The Rose and the Thorn by Michael J Sullivan

Rating 8.5/10
The Rose and the Thorn is another brilliant prequel.

When just one sequel isn’t enough, some people get worried. Just look what happened to Star Wars – and any other number of TV, movie, and written properties out there. But put a prequel story that deserves to be told into the right hands, and you have an absolute winner.

‘The Rose and the Thorn’ by Michael J Sullivan is the second in a two-part prequel series entitled ‘The Riyria Chronicles’, which tells the story of how Royce Melbourne and Hadrian Blackwater begin the infamous Riyria partnership which is front and centre of Sullivan’s ‘The Riyria Revelations’ trilogy of books.

The Rose and the Thorn takes place one year following the events of the first in this duology – ‘The Crown Tower’, but deals much more with the world in which Royce and Hadrian live and are forced to interact with, than it does their own burgeoning relationship. There is still growth in their characters – I suspect it wouldn’t be a Michael J Sullivan book if there wasn’t – but the world of the nobles, of the Church of Novron, and the dangerous games played between the two is at the forefront of this book.

This book suffers a little from a bit of lag in the second quarter of the book, but that is quickly erased by the events of the second half of the book. There is tragedy tinged with love, and downright tragedy. This book more than The Crown Tower sets up the events of the first book in the original trilogy, ‘Theft of Swords’ – and it is a bloody set-up.

The continuing relationship between Royce and Gwen is precious to read, and an absolute joy to watch. Hadrian’s own emotions seem sudden, and left me trying to place them in the original trilogy - something I couldn’t do from memory, though it has been over a year since I read them. But as with the second-quarter dip, these cons are quickly overridden by the pros.

As I mentioned in my review for The Crown Tower, but more so now because of The Rose and the Thorn, I am absolutely intent on reading the original trilogy again. I want to put all the parts together – and I imagine I will want to read even more when I’m done.

The Rose and the Thorn is another brilliant prequel, shedding lights on important events that really open up the wider world of these stories, and explain much of some of its most important characters. While maybe not as good as The Crown Tower on its own, together the two books make up an absolute killer-combination.

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10-stars

I love this entire series. Anything Hadrian and Royce is wonderful. I can't wait until another book comes out.

9.3/10 from 2 reviews

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