‘Theft of Swords’ by Michael J. Sullivan



Genres: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Adventure, Sword and Sorcery

Similar books:

  • Throne of the Crescent Moon
  • The Belgariad
  • The Dragonlance Chronicles

Previous books by the author/in the series I’ve reviewed:

  • None yet!

Rating: Recommended.  (How I Rate Books)

Here’s the TL;DR for my review (SPOILERS!):

  • Pros
    • Good Fun
    • Good action
    • Earnest recreation of Old School-style High Fantasy. The plot was very well done, almost a fairy tale-esque sort of thing. It was good execution.
    • Fun prose.
  • Mixed
    • The characters were Consistently Defined, which is good because it meant the characters all seemed like real people. Unfortunately I thought a good number of them were a bit boring. Some of them were a bit too Old School-style High Fantasy for my taste (dastardly rogues with hearts of gold, princess who must be saved from tower, evil uncle…).
    • Not super imaginative setting. If you like Brandon Sanderson’s/China Mieville/Robert Jackson Bennett/Elizabeth Bear/N.K. Jemison’s worldbuilding, this isn’t it. To me, this read like the ‘Belgariad’ or ‘Dragonlance Chronicles.’ If you want an old-school setting, this is a good one. If you don’t maybe avoid this one.
    • This book is possibly the most purebred High Fantasy book I’ve ever read. If you want to read about a pair of loveable rogues who go on adventures, this is probably right up your ally. If not, then maybe avoid.
  • Cons
    • LONG. This book is a combo of two smaller stories, staring the same characters. Once I finished the first book in this I lost the will to continue.


This is a re-read for me, as a part of the ‘Sword and Laser Podcast bookclub.’ I’m keeping this review fairly short.

This book is probably the most prototypical High Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery story I’ve ever read. This book features elves, dwarves, princesses in towers, evil uncles, strange magicians trapped in underground prisons, and great monsters. I’d hesitate to call this book an Epic Fantasy, because the scope of this book remains fairly small throughout.

This is an overall solid novel, which reminded me of old school books like ‘the Belgariad’ or ‘ the Dragonlance Chronicles’ while feeling more modern in prose style.

But I’ve got to be honest, I got bored halfway through. Of all my favorite sub-genres in the Fantasy genre, High Fantasy of the DnD, Sword and Sorcery subgenre is one of my least favorite. While I can certainly recognize the quality of this, this just isn’t my style. That said, I can see why people like this (the author executed the ‘old school fantasy’ vibe really well). I hope a good number of you give this book and series a try too.

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