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Ratings and Book Reviews (1 76 star ratings
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4.4 out of 5
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    Highly recommend this book and the series

    What can I say? I'm a Michael Sullivan fan, so you should know that going in. I can't even say I was one of the first to jump on the bandwagon, as he already had quite a following when I discovered Royce and Hadrian. I read through the first three (six) books at near-light speed, and I was saddened to read in the Afterword that he didn't think any Riyria stories would be forthcoming. So I was very pleased when he announced this prequel and counted down the days until The Crown Tower came out. This book picks up a little while after the end of The Crown Tower. It actually includes "The Viscount and the Witch", a short story that Michael had sent out earlier when it was unclear if Riyria books would be coming out, detailing how the guys met up with Viscount Albert. Also, unexpectedly, it focuses on Hilfred, Arista's bodyguard from the original books, and his story. As always, I have nothing but good things to say about Michael's writing. I've always enjoyed the juxtaposition of Royce and Hadrian, and he always writes his characters in a way that makes them very easy to relate to, at least for me. There is more tension in this book between the two than in the original six, though less than in The Crown Tower, reflecting the guys learning to trust and deal with one another. One big change was the inclusion of a torture scene, which was pretty dark when compared to Sullivan's other books. While Royce's past has always been implied to be dark, dirty, and viscous, I'm pretty sure this is the first time we see the full extent of it first hand. I recently read The List Unseen, which is the prequel for another set of books that I really enjoyed, and wrote my review quickly after reading it, noting a few minor continuity issues I thought I saw. Turns out I should have reread the other books first, which is why I held off writing this review until I had read through A Theft of Swords, which this book sets up, complete with introductions of the Essendons, Pickerings, and Hilfred, the set up of Riyria, and the beginnings of the political machinations that start Royce and Hadrian on their long road in the Revelations. I thought there were a few points in the prequel that I thought may have contradicted A Theft of Swords, or at least seemed a little off. After re-reading Theft, they were cleared up, though I think that Royce knew things at the end of this book that would have come up in a Theft of Swords, but it's not a big deal. Once again, my biggest complaint about this book is how short it was. I could really go for a Riyria story the length of a Sanderson book, which is probably why I have ended up re-reading the entire series again. It may have even got a little dusty in the room at the end of this book when Gwen reads Hadrian's future, especially in light of the rest of the series. I can't recommend these books enough, but be prepared to read the whole series again to get your fix, if you enjoy these books as much as I do.
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