Each of the six books in this series deserves a full review, but I couldn’t stop reading the series long enough to write them. I read these six books in four days. I’m not sure I did anything else during this time, I assume basic bodily functions and consumption of food occurred, if only so that I could keep reading.
The basic structure of the series features an over-arcing story line that is revealed, developed, and resolved over six books. Each book contains a self sufficient story line that is exciting, suspenseful and engrossing in itself, yet also pivotal to the exposition of the over-arcing plot. It’s a format that is rarely, if ever, executed as well as Mr. Sullivan has managed to do. Nowhere in this series will you be tempted to skip dozens (or hundreds) of pages where the characters are aimlessly wandering through the countryside, or where the main character spends days (pages) whining about how it’s just not fair that he can’t live out his days as a simple farmer (sheep herder, fisherman, whatever). You will never flip to the last page of a book and grope for that phantom next page, for surely this book couldn’t have just ENDED on that mediocre note. Every book ends with a sigh of contentment, followed by, in my case, the immediate commencement of the next book.
The two main characters of the series are Hadrian and Royce, and their relationship dynamic can best be described as “buddy thieves”. Yeah, not buddy cop, but buddy thieves. It’s such a brilliant and yet such a simple concept that I can’t believe I haven’t come across it before. Granted they don’t remain thieves for long, once their unparalleled talents lands them ever more difficult jobs, that get them into ever more complicated situations, that require ever more ingenious and inadvertently heroic solutions … eventually they save the entire human race. Not bad for a couple of crooks.
Mr. Sullivan did an outstanding job of developing each character in the series and forging meaningful relationships between them. The world building is also excellent, with lore and history that is not only interesting but an important part of the story. The saddest thing about this series is how well resolved it was. There is no room for a sequel because it would only mar the perfectly tailored ending. Even though I know this, and even though Mr. Sullivan has confirmed that he will not write any follow-ups since the ending does not allow it, I can always hope. Hope that he will change his mind and I will be able to read more about the adventures of Riyria, or at the very least perhaps there will be a follow-up series in the same world with different characters.