on 18 March 2012
Okay, so we come to the end of either an epic trilogy or a six-part series, depending on how you look at it. This final omnibus contains the final two installments of Royce and Hadrian's story, Wintertide and Percepliquis. And I'm pleased to report that the are probably the best yet.
The first story resolves the New Empire plotline, as Hadrian goes undercover as a knight in order to save both the titular heir and the captive Arista. Meanwhile, the evil heads of the empire ready themselves to take full control, with only the shattered, isolated Empress Modina standing in their way.
This installment, while dark and heartbreaking in places, was a joy to read as it wrapped up a whole bunch of characters' destinies, as well as readying everything for the grand finale. The ending of Wintertide in particular (I certainly won't spoil it here) is a real emotional suckerpunch.
The second segment, Percepliquis, sees the return of the elves to the world, sweeping all before them in an unstoppable wave of destruction. Hadrian, Royce and all their surviving allies must form a desperate band in order to find the one thing rumoured to be able to stop them...
Again, the story was a delight; we finally get answers to all the mysteries of the series so far, some of which were signposted, some of which come entirely out of left field. Revelations will break, characters will die, and desperate last stands will decide the fate of the world.
The great thing about this series has been its feel of classic fantasy nostalgia, allied to snappy modern writing. Sullivan is a real find, and I would recommend that any self-respecting lover of the genre search out all three omnibi and devour the whole lot at once. Great stuff.
on 24 July 2013
Heir of Novron is the final part in Michael J. Sullivan's Riyria Revelations. It is an omnibus consisting of the final two books in the series, Wintertide and Percipliquis. Wintertide is in many ways the climax and conclusion to many of the series' main plotlines. Answers start to come thick and fast, amid twists and turns which are liable to give you whiplash.
For the most part, Wintertide is a book focused on Hadrian, with Royce and particularly Arista taking a backseat to a lot of the action. We get to see Hadrian in some really entertaining scenes. Wintertide is Sullivan's biggest Riyria book yet (until Percipliquis) - it's packed with action, tension, revelations and a lot of darkness. But cutting through this is the humour. It's not overdone, but I'd say this is the funniest book in the series, as well as being the tension filled climax it needs to be.
Percipliquis, on the other hand, is as dark and twisted as you're likely to ever see Sullivan become. It's a difficult book to review without spoilers, as most of what happens is related to the overall mythology of the world which Sullivan has layered in since the start of Book One. If Wintertide ties up the plots of books three and four, Percipliquis harps back to Theft of Swords and the history of Elan. It's not clear until you reach this point how Sullivan has lined up his pieces, all ready to come together for this final book. Royce and Hadrian are very much at the centre of the novel, but this time they are not alone. Nobody is left hanging in Percipliquis - everyone has their part to play. It's a huge book, but the pages move ten times quicker.
Sullivan answers everything and ties up the series with an amazingly tight ending. There are moments of joy, sadness and even Myron the monk gets his moment to shine. More so than any of the other books in the series, Percipliquis is like classic fantasy - a quest novel with elves and dwarves, wizards and dragons (kinda). But don't let that stop you - the difference here is that behind everything is a rich tapestry of worldbuilding, careful plotting and characterisation that Sullivan has been careful to line up throughout the series, meaning no matter how clichéd it may look on the outside, there is always a shock coming round to smack you in the face.
Heir of Novron is that rare beast in fantasy: an ending to a six book fantasy epic. It's an ending that feels well justified and foreshadowed to near perfection. Royce and Hadrian have come a long way together, and this is the ending they deserve. A fantastic conclusion to one of the most entertaining fantasy series in recent memory. If you want a deep, engrossing read that's nothing but entertaining at every step, please give the Riyria Revelations a go. It's the story of two thieves who become embroiled in an epic story to save the world. What more could a fantasy fan want?
on 23 May 2012
This is the best thing I have bought this year. I could not put this whole series down, well it was kindle so I could not take my eyes from the screen.
Recommended to me by amazon, so I took a chance and started reading 'Theft of Swords'. I knew after reading the first chapter of 'Theft of Swords' I was in for something special but I could not imagine how great this series would grow to be as it continued with 'Rise of Empire' and then ended with 'Heir of Novron'.
I generally do not write reviews but this series had fantastic characters, amazing plot and great humour. I felt I had to add my voice to the positive reviews and say a huge thank you to the author.
Wonderful series, breathtaking ending.
on 1 March 2012
This is an omnibus edition and contains the books 'Wintertide' & 'Percepliquis'.
Part One -
With the victory of the Empire over the last free nations all but imminent the impending marriage of the Empress is announced. An Act which is to be shortly followed by the tragic announcement of her death. Arista becomes a captive of Bishop Saldur and used as a bargaining chip to force Hadrian to act as Saldur's Assassin.
Part Two -
The True heir is free and rulership of the empire is secured in time to be revealed as irrelevant in the face of an unstoppable Inhuman Invasion. The last words of Esrahaddon are the only clue to the threat they face. For the last time Hadrian, Royce and Arista band together both with and against all their old foes and more in the search for the legendary city of Percepliquis. What they find there will redefine who they are and the History of Noviron.
The book synopsis doesnt really do this volume justice as spoilers would ruin the act by act revelations. And thats what this volume does. The previous 2 volumes(or 4 books) have set up a wonderful world background, history and set of relationships. The author avails himself of the fabulous backdrop to outright and shamelessly emotionally manipulate the reader here. A series of switches, revelations and lies now come apart. Anything is possible. Its the end of the road - for humanity and unfortunately for a number of people we were quite fond of.
Say goodbye to fun and familiar faces and places. The rather fun read of the past books is now overcome with a grim and forboding feel as the end of the world approaches. Particularly for part 2 'Percepliquis' - Heroic becomes Epic. this is fantasy turned up to 11. And yes everyones history is finally revealed. Worth waiting for - definitely. Any issues I had with backstory are answered here and the reasons for withholding become not just apparent but applauded as great storytelling crafting.
Obviously a well polished work of love.
on 29 January 2012
I am sad to see it end, but the end came. I still felt like this was one of those "I feel like home" books, because it reminds me of the books I first read and fell in love with. Which makes this the style of fantasy that is my first love, and my true love.
While reading there came a point where I just could not get enough, it was when the Percepliquis story started because it meant the end. I could not put the book down, but still I did put it down because at the same time I did not want it to end. I struggled between needing to know! And not wanting to know since then there would be no more. Of course the wanting to know struggle won, that is a given.
It was a good ending to this series and at times I giggled cos it was funny, at times I wanted to shout noo! And at times I said I knew it!! Did I really knew it? Well, I claim I did but in the end I have a million different versions of what might be going on, who might be who and all the rest. The book took me for a merry ride and gave me lots of surprises.
And what about our beloved heroes then? Oh I Heart Royce, but then I have always loved elves. I really fell for Hadrian in this one too because he is so chivalrous and sweet. And there were HEAs too, I do love them. Especially with one couple I did not know would meet. There are so many wonderful characters I would love to mention but that would take time. Though when thinking about what I have read I find myself startled cos I realize that I do not like Modina, I liked Thrace, but not Modina, the empress.
It was a wonderful conclusion to a great series and it had me at the edge of my seat. This is what I want my fantasy to be like, a great cast, a great story, a wonderful world and a rich history. In the end I would sure like to read more from this world, and certainly from this author.
Of course I recommend this series to all. And do not be afraid of the page count, since I know some are. Fantasy books are huge, and this book is actually two books in one if that makes you feel better ;)
on 6 May 2016
This is just an incredible series. Heir of Novron includes books 5 (Wintertide) and 6 (Percepliquis) and concludes the Riyria Revelations.
There are so many plot threads and twists going on that I couldn't do them justice in a review but I can say this: everything is resolved brilliantly and I was very satisfied with the ending. The author has so many plates spinning but he is in complete control throughout. The pacing is perfect with a healthy balance of dialogue, plot, exposition, mystery and description of places.
Hadrian and Royce are wonderful creations and really drive the plot but I have to single out two other characters who were a pleasure to read about.
First is the princess/ wizardess Arista. She's a fully realised protagonist. She's: smart, talented, resourceful, brave and kind but also impulsive, reckless, dangerous and mercurial. Every time Arista is on the page, be it bantering with Hadrian or exploring her powers I was mesmerised. She is one of the best characters I've ever encountered in the genre.
Next is the antagonist Merrick Marius. Yet another superlative creation. What I love about him is that he's such a genuine foil for Royce, Hadrian and Arista. He's not some cardboard cut out bad guy; he's highly intelligent and he understands that Royce and Hadrian are not to be taken lightly. I loved any time he was on the page; his dialogue with Royce and Hadrian sizzles and is a pleasure to read.
I really cared about these characters and the author deserves a lot of credit, because it takes skill to reach the reader in such a deep and meaningful way.
There are many other honourable mentions (Ameilla, Myron); further enriching the world. This feels like a world full of a multitude of personalties and they're not simply there for Royce and Hadrian's benefit. There was only one character I didn't care for: Modina. She was too aloof, smug and condescending for my liking; especially when as a reader you know that she was once the pleasant and humble girl Thrace but that's a minor gripe.
The plot is labyrinthine but at the same time easy to follow and the subtle reveals, twists and turns keep the story fresh and exciting; the bind up is 900 pages long; but it's such a joy to read that you'd never think it. Once again we have a massive story arc but at the same time two complete stories; it's real talent to execute this.
on 18 November 2014
Below here I state my opinion of the entire series - the Riyria Revelations - rather than just this individual book.
The last couple of decades every high fantasy author has been trying so hard to be non-traditional in what they write that the genre has become skewed towards weirdness too much and now something like this brilliant work by Michael J. Sullivan is suddenly very different from what everyone writes these days... So, while some readers may discard it as "too traditional", "typical" or even "cliché", it actually isn't at all, in the light of those trends!
Anyway, the Riyria Revelations can only be considered "old-school" (i.e. - a sort of "LoTR" style) in terms of things such as the species of characters used in it - Elves, Dwarves, Men and Goblins. But, as Mr. Sullivan himself rightly says, it doesn't matter what the author calls them - what matters is how they are used by him and whether the whole thing is well written. And this one is brilliantly written, and very well thought out overall! When you read half of the first book, you might mistakenly think the story is a bit naive and simplistic. But then, after that you gradually start learning that certain people and things were not what you thought they were - truths about them get gradually revealed (hence, the title of the entire series). Some new misconceptions and lies (by characters, of course, not by the author - he never lies to you; he just lets you foolishly believe in the misconceptions and lies by characters) are mixed in at times along the way, just to throw you off the scent. And then you get to the really big and shocking revelations in the final book... It's like a combination of high fantasy with detective fiction.
And the writing style is always smooth and the whole thing is very easy to read, without being childish. The (very important for me) ratio of "world building and character development / number of words being used for it" is really high. And it's a really good story, with all types of characters, including "grey" ones. But, while none of the protagonists is a Marty Stu or a Mary Sue, they are still written in a way that the reader inevitably sympathizes with them. And that is a welcome and refreshing change from a lot of recent fantasy literature, where too often we have to follow the story through the eyes and twisted thoughts of villains - frankly, at some point that becomes frustrating and hard to read for me.
To sum it up - this is one of the best and most well written high fantasy series of all time, in my humble uneducated opinion.
on 4 October 2013
Wow. What an outstanding book. I've loved this entire series but this final book was just even more amazing than all the others.
Heir of Novron is split into two books like the previous volumes and picks up right where the previous book left off: Hadrian and Royce have returned from their adventures in Tur Del Fur and now need to find the Heir. Arista, having tried to rescue Degan Gaunt from the Aquesta dungeons, is now imprisoned herself. Modina is still used as a puppet empress by Regents Saldur and Ethelred, aided by loyal friend Amilia, but is slowly growing out of her shell. All the events are accelerating and colliding, and as Esrahaddon warned in Emerald Storm in Rise of Empire, they need the Heir to find the Horn of Gylindora... because the Uli Vermeer is ending, and then no one will be safe...
Oh my god! This was just such a rollercoaster ride. The first book in this volume (Wintertide) as by far the shorter of the two but was by no means poorer in quality or less exciting. So much happened in this book and so many of sub-plots and stuff were brought to a conclusion, and some of the antagonists met their fate. Having said that though, it did kind of just feel like we were going through the motions and taking up time before we went into the final book. But the end of this book was just outstanding. It was literally one of the tensest endings to a book I think I've ever read! And I was so glad that I could dip straight into the next book after that. It was just exhilarating!
Percepliquis was a longer and even more exciting rollercoaster. I didn't even think it was possible for this series to become even more exciting but it did! It was a rollercoaster of emotion as well. Pretty much all of the minor characters from the previous books are revisited at some point which was nice to see, and it was nice that some had some nice character development even though it was the end of this series. It was nice to see more of characters like Mauvin and Alric too, and even Magnus. It was nice to see all these characters one last time, although unfortunately not all of these characters survive to the final page...
It was nice as well that Hadrian, Royce and Arista still grew and developed so much in this last book as well, even though this series is nearly at an end. Royce particularly had a lot more character development which is good, particularly since he arguably hadn't had as much character development up to this point.
I was also amazed at the world building, still. Partially in reflection over the whole series but also in this book alone. I was amazed to think back and reflect on how detailed a world Sullivan has built, and how intricate a story he has written as well. With some of the revelations in this book I thought back and could see the brickwork laid in earlier books but hadn't realised it. Sullivan has just thought out the whole history of everything and everyone so thoroughly, it was great to read.
Overall, an amazing end to an amazing series. It's just so exciting and well thought out and just... yeah. I've LOVED this series, one of my new favourite series!
Third and final volume in the Riyria Revelations fantasy series. This is not a jumping on point, and new readers should start with Theft Of Swords: The Riyria Revelations.
As with the previous two volumes in this series, this is a reissue of books that the writer self published a while back. The whole volume is divided into two parts, which are basically novels in their own right. This volume runs just close to nine hundred pages, and the first part takes up a third of that whilst the second is almost double it's length.
Also as before there are maps and a glossary which lists all the characters [among other things].
Said first part picks up from where the second book left off. And sees Hadrian thrown into the middle of danger as he is forced into making a deal. Which lands him in the middle of a situation that is rather alien to him.
The writer deftly juggles this situation and all the viewpoint characters, keeping things moving very nicely along. The prose is superbly readable. And the villains have very credible motivations. A lot is resolved in the end, and some of the way this is done initially comes as a bit of a surprise. But it is in keeping with the way the characters are written.
None of which prepares you for the final few twists of this part. A good writer needs to be able to make you care about what happens to their characters, and that certainly is the case here.
The final part sends a lot of the characters off on a quest. It doesn't entirely lose touch with all the rest, though. And although it's longer than any part in this series before it really justifies it's length and never feels dragged out for the sake of it.
Lots more twists and turns follow, and that does lead to some very satisfying resolutions. This does manage as well to bring the whole trilogy to a complete and very satisfying conclusion.
The first two books in the series were great. This one is excellent. And well worth a five star rating.
on 9 April 2012
Sullivan's Riyria Revelations are quite honestly some of the best books I have read. However, they are not flawless, and I only give five stars when I am truly astounded.
More recent fantasies seem to enjoy crushing my hope for humanity, alienating the idea of morality and goodness to such an extent that I believe the authors are pure cynics/pessimists (not mentioning any names Martin). These books restore it, while at the same time maintaining the harsh realism of the world. Characters do die, the world is not perfect; people lie and life is unfair. We don't see the same extent of torture and weakness of will in the characters as you might in these harsh books, nor the naive archetypes you see in others. The characters do have their traits and their weaknesses, and if they undergo a traumatic event they change, but there is always hope.
The story is concise and interesting. The scenery, challenges and current affairs are always changing. Sullivan doesn't get caught up in minor details like Robert Jordan did, not going into details of boring and pointless affairs. None of the story feels like filler, all being relevant to either the plot, our interest, or our understanding of the characters. Sometimes when a book gives us flashbacks I feel the urge the skip them, in here I drink them in, learning about our heroes' pasts. The handling of relationships isn't overly dramatic nor puerile. I feel as if they are also feasible things, with feasible dialogue. I remember cringing at romantic lines in other works, wanting to hide my face at the gross handling of it; while in these I just grin like an idiot because it feels strong and pure, and based on real groundwork.
The story telling in here is in someway unique. Sullivan doesn't have many different plot lines going on, rather a single plot line which has many different weaves. He doesn't get weighed down by stories which he has lost track of or doesn't know what to do with, but maintains complexity and alternate interpretations. Often a seeming plot twist isn't actually a plot twist at all, but Sullivan choosing to open the range of possible predictions even further.
Now onto the negatives. First, this is probably exclusive to being a Brit, but seeing the word 'Mom' in a fantasy book wants to make me take a loaded shotgun to my head. Okay, maybe an exaggeration, but seriously; WHY SULLIVAN, WHY? There are other Americanisms which I feel slightly spoil the Medieval European esque-ness of the series, but hey, you Americans are probably fine with it. Second, there are a lot coincidences. These don't ruin the book for me as they mostly seem feasible, but they are a little dubious. I tend to follow a self-made rule on whether it ruins the book for me; If you can believe that the coincidence is a reason the characters succeeded and therefore could have the book concerning them written, rather than the coincidence having to happen to make the book successfully continue the characters, then it doesn't ruin the book. It's kinda the difference between a book writing itself and the author forcing the book to work.
Anyway, apart from that, I guess at times the characters seem a little shallow, but otherwise, an amazing effort, and an amazing story. Cheers Sullivan, you just made my life slightly better!