Book Review: The Crown Tower by Michael J. Sullivan (5 stars)
The Crown Tower by Michael J. Sullivan
Published: August 6th, 2013
TWO MEN WHO HATE EACH OTHER. ONE IMPOSSIBLE MISSION. A LEGEND IN THE MAKING.
A warrior with nothing to fight for is paired with a thieving assassin with nothing to lose. Together they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. The Crown Tower is the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built and home to the realm’s most valuable possessions. But it isn’t gold or jewels the old wizard is after, and this prize can only be obtained by the combined talents of two remarkable men. Now if Arcadias can just keep Hadrian and Royce from killing each other, they just might succeed.
The Riyria Revelations and The Riyria Chronicles are two separate, but related series, and you can start reading with either Theft of Swords(publication order) or The Crown Tower (chronological order).
In THE CROWN TOWER, the author writes a prequel to the Riyria Revelations series worth reading first. It’s clear that the author has spent a lot of time in this world and the world-building is exceptionally well crafted. There are a few instances of magic, but it’s as low key to the plot as GAME OF THRONES. The real focus is between the characters and their adventures.
Although several of the scenes take place within a brothel, there is no graphic sex or violence (minus a quick and early scene with Shane). However, there are some characters that are violent towards women, so younger audiences might not be able to handle the subject matter.
Royce might possibly be my all time favorite anti-hero with his mysterious demeanor yet chatty outbursts. I love how opposite he is from Hadrian and how their differences drives them as much apart as together. Royce doesn’t get a POV spot until late in the book, but it is worth waiting for. His complexity and view of Hadrian are hilariously different from Hadrian’s view of Royce.
For some silly reason, I thought Hadrian was a dwarf at the start of the book. I think it was the name. It became clear sooner rather than later that Hadrian is a full sized, very muscular male. It I were ever to have a crush on a fictional character based on actions alone, then Hadrian might be the guy. Tormented by his past, yet Hadrian is strong, skilled, loyal, and kind.
Gwen’s narrative is less compelling than Hadrian’s. Her only purpose in life is to prepare for a man she’s never met. She’s determined but naive. She doesn’t feel as fleshed out as the male characters of the story. Even her nemesis, Grue, has a more sympathetic and solid character. I was surprised how sympathetic he ended up being, considering that he openly strikes women. For him, it’s business.
When it all came together, I was surprised how well everything meshed. It’s a predictable ending, especially for current fans of the author, though the narrative is so compelling that it still shocks the reader. Like: “Hey! Oh, right. That was suppose to happen.” If you’re a new fan or old, then THE CROWN TOWER is an excellent starting point to this epic fantasy series. Highly recommend for all fantasy lovers.
(I received a copy of this book from the publishers/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)