Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan – Review


Published: November 23, 2011

Publisher: Orbit

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 681 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0



There’s no ancient evil to defeat or orphan destined for greatness, just unlikely heroes and classic adventure. Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, are two enterprising rogues who end up running for their lives when they’re framed for the murder of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy that goes beyond the overthrow of a tiny kingdom, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery before it’s too late.

After enjoying the first two novels in Michael J. Sullivan’s prequel series, The Riyria Chronicles, I decided to pick up his main series. Theft of Swords is the first book in the Riyria Revelations series and it is MARVELOUS! Here we join Royce and Hadrian roughly 12 years after they first met and became known as Riyria, which is the elven word for ‘two’. They are infamous for their skill at doing jobs that seem to be impossible, or at the very least incredibly difficult. Their reputation leads them to getting a job that seems impossibly easy and it ends up being much more than they ever bargained for.

 I adored Royce and Hadrian from the very first time I read about them in The Crown Tower and it is no different now. I would say that beginning with the prequel series really helped me appreciate their relationship in Theft of Swords so much more because the pair doesn’t start out on the best of terms. Royce and Hadrian are basically inseparable and understand one another on a level that is usually reserved for parents or spouses, not to mention the fact that they have utter confidence in each other’s abilities. I would go as far to say that this is one of my favorite friendships/partnerships in all of the fantasy novels I’ve read to this point.

The storyline was immediately addictive, with the reader being thrown into the action almost right off. It’s sometimes difficult to adapt to a story where you’re suddenly in the middle of events or you’re obviously missing the true origin of the story, but when it’s done properly the effect is awesome! The whole storyline is paced fairly well, going from a high action beginning of intrigue and betrayal to an equally action packed end-portion with beast slaying and character deaths. The plot has classic fantasy elements without being trope-y. It was unpredictable in many places and I was consistently amused by the dialogue, all of which make me a very happy reader!

Michael J. Sullivan is talented storyteller and creator and I’ve already begun the second book in the Riyria Revelations series, titled Rise of Empire. I highly recommend this series for fans of Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastards series or any other book involving heists, swords, and morally ambiguous characters.


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