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Heir Of Novron: The Riyria Revelations Paperback – 26 Jan 2012
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A fast-paced tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.
About the Author
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Michael J. Sullivan has lived in Vermont, North Carolina and Virginia. He worked as a commercial artist and illustrator, founding his own advertising agency in 1996, which he closed in 2005 to pursue writing full time. He currently resides in Fairfax, Virginia with his wife and three children. The author's website can be found at michaelsullivan-author.com and on twitter @author_sullivan.
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Poorly formed characters doing stupid things.
Breakaways from the main story for things like two kids playing with a raccoon.
Very little action and incredibly poor battle scenes.
Useless heroes unless the plot says otherwise.
Two village girls effectively do the most to save the world...somehow going from waifs to people who can run an empire.
Bad guys with ever more ludicrous and convoluted ideas who pass up killing our heroes more often than a James Bond villain.
At times the plot is idiotic.
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.
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.