Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Review - Rise of Empire (Riyria Revelations Omnibus Edition, Book 2) by Michael Sullivan (5/5 stars)

Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Size: 816 pages
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: December 14, 2011
ISBN: 978-0316187701
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Riyria Revelations Omnibus series (originally books 3-4)
Source: eGalley from NetGalley(dot)com
Rating: 5/5 stars

This is the second book in the Omnibus editions of the Riyria Revelations and includes books 3, Nyphron Rising, and 4, The Emerald Storm, from the original series. There is one more omnibus edition that ties up this series, The Heir of Novron. I got a copy of this to review through netgalley(dot)com; thanks to Orbit and Netgalley for making review copies available. This was a great addition to the series and I think if you enjoy epic fantasy you will enjoy this book.

In Nyphron Rising Royce seeks to uncover more about Hadrian’s past and Hadrian is full of doubt about continuing his work as a thief. The princess hires them to help her travel to a neighboring kingdom to seek an alliance. Along the way they discover more about Hadrian’s origins and his past. The princess also comes into her own when she plots to get Nationalist help to save a city that is about to be taken over by the Empire. We also get to see Thrace serving as a figurehead Empress and see how she struggles with the aftermath of the events that occurred in the last book.

In The Emerald Storm Arista is struggling to run Ratibor when Ersahaddon shows up demanding she help him. When Ersahaddon is murdered Arista is left with an urgent mission to find the Heir of Novron and to find the Horn of Gylindora. Hadrian and Royce take on one last job, they are to board the ship the Emerald Storm and gather intel for the Prince.

This is a very well written and enjoyable epic fantasy. This book tended more towards epic fantasy than the first book. The first book was a bit more high fantasy or swords and sorcery. There are a lot of different plot threads going on and we hear from many different groups of characters. The story is truly epic at this point; it stretches across many nations and the actions the main characters take have repercussions that are felt across kingdoms.

The best part about this series is that there are both strong female and male characters here. This is combines with a wonderfully complex, yet easy to follow, plot.

Hadrian and Royce continue to play a large part in the story. Hadrian finds out a lot about his past in this book and struggles with the cause he thinks he should be living for. Hadrian is sick of being a thief and wants something more. Royce softens some in this book, he spends a lot of time with Gwen and seems ready to settle down with her. He is still one kick-butt thief and killer, but we see another side to him as well.

The characters that really come into their own in this installment are Arista and Thrace. Arista makes huge strides in her leadership ability and undergoes a lot of hardship in this story. As the last living sorcerer she has a lot of responsibility thrust upon her and she handles it admirably. Thrace spends a good portion of the Nyphorn Rising in a kind of exhausted stupor, but as her story continues in The Emerald Storm she really begins to show potential to grow into her position as Empress.

Much is revealed about the Heir of Novron but much is also still a mystery. There are a number of well done side characters that add a lot to the story as well. We are finding that things are going on in the background that our intrepid adventurers are unaware of. I am sure all of these things will culminate in the final book.

The book is very easy to read and well written. There is a lot of humor throughout which makes it a fun read. I am amazed at how complex the story is and yet how easy it is to follow. There are a lot of names in here but I never had trouble keeping track of the characters so kudos to Sullivan for that. There is also an index of characters and maps included in the book.

Overall I really enjoyed this book a lot and highly recommend it to fantasy fans. If you enjoy Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, etc I think you will really enjoy this series. This book is more epic fantasy than the first one is, but there is still a lot of adventure and action mixed in with all of the intrigue and politics. This whole series is highly recommended.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge
- TBR Pile Reading Challenge

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