The Crown Tower was a fantastic book, and Tim Gerald Reynolds does a great job narrating it. As the first book of Riyria Chronicles, the prequel series to The Riyria Revelations, The Crown Tower is one of the many entry points to Michael J. Sullivan’s works. It tells the story of how Riyria’s favourite (and only) members, Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn, became partners in crime.
I imagine there are different levels of knowledge about Riyria’s world and setting, depending on whether we’ve read the original series or not. Personally, I have already read Revelations and could pick up a few Easter Eggs here and there alluding to what would come to pass in the future. As this series was written after — but set before — Revelations, there is plenty of foreshadowing for events to come and little bits and pieces of information for those who’ve already read the series.
Having said that, the book is still a good read for people who are new to Sullivan’s work.
The story follows two main characters, Hadrian, an ex-soldier with strong morals trying to figure out what to do with his life outside of fighting. He has a very strong growth arc throughout this book as he starts to lose some of his innocence and understand more about the world and people. Royce really puts him through his paces and challenges him. In turn, Hadrian defies all of Royce’s expectations of how people should act, and they both go through some major growth.
Another key character is Gwen. People who’ve read Revelations will recognise her role in those books. In The Crown Tower, it shows how she went from being a prostitute who was constantly being pushed and ordered around to someone who was in control of her own life. She displays great strength in the face of adversity and strong development throughout the book.
Plot-wise, the story is very focused on how the characters are forced together and how it impacts them. There is a strong plot which doesn’t feel entirely complete in this book but is evidently leading them towards where Theft of Swords starts. It ends in a really good place to make the reader want to pick up book 2 in Riyria Chronicles.
I really enjoyed The Crown Tower, and would recommend it to people who like:
- Epic Fantasy
- Cool fighting
- Fun/Light-hearted fantasy