Theft of Swords was selected as one of the Library Journal's and Barnes and Noble's Best Fantasy and Science Fiction Books in 2011. The first installment in the best selling and mesmerizing Riyria Revelation series, Theft of Swords is divided into two books--The Crown Conspiracy and Avemparth--and introduces protagonists Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater.
Royce and Hadrian are two resourceful thieves unwittingly set on an adventure in order to escape being framed for the death of a king. Caught in a mammoth conspiracy, they soon realize that their only way out is by unravelling an ancient mystery, before it's too late.
Moving at a light but rapid pace at the beginning, this fantasy saga gains depth and complexity with each successive part. Both like-able and realistic, the personalities of Royce--a young man with cocky swagger and mean sword fighting skills--and Hadrian--his counterpart with a more straight laced, wise demeanor--play well off of one another throughout the series and have become beloved heroes to fans worldwide.
Michael J. Sullivan is both an artist and an author. He is best known for his epic fantasy, the Riyria cycle, which has been translated into fourteen languages. The Riyria Revelations is a six book series and The Riyria Chronicles is an ongoing collection of fiction. The latter focuses on the early mischief and mayhem of the two main protagonists Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater. In 2012, io9 named Sullivan one of the most successful self-published sci-fi and fantasy authors.
"I found this novel very enjoyable. Before I get into the story, I would point out that this audiobook includes 2, discrete, novels. Calling this "volume 1" is not a marketing ploy as standing in for "Book 1." Both are excellent.
The first novel really draws you in while introducing you to the world. While there is a place for the kind of fantasy that just throws you into the world and waiting for you to catch up, that's not what this is. The world itself is understandable and relatable at the start, with hints of something much bigger. As an example, the magic is, at least while you are getting acclimated, but a glimmer in your peripheral vision.
As you would expect in this genre, as things develop, especially as we move to the second novel, things start to become more complex. You are introduced to what might be going on behind the curtains. Unlike some other fantasy novels, I found this to develop naturally and the "world-building" doesn't feel like it is being forced as a method for the story to keep on going.
As for the narration, I found it engaging and a great fit for this material. For some reason, fantasy narration is often done in a monotone, kind of high-brow style (I sometimes think publishers hear "fantasy," think "wizard," and pick someone who sounds like one). Thankfully, that is not the case here. The characters are disguisable, and the mood is right for the story."
Billy (5 out of 5 stars)