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OK, honestly I was bored most of the way through this one.
I should start by saying I've not read Sullivan's first trilogy, only a short story of his (featuring Hadrian and Royce) in the Blackguards anthology. I liked it, thought I'd give his larger works a try. I have not read the original trilogy, The Riyria Revelations because I thought I'd start with the prequels. I will also say I 'read' this by way of audiobook.
The Crown Tower follows 2 story threads. One of Hadrian Blackwater as he struggles to find a place in the world after becoming tired of the soldiering way of life. And one of Gwen as she struggles against an abusive pimp.
The story starts off slow. VERY slow. And to be honest, I don't feel it ever really picks up. It's not just a lack of action, it's a lack of anything seemingly important going on at all. The first half of the book feels like Hadrian on a side-quest, and Gwen crossing the street (both literally and metaphorically).
By the second half of the book Hadrian has met his long time life partner, Royce, and the two are thrust together in the hope that they will one day learn to work with each other and teach each other. The problem is, while I can see that one day they will be a fun buddy-cop pair, they just annoyed the hell out of me. Both of them whine and moan... and then moan and whine. And they keep moaning about the same things over and over again. The plot struggles to move forwards. And when they finally do decide to trust each other, it seems rushed (at least on Royce's part). A lifetime of well-earned mistrust and skepticism and suspicion seems undone by one selfless act on Hadrian's part.
Gwen's entire story (while interesting) only actually intersects with Hadrian and Royce's on the penultimate chapter. It feels like two separate stories, not one. And there are too many threads left completely unfinished. We have a chapter from Gwen's nemesis' point of view at one point and then he's foiled once by her (fairly easily) and we never hear from him again. That particular plot line felt a lot like filler.
The problem is, I wanted to like the book. I loved the short story (Professional Integrity) in Blackguards and wanted to read more of Hadrian and Royce. Perhaps I should have started with Revelations because it feels like this book is written for fans of that series rather than potential new readers. If I already knew the characters well and loved them I'd probably be giggling with joy over every sarcastic interaction... but I don't. Maybe I'll give Revelations a try after the sour taste has faded.
Overall I give this one 2 stars because it's well-written and Gwen's story is very interesting.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
It still surprises you even when you've read all their other books. Also it's the best book to start the series with!
Having listened to the other three books in the series I was at first disappointed that I hadn't started with this one as it technically comes before the three books in the series chronologically speaking.
But I wasn't disappointed when I listened to it as it fills in things alluded to in the revelations books and also stands on its own as a very well written book. Whether you have listed to to Revelations series or not you will enjoy this immensely.
The author narrates his own introduction to the book which I thought added a personal touch as he explains his reasons for writing the prequel after the Revelations series and give us some insight into how he views the charters etc.
If you are unsure about reading the Revelations trilogy which are incredibly good value in terms of length give this a read as it's only 12 hours long and if you enjoy it you can look forward to the rest of the series.
If you are like me and have read the other three books and enjoyed them you will love this book. Can't wait to listen to some more.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Story – 5/5
Considering I wasn’t exactly swept away by the original trilogy (although still enjoyed it well enough), I absolutely loved this prequel. It is a lot shorter, therefore I felt the pacing was spot on, and I thought there was a bit more brutality, which Sullivan seemed a bit reluctant of in his first set of stories.
It is set 10 years before the events of the Riyria revelations – and tells the story of when Hadrian and Royce first met. My favourite part had to be the backstory of Gwen though – but I am a sucker for backstory.
According to something I read on the internet, Sullivan plans to write 10 of these chronicle books to represent each of the 10 years prior to the Revelations trilogy. Lots to look forward to then…
Tim Gerard Reynolds did a great job. I felt he trivialised danger in the original trilogy, which wasn’t the case in this story – which makes me think I was a little hard on him in my previous reviews. It must have been the prose.
His voice acting is great – very consistent with his other readings thus far – making it all the easier to get back into this world.
Overall – 5/5
4 of 4 people found this review helpful