Monday, 8 October 2012
Review: Rise of Empire
Rise of Empire by Michael J. Sullivan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The beast is slain.
The heir is found.
An Empire is born.
Two thieves are in a world of trouble. The kingdom of Melengar stands against the chuch and the new Empire, cornered like a crook in an alley. But, alleys have their shadows, and thieves lurk in the shadows. Royce and Hadrian are back, partners in crime. They’ve escaped a dungeon, stole a Prince, and more besides, but they’re in for their toughest job yet.
Going behind enemy lines is no job for a soldier, but for two thieves…? The only hope for Melengar is to ally with the Nationalists in the south. Caught between Royalty, Ancient Wizards, flesh-eating Ghazel and a Church that blinds all with holy light, Royce and Hadrian are going to do what they do best…
…Steal victory from the jaws of defeat.
Michael J Sullivan’s ‘Rise of Empire’ is the culmination of two of his originally self-published novels ‘Nyphron Rising’ and ‘The Emerald Storm’, part of his 6-book-long Riyria Revelations series. Orbit picked up the rights and re-published the original 6 as a 3. ‘Rise of Empire’ is a rip-roaring, tongue-in-cheek fantasy with a plot that’ll steal the hours in the day.
In ‘Rise of Empire’, Hadrian and Royce are hired by the kingdom of Melengar to establish contact with the Nationalists in the south, and assist Princess Arista in forging an alliance with their leader. As luck would have it – and for thieves, Royce and Hadrian have pretty poor luck – things don’t go to plan. Royce is convinced that they’re caught up in the games of an ancient wizard, and the only way to find out is to unravel the secrets of Hadrian’s past.
I’m so glad to be able to say it, but Hadrian and Royce are back! And the boys are on top form. ‘Rise of Empire’ delves into the mysteries of time, and the shadows of two of the most shadowy pasts ever secreted. They live and they breathe, but renewed vigour runs in their veins as we discover more about their history – not just as Riyria, but in their lives beforehand. Other old faces make a welcome return, though be sure that you’re in for a surprise!
Sullivan continues his punchy deliver. The plot races along, always two steps ahead. And, just as you think you’ve caught up, it twists out of reach and makes for the finish line to fanfare and applause. The characters drive the story as much as the plot, and the reader’s investment in them is more than worth its weight in gold.
Riyria is a welcome change to the deeply political, overly ominous and all-too-complex fantasies as of recent. It’s enjoyable to read, fun and fast paced. From young to old, the books have something on offer for anyone who decides to pick them up.
What they say is true – there is honour amongst thieves. Find out more in ‘Rise of Empire’!
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