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review 2017-08-01 02:12
Rise of the Empire (The Riyria Revelations #3-4) (Audiobook)
Rise of Empire (The Riyria Revelations, #3-4) - Michael J. Sullivan,Tim Gerard Reynolds

Fantasy-lite at its most mediocre. 


My lord, that thing was long! Two books in one volume is just too much when the exposition is this dry. On top of that, whoever edited the audiobook decided that splitting chapters up into several smaller, shorter chapters was a good idea. Honestly, I think it just contributed to the feeling of "this is never going to end" that I started getting about halfway through. 


I like the characters, and the stars are mostly for them. Hadrian and Royce have good banter, and Arista, Amelia and Modina have some interesting conflicts and personal journeys to go through. Really, the women do have the better part of the story here. The problem I'm having with these is the execution. Characters speak the exposition in the most expositiony way possible. Instead of aiming for subtext and intrigue, the characters continue to spew every thought to their enemies because of course that's the smart thing to do. There are no twists or attempts to subvert tropes. There is an attempt at a cliffhanger at the end of this one, but let's face it - everything will be fine, so I'm not worried.


I'm rewatching Buffy: The Vampire Slayer right now and recently got through the season two episode "Lie to Me." At the end, Buffy asks Giles if life ever gets easier and tells Giles to lie to her. He answers:


"Yes. It's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true. The bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies and... everybody lives happily ever after."


Sullivan seems to be writing his stories with this sentiment in mind, only he forgot the part about it being a lie (with one or two minor exceptions). This is very "what you see is what you get" and maybe it's just the wrong series to be trying to read alongside A Song of Ice and Fire and Young Wizards.


Since I did like the first of the prequels, I think I'll go back to those and see if that was one-time fluke or if Sullivan just got better with time. I'll have to debate with myself if I want to bother finishing this original series though. It's just not holding my attention - though that's no fault of the narrator, whose doing the best he can with the material he's been giving and he's probably the only reason the story even has some semblance of life to it. 

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review 2017-05-04 01:12
Age of Myth by Michael J Sullivan
Age of Myth: Book One of The Legends of the First Empire - Michael J. Sullivan

Series: The Legends of the First Empire #1


This is a sword and sorcery novel where the people don’t have too many swords.  Well, the humans don’t have very many. The god-like Fhrey are a different story, but they also have magic. Well, “Art.” If I were more of fan of straight out sword and sorcery fantasy worlds, I’d probably have enjoyed this more. As it is, it was alright, and I liked some of the exchanges, especially those involving Suri, but there wasn’t anything terribly exciting about it. Some parts were downright dull.


Suri thought people were playing a game when they stated the obvious, so she’d reply to comments like, “You’re alive!” with “Your hair is black.” She’s basically pushing this up to 3 stars for me since it was a very average read otherwise.


Anyway, I can see how some people would really like this but it wasn’t the best fit for me even though I enjoyed parts of it. Overall I thought it was a bit slow and not a good enough “hook” for the rest of the series although I may decide to continue reading it as it comes out.


Previous reading update:



I read this for square #27 in booklikes-opoly “Read a book that has a tree on the cover." At 432 pages, this nets me $5 for my bank, bringing me to $56, and leaves me with two more books to read before I can roll again.

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text 2017-05-02 18:57
Reading progress update: I've read 21%.
Age of Myth: Book One of The Legends of the First Empire - Michael J. Sullivan

“Unlike your word game, the gods aren’t so obvious, which makes their games a lot more interesting to play. I mean, if Elan came right out and said tomorrow you’ll take a walk and be ripped apart by badgers, you’d be terrified and wouldn’t go out, right? So she wouldn’t tell you that. She might drop some hints, but if you didn’t pick up on the clues or couldn’t figure them out…well, that’s not her fault. Anyway, you go, walking into a horrible badger-ripping death because you didn’t know any better. That’s the way gods play their games and why I think we need to talk to the trees. So we aren’t all ripped apart by badgers.”

So far Suri is my favourite character, I think. She talks to trees.

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review 2017-03-27 22:02
Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan - My Thoughts
Age of Myth - Michael J. Sullivan

I was so excited to hear about this book - the first in a new series by one of my fave fantasy authors - and thank all the little gods, I LOVED IT!

Age of Myth tells tales from long, long ago in the world that we've come to know over the Riyria books and they aren't quite as they've been handed down over the millenia!  *LOL*

On some levels, it's your typical big fantasy book, there are elves and dwarves and humans and demons and magic and mystics, but that's just a framework.  The world-building is great - very consistent with what I have come to expect from the Riryia books, which is a good thing.  The plot works for me - others might find it similar to other things they've read before and maybe it is.  Hell, I've been reading epic fantasy for over 40 years, so yeah, many parts are familiar, but... BUT I love the author's voice and the way he creates his characters - I LOVE the characters!  They have flaws, they're not all gorgeous and capable, they have secrets and some of them have plans... BIG plans.  And as for that plot, well, I can honestly say that almost all the important twists I didn't see coming until I was expected to see them coming.

One thing that I love about Sullivan's writing is his sense of humour.  I love it!  I actually chuckle out loud while I'm reading at times.  And it's not that the book is supposed to be funny, okay, it's not Robert Asprin here.  People are funny and Sullivan knows this, so his characters are funny at times. Malcolm and Raithe especially.  Apropos of the humour, seldom am I moved to highlight passages from books, but I did this one:

"It was what the tree said to do.  And if you can't trust an ancient talking tree, what was the point of having one?" 

I loved that!!

In the end, I loved my read and I can't wait for the next book in the series to come out this summer!  (BTW, Sullivan writes his whole series before he publishes the first book, so there are no worries about not getting the end of the tale!)

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review 2017-03-22 02:33
Theft of Swords (The Riyria Chronicles #1-2) (Audiobook)
Theft of Swords - Michael J. Sullivan,Tim Gerard Reynolds

One of my friends described this series as fantasy-lite and boy is it ever. Hadrian and Royce are fun protags, but the stories are on the thin side. 


I didn't realize this volume has two different stories, so I was getting annoyed at how quickly the first story appeared to be resolving itself. But even after realizing what was going on, the writing and resolution of the first story is still too reliant on villain monologues. The story didn't take any unexpected twists and the characters don't have much depth. The second story was somewhat better in construction and the way it was paced. The fantasy elements are slow to be integrated, maybe to ease the reader into the world? Though I'm not sure why a fantasy fan would need such easing. (Ok, GRRM is on the feet-dragging side of this too, but his characters and their various relationships are complex and complicated, and the world they live in feels real. And even when the villains reveal things, you can't be sure they're telling the truth.)


The narrator has that fantasy-type voice which works well with the narration, but he doesn't have much range on the voices. A lot of the characters start sounding the same after awhile.


These are decent stories and fun, but I can't say I'm tempted to continue. I did pick up The Crown Tower during Audible's last sale, so I'll try that one next and see if some of these issues get improved upon or not. 

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