Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Heir of Novron~Michael J Sullivan | Review

Title: Heir of Novron (Riyria Revelations #5-6)
Author: Michael J Sullivan
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 932 Pages
Release: January 2012

This is the third volume of the Riyria Revelations and contains the final two novels in the series. I really loved both of these books. The characters are amazing, the plot is carefully crafted, and the writing is descriptive and captivating. 

"Happiness comes from moving toward something. When you run away, ofttimes you bring your misery with you."

I had a feeling going into this one that it would break my heart and I was right. Something had to go wrong eventually. Well, I mean, stuff had already gone wrong, but something else was going to go wrong. And it did. There was plenty to break my heart here. There was also plenty to love. 

It's no secret that Royce is my favorite character and this installment did nothing to lessen him for me. His character has been building through the series, his layers being revealed one by one, and we get yet another layer (or more) here. His story is extremely sad, but so real. And that's what I love about him. Honestly, I have a hard time putting into words just how much I like Royce. 

Hadrian and Royce are separated for most of this installment, each dealing with different aspects of the same problem. Hadrian's portions were quite entertaining, for the most part. There were darker, harsher moments, because what he was trying to do was tearing him apart, but so many little things happened that made his story quite humorous. Which is excellent. A story can't always be dark; that's just not how life works. 

I don't know how Sullivan manages to build every single character so well, but he does. All of the side characters are brilliant and either have me loving or hating them. Sometimes both. Nimbus really shone here and he was hilarious. Seriously. Which makes me curious about his past. Hopefully we get more about that in the next installment. 

Another new favorite is Sir Breckton. The guy is pretty much perfect, but not in a bad way. He was just great. I really want to see more of him in the last book.

And of course there is Arista. She isn't as involved in this one, which makes sense if you've read The Emerald Storm. But she manages to have some good scenes and make a difference. She has probably grown on me the most through the course of the books. 

Modina and Amilia each have important roles to play here. And I really like both of these women. Modina more than Amilia, probably, but both of them have their moments. And some of those things are brilliantly executed. 

The plot really gets amped up here, taking us to a new level. Most of the questions that have been building through the series are yet to be answered, but the setup for the conclusion is excellent. The stakes are high, higher than ever, and I'm ready to see what happens. The subtlety with which Sullivan is able to weave his story honestly amazes me. The smallest things done or said books ago come back time and again with huge impact. Piecing all of that together is so much fun. 

The ending of this shattered me. It tore my heart out and broke it into a million pieces. What will happen next? I really have no idea. 

This was an incredible book. I laughed, I cried, I screamed, I shook my head in frustration, I gasped--I think I did everything. This is one of the best series conclusions I have ever had the pleasure of reading. And I loved every second of it.

"Sometimes the price of dreams is achieving them."

This was an incredible book. I laughed, I cried, I screamed, I shook my head in frustration, I gasped--I think I did everything. This is one of the best series conclusions I have ever had the pleasure of reading. And I loved every second of it. 

Sullivan has climbed my list of favorite authors and now sits right at the top with Brandon Sanderson and Dean Koontz. This novel only solidifies his position. So let's talk about some of the things that I loved. 

The Characters. 
If Sullivan knows how to do anything, it's write compelling characters. I don't know that I have ever cared as much about a cast of characters as I have about these. And sure, I have my favorites, but there isn't a single one that I don't like. They are so real. All of them. But let's focus in on specifics. 

"Heroes don't ride white horses, and the good don't always win."

Royce became my favorite early in the series and no one ever contested him for that title. There is this perfect image in my head that I can't really put into words, but it's just Royce. The guy has had a hard life and things don't ever seem to get easier for him. And yet, he still manages to grow, to become better. He constantly amazed me throughout this final installment and everything about his character development felt so natural. He will forever be one of my favorite characters. I wish I could pull him from the pages and give him life. 

And then we have Hadrian, Royce's partner and best friend. Yet another realistic character. He's had growth throughout the series, just not in the same way that Royce has, and it's kind of beautiful to see him come to terms with his past. There aren't as many demons running through his mind as their are through his friend's, but that doesn't make them any less real. He wants to be a hero, to atone for his past transgressions, and it's nice to see that journey. He has to face a lot, internally, and although we don't get to see all of those internal struggles, we get to see what comes of them. 

You know, I don't know what I originally thought of Aristawhen she was introduced, but she has grown into quite a wonderful character. She's strong, intelligent, and caring. The thing I love most is that she is strong and capable while still relying on those around her. That, to me, is the real sign of strength. Arista pushes herself, but she also knows her limits, for the most part, and uses the strengths of those around her to make them all stronger. It's wonderful. 

The entire Pickering family is one of my absolute favorites. We don't see much of any of them through the series, aside from Fanen and Mauvin, but the little glimpses we do get are amazing. And Mauvin is so wonderful. He really levels out the often irritating Alric. It was nice to see these two together. 

"Home, he realized, was not so much a place as an idea that, like everything else, grew and blossomed along with the person."

And of course we can't forget Myron, who was an early favorite in the series. It was nice having him so involved again. He's a genius and so amazed with everything around him. This could either make him really irritating or really wonderful. To me, it made him wonderful. And he gets to put those smarts to good use. There was one scene, near the end, when he really put someone in their place and I loved it. He's not weak just because he doesn't have the same skillset as Royce, Hadrian, Mauvin, or Arista, he's just a different kind of strong. 

Magnus the dwarf managed to have some absolutely amazing moments in this installment. I was a little stunned, to be honest. It was really beautiful. But then there is Degan, who is honestly the character I cared the least about. If you read it, you'll figure out why. 

Modina is also a pretty amazing character. She and Amiliaare our other main women in the series, and while I don't know that I'm as attached to them as I am to a lot of the others, I really appreciate them both. Modina is set on protecting all of her people, no matter the cost. She's tired of watching as those she loves die. 

There are many other minor characters that I would love to explore, but this review would go on forever if I did that, so those are the main ones I'm going to talk about. But all of the characters, whether main characters or side characters, are so well developed and seem so real that I can't help but become attached to them. 

Alright, let's touch on the plot and conclusion just a little bit. 

"If you don't abandon hope on pleasant days, why do so on those that begin poorly?"

Secrets about the Heir of Novron and the elves are finally revealed, making this an epic conclusion to the series. There is pain, suffering, death, and destruction, but there is also love, redemption, and unwavering resilience. 

Everything was nicely wrapped up. We don't get all the answers, we don't know what might happen in the future, but we end on a satisfying note. And there is always the promise of future tales. I would definitely read them.

Sullivan manages to weave things together in a subtle way that makes it all so brilliant. There were some revelations that I really didn't see coming, but looking back all of the clues were there. A brilliant piece of writing. 

Also, this series makes me even more curious about The Legends of the First Empire. I can't wait to see how everything there unfolds. We get an altered account of the history here, so it will be exciting to see what actuallyhappened. 

If you haven't read this series yet, you really need to.

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