ARC, Kindle version (paperback is 704 pages).
I was lucky enough to snag this ARC. This book was actually originally two books: The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha. They were self-published along with a couple other books in the Riyria Revelations, and the series was recently picked up by Orbit Books. Theft of Swords will be released the end of November, but if you just can't wait after reading my review, you can still get the ebook versions of the first five books on Amazon.com until 8/31/11.
The Riyria Revelations starts with two thieves. Not common thieves, Royce and Hadrian work for nobles, occasionally double-crossing them. They take jobs that pay well, and they've worked up some notoriety as Riyria. They take a job that sounds almost too easy to steal a sword in the castle, but they find out it's a trap. Soon, they're arrested for the murder of the king. The princess hires them to kidnap her brother, thinking she'll save him from the same fate as her father. The story goes from there, following all kinds of twists and turns. The heroes of the story search out a wizard who's been in prison for a thousand years, battle a creature conjured by elves, and witness the church begin building an empire.
This book is a great read. The story is immensely interesting. The author obviously put a lot of time into world building: histories, religions, heroes of old, magic. At times, it was hard for me to keep up with everything. There were a few info dumps along the way, but once I sorted out who was what and why it was important, I just moved on. All in all, it's an adventure story with some political intrigue, but magic becomes a big part of the story halfway through The Crown Conspiracy. I think it's Lord of the Rings meets Pirates of the Caribbean.
I really enjoyed the characters. There's a big cast, and the author finds a way to connect them all. Some of them have so much personality. I loved Myron; he was so funny. Hadrian is my favorite, though, and I can't wait to learn more about his past. I'm not used to such a distant POV, but maybe that's because I don't read high fantasy too often. I felt like, aside from the occasional internal monologue, we rarely knew what the characters were thinking or feeling. We usually saw their emotions through their actions. It sort of takes from the story, but at the same time, there are so many secrets and lies, it leaves the reader guessing. You don't know who to trust!
There were a few times when I didn't want to put this book down. The day I finished it, I spent pretty much all afternoon and evening reading. I finished it around midnight! It was a good way to spend my birthday. :P I got online and bought Nyphron Rising right away because I wasn't sure if I was going to be lucky enough to score another ARC and because I wanted to support the author. I love how the series has overarching plot issues, but each novel deals with a certain conflict.
Okay, I'm going to go read Nyphron Rising. Pre-order your copy of Theft of Swords now!