THE CROWN TOWER by Michael J. Sullivan

THE CROWN TOWER marked my introduction to Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn, as I have not yet read the Riyria Revelations and instead began with the Riyria Chronicles so I could read them in chronological order.

Lately, my reading habits have leaned toward urban fantasy, something slightly different from the epic fantasy I grew up reading. THE CROWN TOWER is definitely a return to more traditional fantasy, with our protagonist traveling from city to city and occasionally laying waste to random ruffians. And while I’ve discovered I’m far more likely to give up on a book if it feels like things I’ve read a hundred times over, Sullivan did a good job of making the world feel familiar without hitting the same plot and character points I’ve seen repeated over and over.

As I said, I haven’t read the Riyria Revelations yet, so I’m sure there were plenty of interesting nuggets here that I simply missed, and I feel as though I probably would have liked it more if I’d already gotten to know the characters. This was written as a sort of origin story for the two main characters, but I don’t know that the plot was ultimately very satisfying without knowing what it’s setting up.

Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable read, and I’m confident that the Riyria Revelations, which I’ve heard good things about, are stronger in their plotting and have more at stake than this particular tale. At the end of the day, I think I’d recommend that people begin with the Riyria Revelations, then move onto this story for any back story they want. Of course, even as I say that, this book must have been successful as an introduction because I certainly plan to buy Sullivan’s other books to see where the story ultimately goes.

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