So, this prequel still wasn't living up to The Riyria Revelations, but it came a lot closer than The Crown Tower. This one had more of the adventure, political intrigue, and heart I was hoping to see in the first prequel but didn't quite get.
Hadrian and Royce have been working together a little longer at this point, so their relationship is closer to what I knew and loved in The Riyria Revelations.
More characters from the main series are introduced here, and I did love getting to see this "early years" look at them. It gave another layer to these characters who I had already grown to love and care for.
The culmination of events was also even better than I had imagine. Like The Crown Tower, The Rose and the Thorn takes hinted-at events from the main series and fleshes them out, finally telling the "whole story" for events that had until this point been campfire stories of long ago escapades.
While it was a lot of fun seeing these well-known stories acted out, it was even more amusing to read because the full story was even better than my imagination. Royce's actions are both more tender and more awesomely cutthroat than I had surmised. The whole culmination of events was a spectacular moment for Royce.
I'm less impressed with the prequels than I was with the main series, but part of that is because the bar was set SO high by the main series. There's just more to the main series, though there's also literally more to them being a six book series and so that might account for the difference in depth and scope.
Regardless, I'm still a huge Michael J. Sullivan fan and I hope he continues to write more books about these characters.
Click on the pictures to go to Goodreads.