Wendy's favorite quotes

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."— Dr. Seuss

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Riyria Revalations, a Fantasy Series Worth Reading

This evening I had the pleasure of finishing Michael J. Sullivan’s latest installment of the fantasy series Riyria Revelations, Wintertide.

In short, I am amazed.

One of the things that make the Riyria Revelations different is that they were conceived as a single tale, told in six installments. Each book could stand alone, but they are oh-so-much better when the reader builds on the story that came before. Another outstanding quality is that these books are completely appropriate for any audience because there is no swearing or sex! How tedious it is to pick up a promising book only to find it’s just a chain of smut and profanity glued together with a pitiful plot. If you want an excellent read, this is it. If you’re looking for a romp in the sheets, look elsewhere.

I’d heard about his first book, The Crown Conspiracy, on Goodreads and it sat on my To-Read list for months, but once I cracked it open, I couldn’t put it down.

His masterfully woven tale of two thieves blends humor and intrigue with a dab of brilliance. Completely sucked into the fantasy, I turned the pages, brain working overtime in a futile effort to guess the ending. You can read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of the Crown Conspiracy here.

Sullivan’s next two books, Avempartha and Nyphron Rising, likewise were wonderful books. Full of adventure, betrayals, magic and mystery—the epitome of what fantasy novels should be.
I was pleased to find each additional installment better than the last, but it wasn’t until the 4th book, The Emerald Storm that the series elevated to a whole new level for me. Packed with the usual rich characters, settings and banter, the storyline builds with twists and turns until the final cunning surprise knocks us clear out of the ring. I closed the book almost in reverence, marveling at how each piece fell nicely in place without me ever being the wiser.

With excitement and a little trepidation (because I couldn’t fathom how Sullivan could possibly top his last achievement), I pre-ordered book #5, Wintertide.

I am thrilled to report that he did it again. Wintertide opens with our two favorite thieves, Hadrian and Royce, riding into Aquesta, the new capital of the Empire—a government that has been thrust into power through the devious machinations of a corrupt few which work their trickery behind façade of divine rule. Circumstance and duty separate the thieves as they each strive to save the people they love. Do they succeed? I’m not telling.

The battle for the throne is played in back rooms through subtle power-plays which culminate in the biggest power struggle of all. Personally, I’m dying to know who threw that fateful dagger, but I hardly dare guess because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from reading Sullivan’s books, it’s that I can’t guess what will happen next.

There are many authors that I admire, many more whose books are among my favorites, but Michael J. Sullivan’s books are in a class above.

I strongly suggest you read the Crown Conspiracy. In fact, you may as well buy the whole series because once you start, you’ll need them all before the week’s out.

Need more proof of how amazing this series is? Check out these stats:

2010 Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Finalist (Avempartha)
2010 Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Finalist (Nyphron Rising)
2009 Dark Wolf Award Top 10 Fantasy Books
2009 National Indie Book Award Finalist
2008 ReaderViews Annual Literary Award Finalist
2007 Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Finalist (The Crown Conspiracy)

Have any of you ever read his work before?


Renee Miller said...

My daughter LOVES these books Wendy. I'm so glad you got a chance to read them. We're eagerly awaiting our copy of Wintertide. Court is going to be disappointed when the series is done. These characters are ones you'll get attached to.

Renee Miller said...

Hey, by the way, I don't see your kickass, awesome, most impressive, shiny blog award badge anywhere. :P

Wendy Swore said...

Renee, your daughter has awesome taste!

And fear not, I'll find a place of honor for my shiny award. I'm still thinking. Thinking...

Mike Keyton said...

So many books so little time. If only they'd give me an add-on half-life to read all these books. I'm tempted to get a kindle, but I'd never read all those free books on gutenberg.

One thing, have you read the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn peake?

Mike Keyton said...

PS I thought I followed you already but it seems that I don't. However, when I clicked on your follow widget and clicked on my google account, it said my url was too large. Do I look big in this?

Wendy Swore said...

Mike, you are so funny. If you blog by your nearest Subway, regularly, I'm sure that URL will get back under control. I'm an expert at all things computer-y.

Okay maybe not an expert, but I've seen a computer. Does that count?

I'll have to look up the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn peake. It's good then?