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4062348,903 (4.23)12
Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater return to Gwen DeLancy, the woman who saved them from certain death, and discover she has been brutally beaten by a powerful noblemen.

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I enjoyed this, but not as much as the other books by Michael Sullivan. It took close to 100 pages for this book to develop momentum as the various plots did not start coalescing until then. Royce and Hadrian return to Medford, in part to thank Gwen for saving their lives, but she refuses to see them because she knows they will (and ultimately do) seek retribution for the beating she received from a nobleman. A minor character in the Riyria Revelations, Reuben Hilfred, rises to prominence here, as he befriends the royal progeny and saves the life of Princess Arista from his father, who is manipulated into regicide. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this prequel series and was not disappointed by the second one! More interesting characters were introduced as well as an overarching plotline that obviously spans several books. The violence, while definitely evident, is handled simply and without much gore, making it an excellent read for my sensitive imagination. The characters are complex and multi-faceted, which I love. The plot is driving without being predictable. I am in love with this series! ( )
  ColourfulThreads | Feb 18, 2021 |
The second book in Riyria Chronicles continues Royce and Hadrian's story with a new adventure. This prequel book continues to re-introduce characters seen in the other Riyria series and how they made relationships with the main protagonists. I'm not a fan of prequel books and this one doesn't add anything new. While it is nice to see how the relationships were formed, there was nothing that felt surprising or exciting. ( )
  renbedell | Aug 4, 2019 |
Every time I read a Riyria book, it just makes me happy and can take me out of any reading slump. I enjoy reading about Royce and Hadrian and their escapades and learning new things about them and all the other characters in their world. It just fascinates me :) In The Rose and the Thorn, we get to see some more back story and how their headquarters came to be. Although a sad story, we also get introduced to Hilfred and see how he got to where he is. The plot moved a little slowly, but I was never not interested. Another great read :D ( )
  jdifelice | Jan 20, 2018 |
THE ROSE AND THE THORN is the second book in the Riyria Chronicles series of standalones. Whereas the first book, THE CROWN TOWER, told the story of how Royce and Hadrian became partners, this book tells the story of how they came to form Riyria and ended up in the arrangement we see them in at the beginning of THEFT OF SWORDS. A year after the events of THE CROWN TOWER, Royce and Hadrian are back in Medford and stop by at Gwen’s – only she won’t see them because she’s been beaten up, and she’s trying to protect them from getting themselves killed trying to help her. Of course, this is Royce and Hadrian, and they can take care of themselves. We also get some additional viewpoints at Castle Essendon, the seat of the royal family of Melengar, as a plot against them unfolds.

This was a fun story, it was nice to see Royce and Hadrian settle into their element. Plus, we are introduced to early versions of more of the Riyria Revelations cast. I always think of these books as cozy, but there’s actually a fair amount of death and destruction and darkness, exemplified by Royce’s actions. Royce is terrifying, and I don’t know why I think of him as lovable.

The last chapter of this book (The Visitor) really frustrated me, though – its only purpose seemed to be to set up THEFT OF SWORDS with all the subtlety of a hammer. Foreshadowing is great, but the most fun thing about it is putting things together from what seem like inconsequential details upon first glance. I already thought the references to an unrevealed co-conspirator were fairly obvious, but to tack on a whole chapter laying it all out in the open felt like overkill. And reading this chapter also made me figure out the feeling I have when reading Sullivan’s books that I haven’t been able to articulate in my previous reviews – the dialogue in his books is always a little bit too on-the-nose for his characters to feel completely real. Especially the villains – they often explain their plans concisely and articulately at some point.

Despite my complaints, I still really enjoy these books, and I’m hurriedly reviewing this book so that I can get to THE DEATH OF DULGATH. I’m particularly excited about that one because it feels like it’ll be more of a standalone adventure and not so much of the origin story that the first two books have been. And after that, I’m also contemplating a reread of the Riyria Revelations ( )
  kgodey | Apr 11, 2017 |
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Ruben should have run the moment the squires came out of the castle keep.
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Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater return to Gwen DeLancy, the woman who saved them from certain death, and discover she has been brutally beaten by a powerful noblemen.

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For more than a year Royce Melborn has tried to forget Gwen DeLancy, the woman who saved him and his partner Hadrian Blackwater from certain death. Unable to get her out of his mind, the two thieves return to Medford but receive a very different reception --- Gwen refuses to see them. The victim of abuse by a powerful noble, she suspects that Royce will ignore any danger in his desire for revenge. By turning the thieves away, Gwen hopes to once more protect them. What she doesn't realize is what the two are capable of --- but she's about to find out.

The Riyria Revelations and The Riyria Chronicles are two separate, but related series, and you can start reading with either Theft of Swords (publication order) or The Crown Tower (chronological order).
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Michael J. Sullivan is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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Average: (4.23)
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