I absolutely, amazingly, can't-put-into-words adored the main series The Riyria Revelations, so I was pretty stoked when I started reading The Crown Tower, which is part one of the prequel series.
Did I like it? Oh yes, but how could I not? Michael J. Sullivan would have had to do some pretty terrible things to make me dislike this book.
But did it live up? Eeeeh, yes and no. Sure I liked it, but I didn't love it.
It was kind of like comfort food. Like, hm, anyone ever have Boston Market? Well, if you haven't it's basically a chain restaurant that's a step above fast food, but it's pretty much the fast food interpretation of Thanksgiving dinner. Totally tasty, and even though it's a far cry from grandma's fixings, every bite makes me feel like I'm ten years old and getting ready to dive into Thanksgiving dinner.
The Crown Tower was kind of like Boston Market. It made me feel warm and fuzzy because it made me think of all these happy memories from my time spent reading The Riyria Revelations. I loved seeing Hadrian and Royce meet for the first time. Getting to watch them pull off the infamous Crown Tower heist I had heard so many references to in The Riyia Revelations was this fan's dream come true.
But, it's a far cry from The Riyria Revelations.
The Crown Tower didn't have the action or intrigue that made The Riyria Revelations so beyond awesome. Half the book focused on Gwen's troubles (she's a prostitute turned AWESOME) and while I enjoyed reading her parts and I totally fist-pumped her, I was also kinda bored.
Not like, bored bored. But, antsy? It's just, after coming off of the five star Special Shelf level of amazingness that was The Riyria Revelations, Gwen's little story felt totally lacking in comparison and I wanted to get back to Hadrian and Royce's part of the book (which had more action, even if it was less action than The Riyria Revelations).
I can't recommend this series enough. As an established fan, it was worth reading just to be able to spend time with these characters and "see" the heist I've heard so much about. There wasn't much new information about Hadrian or Royce, but Gwen's part gets fleshed out a lot and it was fun going back to the very beginning and seeing everything unfold now that I know how it all ends.
Even my minor issues with this book are pretty much only because I was comparing them to such a high bar. And, since this is a prequel series, you can read it if you haven't read The Riyria Revelations (and, like Gina from My Precious, maybe you'll enjoy it even more than I did then).
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