I've read Michael Sullivan's Riyria Revelations series, so as soon as I heard about this I wanted to read it, and I read it as soon as I could! And I'm so happy I did! Again, this is an instance where I wish that GoodReads did half star ratings so I could give it 4.5
stars, but I rounded up cos I love Riyria :)The Crown Tower
is the first book in the Riyria Chronicles, a prequel series to the Riyria Revelations that does not require you to have read the original series to enjoy it (although I personally think it would be better as you'll gain more from it). It tells the story of how the infamous Riyria duo, Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn, first met and their first job together. At first, the pair cannot stand to be together let alone work together, but if they're going to survive the job they'll have to learn to work together. We also learn the origin story of Gwen DeLancy, a whore in Medford who refuses to let herself and other girls be used and abused by the tavern owner or the customers, but she also will have an important part to play in Hadrian and Royce's future.
I really enjoyed this book. Like I said before, you don't need to have read the Riyria Revelations books to read this one, as it was carefully written to ensure that no hints of information or secrets revealed in those books are revealed in this one, which makes it good for newcomers to the series, but also makes it a bit more realistic I think? There are hints aplenty to certain things though which veterans of Riyria will see and enjoy, and this is why I personally think reading Revelations first is better as you'll gain more from this book, but it still isn't necessary.
It's been a couple of months since I read the Riyria Revelations, but reading this book felt like slipping on an old shoe - it fit perfectly and I immediately fell in love with Hadrian and Royce all over again (particularly Hadrian, I love Hadrian). I immediately fell into the world once again and it all felt comfortable and natural, there was no re-adjustment needed which was nice.
Hadrian and Royce were once again superb lead characters, and it was nice to see them both before they had a positive and more maturing effect on each other. It was nice to see them hating each other as well. :)
The overall story was good and enjoyable, typical Sullivan fare which is great :D I liked reading about a story that Hadrian and Royce mention several times in Revelations. I also loved reading Gwen's origins, as it's something that we didn't really see before so it was nice to this time.
I did feel that the story ended rather suddenly though, and it would've been nice to have a more final scene for Hadrian, Royce and Gwen, as I do feel that for newcomers to the series Gwen's importance to the story isn't necessarily obvious this way, but that is a minor niggle.
Overall, a great book and Riyria story, whether you're a newcomer to the series or a Riyria veteran, although I do feel veterans will get more from the story than newcomers.