Review: Nyphron Rising by Michael J. Sullivan

Friday, May 13, 2011
In celebration on this joyous occasion, my review for the latest I've read this week:

Title: Nyphron Rising
Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Genre: fantasy
Series: The Riyria Revelations #3
Published: October 2009
Pages: 350
Rating: 4/5

 A year after defeating "Rufus' Bane" in Thrace's tiny village, Hadrian, having long been weary of his mercenary, wandering lifestyle with Royce, wants something with meaning to define his life other than thieving and spying, even if it's for the Crown and his friend Alric the King of Melengar, whose country is facing extreme external threats. Royce just wants to hang on to the life he's clawed out for himself with any means necessary- even deception from his closest and only friend. Drawn again into international conflict along with Alric's sister, the sneaky and resourceful princess Arista, Royce and Hadrian have to accomplish this one last job before potentially splitting ways. Intricate and deftly woven, this is another amazing ride with Royce, Hadrian and Arista appearing, along with the renamed Thrace as the enigmatic, near-mute Modina.
I do have to say I had a "I KNEW it moment!!" right before the end of the book, only to have my jaw drop on the VERY LAST PAGE with sheer and utter surprise and freakoutery.  A lot of theories I had planned out from this idea were dashed to pieces with a very few words. It was a masterfully, marvelously well done plot twist.
These are books that can be read separately, but I do have to say some prior knowledge of recent events and people involved are somewhat necessary to understand the full gist of the power plays, manipulations and deceptions that take place across the board. There are numerous factions at play, be it the devious Church, the Royalists, the Nationalists, the Republics, etc. and it is much easier to understand the motives behind the machinations with input from the previous novels. They are intended to be read as a series telling a larger story and that is the best way to go about them.
These characters, especially Hadrian and the surly Royce, are beloved and cherished to me now. I'm very fond of them, and the plot twists and history behind each build a better picture of each. Hadrian, a man full of promise but no outlet and tied through loyalty and affection to an eccentric friend that really only trusts him alone. Royce emerges as a man with a heart at least, but just for a select few and more admissions about his dark, troubled past behind his demeanor are divulged. Arista continues to become one of my favorite female characters in recent fantasy novels I've read. She soldiers through tough situations with aplomb and grit and when biting off more thans he can chew, she continually resolves to persevere.
A very entertaining read from start to finish. I would highly recommend this series and I hope that the concluding three books are on the same high standard as the first three. Bonus! This fantastic book was only $4.95 on my Nook. Definitely keep this book, this series in mind when out shopping for something new worth trying.

 Also, added this week because it was a SCREAMING deal on my Nook:
N.K. Jemisin's award-winning and 2011 Locus Award Nominee for Best First Novel, called The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Great news is, Orbit has dropped the price from about $15 to only $2.99  for both Nook and Kindles! I've had this on my to-buy list for a long, long time. It's generated a lot of good buzz, and the sequel, The Broken Kingdoms is already out with the yet-to-be-published third (The Kingdom of Gods) concluding the Inheritance Trilogy.

Synopsis blurb from "Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle."

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