Chelsea's Reviews > Theft of Swords

Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan
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's review
Jul 22, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: fantasy, wizards-and-mages, stew-and-tunics, son-i-am-dissapoint, reviewed
Read from November 27 to December 09, 2011

Torn between 2 and 3 stars, opted with two. I wanted to love this book. I liked it well enough, but after all the hype, I was ultimately disappointed with it. This should have been right up my happy little alley. I should be drooling over the series. I'll still read the next books, but not with the fervor of The Doors of Stone or The Republic of Thieves...or if Lois McMaster Bujold writes more in the Chalion series.

I'll start with the pros:

The overarching plot of the Heir of Novron and the strife between the church, the kingdoms and the popular movement was very enjoyable. When these things were discussed, the book really held my attention and made me excited to find out more.

The treatment of the elves, and the history between humans and elves was pretty interesting. I liked the elven magic in play at the tower and I'd like to know more about how the elves exist in human lands.

Royce's secret at the end really gives a nice set up for what could happen later on. Hadrian's potential inheritance is exciting, too...depending on if it gets proper treatment later.

Myron was very fun to read. It would have been interesting to spend more time with him and watch his character develop.

The introduction of Esrahaddon and the prison he was in was inventive and definitely creepy.

Thrace (view spoiler)

The cover art definitely earns the title "Epic." I mean, look at it. It's epic.

Unfortunately, the cons:

Lengthy and multiple "Well, Bob..." sections. A "Well, Bob" is where a character asks a dumb question - something they should know - in order to give another character the chance to answer. The worst offense of this was when Royce and Hadrian were confronted by members of Royce's old gang. I think one of the gang members even asked the guy talking why he was going on and on. I asked the same question!

The cultural "feel" of the world was inconsistent. This might be something that would only bother someone like me, but in what world would people named Archibald, Vince, Theron, Hadrian, Royce and Ethelred all exist at the same time? This is similar to the problem I had with Dhampir, which had characters named Beth-rae, Brendan, Leesil and Magiere. It would have been helpful if each kingdom had an individual cultural flavor, even if simply for the sake of keeping everyone straight.

Esrahaddon kept spitting out the solutions to every problem and mystery, over and over again. It was maddening, to say the least. We didn't get much of a chance to see these allegedly awesome people, Hadrian and Royce, at work, because everything was handed to them. This was one of my biggest problems with the book. In general, everything came to Hadrian and Royce far too easily for my taste. No one really made any mistakes, no main characters were in mortal peril, and no puzzle was too impossible.

The thieves weren't very thief-y. They're awfully altruistic for being on the wrong side of the moral compass. True, they threatened that guy in the alley for (view spoiler), but then they're like "awww he has kids," and that's that.

The plot moved along a bit quickly. The time the prince spends with Royce and Hadrian really could have shown some character development in him, maybe in a way reminiscent of Eddings' Belgariad. Argh.

The bottom line is, I was mostly frustrated by the number of opportunities the author missed.
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Reading Progress

11/27/2011 page 130
12/07/2011 page 494
76.0% "Great, another "Well, Bob..." section."
12/08/2011 page 545
84.0% "Ok... So that'll be the fourth or fifth time the wizard blurted out the whole plan in a paragraph or two..."
12/09/2011 page 600
92.0% "Wow, someone died! I'm impressed."
07/06/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael It is difficult when expectations are high that it's often hard to live up to them. I'm sorry you didn't like the book as much as you had hoped but it seems like you did get "some enjoyment" out of it.

Myron is usually a favorite of many people - and for good reason. He does come back into the series but I saved him for books #5 and #6 and yes he goes through a tremendous amount of growth and the Myron that returns is not the same monk that we saw last. My wife was originally hesitant when I told her that. "Oh no you don't...I'll not have you changing MY Myron." But then she read the final books and he was elevated to an either greater love in heart. I think fans will like what he evolves into.

The gangs and the thieves guild get a lot of play throughout the series. I wrote this series all at once and so I worked hard to "sprinkle" bits and pieces in each one rahter than laying everything out in the beginning. It's a technique that can bite me in the butt...but ultimately I'm pleased with my decision.

I won't go into the "cons" as to do so will sound defensive. Nor would I try to talk you into continuing in the series as that would make no sense. I do want to offer a bit of my philosophy on the construction of the series just as a FYI.

I designed the books to deepen and escalate as they go so that the last book will be the best of the set. Paramount in my mind was to end the series with a bang and this, by definition makes the first book the weakest and there is a great deal I hold back so that characters and world building can develop overtime. I know that by doing so I'll lose some people, like you...who are disappointed with the first. To be honest I'm fine with that, and for people who "drop out early" I completely understand their reasons and support their decisions. For me I’ll rely on the reviews of the last book to determine whether I was ultimately successful as they will have all the facts and hopefully will realize that certain things were done for purposeful reasons.
In any case…I hope you had at least some enjoyment from the book and hope that whatever book you pick up next is more to your liking.

message 2: by Carol. (new)

Carol. *giggle*

Michael Aaron I just wrote almost exactly the same things in my review, then found you and Stefan had already said what I said...I don't know why I bother, really ;)

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