The second book in Michael J. Sullivan's Riyria Chronicles book, but the eighth published Riyria book overall. Another amazing Riyria book. Loved it!
In The Rose and the Thorn
, Hadrian and Royce return to Medford, where a year ago they were saved from the brink of death by brothel owner Gwen, whom Royce has since fallen for. On their way they meet landless and penniless viscount Albert Winslow, and the three strike up an agreement to benefit them all. Arriving in Medford though, Hadrian and Royce find that Gwen refuses to see the pair, much to their confusion, and they seek to discover the reasons why and rectify the problem. Meanwhile, at the castle, Reuben Hilfred is about to turn 16 and begin life as a castle guard. He soon makes some unlikely friends and finds himself caught up in an unusual situation, forced to re-consider everything his father told him...
I LOVED this book. I've read all the previous Riyria books (the entire Riyria Revelations series as well as The Crown Tower
), and I loved this chance to revisit the world and characters I'd come to love. Again it was a good, enjoyable adventure in itself, and even if you haven't read the entire Riyria Revelations, and just read The Crown Tower (or even just this book maybe...) it's still really enjoyable. Sullivan still throws in a few little hints that veterans of the books will enjoy, hinting at things that happen later without revealing everything to readers new to the series, which I think is best and works well.
Being set in Medford and featuring more characters that I knew from Riyria Revelations made me enjoy this book more than The Crown Tower
I think, just because of the familiarity. I just settled into the story a lot quicker this time around and I loved being back with Riyria.
It was nice to see Hadrian and Royce's continuing and developing relationship. They've obviously become a lot closer since the events of The Crown Tower
and it's nice to see this friendship and respect developing. They still are not at the same level of easy friendship and partnership from the Riyria Revelations, but you can see it starting to develop, whilst they still admit they don't entirely know each other or fully understand each other. It's nice to see this slowly happening, but I also enjoyed seeing them a bit closer as I know them from books later chronologically. It was also nice seeing a bit more of Dark Royce. Scary!
Like The Crown Tower
, The Rose and the Thorn
features another important past event that is mentioned several times in Riyria Revelations but we don't see, and so it was nice to see this lived out and fleshed out in this book, as a veteran reader. It was still really good and exciting for new readers as well I'm sure, possibly more so as they would not have known the outcome of the events in the same way that I did.
I'd be interested to hear more of what new readers to the series, who haven't read Revelations, thought of it and if foresaw/foresee any future twists that might happen in the books, as obviously I was already aware of them.
I enjoyed looking for these little hints and references to future books though, it made reading these books really enjoyable and exciting for a fan of the series like me. And also, I wonder if I'm the only one who looks out for more hints akin to the whole Kine twist that occurred at the end of Heir of Novron
Overall, an amazing read and a great adventure. It was a great read for a veteran of the series, full of hidden references, but also a enjoyable romp for those new to the series as well. A step up from The Crown Tower
in my opinion. I loved it!