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Review: The Riyria Revelations – Book 4: The Emerald Storm by Michael J Sullivan

Four books in and The Riyria Revelations can definitely be counted among the best Fantasy series out there. 🙂

From book 1, The Crown Conspiracy, Michael has been methodically built his world and revealed his characters, and everything starts to come nicely together in The Emerald Storm.

The book opens with an event I never expected to happen, which sends shock waves through the rest of the book (and, I’m sure, the two books to come, Wintertide and Percepliquis), and also sets the tone for the book. The Emerald Storm is an altogether darker and more intense novel than the other books in the series – our characters go though much more than they’ve previously been subjected to, which not only heightens the tension of the book but also reveals more about the characters themselves.

Royce and Hadrian really go on an adventure in this book – they go through everything from working on a ship to plunging through a dangerous jungle to having to stop the complete and utter destruction of an entire city, and in this book we catch glimpses of a Royce that can make mistakes and can be hurt, and we also find out a bit more about Hadrian’s past; the characters gain much more, for and about themselves, in this book. Arista, too, does a lot of growing, learning to settle herself even more comfortably in her skin even as she has to deal with not having Royce and Hadrian around to save or protect her, and the Empress begins to realize that she lives in a world where taking part is the only way to survive; I won’t be surprised if Modina becomes one of the strongest and most memorable characters of The Riyria Revelations.

Michael also takes us to parts of his world that have previously only been mentioned, and manages to not only not bog down the narrative with descriptions and info-dumps, but keeps the pace of the story up, too, as well as giving us deeper glimpses into his characters and hints as to the direction the remaining books might take. The first chapter is not the only chapter that surprises and stuns – every arc throughout the book begins as a mystery and them steams ahead to the conclusion – a cliffhanger of such proportions that I’ve had to restrain myself from diving into Wintertide immediately (have got a couple of books I need to finish first!) .

The kind of story telling we’re used to from Michael and the quality of his writing doesn’t falter – but it is clear from The Emerald Storm that Michael was really flexing his muscles, and it shows; a bigger story, bigger thrills, and bigger consequences for the characters to deal with. It’s another excellent book that continues to reveal the world that Michael has been building since The Crown Conspiracy and also continues to evolve the great cast of characters. I’ve said it many times already, but if you haven’t yet started reading The Riyria Revelations, you’re definitely missing out! Michael proves that you don’t need overly convoluted plots, persistent magic, and battles to write Fantasy. 🙂

The Emerald Storm not only is a great addition to the series, upping the tension considerably and taking the characters in new, interesting and it-makes-sense directions, but it’s also a the book that begins to moves us toward the ultimate climax of The Riyria Revelations, which I’m really excited about!

9 / 10

To find out more about Michael and The Riyria Revelations, check out Michael’s website here; to order your copies, click here for Amazon US and here for Amazon UK, or check out this page on Michael’s site to order the previous books in the series. 🙂



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Posted by on February 4, 2011 in Reviews


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Catching up with The Riyria Revelations

Hey Guys and Girls, I thought it was passed time to give you an update of what’s been happening with Michael, Robin and the Riyria series. 🙂 Robin sent out an update on Goodreads a couple of weeks ago and I thought I’d spread the word:


#1 – Sales of Wintertide have been GREAT with matching reviews to match. We are “almost done” and it looks like the series will end with a bang. Since the release of book #4 Michael has been averaging about 1,000 books a month – not too shabby for a new author from a small publisher…but since Wintertide the sales were 2,500 (october), 7,500 (November), and 10,500 (December) !! Thanks so much for all the support.

#2 Percepliquis editing is coming along very nicely. We’ve done several rounds of edits (most of the major edges are filed off) and we are just tweaking wording at this point – so that is going along nicely.

#3 There is a Fantasy Book Club Series which reads a whold series end to end. The last one was Janny Wurtz (a great writer and nice person btw) and now they are picking a new series – The Riyria Revelations was nominated!! Yeah ! – so please go out and vote as I’m sure it will do a lot to introduce some new people to the series as a whole. Here is a link

#4 – Just a reminder. Avempartha was picked for the January read by Fantasy Book Critic – Stop on by and chat with others and ask some questions of Michael – he’ll be there all month long. You can join in the discussion here

#5 The Emerald Storm was nominated in the 2010 goodreads Choice Awared for Fantasy – I’m still boggled by this – considering the HUGE names he was up against. I have no illusions of winning- Sanderson will walk away with I predict – but for those that voted – thanks and I just wanted to say that this is truly a case where it is an honor just to be nominated. If you are curious to see the other 15 nominess you can here

#6 Speaking of Honors…Iceberg Ink (a great fantasy review site by the wasy voted The Crown Conspiracy the Best Read of 2010! Well technically he called it a tie with Suzzane Collin’s Hunger Games – but in his review he said it beat that book so I’m calling it a “win” for the home team. If you’ve not read his reviews you might want to check them out. Here is a link to that page.

#7 Another big honor was that The Emerald Storm and Wintertide both made Fantasy Book Critic’s Top 25 Novels of 2010 list. Again if you want to see the full list here is a link

#8 A contact we have “in the business” pitched Michael’s book for a movie deal to the owner/founder of the production company that put out “The Mummy Series” and a whole host of other movies. They passed but said they might revisit depending on sales. I’m still pretty impressed it got in front of someone at “that level”. The person “shopping it around” is still on the hunt.


Pretty damn cool news all round, eh? I was especially intrigued with the news about the book (presumably The Crown Conspiracy) being shopped around movie-wise! It would definitely make a pretty damned cool movie! And here I have to admit that I let Robin know who I thought would be cool for the roles of Royce and Hadrian – in my defence, I was a bit drunk at the time (I told Robin I’d had a long day), and even though they aren’t the best choices by a long shot I thought it was pretty damned funny. 😉

Hadrian – Bruce Willis

Royce – Steve Buscemi

See, I told you, hilarious choices! 😀

Anyway, forgetting about that, erm, Michael shared some awesome news and posted these:

I don’t think I need to tell you how awesome this news is – for an independently published author to get foreign rights for his work is HUGE! 🙂 Michael and Robin both are showing the publishing world what can be done and not needing the big marketing spends and having the big print runs that the established houses have. Massive congrats to them! And bloody well deserved! 😀

I’m also very pleased that the Czech publishers have decided to keep the cover art – Michael creates the cover art himself and it’s a real compliment that the covers are being kept, albeit slightly modified (which I also like – gives me the feeling of looking through a keyhole at the world that Michael created). 🙂 Also, replicating the designs that are unique to each book is pretty damn cool, definitely adds to the Czech-branding of the series. 🙂

I’ll have my (long awaited) review of The Emerald Storm coming in some time next week, and then I’m going to get started on Wintertide (yes, Robin, send it through already!! 😉 ).



Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Announcements


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Review: The Riyria Revelations Book 3 – Nyphron Rising by Michael J Sullivan

Nyphron Rising is the third book in The Riyria Revelations by Michael J Sullivan and quite a departure in many ways from the previous two books, The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha, but in a good way. 🙂

Where The Crown Conspiracy was an excellent introduction to the series and Avempartha was the book that really got the ball rolling, putting the heroes in danger and setting up the conflicts that will probably see us through to the end of The Riyria Revelations, Nyphron Rising is a tale of adventure that is much more subtle and, in its own way, powerful than the first two novels.

One of the ways that Michael does this is by giving us deeper looks at Royce, Hadrian and Arista.

Sure, we’ve gotten to know them while submerged in the first two novels, but in Nyphron Rising Michael reveals even more about them – Royce has had a secret revealed to him that changes, on many levels, his relationship with his friend, Hadrian, and Royce is forced to take responsibility for the decisions he’s made, even though it might cost him Hadrian’s friendship. Seeing this side of Royce was great because it gave us a glimpse of the half-elf that we haven’t seen before – he’s a bit out of sorts, unsure of himself and doesn’t know which path to take, creating not only a conflict within himself that he needs to work through but also a conflict between him and Hadrian. I’m pretty sure that Michael has more evolution in store for Royce and it’ll be great to see him at the end of the series, evolving as he is.

Hadrian, on the other hand, has much to contend with; he is as unsure as Royce and and is struggling with his place in the scheme of things. Witnessing him battle through it all was a satisfying journey – the man you’ve come to know through two novels has changed, and much for the better.

Arista was more enjoyable than she’s been – witnessing her in various states that she would never have allowed herself to be caught in (not if she was still safely ensconced in Melengar) was led to some hilarious scenes, but Arista also shows herself to be stronger than even she suspected. Michael puts her through the ringer in Nyphron Rising and at the end, she’s in a place that she would probably have never chosen for herself but she rises to the challenge, as you would expect the friend of Royce and Hadrian to do.

The novel is populated with many other great characters, especially a group of cut-purses and thieves living in the city of Ratibor, a young man who fearlessly stands up to speak against the establishment, and the newly-crowned Empress, lost and alone after the events of Avempartha ; they, and many others, provide ample great glimpses at all the levels of society that permeate the kingdoms that make up Elan. One of the characters that almost stole the show for me was Amelia: she’s feisty, determined, and really steps up to the sudden change that’s thrust upon her life.

Plot-wise, the book is a somewhat slower read than The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha, but the pacing works very well – Michael layered the tale, making this a read rich in detail and drama. Sometimes I found myself thinking, “Okay, now they’re buggered!” only to have the situation really be revealed, and Michael stunned me with a revelation at the end that really sets up the fan and what’s going to be striking it in the rest of the series.

All things considered, Nyphron Rising is a hugely entertaining and subtly gripping novel – it’s a much deeper read than the previous books in the series and an excellent staging point for the next 3 novels. I’m looking forward to seeing how the conflict widens and just how everybody will get out of the trouble that is surely coming.

The Riyria Revelations is a series that can stand tall alongside any other Epic Fantasy series out there – all the action, intrigue and drama you’d expect and plenty of surprises!

8 / 10

To find out more about Michael and his work, check out his website here; you can also order the books at his site.

Also, here’s some great news! The excellent guys over at Podiobooks have finished their free, serialised recording of The Crown Conspiracy! 🙂 That’s right, it’s totally free! I’m downloading the whole thing before I start really listening but I’ve already treated myself to the first ten minutes and it’s awesome to listen to, so treat yourself, too. 🙂

Finally, a while ago I asked Michael and Robin if I could record a reading of the first chapter of The Emerald Storm – they both agreed. 🙂 I received plenty of help, including advice on the pace of my reading and pronunciation, and I think it turned out pretty damn cool – but not nearly as cool as the Podiobooks audiobook. 🙂 I don’t have a recording studio or the right equipment to do Michael’s work justice (plus I’ve got that strange South African accent, too), but it was fun and I’d do it again any time. Part 1 and Part 2 of Chapter One are in the Box.Net box on the blog’s sidebar – just look for the big blue box and click the links to listen. 🙂

Also, as a further taste of what you can expect in The Emerald Storm, check this out (the cover art for each novel, if you didn’t already know this, is done by Michael himself, and it’s kickass, right?):



Posted by on July 27, 2010 in Audio Excerpts, Reviews


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New Release Day: The Emerald Storm – Book 4 in The Riyria Revelations by Michael J Sullivan

It’s available! 🙂

Here’s some info about the book:


Ex-mercenary Hadrian Blackwater sets course on a high seas adventure to find the lost Heir of Novron. His only hope lies in confronting the ruthless and cunning Merrick Marius. Fearing his friend is not up to the challenge, Royce Melborn joins his old partner for one last mission. Their journey finds them adrift amid treachery and betrayals forcing Hadrian to face a past he hoped never to see again.”

Michael announced that Amazon has The Emerald Storm In Stock in this post, and will be appearing at RavenCon, so for those who’ll be in the area, be sure to get your copies and get Michael to sign them. 🙂

Haven’t read the first three books in The Riyria Revelations? You’re missing out! Here are links to my reviews: Book 1 The Crown Conspiracy, Book 2 Avempartha. I’m reading Book 3 Nyphron Rising at the moment, so that review will be up shortly. 🙂

I think it’s also time that I mention that I’ve been working on something, with Michael’s help and blessing, that will hopefully get the word out even more about his excellent series – I should be ready to reveal it next week, so keep an eye out. 🙂

Hope you all have a great weekend!


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Posted by on April 9, 2010 in Announcements


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Good (and Bad) news from Michael J Sullivan, author of The Riyria Revelations

This news was originally posted over at Realms & Galaxies: Celebrating SFF on the 28th of December 2009.

Robin Sullivan, Michael’s wife, sent me an email last week that informing me about some good and bad news concerning Michael’s books, news that needs to be spread. 🙂

The first batch of news, and this is good news, is this (taken from this post on the blog that Michael and Robin run):

“It is only Christmas Eve but the holiday season has already been very good to me. Sales of The Crown Conspiracy, Avempartha, and Nyphron Rising have been phenomenal.”

Now, that’s the kind of news that every author wants to hear! 🙂 I mean, imagine being on your first Epic/Heroic Fantasy series and receiving that news? Surely a cause for celebration if there ever was one! 🙂 I’m pretty damn chuffed for Michael and Robin – not only does this signify that The Riyria Revelations (3 books available so far in this great series) is being read and enjoyed by scores of readers worldwide, but that the work they put into this series has borne fruit, and continues to. 🙂

Unfortunately, there is a slightly crappy situation that has arisen, and this is also one of those situations that authors the world over can probably sympathize with; it concerns The Crown Conspiracy:

“Amazon is out of stock. Book Depository is out of stock. Powell’s is out of stock. Barnes & Nobles is out of stock. Abes Books is out of stock. Everyone except rare booksellers—who are offering the book as outrageous prices—are all out of stock.”

So, there you have it. 😦

But what does this mean? Well, basically, if your order your copies of Book 1 The Crown Conspiracy, you wont get the book in the advertised time because it’s on back-order, awaiting stock (i.e. the second print run). You see, the entire print-run has sold out. Awesome, awesome news, no doubt about that, but that means that thousands of readers, wanting to dive into the world that Michael has created, will be out of luck getting copies of the book.


Michael and Robin, showing a level of planning-for-the-future that may amaze you, have a solution:

Using this link (which will take you through to Michael’s website), you can order copies of the The Crown Conspiracy, and you’ll be able to get copies! 🙂 You see, they bought several hundred copies! So hundreds of lucky people out there will be able to get hold of the book and start their journey into The Riyria Revelations! 🙂 Also, Avempartha and Nyphron Rising are also available to order; there’s still stock available of those two books. You may see, however, that the books are a tad more expensive than what they cost on Amazon, and that’s totally understandable; I mean, how exactly would Michael be able to match the discounts that Amazon offers? Well, here’s the solution: Michael offers a 15% discount, plus he will personalize the book for you – that means a signature and/or dedication. 🙂 And that includes not only The Crown Conspiracy but Book 2 and Book 3, too.

Now, I’m sure some of you will still want to order The Crown Conspiracy through Amazon, Powells, B&N, but the second printing wont be available until around March 2010 – if you’re willing to wait (and you probably wont be disappointed, I believe), then go ahead and place your orders. But if you aren’t willing to wait, order your copies from Michael and Robin, and you’ll be able to get the books signed and personalized, too. 🙂

For those lucky bastards out there who have Kindle’s, there’s no need to worry: The Crown Conspiracy is available at this link. 🙂

So, there we have it – The Crown Conspiracy has SOLD OUT it’s first print-run, but there is still stock available at this link, and you can get your copies personalized, too. 🙂 Good news all round, in my opinion! 🙂

If you’d like to see what I thought about The Crown Conspiracy, check out my review here, and here’s my review of Avempartha. A review of Nyphron Rising will be up early in 2010, so keep your eyes peeled for that. 🙂


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Posted by on January 1, 2010 in Announcements


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Review: The Crown Conspiracy – Michael J Sullivan

The Crown Conspiracy - Part One of the Riyria Revelations

The Crown Conspiracy - Part One of the Riyria Revelations

I noticed this book thanks to Fantasy Book Critic, and got the opportunity to read it thanks to Michael’s wife and editor, Robin; Fantasy Book Critic (as usual) hit the nail on the head, and I can honestly say that this is a great book! 🙂

We begin our journey through the book with Archibald, a minor noble who has a scheme to change that ‘minor’ status into ‘major’; he has in his possession something with which to blackmail a noble with more connections and property, but the plan backfires when Archibald can’t come up with the goods because they’ve been stolen from right under his nose – from then on, the tale surges ahead! We meet the thieves and their friends, the royalty and the nobles and their enemies; we are taken right across the kingdom to a place that shouldn’t exist, and a tale begins to take shape of an ancient betrayal, a betrayal that shaped the whole world and the lives of those who call it home.

Michael’s tale flows beautifully; moving from character to character is not jarring in the least, and the rythmn he has from the beginning builds until it takes you a while to realize that it is really late and that you need to get into bed! 🙂

The characters themselves are vivid and unique – here we have everything from prostitutes, monks, princes, con-artists, even the odd Elf (but not as you’ve seen Elves before, let me tell you), and each character is true; I never had one moment where I thought, You know what? A Princess wouldn’t do something like that – it doesn’t make sense. They are all important to the story and bring us the different viewpoints we need to understand all sides of the tale. My favourite was Hadrian (one of the thieves), but the Monk (not saying who he is because he’s pretty important) has also got a spot in my heart. 🙂

Michael also doesn’t overwhelm us with information – if we need to know something, that something is specific to what is being discussed, or leaves clues for what may happen a bit further on; he is really comfortable in his world, and it comes through beautifully when some of the main characters are travelling through the wilderness – nothing is dumped in our laps, and we are told what we need to know to keep us engaged and curious. 🙂

And don’t worry about the fact that if you read this you’ll be starting a new series: The Riyria Revelations (as the series is titled) will be a six-part series, but each book can be read as a stand-alone! 🙂 The events will tie together, obviously, but not in a way that other series such as Erikson’s Malazan epic do – here, everything is self-contained, and each book can be enjoyed on its own. 🙂

This book is a great read; you’ll find that you’ll breeze through it, because Michael’s writing style is so easy to get into; the action, tension and even the funny bits all work well with the style he’s used to great effect here. I couldn’t finish the book in one sitting because I was still working through the tail-end of ’08, and Christmas and New Year also had their own interruptions, but I’m sure that once you sit down to read it, you’ll be as entranced and swept-away as I was. 🙂

April is still too far away, in my opinion; Avempartha, the second part of the Riyria Revelations, will be out then, and I’m hoping to have a review of it up and an interview with Michael at least two weeks before its publication date, so hold thumbs for me on that one. 🙂

Avempartha - Part Two of the Riyria Revelations

Avempartha - Part Two of the Riyria Revelations

All in all, I reccomend this book to any lover of fantasy – there’s enough intruige, action, mystery, and yes, magic, in this book to satisfy the fans, and I’m sure Michael will be thrilled at the following this book will generate for him. 🙂


Michael J Sullivan

Michael J Sullivan

Here’s the link to Michael’s site: lots of info there, and for those who have already read The Crown Conspiracy, some info on Book 2! 🙂

Also, here are links to other reviews of the book; one by Fantasy Book Critic, one by The Old Bat’s Belfry, and lastly at Cheryl’s Book Nook. 🙂


Posted by on January 3, 2009 in Reviews


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