First and foremost, even before going into the juicy part of the review, I really want to highlight how great the author, Michael J. Sullivan, is. Provided that the new book has been recently published (Age of Myth) and he has been promoting it, Michael has been very friendly, open to questions and took plenty of time to respond to several fantasy book clubs (at least I know of two) and their members. I really enjoyed interacting with Michael. In my opionion, the integrity I have seen is another strong reason to read Michael’s books, besides the main reason.
Yes, the main reason is that Theft of Swords is a great fantasy book and is the first book in the Riyria Revelations series! And Riyria means … no, I will not tell you although if you know the answer, please comment below!
Also, please find the Goodreads link to the book here.
A classic fantasy tale, with unlikely friends, fighting to keep their friends and the world in balance, with an ancient wizard and illuminated royals! Aka 5 stars out of 5!
A crucial preliminary note is that Theft of Swords is a book with two stories in one – yes, this is another reason to add on the “to buy” column! I believe there is a self-publishing moment followed by a publisher support but the important fact is that Theft of Sword is composed by The Crown Conspiracy (Goodreads) and Avempartha (Goodreads). Actually I really enjoyed this aspect because I could get to know the characters in the first book – and incidentally fall in love right away with the main characters and not only – and allowed me to better understand and focus on the plot and twists in the second part of the book!
Allow me one more thought before entering into the Riyria Revelations first review. While I was working on this review, I suddenly became aware (yes, like stroke by lightning) of how many great aspects this story and storytelling have. Each element fits effortlessly into the plot and writing. You can say this book really won my passion and interest over and, even reviewing it at a certain distance, my love for this story and characters only increase! In essence, Micheal J. Sullivan created a stunning piece of art and I encourage anyone who is a fantasy lover to give it a go, you will be blown away!
As for the narration, the writing is solid, clear and straightforward. It really did not require me any time to get into the rhythm of the book and I felt invested right away. I came to realize that this is a crucial aspect of the book and it should be praised. In a nutshell, this is a smooth read!
Now, let’s get into the midst of it! Hence, beware of the spoiler!
It is a “classic” world which makes it also immediately understandable. Besides the traditional mapping – I LOVE maps, I think I will be posting a picture of it on Instagram! -, there is more traditional fantasy in the races, human, elves, dwarves, few mages. In my opinion the real strength of this story relies on the main characters – likeability, abilities, powers, history, charm and mystery – and on the interaction between good and evil. The plot also benefits (and really has its foundations on it) on the religious system and some flavor of medieval chivalry concepts. I really do not want to say much more than this because I hope you can experience this book the way I did.
What I can add is that there is also a Christian concept of the chosen one by the gods, yet this is being twisted by the church to find the one person to become an emperor and rule the whole known world. Better said, so that the church can rule the whole world through the emperor.
In essence, traditional fantasy elements, with traditional religious abuse, and spot on characters!
This is really the bread and butter of the story. Royce and Hadrian, a thief and a warrior respectively. Before I even go any further, a person in my book club, actually suggested that she would see Tom Hiddlestone and Chris Hemsworth portraying the two characters. I would agree although I am more keen for James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender (primarily because of Michael Fassbender in the role of Hadrian). I went on this little mental trip because it provides you with the general traits of the two characters.
Royce is a thief, quiet, talented and less interested in the wellbeing of the world but extremely focused when the lives of his friends are at stake. He is the one with the mysterious and dark past which is partially revealed in Theft of Sword. And I silently cheer for him every time he gets into trouble.
Hadrian is this tall, handsome, strong, charming and happy person, not only an extremely skilled swordsman – who learned from his father! Yes, I am pointing this out because you will see it is crucial – but he always sees the good in people. Which is what gets the couple in trouble in the first (and second) place!
The very first scene in the book really establishes the characters and the abilities of the two main characters and I ended up falling madly in love. Shoot, I have to remember to add these guys when I am asked who are your fictional crushes! The interaction between the two characters is just on point throughout the whole book, in both books. I am looking forward to see who this relationship will develop!
I would spend days talking about the characters but let me quickly point out one more character: Arista, princess, strong, humble, independent and clever. A package that works extremely well in the economy of the story! Also, in the second book, there is a seen dedicated to the affirmation of independence of Arista towards her brother. I just loved the way she fought for her rights, for being the one in charge of her own destiny and I enjoyed it immensely!
Peculiar aspect I want to highlight!
I am in absolute love with was the prison out of time, in which one main character was actually imprisoned. Somehow to me the whole idea of a place placed out of time was peculiar, a location in which people do not age. It feels more like a Sci-Fi concept but I really liked the translation into this traditional fantasy story. I was blown away by it. And the consequence is that a very ancient knowledge is released into the modern day and it is essential for the development of the story. And yes, there is magic!
In essence, this is a highly recommended story, a book that will be great for anyone who loves fantasy, misses traditional fantasy and/or is looking for a book who is based on characters mostly!
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What do you think about the book? Did you have an opportunity to review any other Michael J. Sullivan books? Anyone in particular you liked?
Also, are you more like Royce or like Hadrian?
And do you know what Riyria means and which language that is?
Let me know in the comments down below and let’s sparkle an incredible conversation!