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review 2017-12-30 19:11
Grand finale of an epic.
Heir of Novron - Michael J. Sullivan

So we have reached the end of journey, where it is always darkest before the dawn. Just as it looks like several of our protagonists are about to be executed for treason and other supposed crimes plus a forced marriage to murder the empress and to usher in a new era of totalitarian control, it appears the Heir of Novron has been found. The line has not been broken but the revelations surrounding the heir's identity and the machinations as to how we got to this story ends in a pretty exciting conclusion.


I was excited to see that perhaps the middle entry faltered a bit but the last part picks up in excitement again. However, I have a bit of a mixed feeling about the endeavor. Even though the author planned out the entire series before writing and answered a question on Goodreads as to why he hasn't written a sequel (yet) the last book felt a bit tacked on and suddenly I got very strong 'Lord of the Rings' vibes from the story. The first book of this end of the trilogy was good and got my hopes up even though I thought stuff was happening too soon and wasn't sure what Sullivan planned for the last entry.


The criticisms are merited. Alric seems to regress as a character and I was very disappointed in how his story ended (although I wasn't surprised at what it meant for his sister). The death of a particular love interest felt much more like a plot device than anything else. I wasn't surprised that the heir's identity wasn't a particular character and felt Sullivan might do a bait and switch (although I picked the wrong person). The red herring character was quite annoying and I thought that gave away that the heir was someone else. Also wasn't feeling the remaining love interests that formed but luckily the romance was not a heavy part of this story.


I'm also a bit skeptical about how the events of the book play out for the Riyria, who started out as two common thieves and then ended in VERY different places at the end. Sullivan wrote he wasn't interested in writing a sequel as he felt he was fine with where he had left the characters (which might account for the last entry), but mentions in a more recent question than the one I mention above that since there is demand. I'm not sure I would read it (nor am I sure I'm interested in any of the prequels) but maybe it would be something I'd take on again someday. For now I'm content with this adventure.


So I'd say this entry is a 3.5. I enjoyed it a lot, found it to be a great read for my vacation and would recommend it if you have a long flight or are recovering and can't move much or are in the mood for a huge epic. It's a great binge read (I personally wouldn't want to leave too much time between books since Sullivan mostly avoids doing info dumps).

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review 2017-12-28 21:01
Suffers from middle entry syndrome but still good.
Rise of Empire - Michael J. Sullivan

When we last left off our heroes we perhaps had some peace and quiet with hints of perhaps trouble on the horizon. When we enter here it appears that it's more: war is on the horizon. Here in this middle entry we see a young woman being used as a figurehead for nobles in power, another falling from royalty (relatively in a willing manner) to grow as a character plus find out a bit more about our protagonists Royce and Hadrian, who I thought seemed curiously "blank" as not very fleshed out in the first omnibus. 


There is reason for that and I continued to enjoy the adventures of the Riyria. We've got palace intrigue, swashbuckling (seriously) plus old friends and fiends making appearances and the inevitable death and murder and war. 


As you can see, I still liked it a lot. I think the book still suffers a bit regarding the middle book syndrome and sometimes it felt like filler. Not a big fan of battles and fights and I thought there was a bit more of that here. Some of it is necessary for the story but it's not something I care for. There are some descriptions of death and violence and discussions of rape so while this isn't super bloody or gore or detailed it's definitely here. There is a character who is suicidal (it seems) or at least seems to fantasize quite a bit about it. Just as a heads up.


Overall, though, I'd still recommend it and am glad I can actually agree with the average Goodreads and Amazon ratings. I'm off to finish the final entry to see how it all ties together.

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review 2017-12-19 02:59
Enjoyable high fantasy
Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations) - Michael J. Sullivan

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.

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review 2017-11-09 00:00
The Death of Dulgath
The Death of Dulgath - Michael J. Sulliv... The Death of Dulgath - Michael J. Sullivan,Tim Gerard Reynolds imageAudibleheadphones_icon_1

4,5 stars

I liked it a tiny bit less than the second book, but still, it is a great fantasy that I can't recommend highly enough! These two guys are just the best.

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review 2017-10-28 00:00
The Rose and the Thorn
The Rose and the Thorn - Michael J. Sullivan imageAudibleheadphones_icon_1

[a:Tim Gerard Reynolds|4132657|Tim Gerard Reynolds|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1370714999p2/4132657.jpg] is a suuuuper narrator!

And Michael J. Sullivan knows EXACTLY how to entertain his readers.

A fairy suspense-packed tale for big girls (and boys).

Thrilling, enjoyable and simply good.


With a very high addictive potential. I know, I become a little repetitive but it is the best way to express my feelings.


The next sequel please!!!
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