Reading Level: Adult
Length: 11 hours and 58 minutes (384 pages)
Publisher: Recorded Books
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Riyria Chronicles
Source: Audiobook from Audible.com
Rating: 4/5 stars
This is the second (and final book for now) in the series that is a prequel to the Riyria Revelations series. I enjoyed reading more about these characters and thought the story was well done, if not as complex, as the Riyria Revelations series.
I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was really well done. I really enjoy the narrator and how well he distinguishes between characters and shows emotion. This is definitely a series I would recommend listening to on audiobook.
Hadrian and Royce return to Medford. Royce hopes to see Gwen and thank her again for all the help she give him, but she refuses to see him. Royce then finds out that Gwen has been sorely injured by a Medford noble of great power…Royce sets out to plan his revenge on the offending noble.
Meanwhile Reuben Hilfred has problems of his own, he is constantly bullied by other boys and beaten by his father. He hopes that soon he will have a new and better life once he starts his job as a Castle Guard. Then he helps a young woman who escaped from a castle window and gets roped into a web of conspiracy far beyond his understanding. The two storylines criss cross throughout the book and eventually lead to dire consequences for the Medford.
This is the second year that Hadrian and Royce have been working together. They are more comfortable with each other and starting to respect each other. However, Hadrian is still reluctant to kill (although very good at it) and Royce is still incredibly…morally flexible. Both of them have a noble streak and are incredibly loyal to their friends.
Rueben is incredibly naive for a sixteen year old son of a Castle Guard. His character seemed much, much younger than that to me. He is your typical knight in shining armor type of character. He comes from a poor background, but because he is noble in his heart good things come his way. I honestly didn’t like him all that much as a character. However it was good to get some background on a character who was fairly minor in the Riyria Revelations series.
Gwen was in the story but not as much as in the previous book, which was a shame. She spends the majority of the book recovering from the injuries she received during Hadrian and Royce’s absence. She is still a strong character and we do get to see some of the budding romance between her and Royce, which was nice. She has done a remarkable job of giving her girls a place to call their own, she really has come a long way from where we left her in the last book.
There is a lot of intrigue in this book and really no adventuring at all. I missed the adventuring that the other books had. There are some excellent action scenes and I enjoyed the fighting scenes where Hadrian fights off large numbers of enemies.
The story despite the multiple viewpoints and intrigue was fairly simple. It was resolved nicely. This story gives a lot of background on how Medford House was set up and ended up like it is in Riyria Revelations. It of course also explains how The Rose and the Thorn was established and how Royce and Hadrian ended up with a long-term room there.
Overall this is a very enjoyable and fun fantasy read. I enjoy that characters and seeing some of the backstories of characters that we know and love from the Riyria Revelations series. There was more intrigue in this book than action and adventuring, but it was still well done. I enjoy that there is some humor throughout as well. I would definitely recommend all of Sullivan’s Riyria books to fans of adult traditional fantasy.