book far more if I had read it rather than listened to it.
"great book. can't wait to cracking into the rest."
can't wait to crack into the other books in the series. need four more words.
Nothing could have worked that kind of Magic i'm afraid. A differant author and a differant narrator.
Not really, no.
I got this book because of the great reviews. I lasted longer than normal, presuming things to pick up, but alas they didn't. It is like a children's book, and the narrator talks as though he is reading a children's book to children. My tastes are abercrombie, Martin, Sanderson. This is nothing like them and i'll be returning it i'm afraid.
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