“You don’t win battles with hate. Anger and hate can make you brave, make you strong, but they also make you stupid. You end up tripping over your own two feet.” (Hadrian)”
5 out of 5 Stars
I want to marry Hadrian please.
Is that not a good enough review? Okay I suppose it isn’t, but for the record I would If I could.
Theft of Swords is, as I’m sure many know, two books in one, it combines Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha.
Crown Conspiracy is a really well compacted story that does an amazing job standing on it’s own. The whole story comes full circle and there are no loose ends. While Avempartha sets up the series for a even greater tale that is to come. It expands on parts of the world that where only briefly mentioned in the first story, and also starts to delve more into the history of Hadrian and Royce. That’s not to say that Crown Conspiracy doesn’t connect at all, because it does but for me it is a solid standalone journey that gives a great introduction to a new world and establishes the world and characters in an easy yet enthralling to grasp manner.
The start of the story wastes no time at all with the introduction of who Hadrian and Royce are, and from this very first interaction we get to witness I knew I was going to love these men for the rest of my life (Hadrian more obviously). Right from the start we get to see first hand how these two talk to each other and just what kind of friendship they have, and let me tell you I absolutely love their banter. Their interactions also do in incredible job establishing what kind of personalities these two have. Hadrian the brawn who always wants to do the right thing and help those who need help, he is tall, strong, battle smart, and is full to brim with Honor. While Royce, is small and angry. At no point in the start of this book or as it progressed did it ever feel like their friendship was being forced on to the reader, you could feel the years of bonding that the two have and it made each interaction between them all the more enjoyable. There are still plenty of secrets to be revealed and while a few of them I had guessed as they follow that classic storytelling knowing how the characters will react to them when they figure it out is what I am looking forward to.
I heard a lot about how this had a lot of classic fantasy tropes before I went into reading it and no lies were spoken. Honestly, I loved the simple classic vibes the story gave off, sometimes you just need that easy going fantasy story that doesn’t strain itself on building a grand and extravagant world with hundreds of characters. Sullivan crafted a simple yet enthralling tale and never once did I feel like I was being under sold with how his world worked. I will say I was not expecting dwarves and elves, I had never once heard either of the sort being mentioned so I was thrown off and honestly thought I had read a line into the story when I came across it for the first time. At first it felt out of place but as I progressed it started to feel right so by the time I got to Avempartha I was ready for any classic fantasy creature to show up.
Aside from Hadrian and Royce, I have to say Sullivan did an amazing job creating characters that kept me on my toes in regards to if I could trust them or not. All through Crown Conspiracy I had no clue who to believe, I was constantly flip flopping between trusting and not trusting. I will say this was more evident in Crown Conspiracy as I felt in Avempartha it was more straight forward as to what everyone’s motives were but there are two characters I have my guards up against and I am interested to see what happens with them. There where even a few characters that grew on me as the story progressed and even some side characters managed to wiggle their way into my heart and Sullivan managed to break my heart in regards to a few of them. I do have to say apart from our main duo I absolutely loved Myron, I want to put this young man in a box and protect him, he is adorable and so naive to the world, everything about his reactions to the world outside of his abbey was a delight and came across believable.
I talk a lot about the characters and not so much the plot, and that’s because for me the characters stood out way more than the plots. The first book is all about Hadrian and Royce being tricked and set up as a murderers of a king and are on the run while the second is your classic save the village from a terrifying creature that keeps eating everyone. Both plots are extremely easy to follow yet still grab you and keep you entertained because the characters are there bringing the plots to life and moving the story along. A lot of the world is unfolded through the eyes of the characters for the first time ever (Myron) or through other characters who thought they knew how the world worked but learned they in fact did not. Avempartha gives you a plot that ties up certain events of the story but leaves just enough of an urge to come back and see what happens next.
Theft of Swords at its core is effortless yet entertaining and hooks you from the first page. I strongly feel like this is a great contender for many who are looking to dive into adult fantasy for the first time but are worried about the complexity of some of the books out there. You get the classic fantasy vibes, with a great character duo in a story that is simple and effortless to grasp.