Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Riyria Revelations

Riyria Revelations Series
By Michael J Sullivan

I loved, loved, loved this series! This is actually a review of six books, although they are published in three volumes. If you love fantasy - like Tolkien - you have to read these books! Humans, dwarfs, elves and a very intelligent group of goblins fill the pages. Sword fights, magic, ancient languages and corruptible religion are also central to the story. I am trying to decide if my son is quite old enough to read them but I may wait until he is 12. I have also discovered that two more prequel books will be published later this year.

The first volume is called Theft of Swords. This is where you meet the two main characters in the series: Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn. They are thieves. Royce is the darker of the two characters and is the one who picks locks and climbs. Hadrian is the fighter and the conscience of the two. They are so different it is hard to see how they are friends but you get the feeling from the first of the series that they are more like brothers and have an incredibly deep connection.

The second volume, Rise of Empire, is really the darker of the three. Nothing seems to go right and Sullivan never pulls the Star Trek plot device where every main character survives. Don't be surprised that someone who seems significant doesn't make it to the end. In that spirit, you are on the edge of your seat wondering who will make it. But don't worry - Royce and Hadrian are on the final cover of the volume at least!

Heir of Novron is that final volume and Sullivan does not disappoint the reader. Sullivan keeps the reader guessing as it does not seem like things are going to end well for anyone. Could all these bad things really happen to all the major characters in this short of time frame? What is wonderful is the depth of character and issues like forgiveness, redemption, grief and love are fully explored. I kept hesitating to finish because I was afraid of the ending and a little sad that I would have to leave this world of Sullivan's making.

What did this series have to do with my faith? I found that Sullivan really delved into despair and grief -- that "dark night of the soul" which Christians don't speak of very often. Some equate such a feeling as depression and I suppose that could be part of it. But I think Sullivan really points to the fact that even when our faith seems strong, life can really tear it apart when we lose those who are dearest to us. The question remains is this: how will we deal with grief and loss? What do we do when our faith has fallen in pieces around us? It is much easier to believe when things are going well. I think that rebuilding faith takes courage, time and companions who love us with tough love. Not everyone can crawl back to the light, either. And no one does it like others have done it before us: everyone is different.

I highly recommend the Riyria Revelations series!

Happy reading!


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