REVIEW SUMMARY: A well-written addition to an established series, The Crown Tower is a perfect example of a fantasy epic done right. An impressive outing for already beloved characters that does double duty as a warm introduction for readers unfamiliar with the author’s earlier works.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Outstanding prequel to an already outstanding fantasy series, this new adventure shows the auspicious beginnings of the partnership between Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn as they tackle their first assignment; steal a book from the highest tower in the land without killing each other first.
PROS: Incredible, fascinating characters; smart, well written dialog; superb world building.
CONS: A weak second act makes the story drag slightly in the middle.
BOTTOM LINE: A prequel that doesn’t disappoint or dilute the already-established series, it’s a delight to reconnect with these characters and discover their humble beginnings. It’s a worthy addition to the previously published adventures of Hadrian and Royce that will leave old and new fans alike craving more.
Michael J. Sullivan’s excellent Riyria Revelations was one of the most satisfying fantasy series I’ve ever read. The adventures of Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn unraveled during the course of six books (gathered into three omnibus collections) and ended so strongly that I actually gasped out loud on a packed bus full of people when I reached the last page. The series was exceptionally well written and contained complex characters who you couldn’t help but love and root for. While on the surface it may look like another entry into the already glutted “thieves and assassins” fantasy genre, the Riyria Revelations manages to stand apart thanks to Sullivan’s precise world building and the cast of characters he created. At its core, the Riyria Revelations are about the friendship between Hadrian and Royce and The Crown Tower shows us how it all began.
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