The Crown Tower by Michael J. Sullivan


Rating: 4.0/5.0



A warrior with nothing to fight for is paired with a thieving assassin with nothing to lose. Together they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. The Crown Tower is the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built and home to the realm’s most valuable possessions. But it isn’t gold or jewels the old wizard is after, and this prize can only be obtained by the combined talents of two remarkable men. Now if Arcadius can just keep Hadrian and Royce from killing each other, they just might succeed.

The Riyria Revelations and The Riyria Chronicles are two separate, but related series, and you can start reading with either Theft of Swords (publication order) or The Crown Tower (chronological order).

The Crown Tower is the first in a set of prequels to the Riyria Revelations series titled the Riyria Chronicles. According to the books, “riyria” means “two” in elvish, and in the Crown Tower we begin to see how thief Royce Melbourne and mercenary Hadrian Blackwater forge a bond that makes them a formidable pair. I have not yet read the Riyria Revelations, so I can’t say for sure how different the dynamic between the characters is, but I know from some research that Royce and Hadrian are very different in the prequels.

Hadrian is certainly the more personable of the two, with an open smile and a more compassionate heart. He takes in a little fellow named Pickles as soon as he leaves the ship, which I was surprise by since Pickles seemed to be nothing more than a street urchin. Royce on the other hand, is significantly colder of countenance and heart. He was formerly an assassin, but was betrayed and ended up in a prison of sorts (sound familiar? Celaena Sardothien perhaps?). Royce has serious trust issues and seems to be highly introverted. Personality wise, the two men are total opposites from one another, but don’t opposites balance one another out in the long run? This seems to be what Professor Arcadius thought when he brought the two together.

This is a highly character driven story, so while we do get quite a bit of detail about the locations, I didn’t find them to be memorable. Even the Crown Tower was little more than a vague concept in my mind- I basically thought of it as a generic tower, but ridiculously tall. It is as if a camera is focused on the characters and the farther away the eye strays from them, the blurrier the details. I must say that I do not mind forgetting the scenery when the characters are so vibrant. I love fast-paced stories of battles, intrigue, and dramatic heists and the Crown Tower fit the bill for this perfectly. I am looking forward to reading book two, entitled the Rose and the Thorn.

My descriptions are, of course, not complete and I have left out characters in my review that played major roles in the book. These were interesting and exciting characters, but if I told you everything about the book it wouldn’t be as much fun to read. I personally like going into a series without knowing all the major events and major players. Happy Reading!


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