Rise of Empire by Michael J. Sullivan — Emerald Storm Book Review

Rise of Empire, Michael J. Sullivan
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Magic, Medieval
Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Series: The Riyria Revelations #3-4
Date Published: December 14, 2011
Publisher: Orbit
Edition: ebook
ISBN: 0316192430

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In this fourth book of the Riyria Revelations, Hadrian and Royce will be facing (albeit non-vis-a-vis) Merrick Marius, Royce's nemesis from his former guild. The duo will find themselves being employed by King Alric again (when they should have been retired from the Riyria) to spy on the New Empire's letters. This time, they will become sailors in their first ever journey aboard a ship, the Imperial Emerald Storm under the strings pulled by Marius. While being tricked is spiteful, what they'd discover is something beyond their imagination.


While the New Empire is the enemy, turns out that whatever the people of Apeladorn are fighting about is nothing but child's play. There's a bigger problem at hand, a problem that was nothing more but a distant future to Esrahadon. But with his 900 years of capture, he came closer to what is akin to the prophesized apocalypse—The War of the Gods that is going to sweep the world of Elan from the North.

I can't help myself but smile on that part. I really love George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series that somehow this unsettling future of evil things going to end the world coming from the north feels like "Winter is coming" with the dead walking and all, only we have malevolent elves (which I find weird considering I'm a fan of Tolkien). And just like in that story, the highborns and the highly ambitious in Apeladorn are so engrossed with their political agenda playing the game of thrones, uncaring of what's beyond them like magical things or prophesy, of things that they must truly dread.

The New Empire is merely using the prophesy about the Heir of Novron for their sociopolitical objectives. They don't really care (perhaps because knowledge has died along with the fall of the Old Empire) what Maribor's gift was for, they are only concerned about having the power to rule the world.

While the New Empire is doing its best to secure its ground, Hadrian and Royce find themselves entagled in a quest to save humankind. We get what Hadrian had emotionally gone through in Nyphron Rising and so we understand this Messiah complex of his. But in this book, it's not just about rescuing and protecting the heir so he may rightfully rule the kingdom of men, it's about him doing his duty to protect his people from the return of the dreadful thing.

I'm really excited as to where the story is headed. I want to know how this War of the Gods is going to turn out. I hope the overall feel would be similar to The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and not like the childish retelling of Greek Mythology by some contemporary authors. I just found a problem though: the author pushing for some romance. And it's not about Royce and Gwen. And I'm like:

Why in the name of Maribor must there be romance between Hadrian and Arista? No romancing is happening in this book yet but it's forthcoming and I have my eyes forced open for it. It's not like I don't want any romance in an epic fantasy story, it's just that I don't like Arista for Hadrian. Michael Sullivan will never make a pitch on me about that even in the next volume. I don't know but I just want someone I know nothing of yet for Hadrian. Like in the ending of the story, just in three sentences, Hadrian will stumble upon a girl whom he'd have kids with.

To me, the story would have gone without a hitch if not only for the forced romance. Other than that, the story is still awesome as ever!

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