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Heir of Novron by Michael J. Sullivan — Wintertide Book Review

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Genre: Epic Fantasy, Magic, Medieval
Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Series: The Riyria Revelations #5-6
Date Published: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Orbit
Edition: ebook
ISBN: 0316192732

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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 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 true Heir of Novron—and they have their own holiday plans.

Heir of Novron is the final volume of The Riyria Revelations and includes Wintertide and Percepliquis.

Wintertide (Book #5) Review:
This is the shortest book of six in the Riyria Revelations series. And definitely, my favorite so far. There's romance in the beginning, a shocking revelation in the middle, a dark transition in the end. It's fast-paced offering some jitters, a pound of cheese, a stadium of energy, a well-cut fade-to-black ending making me ask for more. A short book but with lots of phases in it, with each phase simply taking my breath away.

This is a book of transformation for all characters.

Rereading my reviews of the first four books, I noticed that I focused too much on the main characters, neglecting new or secondary ones who are essential to the story. So it's just both surprising and pleasing when I did notice some progress in my perspective. And so, I'll share something about Amilia, the scullery girl who was promoted into the Imperial Secretary to the Empress for her miraculous work on Modina.

Amilia

Having to follow where the Emerald Storm has left off, I thought that I'd be bored starting this book. I still had the hang up for grumpiness near the end of the previous book— of "forced" romance between Hadrian and Arista. But as far as romance is concerned, I never thought I'd get all the love confettis when Amilia bumped headlong into a man as she rounded a corner on her way into the empress's chamber.

Amilia didn't just jump into any man, but a dashing and the most sought-after knight of Avryn, Sir Breckton Belstrad (I liked his younger brother Wesley who must have looked like Westley of The Princess Bride). When he knelt and asked for her favor for the joust, not only did Amilia's heart jumped but also mine. Not only was she the one who couldn't stop smiling for the rest of her trip up the stairs but also I, not even after I finish typing this sentence. Yes, I felt compelled to write these two paragraphs before I could finish reading the chapter. That is the only part where I think romance is needed for the entire series. Somehow, finally the author was able to deliver romance and he pulled it off quite so well with just a simple meetup between a commoner-turned-gentry who'd always claim she isn't pretty and a handsome virtuous renowned knight born from an old respected family.

This romance might just be in passing but I don't care. What matters to me is that I felt all the love. I hope I'd get more of them. I don't usually entertain romance in my epic fantasy books but when I did for this one, oh boy I fell really hard.
A knight skilled in combat may stay alive, but it is the one skilled in persuasion who wins the king’s daughter for his wife and retires to a vast estate. Truly successful knights can obtain multiple fiefs and enter their twilight years as wealthy as any count or earl.
-Nimbus of Vernes

Modina

Damn me but I never expected something that surprising. You know, when someone who seems so weak turns out to be a seasoned commander. I actually hated Modina in the second volume. She's both helpless and hopeless that I find her lifelessness disturbing. Her being an innocent happy girl as Thrace in the first volume doesn't help either. Due to my own ancestry, having various mental illnesses as heirloom in our family, I hate anything that has something to do with mental breakdown or deterioration of wit. Thus, my partial disgusto with the puppet empress. But with Modina's transformation in this book, I was really awed.
Happiness comes from moving toward something. When you run away, ofttimes you bring your misery with you.
-Myron Lanaklin

Like I said, this is a book of transformation of characters. On the part of Royce, it was already revealed by a seer in the previous book— a fork in his fate. As for Hadrian, whatever misfortune has befallen on him was for the best. Finally, he's now a legit Teshlor! I should have been more excited with Hadrian's transformation in the series but I was taken more by Amilia's love story.

The book ended with such a bang, I'm expecting more for the last book in the series.



Review of Percepliquis: The Last book of the Riyria Revelations

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