Friday, August 3, 2012

Review - Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations, Book 1) Michael J. Sullivan (4.5/5 stars)

Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Size: 704 pages
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: November 23, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0316187749
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Riyria Revelations series
Source: eGalley from NetGalley(dot)com
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

I got a copy of this book for review through NetGalley(dot)com. This was an excellent high fantasy book; with great characters, a wonderful plot and lots of humor. Theft of Swords includes the first two books of the Riyria Revelations series: The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha. There are two more Omnibus books in this series: Rise of Empire and the Heir of Novron.

In the first book, The Crown Conspiracy, the two main characters (thieves named Royce and Hadrian) are hired to recover a stolen sword from a chapel in the castle. When they try to carry out the job they are arrested for murdering the king. This leads to a series of events where they help to unravel a traitorous plot and end up embroiled in a battle to save the only thieves can.

In the second book Royce and Hadrian are contacted by a young woman named Thrace who hires them to destroy a horrible monster that’s attacking her village. When Royce and Hadrian find out that the wizard Ersa is involved they accept the job. Again things end up being much more complicated than they first seem.

Sullivan has written a book that is highly entertaining, with lots of humor, and a highly developed world. This is pretty classic high fantasy stuff, but Sullivan does it in a way that makes it fresh and very fun to read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Royce and Hadrian are awesome characters; they are both incredibly capable in their duties as thieves. Both of them have mysterious backgrounds and end up being much more than they initially appear to be. Royce has the whole standoffish, dark and menacing going on. Hadrian has a more boisterous and noble personality. Together they have excellent rapport and the witty banter between them is highly entertaining.

The world Sullivan has created is incredibly detailed with a rich and complex history. Sullivan does an excellent job of having a storyline that takes place in the background over multiple books (the search for the Heir of Novron) as well as having a smaller story arc that resolves in a single book. I love series that do this; it allows the reader to have a satisfying conclusion in one book but still look forward to a longer story-arc as well.

The book was very readable, the writing was well done and easy to read. I really really enjoyed reading Sullivan’s writing.

There were a couple small things that did bug me a little. The history is very detailed and at times it is almost too detailed, there are sections of the book where a ton of historical names are thrown at you all at once. There is an appendix in the back that lists all of the names/characters, so that helps. But the detail in the history can get a bit overwhelming at times. The other thing that bothered me was that in the second book there are a couple places where farmers go off on these long soliloquies about the trials of the your daily working man. These parts were boring and didn’t much to the story.

Overall I absolutely loved this book. It is an incredibly well written high fantasy novel with a detailed world, wonderful witty characters, and an intriguing plot. It was very engaging and I really enjoyed the writing style. I will definitely be reading Rise of Empire soon. Highly recommended to fans of fantasy; especially epic or high fantasy.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge
- TBR Pile Reading Challenge

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