My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’ve been eager to read this book for a long time and once I got the opportunity to do so, I was not disappointed! Micheal J. Sullivan’s first volume in the Riyria Revelations series is a satisfying fantasy adventure that hits all the high notes without plummeting into the dark recesses so many books in this genre tend to go. Theft of Swords (ToS) comprises of two books: The Crown Conspirary and Avempartha. The first part of ToS introduces the reader to protagonists, Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn, two expert thieves for hire who are known as Riyria. Hadrian is the quintessential hero; a man of honor who, despite his dubious profession, seeks to do the right thing in all circumstances. Royce, on the other hand, is the Batman to Hadrian’s Superman. He’s an agile thief and former assassin who sees the world as more gray than black and white. Sullivan does an incredible job of juggling the contrasts of each character, but also showing the reader their deep bond and camaraderie. The main plot of ToS is the assassination of King Amrath and the pinning of the crime on Hadrian and Royce. The second part of ToS, Avempartha, follows the duo on an adventure into the wilderness village of Dahlgren where a mystical beast is terrorizing the locals. Sullivan weaves a tangled web of conspiracy, plot twists, and betrayals that kept me at the edge of my seat.
Then there’s the dialogue! Sullivan is a pro at delivering some witty banter and there were scenes that made me laugh out loud–not a common occurrence when I’m reading! Most fantasy novels I’ve read in the past tend to be dry and short on the humor, so it’s refreshing to see Sullivan livening it up with the quips from his characters. Additionally, I was impressed at the taut and engaging writing of this book. Sullivan doesn’t let any scene drag out and bore the reader. Every beat is calculated and delivered exceptionally, making the pages turn themselves as you immerse yourself into the world of Elan.
I wholeheartedly recommend this novel to any fantasy, sci-fi, or adventure reader out there! Speaking as a writer, I’m in awe of Sullivan’s expertise and hope to apply some of the lessons I’ve learned to my own fantasy works. This was a fun ride and I’m looking forward to the half dozen (or more?!) novels in the series that I get to read. Add it to your reading list now!