Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wintertide - Michael Sullivan


About the book

A FORCED WEDDING. A DOUBLE EXECUTION. TWO THIEVES HAVE OTHER PLANS. 

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 the empress will be married and Degan Gaunt and the Witch of Melengar will be publically executed. Then the empress will suffer a fatal accident leaving the empire in the hands of the new emperor. It will be a perfect day. There is only one problem--Royce and Hadrian have finally found the lost heir. 

380 pages (paperback)
Published on: October 1, 2010
Published by: Ridan Publishing
Author’s webpage

Thanks to the Sullivan's for sending me a copy of this book to review.
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Wintertide is the fifth installment in Riyria Revelations and is, perhaps, my favorite of the series. Wintertide starts soon after the culmination of events in Emerald Storm with Hadrian and Royce making their way to Aquesta. Once again, while this book can be read as a stand-alone, it will have a greater impact if it is read with the rest of the series as each book builds upon the last book in the series to a greater extent as the series progresses.

While each book had hints of traditional sword and sorcery aspects, Wintertide is filled with them and comes complete with courtiers, knights, lords, ladies and epic royal feasts. Wintertide made me feel nostalgia for the days when fantasy was filled with royalty and royal manners with a distinct lack of crass language.

Swearing and graphic violence doesn’t bother me, but I find Riyria Revelations a refreshing change from the current trend of making everything as bloody and curse-filled as possible. In fact, Riyria Revelations, while geared toward an adult audience, is a series I would have no problems reading with my daughter when she is (a lot) older than her current age of three months.  It can be appreciated on an adult level, but I believe that, due to Sullivan’s writing style, teens could enjoy it as well with little to no worry from their parents.

Wintertide fully utilizes the firm foundation Sullivan created with the previous books in the series. Readers are introduced to new characters while enjoying friends they met in previous books. Furthermore, the rich history Sullivan subtly built up in throughout the series will be full appreciated as readers often call upon the small details of previous books to enrich situations they are reading about in Wintertide. Sullivan reminds readers of important bits of history, past events and characters with quick descriptions that don’t bog the story down. In fact, many of these reminders are so well done that the readers may not even realize that they are being reminded about previous events/characters.

The plot of Wintertide is quickly moving and absorbing. Wintertide is filled with action and intrigue and even a touch of romance. Sullivan nicely ties many loose plot threads while leaving plenty open to fill the last book in the series. Wintertide ends with an impressive plot twist which will leave readers guessing and holding their breath for Percepliquis. However, Sullivan never looses the sense of adventure and pure fun that will have served to hook many readers to this series in the first place. While Wintertide did feel a bit more serious than other installments, it seemed to add more depth and tone to the book rather overwhelming it.

In truth, this is a rather hard review for me to write because I enjoy this series so much. I feel like there isn’t much I can say besides, “I love it! I love it! I love it!” – but that’s not much of a review. In previous books, Sullivan has been hitting homeruns, but with Wintertide, he hit the ball out of the park. If you haven’t read this series yet, you need to. Each book is filled with adventure, fun characters and interesting situations, but the new depth added to Wintertide makes it irresistible. Wintertide is almost like coming home. This is a book that reminds me why I enjoy fantasy so much.

Wintertide left me yearning for Percepliquis and gave me an important realization. Riyria Revelations is one of those rare series that will leave me both happy and sad when it is over. Happy, because the adventure was amazing and sad because it’s rare I find a series that is so completely pleasing and absorbing. Sullivan is a master artist, and Wintertide really shows his impressive skill.

5/5 stars

2 comments:

  1. I am also waiting for Percepliquis with the same mixture of excitement (after i read the 2 publicly available chapters, that excitement only increased) and a bit of sadness as the series ends there...

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  2. The good news is that Michael IS apparently currently writing something...what that is I don't know.

    At any rate, my excitement to finally read PERCEPLIQUIS knows no bounds...and I even stayed away from the preview chapters so I could go at it fresh.

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