The Crown Tower (The Riyria Chronicles #1)
By: Michael J. Sullivan
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
TWO MEN WHO HATE EACH OTHER. ONE IMPOSSIBLE MISSION. A LEGEND IN THE MAKING.
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.
Oh man, I’ve had the first three books of the Riyria Chronicles sitting on my TBR pile waiting to be read for ages. I dunno, the TBR pile just expanded and contracted, things happened, and I just didn’t get around to it sooner. I was of course looking forward to reading it as I did read the Riyria Revelations when Orbit first published them and greatly enjoyed that trilogy. Anyway I was in the mood for some lighter fare whilst on break at work so I started reading this book.
I admit, I wish I had read this book a little while after I read Riyria Revelations whilst the details of the characters were still fresh in my mind, but you don’t necessarily have to have read the other series to read this one. The fun part in my case is seeing how their story began and how they ended up working together and the hints along the way that shed light on future adventures and trials. But I say that I wished I had recalled the characters a little clearer because not all of the characters are as they seem and we do encounter many of them againd down the road, but nonetheless I started recollecting a bit here and there as the story went on.
The story itself was okay, following Hadrian for the most part and how he ends up thrown in to work with Royce. He can be infuriatingly naive at times, and the fact that his outlook remains what it is considering how deadly he can be with the sword, but I think I get it; seeing what he has seen and experiencing everything that he has gone through, he needed some kind of positive outlook lest he cracked. Royce on the other hand is verging on anti-social when we meet him and ready to ditch Hadrian at the first opportunity. I admit, I was surprised we didn’t get his perspective on things until quite late in the novel, which until now I’m not entirely why that choice was made there. As for the mission they had to complete…You know how some people said Hank Pym took the long way around to get Scott Lang on board in the Ant-Man movie? Something similar happens here but hey, if it gets the job done and them working together, right?
Whilst interesting, I found Gwen’s story to be the most disconnected from the storyline. We know–if you have read the other books first that–she becomes an important part of the story later on and for Hadrian and Royce, but while we’re seeing her origin story, it’s just pretty separate from Hadrian and Royce’s story so my attention wasn’t as steady with her chapters as I perhaps ought to have given.
Overall I had a good time reacquainting myself with Hadrian and Royce and the world in which this series is set in. The pacing was all right, and for an introduction to the characters and the world it works for those who have never picked up the other series. Anyway, looking forward to reading what these two are up to in the second volume of the series!