Genre fiction lover: Romance, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Urban Fantasy
This is the first book of the Riyria Chronicles series which is a prequel to the most excellent Riyria Revelations series. In this first book we get the origin story of the epic bromance between Royce and Hadrian. There is also a nice bit of real estate given to Gwen's background. So we also get the origin story on how these two came to meet Gwen.
I listened to this in audio. Inhaled really. It was very good. And the narration was also really well done. Kinda reminded me of Jim Dale who narrates the Harry Potter audiobooks.
I was initially resistant to reading this, I liked the original series so much I didn't feel the need to go back. But a few things acted together to lure me into this:
1) I caught the blurb on the most recent Riyria Chronicles book The Death of Dulgath and it sounded like something right up my alley. But it is a third book and ...
2) I am a 'completionist' so I couldn't start there. I feel compelled to go back to the beginning and start with this one and...
3) Audible just threw $20.00 at me. For no reason. I had credits amassed, but I am stingy about my credits. But this is found money...
So there you have it. I got this one.
And I am glad I did. I am also very glad that I am reading the series in the order that I am. I read the 'Revelations' series first. Which comes chronologically after this book. In that series, the relationships between Royce/Hadrian/Gwen etc. have already been formed and I was introduced to them in their mature stage. Their easy, full of knowledge, and I-keep-your-secrets stage.
My first intro of Royce and Hadrian was of them doing a neat bit of thievery, full of banter and quips and comfort with each other. They have utter trust in each other. One of the things that sold them and tumbled me into love with that first book was that relationship.
That was not there in this book. As a matter of fact these two men were total strangers to me in this book. I don't think I would have liked this book as much as I did if I didn't already know what these two would become.
Hadrian felt too young, too trusting, too open while Royce felt too closed, too distant, too cynical. I honestly did not like this Royce and Hadrian that much. But I knew what they would become so I was interested in seeing how they transformed.
And to beyond the knowledge of who they would become with years of influence by the other, I admit I also enjoyed reading with foreknowledge of why some of the machinations were happening and what significance they would have for future events. Complete strangers Hadrian and Royce are forced to work together in what can only be described as an extreme 'trust fall' situation. They are tasked with stealing a book from a place that is incredibly difficult to steal from. Royce is already a thief and an assassin. He can get the thing all by himself. So why does Prof. Arcadius insist so stringently that Royce need Hadrian? Well for obvious reasons it is because Hadrian is kind of a gangsta with a blade. But there are other, non-obvious reasons that don't reveal themselves until the fifth book in the later series. See? i knew this and this made the reading that much richer for me.
Since I primarily went into this because of my love for Royce and Hadrian, I found myself incredibly surprised by how much I adored the Gwen chapters. I admit, I did not have quite the fondness for Gwen in the later series that I have for Royce and Hadrian. We know that she is important to them, she definitely is important to Royce -- they have a very complicated love life. But this book really gave her a depth that I appreciated. I liked seeing her triumph.
So this intro delivered.... good characters, good story and an exciting conclusion.
I could end here but I won't. I am hooked again and will most definitely use one of my stingily hoarded credits.