Sunday, March 2, 2014

Book Review - The Crown Conspiracy by Michael J. Sullivan

Book - The Crown Conspiracy
Writer - Michael J. Sullivan 
Series - The Riyria Revelations #1
Published By - Aspirations Media Inc.

Epic fantasy is a genre where to be really good we do expect the stories to be close to 1000 pages; we expect it to be part of a bigger series which progresses through each book as part of a whole of an even bigger overall plot. So what do you expect when you get a book/series advertising all the separate stories to be kind of stand alone ones and average book length about 300 pages? Well whatever the expectations I didn't expect to like this book so much as I did; a thoroughly enjoyable read with interesting cast of characters, witty dialogue and interesting world-building (which promises much more than it reveals) was what I got in this book and also found a new author to follow.

This is the tale of Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, who make a living by carrying out various types of dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles until they take the wrong job and are pulled into a deeper conspiracy as unwitting scapegoats in the murder of the king. Sentenced to death, they have only one way out...and so begins their adventure, in which they has to kidnap a prince, break into a secret and seemingly impregnable prison and break out again among other things. The prose is skillfully done with a witty sense of humor and fast paced story telling which is an entertaining read to say the least. 

Although there is not much room for character developments the author wrote each of the important characters with much love and care. The two main protagonist are quite fun characters with their unique traits and dialogue as well their point of view of the world around them. Other characters including the prince and princess, the priest and the antagonists are also done with as much care as possible and have their moments as well. Specially I liked the priest with his innocence and despair, and also the prince who is suddenly thrown into a different world than the one he was in and forced into a new role.

The world building although minimum is done in a way that is refreshing as it is explained almost as part of the story and we learn the lore with the characters. The magic system seems promising so far and makes you wander about the next part of the story. The story can be read as a standalone one as the author promises but still there are threads left which can be further explored in the next books in a skilled way, so in the end it turns out to be story which while completed motivates the reader to know what will be coming next for the main characters.

I will be honest in saying it does lack in many aspects of originality with the plot-line and characters but fortunately makes up for its humor and overall natural progression. Highly recommended for anyone who likes short and simplistic reads and anyone who likes epic fantasy as a whole. I for one can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series

It gets 4 out of 5 stars.

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