The Crown Tower (The Riyria Chronicles #1) - Michael J. Sullivan Reading in this setting again was like visiting old friends again. I was immediately drawn in and carried along, and finished within four days, which is pretty good for someone with two small children.

Throughout, I kept wondering what impression this makes upon anyone choosing to read these before the Riyria Revelations. How did Royce come across to them? To be honest, he seemed much darker in this book than he did later, but that makes sense, I suppose. In Revelations, I felt he was pretty cynical, but ultimately decent. He's a great deal more ruthless in this book. If there was anything I found off-putting, it was other characters' tolerance of his ruthlessness. I felt too little protest was made (by anyone other than Hadrian) to his methods. I'd hoped for Arcadius to have more to say about it. But then again, perhaps that is consistent with Arcadius in general. I will avoid spoiling those who have not read the Riyria Revelations. It is obvious enough just reading this book that there is a great deal more going on with Arcadius than he admits to.

The story I found particularly compelling was Gwen's. Even though I know where she's meant to be, where all of these characters are meant to eventually be, seeing how they get there is still a moving, and occasionally surprising journey.

I guess I haven't read a lot of prequels. I wasn't sure how it would go, knowing where everyone will end up. Would there be any suspense, knowing certain characters obviously are going to survive? But the character development is fantastic, and that alone makes these worthwhile. I am glad the author has chosen not to mess with the ending of Revelations. I think doing so could have ruined it. And it does turn out there is plenty more story to tell by going backward. The fact that I'm already finished leaves me a bit melancholy, as a good book can often do.