Had this book on my radar for several years, finally bought the first book ('Theft') and then let it sit in my room for a few more years before finally deciding to take the plunge and read it during a long plane flight. It was a perfect fit!
Royce and Hadrian are two men who have just been framed for killing the king. The princess frees them and tells them to kidnap her own brother (!) to keep her brother safe from whoever the murderers are.What seems like a straightforward adventure of palace intrigue unfolds into a much larger conspiracy/epic story that will have major consequences for Royce, Hadrian, and everyone around them. If they can ever get straight up answers from the wizard with no hands.
At least, that's what I have so far. I was intrigued to learn Sullivan wrote the entire series up before publishing them. He writes up his reasoning on Goodreads as he wanted to spread out the world-building and character development (so while Royce and Hadrian seem underdeveloped in the first two books to me it seems that this may have been intentional). I really liked that he was upfront about this and as someone who had to abandon the 'Wheel of Time' series long before it was even being close to completion (as in, there were only 6 or 7 books out at the time I read them) and who sympathizes with 'Game of Thrones' fans who want the next book I thought that was good. Not everyone would like for this approach which I understand (I think this may also mean I have to read the other two close together or binge-read or else I risk waiting too long and losing the threads).
Thus far I enjoy it. I can understand if some feel the book may feel more like a "sketch" of how the magic systems work, who are the various "peoples" who live in this world, the backstories of our two protagonists, etc. And although the series begins with a rather exciting sequences I wasn't quite feeling the writing and was concerned the book would be mediocre at best. But ultimately I found the series refreshing so far. These stories might seem super familiar (young prince ends up seeing the world before becoming a leader, isolated monk finally explores the walls beyond his abbey, young woman is revealed to be something that will have huge consequences for the rest of the series, etc.) but I found Sullivan's writing engaging. I appreciated the occasional insertions of dry humor, which can sometimes difficult to achieve in writing. I felt like the second book ('Avempartha') was slow and not quite as good but it picks up when you start seeing the threads tie together and the action really picks up.
It's a refreshing read. I'm not sure I've read too many books that were published in this way: written up in its entirety and then released (plus combined in huge omnibuses/omnibi [?]). I enjoy binge-reading and will wait years and years for a series/trilogy to be completed before even looking at the first entry. So I'm curious how the rest of the saga stacks up.
To warn the reader there are scenes of blood and gore and battle. They aren't too gory but they do happen and characters you like do get injured and will die (and a few you don't also will also suffer). There is one scene of what I think is an attempted rape (at least, it seemed that way to me?) in the beginning of Book 2. Sullivan answered a question on Goodreads where he specifically states he wanted a book that was accessible for all ages and wrote the book for his then-13 year old daughter who has dyslexia.
I'm also not sure if you can find the individual books separately so if the size/weight/other issues regarding holding a physical book is a concern then an e-book or audiobook is the way to go. I had considered not bringing this book despite purchasing it specifically for my long flight because of going through airport security but in the end I'm glad I did. I had also been afraid I'd end up hating the book or finding it not worth finishing and therefore having this huge block to tote around but it helped me pass the time on the flight that had no free in-flight entertainment. A perfect pick for a long flight or if you are perhaps recovering from an injury and illness and need a long escapist read.