The Crown Tower by Michael J Sullivan

(8.5/10)

I’m not the greatest at reading books if they are not recently published. Oftentimes they will sit on my shelves for years at a time, before I finally get to them – regardless of whether I’ve read the author before or not.

Towards the end of 2013 I ploughed through all three of Michael J Sullivan’s ‘The Riyria Revelations’ series. Each rated relatively highly, but again, just like my recent experience with Brian McClellan’s ‘The Crimson Campaign’, I didn’t remember any of the negative things I had commented on in my reviews – only that I loved the story.

With a slight lull in what I wanted to read the last week, I finally picked up ‘The Riyria Chronicles’ books – ‘The Crown Tower’ and ‘The Rose and the Thorn’, prequels to the Riyria Revelation series.

Many authors writing prequels to their own work will get wrapped up in servicing all the fans who have read their work, working in hints and outright stage-plays referring back to the original stories. In the end, it reads like the Star Wars prequels watch – like a series of nods to the audience strung together with a makeshift plot.

Not so, Michael J Sullivan. In fact, in reading The Riyria Revelations, I am dead-set about to jump back into the original trilogy, because this man can write!!

Like maybe the best prequels should be, they tell a story I didn’t need them to tell. (If you needed a prequel for your series, then you probably should have made that your first book.) I didn’t even know I needed a prequel for Royce and Hadrian, the two mercenary-thieves who make up the dynamic duo of Riyria, a dangerous assassin/thief and a soldier with a preternatural ability with the blade.

But, regardless, there had been mention of their escapades with the Crown Tower throughout the original trilogy, and getting a chance to see into that particular caper was absolutely fantastic!

Hadrian is exactly the naïve and simplistic country boy-turned fighter you figured he would have been before meeting Royce, who in turn is exactly the deadly loner you expected him to have been before he met Hadrian. Watching Michael J Sullivan bring these two together, however, is a work of pure art. There is no stretching, no convenient plot twisting by the author to make things happen that don’t fit – this story deserved to be told because it was told so well!

It’s fast-paced, at times funny, at times violent, and the two lead characters (as well as a few supporting ones) are so immediately fascinating that it’s somewhat hard to believe this is fiction. Add to that Sullivan’s absolute mastery of the writing craft (there are some lines which are so brilliantly phrased that it leaves me at once astonished and laughing out loud) and volume one of the Riyria Chonicles is an absolute must for anyone who reads fantasy.

As Sullivan says in his introduction, you don’t need to have read the original trilogy – and I don’t know which way I would recommend; original trilogy first or prequels – I guess it’ll be up to you. But do me a favour, and pick them up now!

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Our interview with Michael J Sullivan

Michael J. Sullivan is a full time author whose self published series, The Riyria Revelations, hit the big time selling more than 70,000 copies in a very short time. Picked up by Orbit in the middle of last year just after th [...]

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All reviews for Michael J Sullivan's The Ryria Chronicles series

The Crown Tower

by Michael J Sullivan

Two men who hate each other. One impossible mission. A legend in the making. Hadrian, a warrior with nothing to fight for, is paired with Royce, a thieving assassin with no [...]

Series: The Ryria Chronicles #1
Published: 0000

Score: 85

Our rating: 8.5 | positive reader reviews

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The Rose and the Thorn

by Michael J Sullivan

A dear friend is brutally beaten. Two thieves want answers. Riyria is born. One year earlier, two thieves were saved from certain death by the compassion of a stranger. Una [...]

Series: The Ryria Chronicles #2
Published: 0000

Score: 86

Our rating: 8.5 | positive reader reviews

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The Death of Dulgath

by Michael J Sullivan

Three times they tried to kill her. Then a professional was hired. So was Riyria. When the last member of the oldest noble family in Avryn is targeted for assassination, Ri [...]

Series: The Ryria Chronicles #3
Published: 2015

Score: 90

Our rating: 9.0 | positive reader reviews

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The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter

by Michael J Sullivan

A daughter vanishes. Two rogues are paid a fortune to find her. It isn't enough. When Gabriel Winter's daughter mysteriously disappears and is presumed dead, the we [...]

Series: The Ryria Chronicles #4
Published: 2017

Score: 80

Our rating: 8.0 | positive reader reviews

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More Michael J Sullivan reviews

Age of Myth

by Michael J Sullivan

Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god f [...]

Series: Legends of the First Empire #1
Published: 2016

Score: 80

Our rating: 8.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

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Age of Swords

by Michael J Sullivan

Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co [...]

Series: Legends of the First Empire #2
Published: 2017

Score: 80

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Age of War

by Michael J Sullivan

The alliance of humans and renegade Fhrey is fragile - and about to be tested as never before. Persephone keeps the human clans from turning on one another through her iron [...]

Series: Legends of the First Empire #3
Published: 2018

Score: 100

Our rating: 10.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

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Age of Legend

by Michael J Sullivan

After years of warfare, humanity has gained the upper hand and has pushed the Fhrey to the edge of their homeland but no farther. Now comes the pivotal moment. Persephone&r [...]

Series: Legends of the First Empire #4
Published: 2019

Score: -2

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Theft of Swords

by Michael J Sullivan

Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles--until they [...]

Series: The Riyria Revelations #1
Published: 2012

Score: 93

Our rating: 9.0 | 3 positive reader reviews

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Rise of Empire

by Michael J Sullivan

War has come to Melengar and once more Royce and Hadrian are hired to make a desperate gamble and form an alliance with the Nationalists whom are fighting the Imperialists [...]

Series: The Riyria Revelations #2
Published: 2014

Score: 72

Our rating: 7.0 | 1 positive reader reviews

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Heir of Novron

by Michael J Sullivan

The New Empire intends to celebrate its victory over the Nationalists with a day that will never be forgotten. On the high holiday of Wintertide, they plan to execute two t [...]

Series: The Riyria Revelations #3
Published: 0000

Score: 81

Our rating: 8.0 | 1 positive reader reviews

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