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4.6 out of 5 stars
Rise Of Empire: The Riyria Revelations
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on 7 May 2016
(Major spoilers for Theft of swords and minor spoilers for Rise of Empire)

If you enjoyed the first two novels within the theft of swords bind up, you'll adore this. Rise of Empire contains book 3 (Nyphron Rising) and 4 (The Emerald storm). This was - as expected - a joy to read. The end of Book 2 (Avempartha) really increased the scope of the world and whilst we still have the fantastic banter and chemistry between Royce and Hadrian we're also introduced to more places, go on bigger adventures and meet a multitude of new characters including Thrace's saviour and assistant (now that she's the empress Modina) Ameilla - fantastic- and the mysterious Nimbus, who shows Modina how to survive court politics.

There's a new antagonist for the guys in Merrick Marius - one of the best creations I've read in a long time, he's a genuine intellectual equal for Riyria and a fantastic addition to the series.

Arista shows fantastic growth in these novels too; I thought she was excellent in theft of swords but she really comes into her own here and her adventures with Royce and Hadrian are great. She becomes a linchpin within the story and it's all the better for it.

The novels have the perfect blend of humour, punchy dialogue, intrigue, battles and mystery. A vast world and plot are presented to the reader but it alls presented and handled meticulously by the author so that it's easy to follow and most importantly: it's fun. So many fantasy novels are convoluted, gratuitously violent and dour for the sake of it but here any sadness or serious moment feels earned and you can really emphasise with the characters.

Enjoy the journey.

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on 29 February 2012
Rise of empire collects together two of the six Riyria Revelations books into an omnibus edition.
It has also separately been published as 'Nyphron Rising' & 'The Emerald Storm'.

Part One - Nyphron Rising.
Thrace has been named Empress Modina and heir of Noviron. Traumatised and valued only for her symbolic value her fate lies in the hands of a former scullery maid Amilia who is appointed as her Aide. Bishop Saldur has esconced himself as the power behind the throne. The reestablished Empire declares itself and sets about conquering the remaining independent kingdoms. Arista - now ambassador - seeks to unite the remaining kingdoms against the empire finds no-one will take a witch seriously. Hadrian discovers his family past and the heavy burden of inherited obligations. The noose closes around the free kingdoms as the Imperial armies close in on the city of Ratibor. Arista and Hadrian find that the burden of responsibility can extract a heavy price from those you care for.

Part Two - The Emerald Storm.
The Empire turns its eyes to the key defensive city of Melengar. If it falls so does all oposition. Royce and Hadrian team up for the last time to intercept Imperial agents on the high seas posing as crew of the Emerald Storm. Pirates , Goblins and Royce's old partner are only the most obvious treats on the trip. Arista begins to master her magic and tries to reach the empress to end the war. Old friends are revealed to be old enemies and lost friends are found and lost again.

The volume gives us an epic journey with Royce and Hadrian. Arista is forced to assume responsibilities and face their cost. And the church exposes itself as the major player behind the new Empire. We get a road trip across the known world and the major actors have their pasts exposed and their future paths set out for them.

Its not all about the main cast. The secondary cast is expanded and developed.
The main theme is self discovery - particularly Arista and Hadrian. The role of the Heir and the Heir Pretender are set out and the final act set up.

The two stories are good. What sets the series apart is the ability to deliver two solid stories - and deliver real movement on the development of the main series arc. The characters are a joy to read, and the cast of actors grows , but not out of control. The theme of global conflict is delivered while keeping the scope of the story confined to a few principal actors.

There are a few suprises and a lot of painful growth, while keeping this a fairly easy read.
The bad news - neither of the stries is as climactic as Avempartha. But what it lacks in epic confrontation it delivers in emotion.
The good news - the next two books deliver everything you could possibly want - in spades.
This is a good read with familiar faces, its a step on the way , and delivers backstory in spades.
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on 1 August 2017
This whole series was a waste of my time and money. The first 50 pages were refreshing and interesting enough to prompt me to buy the rest of the books. To my dismay, the book(s) took a nose-dive soon enough and became tedious and the story extremely predictable.
The writer has put no effort into visual description of characters and scenes for the most part, so that most of the books is a haze to me (partly because I skimmed over seas upon seas of irrelevant and boring text). The heroes are pretty one-dimensional and goody-good, which will disappoint fans of modern fantasy writing. Everyone is willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. Bad guys are predictably bad, and so on.
To make things worse, a couple of steroetypical female seers are also thrown in, serving more as spoilers of major sub-plot outcomes, which kind of makes the point of reading the story moot. There are a few surprises surely, especially near the end, but not enough to overcome the monotony and lack of imagination that dominates the series for the most part.
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on 30 August 2015
This is the second of a series of three books regarding the continuing adventures of a couple of medieval-style scoundrels who call themselves Riyria. It is a fantasy-world story of epic proportions told in six stories paired-up into the three books. I don't want to give much away else it will spoil the pure reading enjoyment for those readers yet to discover this world. It's serious business but told in an enjoyable and light-hearted way that detracts nothing from the gravity of the battles and political intrigue; the tension heightened by the writer's willingness to kill off main characters when called-upon by a sense of reality in the storyline. The whole of the main, over-arching story that runs through the books has been carefully planned and not just made up as it went along - and it's all so neatly tied up at the end I could have cried. The twists and turns are unpredictable as each of them could go in any one of several directions right up until the point when it happens - a very cleverly and skilfully crafted piece of epic writing that had me turning pages and desperate for more almost throughout the whole of the three books (six stories), and that's the first time in ten years I could have said that about any book (or, better still, series of books) that I've been reading. Please read No. 1 THEFT OF SWORDS first, and work your way towards No. 3 HEIR OF NOVRON afterwards.
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on 24 December 2016
After a slow start in both books in this volume the story grabbed me. A particularly dreary middle section of book 2 that deluged me with nautical terms and info almost threatened a DNF. But in the end I was glad I pressed on.
It all ended very quickly and with a lot hanging in the air.
World building is great, although some of the place and area names are just a bit too close to places in the U.K. Where I live!
I would recommend this to anyone, notwithstanding the difficulty I had with certain sections.
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on 29 April 2012
Volume 2 of the Riyria Revelations: Rise of Empire, continues with the third and fourth parts of the saga surrounding the legendary thieves that comprise Riyria: Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melbourne, the sorceress Princess Arista, the newly crowned Empress Modina (aka Thrace), her Secretary Amelia, a host of returning characters and introduces a host of new ones, most of whom are remarkably amicable.
All of the characters are well written, the action sequences entertaining and Sullivan plays well with your emotions throughout but it is remarkably powerful at a number of key points. The best thing about the entire series though is that there is never a dull moment. Each of the characters is so easy to engage with, yet each is slightly over the top in one way or another and so many simple everyday themes and scenarios though some are blown out of proportion and absolutely everything ties together in a remarkably well written but oh-so excessively storybook fashion.
The world is engaging and you can really get into the characters, despite having more than seventy named characters, the only people that you see from their own perspectives are Hadrian, Royce, Arista, Saldur (he has one chapter), Thrace and Amelia and these five, cover almost all you need to know and read.

I strongly recommend reading this novel, but really it must be read as a part of the trilogy and all three are well worth the read and provide so much entertainment. So certainly purchase this volume but also purchase Volume 1: Theft of Swords (Books 1 & 2) and Volume 3: Heir of Novron.


Book 3: Arista and the dashing duo (despite "absolutely, most definitely being retired") set out on yet another adventure to discover allies for the Kingdom of Melgnar (In competition with Alric), to learn the identities of the heirs of the demigod Novron and his Invulnerable Guardian, learn about Hadrian's past and to create a peasant uprising in time for an invasion, whilst making all three of them truly notorious and making valuable friends and lethal enemies along the way.

Book 4: Arista has assumed Governance of the city she and Hadrian liberated, but finds her tutor Esrahaddon dying at the hand of Merric (Royce's former partner - turned mortal enemy). She abandons her duties in order to try and fulfil his last wishes, ultimately ending in her capture.
Meanwhile, after intercepting intelligence from the new Imperial Secretary of War Lord Merric (same man); Royce and Hadrian embark on a dangerous seafaring mission on behalf of King Alric, meeting a host of characters from Hadrian's past, dangerous enemies and unlikely allies. Their quest culminating in a race to save a port city from destruction, but was it all a trap?
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on 16 July 2012
This is the second omnibus volume of the Ryria Revelations, and like the previous book collects two stories; in this case, Nyphron Rising and The Emerald Storm. Having introduced most of the main players in the introductory pair of books, Sullivan is now free to work on building his world, and deepening the plots that the characters find themselves enmeshed in.

We are reacquainted with the master thieves Hadrian and Royce, as once again they are caught up in events that will shape the future of the world, despite their best efforts. Once again, Hadrian presents the more altruistic, heroic outlook of the the pair, with Royce the more pragmatic, cynical partner. Their differences, and the banter that arises because of them, continue to delight; the fantasy equivalent of a buddy-buddy cop movie, if you will.

Sullivan also makes sure to focus on his strong supporting cast as well. Special mention goes to the Empress Modina, the puppet ruler of an evil conspiracy; her desperation and despair is beautifully, heart-breakingly portrayed through her relationship with new POV character Amilia, a humble serving girl similarly brought up in stature to become the empress's secretary. It is to Sullivan's credit that these more political segments are just as exciting as the derring-do shown by the main protagonists.

Arista, the headstrong princess from the first books, also comes into her own here, both exploring her own impressive abilities and striving to play her own part in protecting her kingdom. The added focus on these strong characters as well as the main duo helps both to widen the scope of the storyline and to add tension and excitement as we switch between the various plotlines.

There's certainly no dearth of excitement, either, as Sullivan throws perilous sea voyages, full-scale battles and dark sorcery at his heroes. More hints about what will become the true threat of the trilogy are thrown in, but mostly each story works just as well as a standalone adventure as it does a part of the greater saga. Sullivan continues to impress; he's a real find in a somewhat stagnating market. I can't wait for the conclusion.
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on 3 June 2012
Having read the first volume, Theft of Swords, in this trilogy, I could not help myself, I had to have the second straight away, and began reading almost as quickly! Once again the story moves along at a good lick, with barely a pause between storylines which were interwoven with skill and dexterity by Michael J Sullivan. Once again I found myself rooting for Royce and Hadrian as they got into (and out of) one messy scrape after another, and always with that glass half empty glass half full humour going on between them. So very pleased these books popped up in my Amazon Recommendations, I can not recommend them highly enough myself.

If you like Fantasy and you're still hesitant, don't be, get out there and read them! You will not regret it, because these books have just about everything in them you could want. Action, adventure, intrigue, a dash of romance, and humour found in just about all of it! Fabulous. I have already bought the third one!
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on 8 March 2012
I bought the first book as it was recomended by Amazon - and thought it was good. Not a top one, but a good enjoyable read. The one fault was that Hadrian and Royce did not seem fleshed out enough. This is rectified in the second book, and you get a much better idea about what makes the characters tick. Other characters such as princess Arissa are fleshed out more also.

Like the first book this is split into two seperate stories, which works well. Less gumpf and more plotting/action.

My only gripe is it would have been nice to see Myron the Monk again. He was brilliant in the first book and it's a real same we have not seem him again since. Same with King Alric - it would be nice to see how he is developing as King - but you hardly see him

Overall I recomend this as I did the last one and am looking forward to book 3.
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on 4 October 2013
Rise of Empire continues where Theft of Swords left off. Thrace has been claimed by the Church and as the heir of Novron and the new Empress and re-named Modina, whilst the real heir remains hidden and only the wizard Esrahaddon knows where he is. Melengar is threatened by this new Empire, and so Arista enlists the help of Royce and Hadrian to help save it before it's too late.

The main characters continue to develop and grow in this book. Arista possibly develops the most throughout the course of the book, and I really started to like her more in this book. Royce and Hadrian are their usual awesome selves, but even they continue to grow.

Each book in this volume is a self-contained story, but as the overall story of the series is obviously progressing now there are more distinct storylines that run through both books. I really loved the first book in this volume and thought it was really interesting but I was less interested in the second book which just seemed a little overly drawn out and just... kinda pointless to be honest!

Overall though, it was a really good and interesting book and I'm looking forward to reading the next volume and finishing this series off!
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