Friday, September 25, 2015

Audio Book Review: of 2 Riyria Chronicles Tales: The Jester & Professional Integrity

The Jester

By:  Michael J. Sullivan

Publish Date:  July 17, 2014, Audiobook January 17, 2014

Format:  Audiobook - 54 mins
Narrated By:  Tim Gerard Reynolds

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  2.5 in Riyria Chronicles series (stand alone in series); 1st Book ~ The Crown Tower, 2nd Book ~ The Rose and the Thorn

Impression:  Quick fill for my fantasy need with my favorite duo.

Synopsis:
WHO WILL HAVE THE LAST LAUGH?
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A thief, a candlemaker, an ex-mercenary, and a pig farmer walk into a trap…and what happens to them is no joke. When Riyria is hired to retrieve a jester’s treasure, Royce and Hadrian must match wits with a dwarf who proves to be anything but a fool. Difficult choices will need to be made, and in the end those who laugh last do so because they are the only ones to survive.

This is a standalone short story of 7,200 words, originally published in the Unfettered anthology. No prior knowledge of The Riyria Revelations or The Riyria Chronicles is required to enjoy it to its fullest, making this a perfect introduction for new readers or a chance for Riyria veterans to spend a little more time with old friends. The Jester is a story of adventure, bonds of friendship, and a recognition that the choices we make dictates the future we find.

First Sentence:
Hadrian discovered the most fascinating thing about plummeting in total darkness wasn't the odd sense of euphoria from the free fall or the abject terror from anticipating sudden death but that he had the time to contemplate both.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles

Audible (free here)


My Thoughts and Summary:
Royce and Hadrian are wandering around the caves carved by a dwarf. A dwarf jester to be exact. They are looking for a way out, but were hired by the woman with them to find the treasure. Myra and Wilmer have the map pieces, but this place is a labyrinth full of puzzles, and choices that are life or death making.

I was thrilled to be back with Royce and Hadrian again. They are my favorite fantasy duo.

Tim is a wonderful voice for fantasy. He portrayed the personality of the characters well. He also did voice differences in tone to differentiate the characters. He was an enjoyable listen as my attention went to the story and not his voice, a great combination!

With this being a short story we don't get all the details of all the trials they've crossed; traps, wolves, and more. We do get the major gist of the events they went through by the injuries they've all endured, although Myra and Royce seem to be fairing better than Hadrian and Wilmer.

We are on the run though, from a huge monster of some kind. We hear the constant drum of it's feet as it nears them. They end up locked in a room with three options and water rising. What choice will they make? What choice would you make?

We do get some Royce and Hadrian banter, there personalities are the same as ever. Hadrian aways wanting to help, and Royce, well Royce is Royce. But what I did pick up on was they didn't feel the center of the story. Other characters felt to take over more, Myra and her sense of humor. She was a strong character here. And the banter between her and all the others is strong. She's even pushy to get her way. This story was more of the craftiness of a dwarf jester and tribulations they need to go through on this mission.

My favorite part is the ending where Royce has one comment for Hadrian.

Do you have to read others to read/listen to this one? No. There are drops of their first job and how long they've been working together at this point, but nothing you need to know before this story. Michael Sullivan has created this to be a stand alone short story, and it is that.


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Professional Integrity

By:  Michael J. Sullivan

Publish Date:  Audiobook June 3, 2015

Format:  Audiobook - 1 hr 18 mins
Narrated By:  Tim Gerard Reynolds

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  2.6 in Riyria Chronicles series (stand alone in series); 1st Book ~ The Crown Tower, 2nd Book ~ The Rose and the Thorn

Impression:  Back in the saddle with Royce & Hadrian, true and true.

Synopsis:
One of the genre's favorite pairs returns in a classic fantasy short for both Riyria veterans and first-time readers.

Several years have passed since the war-weary mercenary Hadrian and cynical ex-assassin Royce joined forces to start their thieves-for-hire organization better known as Riyria. Things have gone well enough for the team as they do "jobs" for various nobles throughout Elan. Usually that means stealing something, but when a young heiress asks them to steal her…well, that's a first for the pair. All is not as it seems, but Royce is determined to get the bottom of what's actually going on. After all, he has his professional integrity at stake.

Originally released in the Blackguards anthology published by Ragnarok Publications, this is a standalone short story of 10,800 words. No prior knowledge of The Riyria Revelations or The Riyria Chronicles is required to enjoy it to its fullest, making this a perfect introduction for new readers or a chance for existing fans to spend a little more time with old friends.

First Sentence:
"Say that again." Hadrian said.

Purchase At:
Amazon 

Audible (free here)


My Thoughts and Summary:
Kristin, a young woman, wants Royce and Hadrian to kidnap her. She'll pay, of course. She wants a man to know she exists. Hoping the plan to disappear, her father the Lord panic, and the young man come to her rescue. What Royce and Hadrian uncover in her place is far more dangerous than a simple job. And a deeper plan than they expected to find.

Tim Gerard Reynolds, once again, is the narrator for our duo. He does an amazing job with the dry humor banter between Royce and Hadrian. His emotion shows for our men, Royce a bit not carring and Hadrian a bit of caring and worry. Along with doing a voice tone difference for Kristin. His pacing is well done. I slipped right into the world of Royce and Hadrian with ease here.

This is the classic Royce and Hadrian we know! Royce cracks me up with his observation of Kristin along with his offhand honesty. We do, for a flash, see a softer side of Royce. *gasp* For a moment as the look crosses his face, but then it's gone. Hadrian is as caring as ever. He just can't say no. And the tall tale 'easy job' he always things he's getting them into becomes so much more. We get to see Hadrian's talent with disarming and a quick look at him with a sword.

Do you have to read others before this? No. This one can stand on it's own. It will give you a great feel for the characters personalities. If you loved this story, I highly suggest picking up all the books in the world with them. This is what you'll get.

There are hints to Royce and Hadrian, how they are now along with touches of their history or hinting at a history is present. There's even a drop referencing The Jester, nothing big but a nice way to tie everything together.

Michael has done a wonderful job with the duo here. Boy, this story really re-awoke my love for the characters.

8 comments:

  1. They're my favorite fantasy duo too ! I do need to catch up with this wonderful series, great review !

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    Replies
    1. Oh Theereaderjunkie, so glad to hear you enjoy this duo as well. :) They are so much fun!

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  2. Oh nice! Love the price. Will have to look closer at this series.

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  3. It has been a while since I read anything by him

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    Replies
    1. Blodeuedd, I am with you. He's got 2 books coming our way. Might be something to look into . ;)

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  4. Hmm, seems like I would like more details, not just the gist of things.

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    Replies
    1. Jennifer Bielman, these are additions to a set series. It's nice to get back with the characters. :) If you enjoy fantasy, I hope you check Michael's books out. :)

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