Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fantasy Revelation

Every so often you discover a book series that is so amazing that you can't bear to function without it. You end up crying on public transportation because someone in it dies. You carry a nine hundred page book across three states to find out how it ends. The characters are beautiful, complex and funny. The plot is impressive in scope.

Friends, the Riyria Revelations series by Michael J. Sullivan is that series. George R.R. Martin, eat your heart out. You wish you were as good as Sullivan's books.

I picked up the first book in the series on a whim. The main characters, Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater, are thieves. For some reason, thieves are one of my favorite fantasy novel tropes. If it has thieves, I've probably read it. What I thought was going to be a fun fantasy romp turned into an epic, sweeping, grand story that went so much deeper than I ever imagined.

The Riyria Revelations started out as a self-published hobby for Sullivan. They were e-book bestsellers and soon Orbit came knocking at his door. (Seriously, Orbit? You publish all of my favorite authors. Please just take all of my money). The series, which is six books long, was released by Orbit in three beautiful (and heavy!) omnibus editions. Perfect for someone like me who likes to devour an entire series at once.

What makes the Riyria Revelations novels stand out are the intense and fascinating characters. Royce and Hadrian have a deep friendship that gets tested multiple times over the six book series. Along the way they become just part of an impressive cast of characters, including a few very strong and wonderful women. One of my favorites was Princess Arista. She's intelligent, headstrong, wise and a total badass. She's also so very human. Every single character is. Character flaws aren't exploited, they're explored and resolved. Reading the series was a very fulfilling experience. What began as a tale about two thieves became a winding, twisting story full of political intrigue, mythology, philosophy and the importance and facets of faith.

The plot is incredible. The entire story was incredibly well thought out. Things that are blithely mentioned in the first novel become huge game changers in the fifth and sixth. When characters die, it doesn't feel like a cheap ploy to move the story along. It's actually heart wrenching to read. I haven't felt that way about a novel in awhile. Even though I finished the series this past weekend, they've been constantly on my mind. It had one of the most satisfying endings to a fantasy series I've ever read. I wasn't disappointed. I wasn't unhappy that some things didn't get resolved. Everything got resolved, and it was done perfectly. It earned Royce and Hadrian permanent places on my "favorite characters in fiction" mental list.

Why do I think you should read this totally wonderful series? Do you like your fantasy novels full of amazing, awesome characters? Do you enjoy some snark and humor to go along with your swords and sorcery? How would you like to read a series that doesn't make you hurl a book across the room in frustration? The Riyria Revelations is one of the best fantasy series I've ever read, full stop. Don't miss out on these magnificent novels.

Stay tuned next week, when I interview author Michael J. Sullivan about his awesome series!

The Riyria Revelations is compiled into three omnibuses by Orbit Books: Theft of Swords (The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha), Rise of Empire (Legends & Lore and Emerald Storm) and Heir of Novron (Wintertide and Percepliqus). Buy them wherever proper paper books and godless heathen e-books are sold.
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  1. I've had this series on my to read list for a while but for some reason I haven't picked it up yet. I'll have to move it up the list now ;-)

  2. Just bought the first books on your recommendation. Looking forward to a good read. Thanks!!

  3. Ok, ok. I've been looking for something new... I'll try it.

  4. Wow, that sounds convincing! I will have to order those as soon as my self-imposed two months of not buying any books is over.

  5. I've read this series and it is amazing! Leaves the reader longing for more of these fantastic characters! The best series I've read in a very very very long time.

  6. I've read this series and it is amazing! Leaves the reader longing for more of these fantastic characters! The best series I've read in a very very very long time.