Saturday, 24 January 2015

The Thief And The Solider

Now that my vampire-book-phase is all but complete, I thought it would be time to dive into some medieval fantasy. I'd been looking forward to the Riyria novels by Michael J. Sullivan for a long time. The Riyria Chronicles is a two book prequel series that follows a retired soldier– Hadrian– and his adventures with a dangerous thief– Royce as they struggle working together and making a name for themselves. I'll put it simply– I love this series. Hadrian and Royce are incredible characters, the story is unique and engaging, and this novel in particular had me staying up way past my bedtime to finish it. Since this is the second novel in the series, a minor spoiler warning is in effect.

Royce and Hadrian look damn good on this simple, kick ass cover!

A woman is beaten. Two thieves want answers. Riyria is born...

For more than a year Royce Melborn has tried to forget Gwen DeLancy, the woman who saved him and his partner Hadrian Blackwater from certain death. Unable to get her out of his mind, the two thieves return to Medford but receive a very different reception--Gwen refuses to see them. The victim of abuse by a powerful noble, she suspects that Royce will ignore any danger in his desire for revenge. By turning the thieves away, Gwen hopes to once more protect them. What she doesn’t realize is what the two are capable of--she’s about to find out.

The synopsis doesn't do the story justice. It's more than an attack on the woman Royce cares about (that was a surprise, believe me). The reason for the attack becomes more complicated, when it becomes apparent that the man who assaulted Gwen may also be linked to a coming assassination against the king. The levels of conspiracy and intrigue are deep and thorough, drawing my interest. And I hate politics.

All of the characters are strong and given more back story, though Hadrian and Royce of course remain the strongest leads. Hadrian, the trusting, sometimes naive soldier who thinks the best of almost everyone, receives a sharp dose of reality when the lives of good people are needlessly lost. Then there's Royce, the cynic who trusts three people, including himself. Royce has always been a dark character, but what he was capable of and willing to do for Gwen was a little horrifying. As much as he tries to compromise with Hadrian's point of view, he's a killer down to his core, and won't give that up for anyone.

New characters are introduced and provided stories that add to The Riyria Chronicles though I have to say that I enjoyed Reuben's story the most. He's a well written character with devotion and heart, who took a dramatic turn and learned his lessons almost harder than Hadrian did. I hope to read more about him in the future novels, because it still seems like he has a lot of growing to do.

Of the two prequel novels, The Rose And The Thorn is my favorite. The action is fast-paced and intense, the dialogue easy, flowing, and fun, and the setting vividly described. It's clear that Sullivan loves this series, and has done an excellent job bringing it to life. I would definitely list these books as some of my favorite fantasy novels, and recommend them to anyone who enjoys Game of Thrones or fantasy in general. If fantasy isn't really your thing, give them a try anyway. They're exciting and fun, and it's impossible not to love Royce and Hadrian. I truly pity the fools who try to cross them.


No comments:

Post a Comment