Friday, February 28, 2014

Review: Wintertide by Michael J. Sullivan

Wintertide by Michael J. Sullivan
Series: Riyria Revelations #5
Published by Ridan Publishing
Pages: 317
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: Awesome, Awesome, Awesome (this book was just so wow)
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A duel execution for two traitors to the New Empire looms during the Wintertide holiday. However, Royce and Hadrian have something to say about these executions: one is the true heir of Novron. The other, Princess Arista - better known as the Witch of Melengar, and friend of Riyria.

'"This sword belongs to another time and place. It is part of a grand and glorious world where knights were different, loftier - virtuous. It rests in this false scabbard because the proper one has been lost, or perhaps, it waits for a quest yet to be finished. It longs for that single moment when it can shine forth in all its brilliance."'

Yes Hadrian, listen to the dapper man. He knows what he's talking about.

This book continues the story of Riyria. Sadly, Hadrian and Royce spent a great deal of this book apart, so I did miss the good-natured pokes they tend to make at each other. However, things really started shaping up in this book and you can really feel the wheels being set in motion for a bang-up finale.

Really, more than any other book in the series yet, the established characters have their own little part to play in the overarching plot of this book. Hadrian and Royce do get a small group of supporting characters for their part in the story and other characters (I won't say who lest I spoil the other books in the series) get their own little groups for themselves. The book based a lot on the individuals and, I will admit, loudly, they didn't disappoint.

Nearly every single character - especially those of the 'good guys' - had their 'moment'. As we've come to expect from the main guys, they were wonderful, but I also have a steadily climbing impression of Arista and the Empress. Oh, the Empress is so totally cool and amazing. Even one of the not-so-good-guys had a moment that I kind of started to adore him for what he did.

However, while all these people were just steadily increasing in my estimation... We then have the 'Heir of Novron'. I refuse to get into the mess that is the question of who the heir is. I can feel something being set up, but I cannot quite make out what. But, this will be talking about the heir according to Esrahaddon. (Mostly.) Degan Gaunt. Seriously, if this guy is the true heir of Novron, please somebody, kill him. Ugh. He was fine, until we actually had to deal with a face-to-face conversation with him and another person. I was going 'no'. I wouldn't want him manager of a mini-mart, much less ruler of an empire.

I especially liked getting to deal with the knights tourney for Wintertide. I've concluded that I have a bit of a thing for knights. Real knights, much like the ones Nimbus describes: all honor and kindness and those that would do anything for their liege. In fact, there is an absolutely adorable burgeoning romance between a lady and a knight and you can completely see why she is so taken with him. (And he with her because she's surprisingly tough and quite adorable.)

Stakes have seriously been raised though. This series has never been particularity bloodless and, after a certain character died in The Emerald Storm, I thought I was prepared for anything. However, I wasn't prepared for this. It seemed like that with this series, if a character survived the book of their introduction, they would likely make it until the end - or at least the final battle. (Of course, that's not taking into consideration the 'I thought they were already dead' that I experienced last book.) But the people that died in this book... Weren't exactly minor characters.

While I won't miss one of the characters (and can't help but to clap in a certain person's direction for the way that was handled) another of the recent casualties was a person I seriously thought was going to make it to the end of the series. Really, I did. It will be interesting to see how things are handled - there's specifically two characters that shouldn't come away from these deaths unscathed.

The last couple chapters of this book were quite a roller coaster for me, filled with ups and downs, but ultimately I love this series all the more for not taking the easy way out and giving me a lot of excitement for the next and final book in the series.

Please ignore any crazy-ness in this review, along with my gushing and (perhaps) not making much sense. This is what happens when I try to write a review of a book that I love that is also in the middle of a series that I don't want to spoil for those that haven't read it. This review is also a perfect example of what happens when I start using the word 'really' too much.

Read as part of the following challenges: Goodread & Book Bingo & Series