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Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles-until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere overthrow of a tiny kingdom.

Can a self-serving thief and an idealistic swordsman survive long enough to unravel the first part of an ancient mystery that has toppled kings and destroyed empires?

And so begins the first tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.

When author Michael J. Sullivan self-published the first books of his Riyria Revelations, they rapidly became ebook bestsellers. Now, Orbit is pleased to present the complete series for the first time in bookstores everywhere.

691 pages, Paperback

First published November 23, 2011

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About the author

Michael J. Sullivan

110 books92.6k followers
Esrahaddon, the last book in the Rise and Fall trilogy, is almost done. Just finished the recording of the audiobook, and the layout. Will pass it by Gamma readers for one last quality check then it's off to the printers!

In other news, Farilane, hit #1 on Amazon's Bestselling Epic Fantasy list! The ebook and audiobook are already released, and the hardcover will release on May 16th.

Thanks for visiting my page! Here are other sites where you can contact me.

I'm a New York Times, USA Today, and Washington Post bestselling author with 9 Goodreads Choice Award Nominations.

I first opened the door to my imagination with typewriter keys while playing hide and seek and finding a black behemoth when I just ten years old. Serious writing started in my twenties, but after more than a decade trying to publish (and getting nowhere), I quit altogether. I returned to writing in 2004, and published my first novel with a small press in 2008. If you had told me that I'd be a New York Times Bestselling author, have 85+ novels translated into 13 languages, and sold more than 2 million copies, I never would have believed you!

But now that we have that out of the way, let me tell you a bit about my books, which can be broken down into two main series.

THE LEGENDS OF THE FIRST EMPIRE: The foundations of Elan are laid by an unlikely band of misfits.

Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between men and those they thought were gods changes forever. Now, only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer. Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom. And Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over; the time of rebellion has begun.

THE RIYRIA REVELATIONS & CHRONICLES: The strongest bonds of friendship are forged in blood.

They killed the king. They pinned it on two men. They chose poorly.
There's no ancient evil to defeat or orphan destined for greatness, just two guys in the wrong place at the wrong time. Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, are enterprising thieves who end up running for their lives when they're framed for the death 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.

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Profile Image for Michael.
Author 110 books92.6k followers
July 7, 2013
I'm the author of this book, so I'm not going to do a rating but I did want to take just a moment to say a few words about what I was trying to do in this book.

For those who don't know, I wrote all six books in the series before publishing any of them (truth be told when I wrote the books I had no intention on publishing at all). This allowed me to weave threads between the books, but I made sure that each title had its own conflict and resolution. My intention was to start small and end big, with the mysteries deepening and the stakes escalating with each book. Rather than front loading, I purposefully spread the world building and character development across the whole series so there is always something new to learn or discover until the final revelation which concludes the series in a very satisfying fashion.

When picked up by Orbit (the fantasy imprint of big-five Hachette) they released the series as three, two-book omnibus editions which makes for an exceptional value since you get two books for the same price as most single books.

I hope you'll enjoy these first two books in the series, and I'd love to hear what you think about them so please drop me a line at michael (dot) sullivan (dot) dc (at) gmail (dot) com. All feedback is welcomed.
Profile Image for Petrik.
673 reviews42.7k followers
January 26, 2022
2.75/5 stars on my first read, 4/5 stars on my second read

It’s been five years (January 2017) since I first read through The Riyria Revelations, and I honestly didn’t expect I would ever read through this series again. That changed after last year. Last year, out of nowhere, I suddenly missed Royce, Hadrian, and the characters of The Riyria Revelations. And I ended up reading through The Riyria Chronicles, the prequel series to The Riyria Revelations, which I enjoyed immensely. After I finished the first two books in The Riyria Chronicles, I immediately knew I MUST read The Riyria Revelations again because I knew that my experience of it will be improved significantly. And just from reading Theft of Swords, the first omnibus in The Riyria Revelations, I can already confirm the accuracy of my prediction. This review will be different and longer than usual. I will keep my thoughts on my first read intact for newcomers to the series, and I will also elaborate on why things worked so much better on reread.

“The abbot once told me that lying was a betrayal to one’s self. It’s evidence of self-loathing. When you are so ashamed of your actions, thoughts, or intentions, you lie rather than accepting yourself for who you really are— or, in this case, pretend something happened when it didn’t. The idea of how others see you becomes more important than the reality of you. It’s like when a man would rather die than be thought of as a coward. His life is not as important to him as his reputation. In the end, who is braver? The man who dies rather than be thought of as a coward or the man who lives willing to face who he really is?”

Back when I first read Theft of Swords, I totally remember that I had the misfortune of having an unpopular opinion on it. Back then, none of the people on my friend list on Goodreads rated Theft of Swords lower than 3 stars; I was the only one. However, despite that, I also knew I must not make the final decision on whether to recommend this series or not yet due to the way the story in this six books (three omnibuses) series is structured. But before I get on with my review and comparison, I would like to say something about Theft of Swords that bothered me before I even started reading the book. And that is the horrible cover art to this omnibus. Almost six years have passed since I saw the cover art to Theft of Swords, and the cover art is still as horrible as ever, maybe even worse now.

I wish the cover art to Theft of Swords is a joke. Out of all the physical books I had back then, this sat at the number 1 spot for having the worst cover art; I sold my physical copies of this trilogy because I hate the cover art so much. The characters in the cover art just don’t match the description mentioned in the books, and I’m pretty sure it also doesn’t match what’s in the author’s vision. And yes, Sullivan has confirmed this, by the way, but it’s out of his control. Who the heck is that Christian Bale look-alike in the cover art who can’t stop staring at the reader!? And Royce looks like a drug cartel that picked up a sword after having himself transported to a middle of a war. Both of them stare at the reader as if it’s our fault they’re in the cover art. Just look at it! God, make them stop. I can feel their stare even when I’m typing this. They’re still doing it, right?

I’m not against having characters in cover art, but I prefer them illustrated. I hate cover art that features people having a photoshoot like this one. I seriously think Marc Simonetti should’ve been the one hired to illustrate the cover art to The Riyria Revelations. His artworks are utterly suitable for high fantasy series, and I’m gratified that now, five years since I first wrote this review, he’s the one in charge of illustrating the cover art to The Legends of the First Empire and The Rise and Fall series by Michael J. Sullivan. Oh, and also The Death of Dulgath and The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter. All of them look breathtaking, and now I’ll begin my review after showing these two gorgeous foreign edition cover arts by Marc Simonetti to the two books inside Theft of Swords.

The Crown Conspiracy by Marc Simonetti

Avempartha by Marc Simonetti

Two widespread claims led my expectations astray when I first read Theft of Swords. First, the claim that The Riyria Revelations was one of the most epic fantasy series out there in terms of scope and world-building. This claim and praise still confused me to this day, and I have to disagree completely with it. Having read through the series already, this is a great high fantasy series, but I still wouldn’t call it epic in terms of its scope unless you consider the entirety of all the available books so far in Elan. Due to this claim, the simplistic and straightforward plot of the first two books, especially The Crown Conspiracy, disappointed me. I remember being incredibly underwhelmed by The Crown Conspiracy. Both books are less than 400 pages long individually, and The Crown Conspiracy served as an introductory installment to the six-books series. Maybe even better to consider it as a 300 pages prologue. Avempartha was definitely better, and there was a noticeable quality in storytelling, line delivery, and pacing.

To me, Avempartha felt more like the true beginning to the main story in The Riyria Revelations as it dealt with conflicts and mystery related to The Heir of Novron. This doesn’t mean that you should skip The Crown Conspiracy; that’s not what I’m saying here. But if you’re reading this for the first time, it would be beneficial for you to just enjoy these two books for what they are—a simple and enjoyable fantasy story—instead of expecting something epic in scope like I did. The Riyria Revelations is really one big book divided into six entry. Even though this kind of structure didn’t fully work for me as individual installments on my first read, it did work insanely well as a whole series. I couldn’t wait to see how it all played out, and I was left satisfied by the end of the journey. On reread, I’m already emotionally attached to the characters and the world, and I also didn’t have any overblown expectations. Because of this, my reading enjoyment has been dramatically increased.

“The real struggle is in your own mind. You must know you are going to win before you start the fight. You have to see it, smell it, and believe it utterly. It is a form of confidence, but you must guard against overconfidence. You have to be flexible—able to adapt in an instant and never allow yourself to give up. Without this, nothing else is possible. Unless you believe you’ll win, fear and hesitation will hold you down while your opponent kills you.”

Alright, let’s talk about the second claim and praise that affected my reading enjoyment the most on my first read: Royce and Hadrian are the best duos in fantasy. Now, I’m not innocent of this myself. After I’ve read The Riyria Revelations and also The Riyria Chronicles, I’ve mentioned several times that Royce and Hadrian is one of my favorite bromance/duo in fantasy. However, if you’re reading The Riyria Revelations for the first time without reading The Riyria Chronicles first, you have to understand that you won’t get this level of attachment from reading the first omnibus. Maybe even not after reading the second omnibus: Rise of Empire. This was something that I wish I had known back then. I wish other readers and reviewers have told me that Royce and Hadrian became one of their favorite duos ONLY after they finished Heir of Novron, and if that were the case, I would have agreed with them. It feels like I’m discussing semantics here, but there are huge differences. Here’s the thing, Sullivan’s prose is accessible. The dialogues and narrative felt fast-paced, and the world-building felt vivid. The fact that the world of Elan borrowed a lot of elements from classic fantasy—like The Lord of the Rings—made it a series easier to dive into for many readers. But Sullivan’s intentional choice in characterizing the characters can be a struggle to deal with for first-time readers of the series that came with the expectation of finding one of the best bromances in fantasy from the get-go.

“Your best ally in any discussion is silence. Learn to develop that skill. Learn to listen instead of speaking and you’ll weather many storms.”

It was very noticeable from the narrative that Sullivan purposefully withholds information and the character's background. This was already noticeable on my first read, even more so on my second read. One of the reasons Sullivan did this was to ensure the gradual increase in quality with each volume in the series, which he succeeded brilliantly, in my opinion. But on my first read of Theft of Swords, the storytelling decision in characterizing Royce and Hadrian made me feel detached from the characters. It was not as if Sullivan couldn't do it; the supporting characters—Alric, Myron, Esrahaddon, Thrace—had their respective well-written character development immediately from the first two books. But for Royce and Hadrian, we barely got to know their inner feelings and thoughts behind their actions, not as much as I preferred anyway. It was difficult for me to care about Royce and Hadrian on my first read. As I said, I never felt fully invested in Royce and Hadrian until I started reading the third and final omnibus of the series. Obviously, it was a different matter on the second read on Theft of Swords; the issue I mentioned earlier is gone because I felt attached to Royce and Hadrian already. I understood their personality, and their interaction and banter felt more entertaining now.

“Hadrian shook his head and sighed. “Why do you have to make everything so difficult? They’re probably not bad people—just poor. You know, taking what they need to buy a loaf of bread to feed their family. Can you begrudge them that? Winter is coming and times are hard.” He nodded his head in the direction of the thieves. “Right?”
“I ain’t got no family,” flat-nose replied. “I spend most of my coin on drink.”
“You’re not helping,” Hadrian said.”

If you’re not patient enough, I recommend you to start from The Riyria Chronicles instead of The Riyria Revelations. Doing this will result in more organic character development for Royce, Hadrian, Gwen, and a few other characters. The writing in The Riyria Chronicles is more well-polished, and you might notice a drop in the quality of the prose if you read The Riyria Revelations after that, but I still think of it as a truly viable option.

One of the things that bothered me so much on my first read of Theft of Swords had something to do with the Riyria reputations in the story itself. By the time of Theft of Swords, the Riyria reputation was hugely famous already; there were many praises for their legends and feats, but we readers seldom get to see their battle or assassination skills in action. There were a few wonderful action scenes for Hadrian but practically none for Royce. All Royce did in the first two books was talk and open doors. He rarely used his knife to fight his enemy. This disappointed me on my first read, and I remember thinking maybe I should’ve read the prequels first to know the characters further before starting this series. The withholding of information on their background doesn’t help either; I predicted Royce’s background since the beginning of the first book, and I was proven right by the end of Avempartha. This made the clear withholding of information redundant to me. It simply didn’t have that surprising or mysterious factor to it. Thankfully, it’s a different situation for Myron and Esrahaddon. Myron is precious, and there was an abundance of intriguing mysteries surrounding Esrahaddon.

“Actually,” Royce said, “I don’t have any political leanings. They get in the way of my job. Noble or commoner, people all lie, cheat, and pay me to do their dirty work. Regardless of who rules, the sun still shines, the seasons still change, and people still conspire. If you must place labels on attitudes, I prefer to think of myself as an individualist.”

Admittedly, most of the issues on my first read that I mentioned above lie mostly in The Crown Conspiracy. Avempartha was a step-up on almost every aspect, especially in its world-building, action scenes, and overarching narrative. Royce & Hadrian received more spotlight, and the supporting characters were interesting. Plus, the politics and foreshadowing for the deadlier conflicts and revelations to come were already evident, too. Five years ago, I mentioned in my review of Theft of Swords even before I was done with the series that The Riyria Revelations is a series that gets better and better with each book. Now, I can confirm this notion.

“Theron, that weapon of yours may be mighty sharp, but what good is a sharp weapon when you can’t hit anything or, worse, hit the wrong target? You don’t win battles with hate. Anger and hate can make you brave, make you strong, but they also make you stupid. You end up tripping over your own two feet.”

If you haven't read this series, and you're reading this review thinking whether you should give Theft of Swords a try or not, yes, you should. The only advice I have for you is to clear your mind of expectations with Theft of Swords, and just enjoy it for what it is. And if you're, like me, felt disappointed with Theft of Swords, I won't force you to read the sequels if you don't want to, but I do think the sequels are worth the read. You'll most likely end up loving the series and characters so much by the end of it. Lastly, if you're thinking about whether you should reread this series or not after enjoying it the first time, you absolutely should read The Riyria Revelations again. I'm genuinely happy by this reread experience after having read through The Riyria Revelations and The Riyria Chronicles, and I'm still at the weakest books of the entire series. I have no doubt I'll love my reread of Rise of Empire and Heir of Novron, which I consider to be the best of the series, even more than I already did.

“As with everything, fighting takes practice. Anything can look easy if you’re watching someone who’s mastered whatever it is they are doing, but what you don’t see is the hours and years of effort that go into perfecting their craft. I am sure you can plow a field in a fraction of the time it would take me for this very reason. Sword fighting is no different. Practice will allow you to react without thought to events, and even to anticipate those events. It becomes a form of foresight, the ability to look into the future and know exactly what your opponent will do even before he does. Without practice, you’ll need to think too much. When fighting a more skilled opponent, even a split second of hesitation can get you killed.”

The Crown Conspiracy: 2/5 stars on my first read. 4/5 stars on my second read.

Avempartha: 3.5/5 stars on my first read. 4/5 stars on my second read.

Theft of Swords: 5.5/10 stars on my first read. 8/10 stars on my second read.

You can order this book from: Blackwells (Free International shipping)

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Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,460 reviews9,613 followers
June 7, 2019
UPDATE: $2.99 Kindle US 6/7/19

The two books in this tome are AMAZEBALLS!



Book 1 - The Crown of Conspiracy

I fell in love with Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn right off the bat. They are moseying along to get to their destination and they are over taken by a few bandits of sorts. And Hadrian and Royce have this conversation with themselves and with the bandits. Said bandits are a little confused at the relaxed manner of the Riyria men. But . . . once they find out who Hadrian and Royce are, they are beside themselves trying to get things cleared out for them to pass on their way with no trouble.

Oh, to have written that whole part of the book in my review of this first book. ☺

So this jerk sets up Hadrian and Royce into stealing a sword from the king. They said it was all easy since said jerk had already moved the sword to a hidden place. I mean come on, who would fall for that AND they didn't want to do something short notice. They like to plan for a bit, but they did it anyway and all hell breaks loose!

Anyhoo, so they scale the castle, get in and look for the sword and lo and behold, the king has been stabbed and the men are trapped and then of course framed.

Note: There is a little b•stard of a dwarf that needs to get his!

Moving on, so Royce and Hadrian are in the dungeons to be tortured and killed. fjsdgadoghadoigaoihgaiodfdioshgaiga <--- that was me cussing!

But the sweet princess, Arista saves them, sets them free and tells them they have to kidnap her brother, Alric, who put them in the dungeons to be killed to begin with. It's all cray but I love it.

So they drag Alric off and finally tell him all that is going on. Of course Alric is very angry thinking someone killed his father and wants to kill him and is worried for his sister. But Alric's sister wanted him to go to a secret prison and see a wizard there named Esrahaddon. But lets backtrack for a minute.

Along the way they stop at an abbey but they find out it has been burned to the ground and the monk, Myron is there all alone trying to rebuild the library by re-writing all of the books.

I fell right in love with Myron. He is sweet and funny and omg he has never left the abbey since he was four-years-old. He had never pet or ridden a horse, never seen a woman, never seen anything. Period. They talked Myron into going with them and the new king, Alric said he would give him a job. Poor Myron didn't want to go, he was scared but they finally talked him into it. And he was amazed at the world outside. It was so sweet.

Now back to the prison. Royce finally figures out how to get into the hidden prison, they meet Esrahaddon who is 900 ish years old. Against their better judgement they set him free. And now I wonder what he is going to end up doing to the world when we get back around to him.


After all of this, the gang head over to see Count Pickering and tell him what all happened. The count says he will side with the new king, Alric and starts gathering his forces. But they get word that Alric's sister is going to be put to death for treason and is being called a witch. I mean she did learn some stuff from Esrahaddon but so far she's a good person and it's the evil uncle that wants them all dead so he can rule. Jerk!

Count Pickering's peeps aren't all going to get there in time so Alric sends Royce and Hadrian ahead to save Arista (which they do) ha, it's so awesome and funny.

Let's just say some peeps are beheaded and things are set right (for now)

Oh and they leave a little message on the wall of a jerk that was going to side with the evil uncle.


Book 2 - Avempartha

Holy sh•t balls! I loved this freaking book!

Okay, so it's like a couple of years later . . . if I read that right.

Hadrian and Royce are out to seek revenge on the man that almost got them killed, but circumstances changed that and they end up following a girl (Thrace) back to her home in Dahlgren. She's afraid for her father because a creature - that turns out to be a Gilarabrywn - is killing everyone in their little town. Some of Thrace's other family members have been killed and she can't get her father to leave.

In this book we only have Alric in the beginning of the book when he makes Arista the Ambassador of Melengar. She has to go and deal with some jerks. And the old Bishop Saldur who is a snake and was for their uncle in the first story, is still in the second book being a jerk. Oh, I hope someday he gets his!

And, Magnus the dwarf that I thought very badly of in the first book, he made up for it in this second book. I fell in love with him. And I love the banter between him and Royce!

We find out some revelations about Royce! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! I knew it too! I'm not saying a word, just yeah, I'm looking forward to some cool things going on in the next books. And we find out a few more things about Hadrian. OMG, I love them both! I can't help it.

The wizard, Esrahaddon, who now goes by, Esra Haddon, is in the same little town. I actually like him a lot, unless he does something bad in the next books. I never did mention that he had his hands cut off a billion hundred years ago! He's still got some mojo though. And don't you love the play on his name :-D

At one point, Arista ends up at this little town too. They are all up in a castle above it and are having some games on who can defeat the Gilarabrywn. And of course there is some dumb set up with the evil peeps.

Oh and some of the Pickering boys are back and I just love them. Mauvin is my favorite. I keep hoping something will happen with him and Arista but she just sees him as a brother.

Royce, Esra, Hadrian and even ole Magnus are trying to get into the tower to get this sword because it's the only way to kill the Gilarabrywn. Well, all kinds of things go right and wrong there.

Some people die that I wish didn't die. I cried during some parts, for sadness and for the awesomeness.

And me thinks there be elves in those woods . . .

I love this book, Theft of Swords! I love the characters, even the evil ones are written perfectly. I love the world, I love every little thing!!!!! Accept I want Millie to come back, for those of you that know who Millie is. . .

I look forward to continuing on in this world. ��


. . .

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Michael.
Author 110 books92.6k followers
March 27, 2020
Those that know me, are aware that I never rate or review my own books. But I do use this space as a way to update you on things that you might find interesting.

Update: 03/27/20 -- Theft of Swords ebook is on sale for $2.99. I'm not sure if this is just US or not, and I'm not sure how long it will be discounted. So grab your copy soon! More than 22,750 5-star reviews on Goodreads!

Update: 08/03/18 -- I'm honored that The Riyria Revelations books have made a 50 BEST FANTASY BOOKS OF ALL TIME list. Thank you Nerdmuch?

Update: 06/19/18 -- Theft of Swords was picked by Barnes and Noble's Sci-fi and Fantasy blog as one of their 12 favorite heist stories with a fantasy twist. Click here to read the full story and see all the picks.

Update: 10/14/16 -- Today only! Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations #1 & #2) is $2.99 as part of Amazon's Daily Deal. That's two books for $1.49 each. Here is a link to get a copy for yourself. The book has 37,300 4 & 5 star reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Audible.com. And, it's part of the Whispersync program, so if you buy the ebook, you can get the audio book deeply discounted as well.

Update: 06/05/16 Theft of Swords was chosen for Audible's Editor's Choice Sale. So, until June 13th you can get it for just $4.95. Besides Theft of Swords there are a lot of other great fantasy titles on sale including:

Profile Image for Katerina.
422 reviews16.8k followers
August 14, 2016
Two words.
It's elvish for two.”

What happens when a sarcastic thief/former assassin and an idealistic mercenary/brilliant swordsman get in the way of a conspiracy for world domination? Epic fantasy at its finest ,that's the answer.Include some legends about a God's heir who is going to unite the world,a plotting Church with a secret agenda,Elves who are waiting for the opportune moment to gain their lands back,swordfights,prostitutes,monks,hidden prisons and witches and that's it,you have a masterpiece in your hands and a new favorite author in Michael J. Sullivan!
“So you want us to escape from this prison,kidnap the king,cross the countryside with him in tow while dodging soldiers who I assume might not accept our side of the story,and go to another secret prison so that he can visit an inmate?”

In the mythical land of Elan,where empires rise and fall,nobles and priests scheme,Elves are mistreated by the humans and witchcraft is a vile thing,a duet of thieves has become a legend.Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater couldn't be more different.Hadrian is the talkative one,who shows compassion and kindness,who wants to do the right thing,something that's not always working for him since he is a mercenary.On the other hand,Royce is cold,sarcastic,calculative and ruthless,he lurks in the shadows and can kill without making a sound.When this bizarre duo was framed for the murder of a king and the only way to save their lives was to keep alive the prince and free a dangerous prisoner,they interfered in a grand conspiracy set to alter the governments and the structure of the realms of Men.And when they were hired to steal a magical sword from an elvish tower while a monster terrorized the nearby village,they got in the way of some very powerful people who did not tolerate such disturbances.
“Royce stared out at the tower in the middle of the river and considered why jobs involving stealing swords were never simple.”

I don't think I can properly praise Michael J. Sullivan.There was not a single moment that I was not hooked in his story,his descriptions were sufficient but not boring,his characters well-painted,the dialogues witty and the banters between Royce and Hadrian excellent and amusing!Everything about these two screamed badassery,their past was covered in mystery and secrets we have yet to discover,they were simply perfect.There was no romance,but the women in this novel were not mere tools,despite the low appreciation against their gender,and even the minor characters added some perspective and completed the spectacular world Mr.Sullivan created.

If you are into high fantasy,this is definitely a book you should read.And if you're not,it's an excellent opportunity to dive in the world of magic and epic battles.If I could give Theft of Swords more than 5 stars,I would.Because it is that good.
Profile Image for Samantha.
416 reviews16.7k followers
July 5, 2020
4.25 stars

I loved this first installment. Royce and Hadrian’s friendship is the classic thief bond I so enjoy. They are such a great balance for each other. Neutral good with chaotic neutral? We love to see it. Plus we add in the classic themes of sword and sorcery, elves, dwarves, magical beasts, and a conniving Church.. honestly what’s not to love?

I gave The Crown Conspiracy 4 stars and Avempartha 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Bibi.
1,282 reviews3,270 followers
August 13, 2018
*3.5 stars*

This was such a fun, fast read.

Theft of Swords has everything a fantasy reader wants: engaging characters, good plot, appropriate world building... what lets it down is that I was never quite invested in the lives of our 2 male leads, Royce and Hadrian.

If that wasn't disappointing enough, Sullivan ensured that the male characters were relevant while the women were depicted as either evil or prostitutes. This pulled me out of the story completely.

Further, the scope of the world building was slightly simplistic, falling far short of my ultimate fantasy world flag bearer- Grishaverse (Created by Leigh Bardugo).

On the plus side, there's magic, lol moments with our protagonists, and enough suspense to keep you engaged from start to finish.

The king was assassinated, someone set up Hadrian and Royce, our "mercenaries for hire" as fall guys. Will they survive the treachery?
Profile Image for Luna. ✨.
92 reviews1,215 followers
March 24, 2017
Full review now up!

3.5/5 ★★★

Buddy read with these gangsters; Oppa &Breadstick.

So first thing I noticed after purchasing theft of swords, was the hideous cover.. Yuck! I hate it. Seriously the description in the book of what Royce & Hadrian look like is nothing like the cover, for one Hadrian is a gorgeous blondie, why for the love of God does he look like a bald cretin on the cover? Seriously the cover did leave a sour taste in my mouth. Apart from the ugly cover i also hated the name of the book, "Theft of Swords" its just so un creative and blah. So basically in this one book you get two different stories "The Crown Conspiracy" & "Avempartha" which ironically are both much better names then the actual title that was chosen. Anyway I didn't hate reading this book it was well written and had a good plot, it just had so many issues, like for one the strange POV that it is told in. My friend Petrik said it is omniscient third person POV. Okay don't get me wrong i did end up getting used to the POV it just struck me as strange and annoying. It was seriously like reading a script for a movie, there was 0 emotion. But what I hated most about this POV is it prevented me from having insta-love for the characters, I didn't no what they were thinking or feeling, so it felt cold to me and I can't possibly love characters if I can't dissect their mind.

In my personal opinion the main characters were kinda lame in the beginning I just didn't understand the bromance, they spoke a lot about things that happened in the past to give them a badass reputation, like hello am I missing something? Seriously where even was the bromance or badassery? Also don't do what I did and start your Riyeria journey with Theft of Sword, I suggest reading the prequel first, so you actually understand the bromance.
In the plot there was 0 action, I'm blood thirsty and there's no blood. Like I literally didn't see any badassery from either of the two Main Characters in The Crown Conspiracy or any good proper fights in either book *snorts* boring, description
I feel book two did pick up the pace and was more interesting but it was still just cliche and abit boring. I was patiently waiting through a whole book to be wowed and I wasn't once. Yep not once..
Differently not a favorite. And to be honest I couldn't give a shit about the 'bromance', I didn't really get their 'inside' jokes either. It is nowhere near as good as Wax and Wayne (Mistborn era 2) bromance for me.

But it was a good book, I did smile while reading it and loved two of the background characters.
The idea of two unlikely heroes saving the day, a thief and a trained killer, was one of my favorite aspects of the story.
The Crown Conspiracy didn't interest me until the last few chapters and I got a taste of some action (finally), also it was pretty much focused on Alric and I did not like Alric.
The plot was about Hadrian and Royce being framed for the Kings murder then escaping and kidnapping Alric the heir to the throne and they go on an adventure. Sounds awesome but my personal opinion is it was pretty boring.

So to my surprise I liked Avempartha, I literally had so much fun reading it, the banter improved in the story aswell as plot pacing. It had a very typical fantasy plot with a monster and a extremely cliche ending, but it was hilarious. The handless wizard made me laugh, 'If this hast been done to language, I fear to know the fate of all else.'
Royce really grew on me, I loved finding out about his past! He is so cool and smart. I love how he is always grumpy one of my favorite parts “I hate dwarves.”
Arista was a favorite from the start, I love strong females. I also did start to like Hadrian he is just abit soft for my liking, honestly for a big badass mercenary with a killer past, he was pretty boring. I just wanted him to bash someone and prove how good he was with weapons like his reputation says, sad to say it folks, there was no badassery from this guy. The only part I really enjoyed was when he was teaching weapons to a certain someone. I did however find Hadrian to be quite funny at times and I can relate to being pretty dopey and accident prone, one of my favorite parts, "You might want to clear it some. A single stone can ruin a night’s sleep. I ought to know; it seems whenever I sleep outside, I always end up with a stone under the small of my back.”
This is me also and this is why I hate camping.

Time to talk about my favorites,
Myron, seriously I LOVE HIM. He was so funny, i swear I only continued reading book one because of him and the things he would say. So basically Myron is a forgotten child who was sent to a monastery. He hasn't ever really been outside, cries over burnt books (totally relatable If there was a house fire here I would grab my son and my books.) he has also never seen a horse or a woman before. So as you can imagine he was an interesting travel partner. One of my favorite parts, "This is a beautiful place,” Myron declared, his eyes darting about the room. “There is so much going on, so many conversations. Speaking at meals wasn’t allowed at the abbey, so it was always deathly silent. Of course, we got around that rule by using sign language. It used to drive the abbot crazy because we were supposed to be focusing on Maribor, but there are times when you but there are times when you simply have to ask someone to pass the salt.”
He is talking about a pub lol.

I will continue reading this series as I'm interested in seeing how it will progresses. I have been told the books improve with each one so I'm excited to find out. I recommend this to people who are not looking for a blood bath and instead would prefer a nice fantasy read with a HEA ending. Also there is no swearing and basically no violence, this could be a great introduction into Fantasy for younger readers (15+).

If these were two separate books I would have rated as follows;
The Crown Conspiracy - 3/5
Avempartha - 4/5

Profile Image for Adina.
827 reviews3,225 followers
June 20, 2018
3.5* rounded up because I can. 3* for Crown Conspiracy and 4* for Avempartha

First of all, Royce and Hadrian is not the best duo of thieves from fantasy literature, Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen is. They can get 2nd position. And now that I cleared that out, I can continue with the review.

Royce and Hadrian are a famous duo of thieves that are hired to steal a sword and instead of finding what they were looking for they discover the dead body of a king for whose death they are blamed. In their quest to survive and clean their name they get friendly with the king’s son and daughter, rescue a wizard from an unbreakable prison and discover a major plot to change the world’s order. That’s in the first book. In Avempartha they accidentally agree to help destroy a murderous magical creature and while they are there they have to face again the brewing conspiracy. That’s it, very shortly and without too many spoilers.

The characters. Hadrian is a well build warrior who carries three swords and is extremely able to use them. He suffers from a compulsion to do good which usually gets the boys in trouble. Royce, on the other hand is a former assassin and does not have the same charity inclinations although he usually gives in to Hadrian’s pleas. He is an excellent door opener, sees perfectly in the dark and is very light on his feet. The perfect thief. Although I had plenty of opportunities to see Hadrian’s skills in action I was not so convinced by Royce’s. The way he opened some of the doors was merely by chance and not by his powers. I hope the next volumes will show us more of what he can do. I enjoyed the interactions between the two of them but I still prefer Locke and Jean. The other characters were ok but I did not develop too much fondness for any of them, except for the monk.

My main issue with the first volume was the writing. To be honest in wasn’t that good and some of the plot holes made me cringe. The 2nd volume was better but I still see room for improvement.

The Riyria revelations is the perfect light, entertaining, fantasy series to be read compulsively, maybe in the same time with a harder novel. I will definitely continue with the series as I want to read more about the duo’s adventures.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,917 reviews69.3k followers
April 11, 2023
So this contains the first two books in The Riyria Revelations, The Crown Conspiracy & Avempartha.
Pretty cool that you get two books for the price of one.


The first is obviously an introduction to the characters and the world and the second is...a continuation of the characters and more worldbuilding.
A very fun fantasy/heist story that really keeps the action rolling. This is 100% my kind of book.
Without spoiling too much, this starts with what seems to be a couple of thieves-for-hire who take a job that appears somewhat low risk/high reward, and for a seemingly decent cause to book.
Steal a sword, he says. It will be easy, he says.
The next thing they know they're being set up to take the fall for assassinating the king.
Which is, you know, not at all what they signed up for! Because torture and death for regicide are not nearly as much fun as spending the money they were gonna get for stealing that sword at the local pub.


Spoilery things happen and this adorable odd couple goes on a journey to save a prince, find an ancient magician, and rescue a princess.
Excellent story and a helluva lot of fun to read.
And then the story continues. <---and with the second book we learn more about everyone and everything and have a whole other adventure.
This is one that I would definitely be able to recommend for people who like a fantasy setting without all of the stuff that usually bogs that genre down. No obnoxiously flowery descriptions, overly dense worldbuilding, or difficult to understand magic rules. It's fantasy-lite and I mean that in the best way possible.
Pretty darn good all around.
And yes, that includes the audiobook narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds.
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,606 reviews1,480 followers
March 27, 2020
Sale Alert: Kindle daily deal 27Mar20 $2.99

♘Re-Read with all my fantasy friends at Buddies Books & Baubles Starting Jun 22, 2019♘

Just as good the second time around and since I've also read Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire, #1) by Michael J. Sullivan Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire, #2) by Michael J. Sullivan Age of War (The Legends of the First Empire, #3) by Michael J. Sullivan Age of Legend (The Legends of the First Empire, #4) by Michael J. Sullivan I'm looking at the lore of that time a little more closely. It is fun to see the historical inaccuracies as time changed the legends of the past.

Hadrian and Royce's bromance is a fantastic read on page.

Original Review:

♖Theft of Swords♖

This is my very first Omnibus, actually before this I didn’t know what an Omnibus was so halfway through the book when the first story ended and the next one began I was surprised. But YAY score two books for the price of one….who doesn’t like that kind of deal?

Fantasy is my first love and I always enjoy it when I find a new series to get excited about. Michael J Sullivan has the possibility of becoming one of my favorite fantasy authors. This book had some of the things I really love in a story



I totally enjoy a good pairing of friends that play of one another and are so different but work so well together like Tyrian and Brom (Game of Thrones), Waxillium and Wayne (Mistborn 4-7) and Sean and Gus (Psych). Now added to that list is Hadrian and Royce

Thievery and Shenanigans

I love that they aren’t really the good guys….their allegiances are to the highest bidder and forget words like duty and honor….those will just get you killed.
”I don’t have any political leanings. They get in the way of my job. Noble or commoner, people all lie, cheat, and pay me to do their dirty work. Regardless of who rules, the sun still shines, the seasons still change, and people still conspire. If you must place labels on attitudes, I prefer to think of myself as an individualist.”

Interesting Characters

Not only are Hadrian and Royce interesting but they meet a slew of others along the way that are completely interesting too. Like a princess that could either be trying to save or kill her brother, a magician who has been locked in a tower for almost a thousand years, a curious monk and some sword fighting brothers. And that is just in the first story.


One of the great things that I found in MJS’s writing was the humor both in dialogue and situation. Royce and Hadrian seem to find trouble everywhere they go and it apparently they took one job that was just too good to be true and ended up in a heap of trouble. But it was extremely fun watching them get out of it.
“So,” Royce said, “you want us to escape from this prison, kidnap the king, cross the countryside with him in tow while dodging soldiers who I assume might not accept our side of the story, and go to another secret prison so that he can visit an inmate?”
Arista did not appear amused. “Either that, or you can be tortured to death in four hours.”
“Sounds like a really good plan to me,” Hadrian declared.“Royce?”
“I like any plan where I don’t die a horrible death.”

♚Book I: The Crown Conspiracy : 3.75 Stars♚
This is more of an introductory get to know the characters and set everything up book. Still a lot happened and I enjoyed my time getting a few glimpses into our dynamic duo and the world they live in.
There were conspiracies afoot everywhere and I didn’t know who to trust. Add in a good sword fight, an evil plot by a church and the rescue of a damsel in distress and color me happy.

♚Book II: Avempartha : 4.25 Stars♚
Now that we understand our characters a little better it is time for them to play the reluctant heroes. This ties in a little with the characters of the first book bringing back a few we saw before. There is also a monster to be slain, a damsel in distress (man those chicks are everywhere), an Elvish Tower, and dare I say some set up for an overall arc that will eventually lead to some elves and possibly a lot of magic *crosses fingers*

I liked this story just a little better but that had a lot to do with the widening of the world building and the set up for a larger series arc I know is coming. Plus there is a dangerous wizard running around and he seems to be keeping tabs on Hadrian and Royce and who knows what team he is really playing for.

♖ Overall 4 Stars ♖

I’m looking forward to reading how this world opens up and I definitely enjoyed this first Omnibus. The Omnibus really makes the stories the perfect size to pack a lot in without being overly wordy and too lost in description.

PLUS if you like Audiobooks at all it is narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds and he is fantastic.
Profile Image for Mayim de Vries.
577 reviews826 followers
July 21, 2018
Cup of vanilla fantasy anyone? Something light, smart, and funny? Welcome to Riyria!

Before I started my adventure, I thought Riryia is a place and it turned out it's two dashing gentlemen who kept me well entertained. In reality, Riryia means two in elvish and it denotes a duo of mercenaries who accept only highly specific missions and heists that require something more than brute strength and killing prowess.

Royce Melborn is your “glass kind of empty” type of guy. He grew up on the streets picking pockets to survive and later made crime and assassination his profession. He escaped an inescapable prison. He sees in the dark. He likes simplifying things by killing people. And has a soft spot for a prostitute.

“Half empty?” Hadrian chuckled. “Was there ever any drink in this glass?”

Hadrian Blackwater is the exact opposite, “glass kind of full” type of guy. Idealist, you might say, with a penchant for honour and suffering from this terrible malady called principles. Hadrian has no equals when it comes to fighting skills, but is an affable and easygoing person.

“See,” Royce said, irritated, “this is the problem with these good deeds of your; they never end.”

The book starts with our duo being framed into a royal murder. Luckily, those who had hoped that Riryia would go down calmly made a grave miscalculation. While it is apparent that there is a colossal conspiracy involving all major powers, the whole thing becomes personal and this is how Royce and Hadrian find themselves in the eye of the storm.

To be honest, characterisation keeps to the side of cliche, so does, you might argue, the world building as it basically is a Tolkienesque spin-off. Nevertheless, the protagonists are easy to bond with, just likeable in a The Princess Bride kind of way. Similarly, the world building is great; meticulous when it comes to details and nuances, spanning over millennia of history, it features interracial wars, political intrigues, divine conflicts and other fun stuff. There will be traitorous clergy, heroic adolescents forced to assume roles they are not prepared for, brave commoners, dwarves, magical beasts and elven artifacts. In each book, there is a comic relief character, a young protagonist, naive to the extreme, whose comments and actions are a pure delight to those more versed and jaded with the world. Oh, and a wizard of sinister provenance and questionable motifs for whom things go… well, shorthanded, you might say.

Having said this, I need to warn you that while I enjoyed The Theft of Swords overall, the separate books are uneven. Book 1, The Crown of Conspiracy, didn't allow for a single page of boredom. I wasn’t able to find a single flaw there (no that I wasn’t looking!); the pacing, the intrigue, the writing, all was perfect. Sadly, Avempartha is decisively weaker instalment in all respects. It suffers mostly from lack of subtlety. This is the main reason for problems with character development , plot design , and pacing. When the previous instalment was cleverly written revealing just enough to allow the readers guessing and second-guessing where the whole thing is going, in Avempartha the crumbs meant to feed the readers with bits of intrigue are so thick, you can basically choke on them. Worst of all, the whole scenes (particularly featuring Arista) are a bit silly and reminded me of *shudder* The Faithful and the Fallen with their naivety (if not outright childishness!) and disregard or ignorance for and social realities and class divisions or the fact that certain people are born and bread into their duties and know and understand the expectations that come with their titles. .

Thus, the final rating is a compromise between something truly excellent and something that is just average. Still, I recommend the book particularly if you are fed up with the grimdark novels which are prevalent in contemporary fantasy.

Other Riyria Revelations:

* Rise of Empire: Nyphron Rising & The Emerald Storm (#3-4) ★★★☆☆
* Heir of Novron: Wintertide & Percepliquis (#5-6) ★★★★☆
Profile Image for seak.
429 reviews473 followers
September 29, 2012
Theft of Swords is an omnibus of the first two books in the Riyria Reveleations, The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha. It's also somewhat the story of an independently published author turned major publishing success as is nicely explained here by Iceberg Ink.

I have to first confess that this is exactly the type of story I love, so pardon my overlooking of any of the faults.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Theft of Swords is that it's "traditional" fantasy. It deals with good guys versus bad guys, questing, and there are even elves, dwarves, and a wise wizard.

But when I really think about it, "traditional" doesn't quite explain it, or really even get close.

Traditional, at least recently (I realize the irony), has come to mean Farmer boy becomes king or even a bloated and long-winded series that will never end.

In that sense, Theft of Swords is anything but "traditional." Even the elves aren't your typical elves, they're considered to be the lowest of the low, slaves even in some parts of this world called Elan. And then again, is it really good versus evil? We're dealing with a couple of thieves as the protagonists, each of whom has killed their fair share.

Then, there's the fact that this is fantasy without all the bloat. Sullivan fills you in as we go without getting bogged down in describing every last thing. The story moves forward and you can't help but get sucked into the narrative. And I haven't even begun to talk about the characters.

Royce and Hadrian. They're a mysterious duo who are much more than they seem and who make up the inexplicable group known as Riyria. The Crown Conspiracy begins with the duo steeling an incriminating letter back from the person they were paid to steel it for in the first place.

Of course, they're not always scoundrels and end up doing the right thing at least most of the time. Add to that their amusing banter and even mockery, they're really hard not to love.

Now that I've sung it's praises a bit, I'll break this omnibus down into the two stories that it contains, starting with a portion of my review (from almost 2 years ago) of The Crown Conspiracy:

The Crown Conspiracy

There is much to be said about a novel that reads well. I've mentioned this before on my own blog, but a book that keeps you reading ranks high for me. Not only is it entertaining, but you look forward to getting back into the book each and every time you pick it up, if you have the self-control to ever put it down.

Atypical of many current series, The Crown Conspiracy does not contain much in the way of grittiness, yet it remains inventive. With twists and turns, you won't know who to believe. The plot moved quickly and even though some traditional fantasy archetypes show up, it is not in the usual way; including a wizard who provides little in the way of guidance as well as elves that are despised.

This is not your typical epic as has already been mentioned especially when looking at the size of the novels and yet Sullivan is able to make the characters come alive. The relationship between Royce, the thief, and Hadrian, the brawn, is great fun and still provides great mystery. Who are these people and how do they have such talents?

In terms of world-building, there is not an enormous amount, but I thought it fit the story very well. The reader is filled in by characters mostly through dialogue while the plot continues to move forward.


While I heartily enjoyed The Crown Conspiracy, Avempartha was even harder to put down. Here, we have an ancient monster, we find out more about our "heroes," and get a better grasp on the history of the elves and the world of Elan. The narrative starts to expand and we're let in on some BIG things that are yet to come.

The story is continued about a year after The Crown Conspiracy and Royce and Hadrian are called in to help a village that has been ravaged by a monster that has taken residence in the area.

At this same time, the church of Nyphron has been setting its own plan in motion, calling for a secret competition, of which no one even knows the location.

With all the mystery and suspense, there was not a point of view I wasn't dying to read, I'm not joking when I say I couldn't put it down. I did wish, however, that there was more told about the competition, as if we had an inside man competing, but it was understandable with where the author was taking us in the end.

Why Read Theft of Swords?

Theft of Swords is exactly what it purports to be. It's light-hearted fun and it will have you reading your eyes out. The characters, especially Hadrian and Royce, will have you coming back for more.

4 out of 5 Stars
Profile Image for Celeste.
904 reviews2,339 followers
February 7, 2017
Full review now posted!

When I first read The Name of the Wind a few years ago, I just knew that Patrick Rothfuss would be my favorite fantasy author for the rest of my life. I’m a loyalist; once I hitch my little fan wagon onto a fandom train, I’m there until the end of the line. Even if the quality goes down, even if plot twists in a way that I hate, even if I have to wait years and years between installments, my mama didn’t raise no quitter. And I’m definitely not quitting the Kingkiller Chronicles. But I have to confess that Rothfuss has been usurped as king of my fantasy-loving heart by Brandon Sanderson, whose creativity and work ethic knows no bounds. Once the throne was taken from him, I felt sure that Rothfuss would at least remain the prince regent, but alas. Now that I’ve found Michael J. Sullivan, my former favorite may have been relegated to the wings.

Did Sullivan use words as paint on the canvas of his pages to craft sentences so lovely they made me want to weep? No, he is not Rothfuss. Did he build a world and a magic system so real I suspect I could step inside the book, followed by plot twists that stop my heart and make me scream in shock? No, he is not Sanderson. But that’s what is so refreshing about Sullivan; he’s not trying to be anyone but himself. He’s not trying to reinvent the wheel. If anything, he tries to pack as many fantasy tropes as he can into his novels. He’s not trying to do anything new for the genre. What he is trying to do, and what he is succeeding at, is put out something fun and lighthearted in the midst of an overabundance of grim-dark entries into the genre, and he manages to do so without coming across as cheesy in any way.

Theft of Swords was so much fun! Hadrian and Royce had great chemistry. The partners were thieves for hire, with Hadrian serving as the muscle and Royce as the sticky fingers. Usually when partners are the main characters of a story, I have a favorite. But I couldn’t choose between Hadrian and Royce. They’re both snarky and sassy and good men against their better judgment. There are host of fun side characters as well, my favorites of whom are Ersahaddon, Magnus, and especially Myron; none of whom I want to say much about because I don’t want to give anything away. Besides the wonderful characters and sassy dialogue, Sullivan also managed to add a lot of mystery into a fun romp of a fantasy, which I thought was pretty different. He managed to write a really engrossing fantasy in easy to read, everyday English. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy, and especially to those who sometimes have a hard time focusing on a book. Lack of focus won’t be a problem here, for sure. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series, and everything else Sullivan puts out!
Profile Image for Luffy.
867 reviews717 followers
April 12, 2020
This duology of an omnibus struck me as user friendly, but I also realize I had little love for it. Book 1 was definitely better than book two...with a better first, second, and third act. Also a better last chapter.

I thought the last chapter for the second book might be missing pages. It ended so suddenly. Another thing is that there was something unsatisfactory about the entire book.

It looked like I was expecting lembas and got cram instead. I can't put my finger on it but I'm in a less hurry in reading the sequels. I gave the rating that reflected on the easy narration. That's a rare plus for me in Fantasy. That's all.
Profile Image for Jonathan Terrington.
593 reviews559 followers
March 8, 2013
This is a brilliant piece of storytelling that any fantasy or action/adventure lover should go and read this. However before I divulge more information in that manner I would like to raise a few points. My first point being about fantasy in general while my second point will be about cliché and storytelling.

Fantasy as a genre in many ways was formed with The Lord of the Rings and then shortly afterwards, as much as people dismiss it, The Sword of Shannara. Subsequent books appeared such as The Wheel of time series by Robert Jordan which added to the sense of epic adventure and mythology fantasy was associated with. However in recent times, it seems as an attempt to escape the overworking of ideas and becoming too stereotypical as works such as Eragon most certainly are that fantasy has decided to go in dark directions. We therefore have the rise of gritty realism such as in A Game of Thrones or the weird fantasy as in Kraken. Some authors do manage to pull off these new gritty and bizarre forms of fantasy for me. For instance I find Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere a fine combination of the gritty and weird but then Gaiman's work is more urban fairytale than epic fantasy.

It appears to me that the movement towards gritty fantasy is due mainly to do with the sense that there are few good original stories in fantasy any-more. The sense that in writing the heroic traditional sword and sorcery epics the writer drifts into cliché and as such could not possibly write anything worth reading. Yet then why is it that writers such as Brandon Sanderson can continue tradition with Mistborn: The Final Empire and The Way of Kings? Why can Patrick Rothfuss break into the market to great critical acclaim with a work in the traditional sense? And the same question could be asked of Blake Charlton and his work. I believe that we as readers need stories where the heroes are heroic, despite possibly facing struggles within themselves, and that we need villains who with all their melodrama are indescribably evil. As such Theft of Swords delivers precisely what I believe fantasy readers need.

Theft of Swords is essentially two books containing two separate stories. I believe the author described his vision as akin to a reading version of tv show episodes. And that is certainly witnessed here. Michael J. Sullivan creates two separate yet overlapping stories that leave the reader wanting more after they are done. I certainly feel led to drop what I'm currently reading and move straight onto the second and third books.

For those who would like a brief synopsis Theft of Swords (I love the resonance of that title) follows two thieves as they attempt (within two stories) to steal two separate swords. Of course our thieves are more than black hearted scoundrels. They are real heroic types who appear to be misunderstood by their medieval society. The reader discovers that their world is one suffering from the collapse of an old empire thousands of years ago and one in which the major religion worships the emperor Novron.

There are plenty of twists (which while detectable are still entertaining), lots of fun banter between the protagonists, several other interesting side characters and several mysteries all of which is tied together with fast paced quality writing. If you're looking for entertainment then this is definitely a place to begin. There is over 600 pages in this volume but if you have the time to just sit and read time will fly as you become intrigued by who the two thieves are within a world of elves, dwarves and men that parallels other fantasy and yet is its own creation. The closest work it reminded me of in tone is another I rather love written for Young Adults and yet equally accessible for adults in The Ranger's Apprentice series which begins with The Ruins of Gorlan.

This is a work of fiction no one should miss reading if they are looking for a fun entertaining read. Particularly on a wet winter's day (or on a sunny summer's day under the shade of a tree with a snack or two). If you're looking for a work lacking in cliché then I must say that you might have a bone to pick with this. But I believe the author's job is not to be completely original (for is there such a thing as true originality?) here but rather to tell a powerful story. For I believe that the true future for the fantasy genre lies not in becoming darker but rather by taking old heroic tales and telling them better. What good is a dark and gritty adventure when in the end it lacks substance to its story? Good storytelling must always come first and that is what Theft of Swords is: powerful and natural storytelling.
Profile Image for Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~.
347 reviews931 followers
June 28, 2017
Actual Rating: 2.5 Stars

So Theft of Swords is actually a bind up of two novels, The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha. It follows the adventures of swords for hire, Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater.

My main struggle with this book is that neither of the stories really delved deep enough for me to invest. Every so often a scene would catch and hold my attention, but it was a bit of a roller coaster on my end.

I feel like I don't know Royce or Hadrian hardly at all. Aside from some good comedic moments between the two, I can't really tell you why they're friends with each other.

I also wasn't incredibly fond of the plot for either story. Avempartha is the superior of the two, but I believe the element lacking in both is complexity.

Theft of Swords is decidedly less elaborate than I prefer my High Fantasy to be. On one hand, it was a nice break to read a lighthearted story, but on the other hand it was tough for me personally to ground myself in this world and feel invested in the outcome.

There are plenty of noticeable fantasy elements in these stories: kings, monsters, wizards, etc., but nothing specifically unique was done with those elements (yet).

Despite my issues with the depth, I believe that the book was well written and the humor was spot on. There were some moments that had me giggling out loud!

Near the very end of Avempartha there were some hints revealed about the overarching plot of this series, and right here is where it snagged my attention.

This is a debut fantasy novel, and also was originally self published. Knowing both of those things, I think Sullivan should be incredibly proud of producing this book. It suffers from the same pitfalls that a lot of debut novels do, it's a little bit "paint-by-numbers" if you will. But there is no denying the potential here.

I've been told by many that this story is one that starts out simple and builds up to a magnificent ending, and so I am excited to continue on with the series and see where it will go!
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,962 followers
February 9, 2017
This is a light and fun fantasy that happens to be mostly traditional in that it features kingdoms, elves, betrayals, a wizard and a big bad monster and a broken sword.

And oh, yeah, two lovable rogues, a princess, a prince, and a geek. Um, sorry, I mean monk.

It's really all about the adventure, adventure, adventure.

This book was originally two smaller volumes that was combined into one, and I'm not quite sure that combining them was really the proper way to go about it. Do they really fit together all that well? Sure, in terms of characters, but not really in terms of flowing story. Years pass between the books and the individual adventures are pretty much complete unto themselves. Still, it may not matter that much.

Both are an enjoyable romp, even if it's pretty traditional Sword and Sorcery. So what are the real differences, as opposed to the many, many similarities to the rest of the Traditional Fantasy Adventure? Mostly it's in the elves, superior to humans and also the great losers in a long lost war. Our main surprises revolve around them, too, whether in long-plot or characters, so hold your horses. Or not. There really are too few horses in this Fantasy, and that's a feature, not a bug. :)

This is not gritty and definitely not grimdark, which I happen to think is a good thing. The focus is on the story and the characters and in securing life, limb, and kingdom. :)

The writing is clear and easy. I'm more than willing to continue on with this series to see where it heads.
Profile Image for Haïfa.
185 reviews179 followers
September 27, 2018
You can find this review and more at Novel Notions.

Buddy read with Sarah and Petrik

My rating hasn't changed since my first read and it's still somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars (rounded up because I absolutely love the series as a whole and might be a tiny bit biased)

Riyria Revelations is without a doubt one of my favorite Fantasy series and one that I will revisit again and again in the future. I think I can safely say this is the kind of series that gets better with each book. I thought that the first time I read it and I completely agree with my younger self on this point.

Theft of Swords is divided into 2 books: The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha.

The Crown Conspiracy may be seen as a long prologue that lays the foundation to the main story. The landscape is defined and the main political and religious powers are introduced. Nevertheless, the story is quite simple. Unlike most high Fantasy series I read, there is no big villain to overthrow, no impending doom that threatens the kingdoms (yet ?). Even if that’s kinda refreshing, my biggest complaint about this first part is that it totally lacked the complexity and epic tropes I usually seek in Fantasy. Yes, there is magic and a fabled wizard, yes there is talk about gods and an epic fallen empire, about elves and dwarves… But it’s mostly just that : talk and myths and History.

The first time I read this, I just closed the book and thought to myself: “Okay… Hum… That’s it? Shall I continue?” And man! I’m so glad I did. Because, though lacking “epicness”, this book (and the series as a whole) introduced me to an awesome palette of great and lovable characters. Hadrian and Royce form an improbable duo. They are fundamentally different, both carry mysterious pasts and they can’t stop bantering. I loved them since the beginning (even when we didn’t know much) because I sensed there was much more to them than what Michael hinted at at this point. And then there is dear, dear Myron, one of the most adorable and endearing characters ever written in Fantasy. He was so cute, marveling at everything and raving alone with no one to comment at his observations!

“There,” Hadrian told Royce, “we’ve got Maribor on our side. Now you can relax.” “Actually,” Myron said sheepishly, “I was praying for the horses. But I will pray for you as well,” he added hastily.

Source: http://minwind.deviantart.com/art/Riy...

Something I also loved about this book was Michael’s prose and humor. The writing was really fluid and I enjoyed the easy read and laughed so hard at some of the dialogues and situations.

The second book, Avempartha improved a lot in terms of plot and characterization in my opinion. In this part, myths are taking more shape and the scope of the story is broadened, as more is at stake and interesting Fantasy elements are introduced. We get to know more about Hadrian and Royce as they encounter new faces (Thrace is a great female addition) and meet again with some of the first book's characters. I understand Petrik and Sarah's complaints though as the story and actions are quite soft at this point and we hear a lot about the lead duo's badassery (in the past) but don't see much of it, for now...

Anyway, this second book was more engaging and hinted at a grander and more complex story and I was really happy to see more facets of Royce in this one. While Hadrian is genuinely kindhearted and caring and looking for a noble purpose in life (imagine him like a giant teddy bear! Well a teddy bear carrying 3 swords, that is…), Royce is sinister, somber, grumpy, clever and sarcastic and I absolutely love the contrast and complementarity between the two partners.

Source: http://federicomusetti.deviantart.com...

Theft of swords can be seen as a big introduction to the series. The plot is very simple and the characters are well outlined but lack depth, background and introspection at this point. I know this first book can be disappointing (I wasn't completely thrilled at first, even if I overall enjoyed the read) but if I may give an advice: please carry on with the whole series! Because only at the last page of the last book will you see the whole big picture and all the elements of the puzzle will fall into place. And believe me, it will be worth the journey.
Profile Image for TS Chan.
699 reviews868 followers
January 25, 2022
Jan 2022: Third reread, but the first time after I've finished The Legends of the First Empire. It's simply fascinating to see how history has became myths and legends which are so different from the real thing.

But on top of that, I'm just so ridiculously happy every time I listen to these books again. I'll say it once more, it's like coming home to see good old friends.
The characters are EVERYTHING! ❤️❤️❤️

Apr 2016: Reread with the fabulous Buddies Books and Baubles

Third time in a span of just one year, and I am still loving it!

The characters are people whom you just do not want to leave (well aside from those you'd want to die from a horrible death), while the storyline simply and quite skilfully teases out a mystery of centuries past.

Highly recommended!

Dec 2015 (audio):
Finished my reread via audiobook, a great deal faster than I've expected as I just can't stop reaching for it even though I've only read this about 6 months ago. I absolutely love the characters, their interaction, and the story. Given the different media in which I chose for this reread and the superb narration of Tim Gerard Reynolds, I can only say that it had been wonderfully and thoroughly enjoyable. There's only one thing left for me to do - upgrade this to 5-stars and add it into my favourites shelf! :)

May 2015 (ebook):
After plowing through a few grimdark novels of significant size this year, I was thirsting for something less mentally exhausting and more fun to read.

Enter Riyria! And what a breath of fresh air this has been.

This volume is made up of the first 2 books of the Riyria Revelations, ie The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha

The Crown Conspiracy (3.5 stars)

This book is probably the shortest in the series making it a really quick read. It is good introduction to the Riyria duo, Hadrian and Royce, who seemed to be more than what they appear to be on the surface and were complete opposites. Barely 3 chapters in and I was already having a mini crush on Hadrian, the classic warrior hero who is tall, handsome and has a cheerful demeanour - and he carries 3 swords!! I think that was the clincher for me (one does not carry 3 swords unless he really knows how to use them). Royce’s character was a bit harder to warm up to – the thief who probably grew up in harsh conditions and honed to be terribly effective in what he does (he does a dry sense of humour though). But together, the pair just seemed to work and their banter was funny and entertaining.

The plot was simple (the blurb summarises it quite succinctly), the pacing decent with adequate action and elements of danger and mystery. The book just flew by very quickly for me. I have mentioned before that I’m not particular about prose in general, and I appreciate the simple manner of storytelling that was employed by the author.

Avempartha (4.0 stars)

Having done with the introductions in The Crown Conspiracy, Avempartha takes the story to the next level fairly quickly. The political intrigue that was revealed at the end of the first book took on greater proportions in this instalment. We finally have more female representation in the cast via Princess Arista, and Thrace Wood (a daughter of a farmer).

The mysteriousness of the Riyria duo by now fades into fascination as we are clued on to more of their back story. How Hadrian became such an amazing swordsman is a revelation that made me sit up and go “Nooo waaaaay!! That is so cool!” The reveal was also quite well orchestrated as it did not come by way of heavy exposition and even by the end of the book, it remained “unspoken”. Royce’s heritage and notoriety in his previous life made his character more compelling and interesting. By now, I was very keen to read The Crown Tower (the first book of the Riyria Chronicles) but was advised to finish with the Revelations series first.

Avempartha definitely had a ‘darker’ tone compared to the first in the series with greater stakes at hand, and an unexpected ending to the climax. All in all, the series is showing great promise to get better and deeper as it progresses.

Riyria Revelations is leaning more towards what I will refer to as classic fantasy although it's not exactly as traditional as, say, the Belgariad. It's fairly lighthearted and fun, with just the right dose of action, magic, danger, antagonists to despise and a main character that I can swoon over. What can I say, well-written fantasy tropes can be just plain fun sometimes!
Profile Image for Orient.
255 reviews208 followers
February 23, 2017
I saw some fangirling/fanboying reviews on GR for this series and I always wondered what was the fuss about. This book was firstly recommended by one of my GR friends, Ivan. Thanks, Ivan :) Lots of people started reading this series and when one of my GR friends and awesome GIF master Craig reminded this book to me, I just thought – why not. Thanks, Craig ;) Also I want to thank the high priestess of Hadrian’s temple, aka TS and of course her right hand and great helper, Sarah, for emotional and lovely kicks onto my ass to start the series quicker :) Thank you, ladies :)

I like such kind of books and was eager to start my journey with Riyria Revelations. I went into this book expecting to be blown away or wowed at least. IDK I wasn't, at least not at first and not completely. Yes, it is engaging in plot, yes, it has fab action scenes, yes it has interesting magic. I think it’s a funny and enjoyable read. I laughed out loud for more than a couple of times. But there were some parts where I felt unhooked. Mainly because of the characters and some dejavu. I’ve read a couple of books about elven, dwarves, two thieves BFFs, magical enchanted objects, things. Maybe that’s the problem, I unintentionally started comparing this book to The Lies of Locke Lamora, The Lord of the Rings and even The Last Wish. So it ended up like smth I’ve read earlier, but not really the same.

"Theft of Swords" contains two books in one. The first book ("The Crown Conspiracy") had some issues that disappointed me, but this must be the type of series that gets better as you read further. I finished the first book (the ending was great!) and to tell the truth, I considered to dive into some other read more because, while I totally loved the story and the two main characters were likable (Hadrian and Royce. They're witty, they're extremely skilled in their field, and they're very good at getting into problems, also solving them.), I found that some felt a bit underdeveloped, not entirely believable (I mean the princess and the Bambi-eyed monk). But as I said earlier it was for the first little bit. The princess got considerably better as a character, gained some flesh to her personality and I ended up quite enjoying her after finishing the second book. That can’t be said about the Bambi-eyed monk. He was cute, his funny dialogues made me smile, but it wasn’t enough for me. But you know me, I'm a character fan, so I needed more.

The second book ("Avempartha") was faster, also funny, had more yummy fighting, and even a monster (*sends love to Fluffster, I’ll miss you :(*).

Lol, I planned to grunt and banter that not many people died (yup, Mr. Erikson has spoiled me for long! ) but the second book solved that well. Also I must give credit for the unexpected endings. Thank you Mr. Sullivan for that.

It's a funny and light read, but it was not quite a book which makes me squeal with joy. Despite that, I think that Mr. Sullivan is a really skilled writer with great potential. I’ll continue with the series as everything got not worse, but better while reading further and I want to know what Royce and Hadrian will make out of it. :)
Profile Image for Bookwraiths.
698 reviews1,041 followers
September 1, 2015
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

Theft of Swords was a novel I was tentative about beginning. Not because I did not want to sample this series, which I had read and heard so much about from its numerous followers on Goodreads, but for the simple reason that I have grown to like Mr. Sullivan a great deal since joining Goodreads: I’ve been his “friend” in the GR sense for many months, followed his reviews/blogs, and enjoyed his comments in numerous groups. However, as I sat there debating the wisdom of opening the novel on my e-reader, it was this admiration which made me hesitate and fear that I might not appreciate his book. But like many things which I have worried with unnecessarily, my hesitance was an absolute waste, because Theft of Swords was an excellent fantasy novel.

Now, I want to go ahead and make clear that this book is a straightforward fantasy romp. It isn’t a dark and brooding piece of realistic fantasy like so many other novels these days. It isn’t a social commentary on our time, cleverly hidden in a fantasy setting of elves and dwarves. Nor is it a work of literary experimentation where the prose leaves one contemplating the brilliance of the one who penned it. No, Mr. Sullivan has written a novel which is all about storytelling at its finest; the grandeur of the book lying in the very fact that the writing style, the language, and the Tolkienesque setting all disappear in the sheer enjoyment of the two main characters.

As most know, this dynamic duo of fantasy consists of Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn: the former an elite but naïve swordsman, the later a deadly but cynical assassin. These guys making up "Riyria," which is the finest, most sought after group of thieves in the kingdom. If you need a job done, then all you need do is make contact with their "agent" Viscount Albert; gold will exchange hands, and the deed shall be done.

While that simplistic thief-type story might turn many sophisticated fantasy readers off, I'd suggest you reappraise your snap judgment, mainly because Hadrian and Royce have one of the wittiest, most realistic partner relationships in the genre. They clash frequently. They argue almost incessantly. Their philosophical points of view on the human condition could not be more adverse to one another. Yet somehow, they are also the best of friends; each willing to brave utmost danger or death to save the others ass when necessary. And this great camaraderie drives this tale. But, also, this is a narrative which begins very simply as a thief style tale, then gradually grows in complexity into a true epic fantasy. There are numerous twists and turns along the way, and even when “the way” seems familiar, you can't become complacent, because things are never exactly what you think they are. Mr. Sullivan constantly hiding "easter eggs" in the narrative, leading you forward toward a destination that always stays just hidden out of sight.

Yes, Theft of Swords was an entertaining tale that I wish I'd read sooner. It delivers on so many levels, but the most important one to me personally was that it was fun. Not blood and gore fun or deeply philosophical fun, though I do appreciate those types of stories as well, but fun as in "God, that was a really fun book to read. I can't wait to read the next one." So, if you’ve been thinking of trying Theft of Swords, go ahead and just do it. I have a sneaky suspicion that you will find this one to your liking, just as I did.
Profile Image for edge of bubble.
247 reviews154 followers
December 3, 2016
Riyria books are like matryoshka dolls, books within books. Finding out that I actually had two books in my hands was like opening a present to discover more presents inside of it.

The story starts with the heroes getting robbed at sword point. When they started to educate the would-be robbers on the finest points of roadside robbery, however cliché it was, I knew I'd get interesting heroes. And I was not disappointed! After 50 pages, I was already emotionally invested in the heroes and wanted to know all about them. Whereas Royce is taciturn and cantankerous, Hadrian is optimistic and charming.

I loved their easy banter and the way they'd huff and puff about being an evil villain, afraid of being seen as do-gooders. As for the other characters: Myron was cute as button; Arista was like a movie extra; we meet briefly with Yoda, sorry I mean Esrahaddon the wizard in the first book and then, he comes back as the pheasant king of the last wizards; and I wanted to dress Alric as Joffrey and throw him at Game of Thrones fans.

To be fair, he gets better as the story progresses and he never reaches to Joffrey's levels of being killable, but his basic nature of being a conceited arse doesn't change.

The political aspect of the story was so simple, I had no problem understanding it and guessing the reasoning behind the events. Me calling something political easy is the equivalent of calling it dummies version, it can be considered an insult as well. I am even fuzzy on what constitutes as politics! The religious part was feeble and shopworn. God sending his son to help humanity, seriously? Spicing it up with rape doesn't make it original. More like desperate. Just saying...

Despite of the negative points, I enjoyed the book immensely. To be honest, I didn't even think of criticising anything except Alric, while reading. All of the bitching above comes from a later time. I can't wait to read rest of the series!

Btw I think I've got who's the heir of Nevron. And if I did, I shall be really annoyed. We shouldn't have been poken in the eye with it this early in the series.
Profile Image for Svetlana.
49 reviews176 followers
February 12, 2018
Lo and behold! I’ve done it. I’ve finally read this book. I know it’s taken me crazy long to get through it, but tis the life of a slothy slow reader. Theft of Swords was a pretty awesome book and I had so much fun reading it wooppppp!

From the very first page I was pulled into the story. But what really made this story so great were the characters. They were my favourite part of this entire thing! I found them to be so compelling and well rounded. Their personalities, traits, likes and dislikes and how they behaved in certain situations really allowed me to get a deeper understanding of the kind of people they were. And forget a book boyfriend, I found myself a book husband lmao. He was always so caring and thoughtful and *fans face* could he swing a sword. I fell in love. It was so much fun being a part of these characters’ journey and their adventures. In fact, there were times when I felt like a kid watching an enchanted movie when I imagined the kind of things they had to face and do.

Another thing that made my reading so enjoyable was the dialogue. I thought Michael J. Sullivan was fantastic with his dialogue. The back and forth bickering between the characters and their banter constantly had me grinning and laughing out loud.

This was a brilliantly entertaining read and I’m so excited about continuing on with the next books and seeing what everyone is getting up to!
121 reviews57 followers
July 28, 2017
3 Stars. Full review is up, after concluding my second attempt at reading this book!

Not much better from my original two star rating, but I can say that I actually enjoyed reading it this time around, which is a vast improvement. All things considered though, I can't help but feel that this book is vastly overrated . Fantasy is the genre, you would think, with the most potential for creativity and originality, and yet so often, it is the genre with the least variety. It's either a Tolkeinesque adventure tale with the typical creatures (Elves, Dwarves, Dragons, ect...) and the good guys always win; or else it's a dark, gritty tale where nobody even knows who the good guys are. Reading books like this one make me feel the potential for so much more, because Sullivan is clearly a skilled writer, but he settles for the typical fantasy tropes. I'm going to break this review down into three categories: Story & Plot, Character Development, and World Building & Prose.

Story & Plot:

As stated above, I think the reason that this book fails to grab my attention is because it feels like a story I have heard before. With a very typical plot. At the start, it actually had my full attention, because I thought the idea of two thieves being framed for the murder of the king had a lot of potential, but it very quickly spiraled downward (in my opinion). What started out as an interesting plot, eventually just turned into the typical "Save the princess" type of story.

Book two was no exception, except that it majorly DRAGGED at the beginning. Once it finally picked up, it was (again) a very typical "Save the princess" type of story, with a little bit of "Save the village from the dragon" mixed in haha. Nothing new here. It was well executed at times, but when you already know what is going to happen before it happens, I lose all desire to stay invested.

Character Development:

More than anything else, Sullivan won me over with his characters. If I was rating this book on characters alone, I would give it five stars, it was literally that good. Royce and Hadrian, who appear to simply be a pair of hired thieves or mercenaries at first, prove to be two of the most likeable characters I have ever read . I don't say that lightly - this is genuine praise, and they are the reason I think that this series has been such a raging success.

Not only are these guys likeable, they are also incredibly complex, and despite Sullivan's consistent development of their personalities, you put this book down knowing that there is so much you still have to learn about them. I cannot speak enough about how great this book was in terms of characters.

Sullivan even manages to write some excellent side-characters. Myron was so fantastic to read about, in his own right, but he also made for a great source of comic relief during the more bland parts of the book. His absence in book two is probably what made is suffer for me. Mauvin, Fanen, Arista, and Alric as well - all excellent, distinct characterizations and personalities. Well done to Sullivan for being so good at writing characters.

World Building & Prose:

World building and the prose of a book, in an odd way, kind of go together for me, because the feel or the writing adds a very distinct feel to the world that the author is writing about. Sullivan has a very classic fantasy writing style in a very classic fantasy world. The writing is good - not incredible. The world is the same world we've all read about before, which is why this book got knocked down a few notches in my book.

It's almost frustrating, because Sullivan clearly can write original concepts. In terms of the world building, it was actually really good in some aspects, while it suffered in others. He creates a unique political state, divided among the Nationalists, Imperialists, and Royalists. There is a fascinating religion at the core of this world, whose history is the cause for all of the political tensions. The politics in this book were so well written, and the religions presented were super cool, adding layers on top of the plot.

But he takes these original concepts, and sticks them into a world that other people have already made . Why? I'm honestly not sure. In a way, it is helpful, because he doesn't need to waste time explaining concepts that the reader is already familiar with. But in another, it will fail to grab the readers attention, for precisely the same reason.

In Conclusion:

Even though I felt that the story and world building could have been much better, I really did like it. Keep in mind that this is his first published book, and looked at through that lens, it really is very good. Everything I hear about these books tells me that they only get better, and even if you can't get into the story or the world of the first book, I'm sure that you will get into the characters. Overall, I highly recommend it =].

[side note: I'm trying out a new format for my reviews, because if you've followed me for any amount of time, my reviews are so inconsistent with each other it's not funny haha. I'm realizing that I need to put a little bit more thought into the reviews I leave for books that I wasn't totally in love with. If I don't like a book, I think it's important to explain why, rather than just being a whiner. I'm here because I LOVE books, so there's no point in just hating without giving some genuine feedback. Let me know what you think!]


Giving this book 2 stars because, while there was not anything necessarily wrong with it, it just didn't grab me. I read the first half (which is a book in its own right), and nothing about it left an impression on me. I liked the characters, but ultimately the plot left me bored.
Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
673 reviews602 followers
March 25, 2019
This book turned out way better than I expected. Its been a while I rated a fantasy book 5 stars, that is how much I love this.

This book is a combination of two books. The Crown conspiracy and Avempartha, the first two books of the Riyria Revelations. My review is going to be about the two books.

“Aren’t you going to say, I told you so?” Hadrian whispered.
“What would be the point in that?”
“Oh, so you’re saying that you’re going to hang on to this and throw it at me at some future, more personally beneficial moment?”
“I don’t see the point in wasting it now, do you?”

This book has lots of action which I enjoyed, the magic wasn't much, but based on how Avempartha ended, am expecting more. The characters are unique with great personalities.
The world has amazing history that I can't wait to explore more of. The friendship and relationship between the protagonists is amazing.

World building and Writing
The world building is explicit, I believe it can be improved. There is no confusion. I also love the depictions of the world. The writing is way too contemporary for fantasy, but the author did such a great job that it didn't reduce my rating of the book.
The book is written in third person multiple POVs.

Hadrian Blackwater is one of the protagonist and also a member of Riyria which means two. He is a thief, assassin and lots of other things. Despite his job, Hadrian is kind hearted and is willing to help people in need. He is also a great fighter. He literally walks around with three swords.

Royce Helborn is the second member of the duo and also the second protagonist in the series. He is mean and cynical which is totally part of his job description. He can get into any building and see very well in the dark.

“Actually,” Royce said, “I don’t have any political leanings. They get in the way of my job. Noble or commoner, people all lie, cheat, and pay me to do their dirty work. Regardless of who rules, the sun still shines, the seasons still change, and people still conspire. If you must place labels on attitudes, I prefer to think of myself as an individualist.”

Some other lovable characters are Alta and Arista which are siblings and also royalty.

Fanen and Mauvin which I adore, these brothers adore themselves.

Esrahaddon is a handless, thousand year old wizard. He reminds me of Heboric from Malazan.

Finally Myron who is a monk. He has a photographic memory and loves to read. He has never been outside the monastery since he got there at three.

“Are there women here?”
“No,” Hadrian replied sadly.
“Oh. I was hoping to see one. Do they keep them locked up as treasures?”
Hadrian and the others just laughed.
Myron looked at them, mystified, then shrugged."
Profile Image for Solseit.
308 reviews74 followers
December 28, 2016
I am so excited about this one: I made a longer review on my blog, here it is:

Please let me know what you think about it, a brand new blog to resume my love for books and my will to share it!
- - -

I have no mixed feelings about this book: I simply loved it. Now, this is two books in one pretty much. Both stories are really good but the second lays the foundations for the following development.
I am clearly in love with Royce and Hadrian, the good-deed doers, although often because Hadrian jumps the gun!
Arista and Alric are also really great, and I have a soft spot for Arista, woman and independent, educated and clever, strong and humble as well. I really liked her.
Esrahaddon is by far the most mysterious of all of them. He lived for 900 years in a prison out of time, if you pass my saying so. So much mystery around him, his abilities, his history. He is also a great character.
And despite Royce saying he hates them, I actually happen to really like the dwarf!

Profile Image for Jody .
201 reviews133 followers
June 3, 2021
This is the most fun I have had reading a book this year. I laughed out loud many times throughout the book, and just had a blast with Royce and Hadrian the entire journey.
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