Today is a good day. Why is that? Because today I’m writing mini reviews on (almost) all the Riyria books out today. If you are not aware, I’ll give you some backstory. Michael J. Sullivan has written two series (so far) about the main characters Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater. He first wrote the Riyria Revelations, which in its three bind-ups consists of: Theft of Swords, Rise of Empire and Heir of Novron. He got copious emails of readers of the series (as he first self-published I believe) asking to write more about them. So next he wrote (is writing?) the prequel series: the Riyria Chronicles which up to this point, consists of The Crown Tower, The Rose and the Thorn and The Death of Dulgath. These are not bind-ups.
How did I read them? I read them in publication order. So I started off with the Riyria Revelations, and then continued on with the prequel series. That’s also what the author recommends, even though you could just as easily do it the other way around.
I feel like these series are highly underrated. The first bind-up, Theft of Swords, “only” has about 25000 ratings on Goodreads. Yes, that’s not little, but it’s the first book so the most read one and compared to other books such as The Name of the Wind, it is definitely underrated. So today, I am giving you mini reviews on all of them!
Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations #1-2) // ★★★★ ½ //
I have actually already written a full review on Theft of Swords, which you can find here. Conclusion is that I loved this start to the series. It’s action-packed, the partnership between Hadrian and Royce is intriguing, and the book had me captivated. It’s fun and easy to read, so both fantasy-novices and masters could love this. When this series starts, Royce and Hadrian have been working together for years already.
Rise of Empire (Riyria Revelations #3-4) // ★★★★ //
I have to admit this is my least favorite of the series. I still highly enjoyed it, because it gave me more time to get to know both Royce and Hadrian. I think this bind-up served as build-up and backstory, which is fine with me. I love backstory and added intrigue. I have to say that I didn’t love the “main” female character: Arista (she’s royalty). I feel like she’s constantly assuming that people think she can’t do anything because she’s a woman. I get that if they actually say that, but she would just assume everything was because of her being a woman. What I loved most about this volume was book #4 and its different setting. It gave such a different perspective and view on the characters and world -I loved it.
Heir of Novron (Riyria Revelations #5-6) // ★★★★★ //
Aaaah, the final volume. How I love you so. I won’t say anything about the actual happenings because that would be a terrible spoiler. As always, this volume is action packed. The intricate lines all come together to show you the full web of conspiracies. I was surprised many times, while at others I saw the reveal coming. By this time, there were so many characters I was attached to! You don’t just love Royce and Hadrian, you love and hate so many of the others. I loved the way this series ended.
The Crown Tower (Riyria Chronicles #1) // ★★★★★ //
The Crown Tower is the start of the prequel series, in which we get to experience Royce and Hadrian’s partnership from the start. As I mentioned before, in the Revelations they have been working together for years. This is how they got started. To me, this was such an interesting book because it allowed me to compare how Royce and Hadrian have affected each other. To see their personality here, and how they are in the Revelations is well, a revelation. It shows you such character development! And not just of Royce and Hadrian, but Gwen too. Gwen, who is a woman to look up to. You hear about their Crown Tower job in the Revelations series, so reading a full novel about that adventure was just incredible. In my opinion, this is a prequel series done right. I listened to this one on audio, which I’d highly recommend.
The Rose and the Thorn (Riyria Chronicles #2) // ★★★★★ //
On to the next one! That’s how I felt when I finished The Crown Tower. The Rose and the Thorn didn’t disappoint. This again gives you the opportunity to learn more about Royce, Hadrian AND Gwen. This may be a more predictable book if you’ve already read the Revelations, but that didn’t bother me in the slightest bit. Seeing the story fully fleshed out, instead of just getting flashes, was incredible to me.
The Death of Dulgath (Riyria Chronicles #3) // ★★★★★ //
Lastly, we come to my first read of 2016. I think this was the first prequel novel in which I had no clue about the story. While the previous two were commented on in the Revelations, I can’t recall a mention of this one. Which made it all the more exciting! Again, I listened to this one on audio, which I would so very much recommend. I learned a lot about Royce in this book. First of all, I didn’t know that he didn’t know. I know that won’t make sense if you haven’t read the series, but if you have, give a shout-out. I always assumed Royce knew. This book also gives more insight into the other kingdoms, and an interesting one at that. Plus, Lady Dulgath. She was interesting to the max (I know, stupid sentence, but that’s really the way to put it).
If I haven’t yet convinced you about the greatness of this series, read this. This fantasy series is not only easy and fun to read, it will captivate you. The characters will hold you captive. Like his already-readers, you will beg Mr. Sullivan to keep writing about Royce and Hadrian. I can’t recommend this series enough. Plus, I recommend the audio-books here, they are really good!
My advice? Start soon. And start with the Revelations (even though I think the Chronicles are my favorite).