Monday, February 28, 2011

Review: The Crown Conspiracy

Book Details
Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Genre: Fantasy
Page Count: 296
Publishing Info: September 1, 2007 by Ridan Publishing

My Review
Why I read it: kept hearing that it was good
The Plot: Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles until they become the unwitting scapegoats in a plot to murder the king. Sentenced to death, they have only one way out…and so begins this epic tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.  It seems like stories about thieves are really big in fantasy right now.  I've seen them all over the place.  I like the concepts here, though, where they're doing jobs for nobles, and once the story gets going, it's for sure not your typical thief book.
The Characters: I liked the characters, but don't feel we really got to know any of them particularly well.  There were a lot of varied characters, and that kept things interesting.  Of our two main characters, I definitely liked Hadrian better.
The Setting: This is a pretty typical fantasy world, but the author does a good job of setting it up and making it real, although there are times when he goes a little too far and it takes the reader out of the story.
A Sample of the Writing: 
Archibald Ballentyne held the world in his hands, conveniently contained within fifteen stolen letters.  Each parchment was penned with meticulous care in a fine, elegant script.  He could tell the writer believed that the words were profound and that their meaning conveyed a beautiful truth.  Archibald felt the writing was drivel, yet he agreed with the author that they held a value beyond measure.  He took a sip of brandy, closed his eyes, and smiled.
Who Should Read This? Fantasy fans who are looking for a good new series.
Final Thoughts: I like that this book was fairly short, and although it's a series, the book itself was pretty self-contained.  No crazy cliffhangers here, and that's a huge plus for me.  I like reading series, but I also like to not be left hanging, especially when I have no idea when I'll be able to get to the next book.  I really wish my library carried these--to get this one, they had to do inter-library loan with a library in another state.  I guess I'll have to do that for every book.  But the writing was good enough to go through a bit of extra work to read this series, and since I read recently on another blog that the series has been picked up by Orbit, maybe the library will finally decide to get them.
Grade: B
Cover Thoughts: The cover is awfully boring, and if I were browsing a bookstore, this would definitely not catch my eye.  


  1. FYI: Michael had the series picked up by a big publisher now. Orbit. They are republishing the whole series as 3 books (with two books in each compendium) to tell the whole story of six. Therefore if you wait, you ought to see these more readily available.

    They get better and better with each volume and the characters get more depth.

    As to the art, it's self-published and Sullivan painted each cover piece my thoughts are it could have been worse.

    That said, Orbit has commissioned a guy to do covers for the 3 forthcoming repackaged volumes and he's an excellent artist.

    Stick with it, a great series.

  2. Well, now I feel bad for saying the cover was boring. Stuck my foot in my mouth there, but still, the cover is not my taste.

    I'm definitely planning to stick with the series, and am just really hoping my library will order them, since I'm trying not to purchase many books (my shelves are overloaded already).