Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Review: Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Book: Theft of Swords
Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Series: Riyria Revelations #1-2


There's no ancient evil to defeat or orphan destined for greatness, just unlikely heroes and classic adventure. Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, are two enterprising rogues who end up running for their lives when they're framed for the murder of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy that goes beyond the overthrow of a tiny kingdom, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery before it's too late.

This volume, which is composed of the first two books in the series, was definitely one of the hardest books to get into that I've read in a while. I was on and off on this volume, reading other books in-between due to my lack of interest. It wasn't until the ending of the first book (so halfway through the volume itself) that things actually picked up and it got a bit more interesting. The second book (so the second half of the volume) thankfully continued at the same faster pace, which made it much more enjoyable to read.

The premise of the first book was simple enough: a renown mercenary and thief pair are framed for the murder of the king. But then the entire plot just dragged on, with nothing but continuous speculation and the reluctant traveling with a rather annoying side character. It wasn't until the very end that things finally started picking up with action and higher stakes. Thankfully, both action and high stakes were ever-present in the second book/later half of the volume. There was this really cool dragon-like creature who couldn't be harmed or killed without one very specific weapon that no one, not even Riyria, had.

I unfortunately had a bit of an issue with the writing. I felt that there were some unnecessary descriptions and conversations that went on longer than needed. Similarly, there was little to no character development about either Hadrian or Royce; they might as well have been interchangeable in the first book/first half of the volume. Again, it wasn't until the second book/later half of the volume did we finally get some hints about each character's background.

As for the women in the book...well, let's just say the world is set in a primatial sexist society, and there seems to be little to fight against such sexism. The practising of magic by a female character is considered "unnatural" (the horror!) and it doesn't take much to rile the world against her and accuse her witchcraft. There appears to be little pride for women at all to be strong. Yes, I recognize that this story is set when women are heavily suppressed and seen as good for nothing but being married off, but at the same time, I really wanted a strong female character who didn't have to be a prostitute to justify her "unfeminine" actions. (Okay, I admit, I probably have been reading way too much YA. Sorry.)

Will I be reading the next books? Probably. The plot finally unravelled to reveal something interesting, but I won't expect too much from it overall lest I be disappointed.

1 comment:

  1. I can't stand bad character development so I think I'll be skipping this one! Great review!

    Carrie @ The Butterfly Reader