Thursday, 28 February 2013

Heir of Novron by Michael J. Sullivan

For my review of the first in this series, Theft of Swords, click here. And for my review of the second book, Rise of Empireclick here.

The New Empire intends to celebrate its victory over the Nationalists with a day that will never be forgotten. On the high holiday of Wintertide, they plan to execute two traitors (Degan Gaunt and the Witch of Melengar) as well as force the Empress into a marriage of their own design. But they didn’t account for Royce and Hadrian finally locating the Heir of Novron—or the pair’s desire to wreak havoc on the New Empire’s carefully crafted scheme.

Heir of Novron is the final part in Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations. It is an omnibus consisting of the final two books in the series, Wintertide and Percipliquis. Wintertide is in many ways the climax and conclusion to many of the series’ main plotlines. Answers start to come thick and fast, amid twists and turns which are liable to give you whiplash.

For the most part, Wintertide is a book focused on Hadrian, with Royce and particularly Arista taking a backseat to a lot of the action. We get to see Hadrian in some really entertaining scenes. Wintertide is Sullivan’s biggest Riyria book yet (until Percipliquis) – it’s packed with action, tension, revelations and a lot of darkness. But cutting through this is the humour. It’s not overdone, but I’d say this is the funniest book in the series, as well as being the tension filled climax it needs to be.

Percipliquis, on the other hand, is as dark and twisted as you’re likely to ever see Sullivan become. It’s a difficult book to review without spoilers, as most of what happens is related to the overall mythology of the world which Sullivan has layered in since the start of Book One. If Wintertide ties up the plots of books three and four, Percipliquis harps back to Theft of Swords and the history of Elan. It’s not clear until you reach this point how Sullivan has lined up his pieces, all ready to come together for this final book. Royce and Hadrian are very much at the centre of the novel, but this time they are not alone. Nobody is left hanging in Percipliquis – everyone has their part to play. It’s a huge book, but the pages move ten times quicker.

Sullivan answers everything and ties up the series with an amazingly tight ending. There are moments of joy, sadness and even Myron the monk gets his moment to shine. More so than any of the other books in the series, Percipliquis is like classic fantasy – a quest novel with elves and dwarves, wizards and dragons (kinda). But don’t let that stop you – the difference here is that behind everything is a rich tapestry of worldbuilding, careful plotting and characterisation that Sullivan has been careful to line up throughout the series, meaning no matter how clichéd it may look on the outside, there is always a shock coming round to smack you in the face.

Heir of Novron is that rare beast in fantasy: a great ending to a six book fantasy epic. It’s an ending that feels well justified and foreshadowed to near perfection. Royce and Hadrian have come a long way together, and this is the ending they deserve. A fantastic conclusion to one of the most entertaining fantasy series in recent memory.
 If you want a deep, engrossing read that’s nothing but entertaining at every step, please give the Riyria Revelations a go. It’s the story of two thieves who become embroiled in an epic story to save the world. What more could a fantasy fan want?

1 comment:

tmso said...

I am reading this series at the moment, and yes, very entertaining and a great fantasy epic. I am glad you didn't spoil the last two books for me! :)