Reading Level: Adult
Length: 432 pages
Release Date: August 6, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Riyria Chronicles
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com
Rating: 4/5 stars
I got a copy of this book to review through NetGalley. Previously I had read The Riryia Revelations series by Sullivan and really enjoyed it. This book is a prologue to that series. It was an enjoyable read. There is a sequel to this book, The Rose and the Thorn, that has already released.
This book follows two stories; that of Royce and Hadrian and that of Gwen. Hadrian has returned from fighting in a number of wars as a mercenary and doesn’t know what to do with himself. Royce has no purpose in his life outside of thieving and surviving. They are both summoned by the wizard Arcadias who wants them to team up and steal a book for him from the Crown Tower. Meanwhile Gwen is eking out a living at a whore house. When one of the girls is murdered by a customer Gwen has had enough and decides it’s time for her and the girls to take matters into their own hands.
This book is the book where Hadrian and Royce meet. They pretty much hate each other and work with each other only to pay their debts to Arcadias. It was fun to read about how they used to be and to watch as they slowly begin to respect each other. You also get quite a bit more background information on their pasts. Although I enjoyed this portion of the story, it was fairly predictable.
I actually found Gwen’s story to be the more engaging of the two. I had always been very curious about Gwen’s history and here you learn it in full. We see Gwen use her gift of Sight and watch as her and some very human women struggle to make a life for themselves. I loved watching Gwen build her empire and how she changed the lives of those around her so drastically.
Both storylines refer to some events that happen in the Riyria Revelations. Both stories also show hints of what the Revelations books end up dealing with. It was fun to see how all the characters started down the path that they traveled in Riyria Revelations.
This book can definitely be read without reading the Riyria Revelations…however if you read the Revelations first you will understand a lot more about what the actions that happen in this book are leading up to. Not to mention we get to see some cameos from characters in that series, that you just wouldn’t know about if you hadn’t read Riyria Revelations.
Sullivan includes a very nice preface about why he wrote the books and some background on how he came up with the characters and the series name. It was a well done preface and I enjoyed reading it.
This book is definitely only the first half of the story though, it ends a bit in the middle of everything. I didn’t like it quite as much as the Riyria Revelations books because I just felt like not a lot happened. It was engaging but not as epic and action-packed as the Revelations series.
Overall a fun read. Definitely recommended to fans of the Riyria Revelations books, but not quite as complex, epic, and engaging as that series. I really enjoyed learning more background on the characters that I came to love and engage with in the Riyria Revelations books. All of Sullivan’s books are fun classic fantasy reads and I highly recommend them to fantasy fans. I can’t wait to read The Rose and the Thron!