The Rose and the Thorn by Michael J. Sullivan – Review

Genre: Adult, Fantasy
Publication Date: September 2013
Pages: 347 
My Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis (1)

For more than a year Royce Melborn has tried to forget Gwen DeLancy, the woman who saved him and his partner Hadrian Blackwater from certain death. Unable to get her out of his mind, the two thieves return to Medford but receive a very different reception — Gwen refuses to see them. The victim of abuse by a powerful noble, she suspects that Royce will ignore any danger in his desire for revenge. By turning the thieves away, Gwen hopes to once more protect them. What she doesn’t realize is what the two are capable of — but she’s about to find out.

Goodreads link: The Rose and the Thorn


As soon as I finished the first book I immediately order this book. I couldn’t wait to dive back into this world and follow Hadrian’s and Royce’s adventures. And as you can tell by my rating, I didn’t like it as much as the first one.

[Warning this review contain spoilers]

Things I liked:

  • It was so nice to be back with the boys, their dynamic and their friendship. I can’t get enough of it.
  • The book was a little more focused on Royce this time instead of Hadrian. I tend to have a little soft spot for the “broken” man trope, hence I love Royce (I need to point out that I don’t like the “broken” man trope that uses his past as an excuse to be a d*ck and borderline abusive to his love interest). And do you know what I like even more than the “broken” man trope? The “broken” man that put his guard down for the woman he loves. I like that Royce was sweet and nice to Gwen and to her only, and then take his knives out and cut anyone that dares to hurt her. I loved seeing him trying to hide his feeling and yet being so obvious. My heart melted.
  • Reuben was also a sweetheart. I like his character overall and his arc. The mystery around his mother kept me guessing
  • I was pleasantly surprised to see the relationship between Reuben and the Price being genuine. When this subplot started, I would have bet that the Price will end up being a jerk to Reuben and use him for his own purposes, but it didn’t go that way.
  • The plot was interesting and fast pace. There were twists I guessed from the get-go and other I didn’t see it coming. Also, from what I gathered from other reviews and discussions in this book, we have a lot of characters that are also present in the original series The Riyria Revelations and I think readers who have read the first series will appreciate that.

Things I didn’t like:

Unfortunately, there were two major points that kind of ruined my enjoyment a little.

  • I picked this book because I wanted more Hadrian and Royce adventures. But this story felt very, very much Reuben’s once instead. We spent so many pages following him that I was counting the chapters until we go back to my two beloved characters. I felt like their story was just a subplot.
  • Because the story of Hadrian and Royce felt like a subplot I was expecting at the end the two stories to connect in an epic way that will redeem the fact that I spent so little time with them. But it didn’t. In the end, although the stories were connected (Hadrian and Royce looking for Rose and Reuben I knew where Rose was) it didn’t matter. No matter what Hadrian and Royce did, it barely affected the story main story. [SPOILER] They didn’t save Rose, and they didn’t kill the guy that killed her. The only thing they did is scared another character and force him to protect Gwen and her business. What? That’s it? If you take them out of the book it will make no difference and won’t really affect Reuben’s story. I don’t know, maybe I missed something, but I was left disappointed.

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