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The Crown Conspiracy

by Michael J. Sullivan

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6444031,122 (3.88)48
Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles until they become the unwitting scapegoats in the murder of the king. Sentenced to death, they have only one way out.

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Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
How can I review an entertaining little story with really terribly transparent writing?

I LOVED THIS BOOK. I wish I could give it a higher number, but it would feel like cheating. Where subtle hints would do just fine -wonderfully, actually- the author feels the need to explain, explain, explain -- /after/ you already understood from the hint. It gets annoying. There's also the way the characters' speech never feels real, but that can be overlooked for the sheer funness* of it all. If you don't mind Fantasy for Dummies, come on in! The water's a bit too warm but still almost great.

* although I can't shake the feeling that I only like this series because I'm a girl. ( )
  brutalstirfry | May 6, 2022 |
This book comes across as a highly formulaic effort for a basic fantasy story. If you have been around the block once or twice, you will recognized much of it. As one book club reader put it ...

Chris wrote: "When I read it, I thought of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser"

To which I would readily agree. Two altruistic thieves (it is fantasy after all); a big hulk of a fighter/swordsman complimented by a small, wiry side-kick. The former an unstoppable combatant juxtaposed against the talented shadow (and true thief of the pair). The word play between these two protagonists is really what made the book for me … and what initially drew me into the story to begin with (I read the free online excerpts). The rest was fairly predictable … at least I though it was. I was interested enough in the story to buy the sequel for the kindle and stormed through that as well (much better story actually) where I discovered that the author had really used a lot of the predictable storyline to hide a few twists of his own that were also quite fun (like an ancient wizard who is either an infamous evil or great champion (all we really know is that our heroes needed his help) … we find at a bit more about this in Avempartha. This also sets up an imperial church as a potential bad guy (without trying to hide any moral judgment about what is clearly modeled off the roman catholic church … everybody‘s favorite whipping boy these days). There were also a few unique fantasy concepts here that I found very interesting.

The story lost points in two places … for the most part, the author does a good job of not over-explaining things that happen in the story; however, the addition to the party of a monk with a photographic memory with the better part of the history of the world in his head was an obvious device for info-dumps; to which the author was not completely immune. Although the character was somewhat endearing (if fairly sappy), I would have like to seen a bit more skill weaving into the story and having the other characters discover/reveal smaller pieces. Finally the ending was less then satisfying for me … it seemed to rush through a good portion of it and did not appear to be as well thought out as the rest of the story (perhaps my inner engineer just could not suspend enough disbelief to buy into the whole tower scene). Still … this was a most excellent debut (I am already waiting to get book 3 of 6 in the series … it doesn’t get much better then that :-) ( )
  Kris.Larson | Sep 13, 2021 |
Needing a nice, light read, I joined my book club for The Crown Conspiracy, the first in The Riyria Revelations series by Michael J. Sullivan. The book gets off to an awkward start. After a couple of chapters the author works out his writing style and story finds its pace. I found myself swept away on an old-fashioned fantasy adventure with two unlikely heroes.

Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn are a pair of thieves known for pulling off the impossible. Always on the look out for their next job, the duo is hired to retrieve a sword only to find themselves framed for the murder of the king. Thrown in jail and sentenced to death, Royce and Hadrian are out of options when an unlikely opportunity to escape presents itself.

The book isn't amazingly deep but it doesn't need to be. At just over 300 pages, Sullivan gives us enough descriptions to get a feel for the world with hints that there is more history. Since I read Legends last year it's interesting to see how things have changed drastically over the 5000 or so years since the Age of Myth. I wonder what other major differences I'll notice over the course of this series.

Hadrian and Royce are a lot of fun and compliment each other well. Hadrian is the muscle, a mercenary and darn good fighter, while Royce is the rogue, great at planning and has almost unnatural stealth abilities. My suspicion is he has elven heritage. Again, we don't get a lot of background information on the characters yet. It's something that will be great to explore in future books. The duo meet some unlikely characters along the way. It's hard to get into without spoilers though I will say how much I loved Myron. Such childlike innocence!

If I had one complaint it is that the bad guys have a tendency to monologue to reveal their evil plans. If they had mustaches, they'd be twirling them.

The Crown Conspiracy was the perfect light, fast read I was looking for. I had great fun on my first adventure with Hadrian and Royce. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. ( )
  Narilka | Mar 6, 2021 |
This book reads quickly, but doesn't suffer for it in quality. And the end leaves me curious to see what happens next. ( )
  JonOwnbey | May 28, 2020 |
Sullivan described his writings goals for the Riyria Revelations to include a simple, "invisible" prose, and familiar, established fantasy tropes. He argues that the latter fits like a well-worn glove, helping the audience to focus on the characters and the plot. I think he's succeeded with this first installment. It's a simple, quick-paced story with a few surprising twists. It's pure fun, and that's all it was meant to be. ( )
  bobbybslax | May 17, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
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To my wife, Robin, (my biggest fan, critic, contributer, and publicist)
whose hard work and dedication made it all possible.

And to my daughter, Sarah, who would not read
the story until published.
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Archibald Ballentyne held the world in his hands, conveniently contained within fifteen stolen letters.
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Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles until they become the unwitting scapegoats in the murder of the king. Sentenced to death, they have only one way out.

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In The Crown Conspiracy Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles until they become the unwitting scapegoats in a plot to murder the king. Sentenced to death, they have only one way out…and so begins this epic tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend. The writing style focuses on characters and plot rather than verbose world building. This first book of the Riyria Revelations is a heroic adventure written for adult readers yet suitable for those 13 and older.

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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: (3.88)
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