Friday, August 29, 2014

Review: The Crown Tower by Michael J. Sullivan

The Crown Tower by Michael J. Sullivan
Series: Riyria Chronicles #1
Published by Orbit
Pages: 416
Genre: Fantasy
Add on Goodreads

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.

There's doing what's right, and there's doing what's safe. Most of the time you do what's safe because doing different will get you dead for no good reason, but there are times when doing what's safe will kill you too. Only it'll be a different kind of death. They dying will be slow, the sort that eats from the inside until breathing becomes a curse. Understand?

Sometimes it's destiny when two characters meet. No matter what choices were made, they would have always met. Other times, destiny needs a little help from a crazy old wizard. This is a case of the latter.

While this book is actually a prequel, it can be read before Riyria Revelations or - as I did - after. There aren't spoilers in either book, but I think fans of the Revelations might get a bit more out of the book, both in the form of 'easter eggs' and those moments of 'ah-ha'. I know I'm really glad that I chose to read Revelations before Chronicles.

So, if you've read Revelations and like them, you simply must read Chronicles - but what about the people who haven't read Revelations and are a little leery of a six book series (even if the first book is excellent as stand alone, too)? Well, The Crown Tower takes two vastly dissimilar men, the world-weary and cynical assassin Royce and the bloody-handed but still idealistic swordsman Hadrian, and forces them together to fulfill a mission that they each have an important reason to complete.

While it's never easy to write prequels while keeping the characters intact, this book did wonderfully. Each of the characters are logically what they would be before the events of Revelations, without seeming like half-formed people. The characters, as they are right now, make sense. You're not waiting for them to grow, because they are already people in their own right.

The characters are good people - and I mean that morally. Even our assassin has a streak of honor in him that just might show up at surprising times. This isn't a 'dark' fantasy book. While not everything is light, there is enough good in the world of Elan that you won't feel depressed reading this book.

Honestly, the action's great; the characters are great, the writing is great... I'd just recommend this book to anyone that's a fantasy fan and those that are trying to get into fantasy and looking for a great book to start with.