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am 17. Oktober 2013
Four stars for this book, but FIVE for the series!

For those who don't know Riyria:

You don't want to start with this book, start with either 'Theft of Swords' or 'The Crown Tower'. The former is the first book of the finished series 'Riyria Revelations', which together make up a cohesive story besides each book having its own storyline and conclusion (or rather two of them per book, since the original six books are now published in three double volumes). The 'Riyria Chronicles' are prequels, telling earlier stories about the main characters, and so far there are two of those: 'The Crown Tower' and this one.

About the series as a whole:

'Riyria', the elvish word for two, is what the main characters call themselves: Royce and Hadrian, a thief and an ex-mercenary who earn their living by doing delicate jobs for desperate or embarrassed nobles, such like planting or removing incriminating evidence. The 'Revelations' follow them through several adventures and a gradual discovery of who they really are and why they are so skilled at what they do, ending with them playing a big part in events that change the world.

In many ways it's just another classic fantasy story, but it's extremely well done, with a quick pace, a lot of interesting characters, descriptions reduced to what is really needed, and moving from one enjoyable scene to the next with no boring narrative in between. The setting is something between Middle Earth and earth's Middle Ages, sprinkled with more modern (or ancient?) ideas like democracy or a female ambassador, and twisting some time honored fantasy concepts in ways that will surprise even a seasoned fantasy fan. But the best feature IMO is the relationship between Hadrian and Royce, which is sometimes hilarious and at rare moments moving, but always entertaining.

So don't start with 'The Rose and the Thorn' but by all means start with 'Riyria'!

For Riyria veterans:

The book tells several stories that have been hinted at in the 'Revelations': (1) how Royce and Hadrian defend Gwen and her girls against the abuse of a noble, (2) about the big fire in Essendon castle and (3) the beginning of Riyria's partnership with Viscount Albert Winslow. Of course we already know all the endings, right down to the casualties-vs-survivors list of the fire, so suspense is not exactly the strong point of the book. The interest derives rather from the characters: we meet the Essendons and Pickerings as kids, the teenage Hilfred becomes a lead character, and - finally! - we see Royce at his scariest. This is what we always heard about him but found hard to believe because we never saw him like that.

For my personal taste, there's a little too much Hilfred and not quite enough Royce and Hadrian - at one time they were out of the picture for so long that I couldn't remember where their story had been left. And even with the main storyline already known, there might have been room for a few more surprises (there were some nice ones though). And yet, I found the book satisfying on the whole, giving me exactly what I like best about Riyria: interesting characters, entertaining conversations, lots of fun and a tiny bit of hero worship. (I have to admit that pure suspense is never a high priority with me.)

All in all, it's not the strongest book of the series. But if you've come to love this double act, I'm sure you will enjoy the newest installment too.
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am 17. Mai 2016
Great as everything Mr. Sullivan writes. And as everything he writes it's too isn't really, only for me. Because when I start I can't stop until I'm through...and that is allways much too fast. I have hope, that maybe there will be more storys to follow, that would be a blast and I would consume every word right away...that's the brilliance of Mr. Sullivan and Riyria!
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am 15. Oktober 2013
Extermely well wrtten. The only complaint is that it was a bit short. I can recommend it to any fantasy reader…
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am 17. Oktober 2013
Auch der zweite Band in dieser Serie ist wieder erstklassig!
Für alle Fans von Riyria ein absolutes MUSS.
Absolute Kaufempfehlung!
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am 24. November 2013
Nice development of the back story. Worth a read. Interesting to see if he'll continue, and how he'll bring it up to the rirya series
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