With Christmas behind me and 10 days’ worth of holidays ahead of me, it’s time to plough through as many books as humanly possible. With ‘Theft of Swords’ by Michael J Sullivan finished a week or so ago, I had desperately wanted to dive straight into the second book in the series, ‘Rise of Empire’. Collecting the third and fourth stories in Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations, Rise of Empire is a step down from the first two stories, but still a captivating and fun continuation of an interesting world.
Royce and Hadrian are back, but this time their ‘crooks for hire’ mentality has fallen by the wayside, somewhat, as real life and dreams get in the way. And while I’m not sure it was ever the author’s overriding intention, the evolution of Arista into a self-contained character has been a welcome addition to the stories, her skills and passions driving her into ever more difficult situations.
The first of the two stories – ‘Nyphron Rising’ – drags a little, creating a tough read of paragraphs filled with too much description and info-dumping amidst a story that hasn’t earned my unyielding attention. The contrived arrival of certain characters into the plot to drive the story where the author wants it are a little too obvious, and by the time the story is over you’re simply not as invested.
The second story – ‘The Emerald Storm’ – lifts the writing back up to a higher level, as long as you are willing to accept that these stories are in fact separate from one another. While there is an overarching storyline that links all the stories together, the jump from one story to the next is noticeable, and somewhat disconcerting.
That doesn’t detract from The Emerald Storm, however, as long as you keep it in mind as you switch from one story to the next. Royce, Hadrian, and Arista are all forced into equally difficult positions well outside their comfort zone, and the mysteries pile up on top of one another.
The final pages come much sooner than you expect, and dismiss the idea that all of these stories are inherently separate, leaving you on a rather significant cliff-hanger. However, given that the next story is just a Kindle-purchase away, I’m not overly concerned.
While Rise of Empire isn’t as tightly knit as the previous book, the excellence of the second story makes up for it. Michael J Sullivan is an author I would recommend to just about any reader of fantasy, containing well-written tropes and a bountiful supply of fantasy goodies to keep anyone happy.
Review by Joshua S Hill
1 positive reader review(s) for Rise of Empire
9 positive reader review(s) in total for the The Riyria Revelations series
Michael J. Sullivan is a full time author whose self published series, The Riyria Revelations, hit the big time selling more than 70,000 copies in a very short time. Picked up by Orbit in the middle of last year just after th [...]
Alena from Canada
Once again, fantastic! Yet another book full of adventure and fantasy! A definite 10/10!
8.5/10 from 2 reviews