Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review - Heir of Novron - Michael J. Sullivan

Publisher: Orbit (1st Edition)
Genre: Fantasy

Book Description:

Publication Date: January 31, 2012

The New Empire intends to mark its victory over the Nationalists with a bloody celebration. On the high holiday of Wintertide, the Witch of Melengar will be burned and the Heir of Novron executed. On that same day the Empress faces a forced marriage, with a fatal accident soon to follow. The New Empire is confident in the totality of its triumph but there's just one problem-Royce and Hadrian have finally found the Heir of Novron and they have their own holiday plans.

And so concludes the final tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.

I’ve tried to take a little bit of reprieve before I wrote this review, to allow my emotions time to settle, but after a full two weeks, and reading another spectacular fantasy series in between, I don’t think they’re going anywhere.  If anything, they’re solidifying, especially the feelings of sadness.  Not only for the heartache at the loss of some of my favorite characters in this last part of the saga, but because the series came to an end.  It reminds me a lot of how I felt at the end of Harry Potter.  I cried for two days, but that was after I had invested several years following that particular journey.  With Riyria Revelations, I’ve only recently discovered it, revealing how strong of an impact it made in such a short period of time. I hereby induct Michael J. Sullivan into the Evil Author’s Guild – for his love of killing off much beloved characters.

 This series has a brilliant mix of riotous comedy, wondrous character development, and heart-breaking resolutions.  Sullivan did such an excellent job of keeping the strongest elements of this story in a good balance, not allowing one component to overpower the others.  As a fellow writer, I understand the difficulty of such a task.  While reading Heir of Novron, knowing a conclusion waited on the horizon, Sullivan was able to keep me in the moment, but most all, able to keep my heart and emotions in the moment in order to break them.

While Hadrian and Royce has cemented themselves into my heart as strongly as Harry, Ron & Hermione, it’s some of the secondary characters that helped solidify my love for this series: Empress Modina (Thrace Wood), Amilia, Albert Winslow, Mince, Elbright, Brand, Kine, Gwen DeLancey, Princess Arista, the Pickerings – all of them, Myron Lananklin, Magnus, Esrahaddon, Wyatt Deminthal, and Sir Breckton Belstrad. Of course, there are all those bad guys too, but these are the characters that pilfered my heart.  With so many fantasy series filling it pages with dozens upon dozens of characters, I find many of the main characters get lost in the melee, but Sullivan did a great job keeping Hadrian and Royce front and center.

Though I figured out early in the series the identity of the Heir of Novron, I still enjoyed experiencing every step, clue and adventure that brought out the revelation.  I love the great mixture of all the elements of fantasy like:  new worlds, colorful kingdoms, gods & goddesses, elves, dwarves, wizards, magical beasts, and everyday medieval elements like inns, thieves’ guilds and armies (reminding me a lot of the video game Assassin’s Creed).  There’s a surprise at the ending, something I thought about in the first book, but then became so absorbed in the other elements of the story, I totally forgot.  When it came about in the end, it really made me smile, and it added such a soft, pleasant touch to the story, especially coming after some really heart-breaking moments. That was I think the formula that made this series great – the balance of soft, hard and hilarious moments.

I’m trying to hard not to give away any plot points, it’s difficult, because it’s those particular points I found so exciting about this series. I guess all that I’m left with is this last sentiment: I love Michael J. Sullivan’s imagination.  I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. 

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

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