Book Review: Nolyn (The Rise and Fall #1) by Michael J. Sullivan (four stars)

Book Review: Nolyn (The Rise and Fall #1) by Michael J. Sullivan (four stars)

“I was hoping this is where you’d lead. I’m just curious to see how you’re going to do it.” “Me, too.” 

Rousing opener to a new series set in Sullivan’s fantasy universe. Bridges the gap between Legends of the First Empire and his original Riyria books. New characters star in the new series, but enough carryover to ground the people and places in his world. Long-time Sullivan readers may detect recycling.

“I could have died at twenty and considered my life a happy one. By human standards, I’m practically immortal, but I’ve done little that brings me joy. My existence is one big, ironic joke.” 

Great, relatable adventure story. Refreshingly straightforward characters, wonderfully convoluted plot, and a satisfying, if not entirely cuddly ending. Plenty of hooks to the next story.

‘Everything returns to dirt. All that remains is theater.’

Even though Sullivan aims to make this stand alone, I would not recommend new readers start here. If for no other reason than missing all the Easter eggs. Parts of the story resemble the south lawn of the White House.

“That was my gift to you, a youth well lived.” “I nearly died.” “Great, wasn’t it?” 

Love the cover art by Marc Simonetti.

“Life is full of risk, but you should never let that hold you back. You can’t let fear stop you from living. Just make certain the chances you take are worth the peril.” 

Book Review: The Viscount and the Witch by Michael J. Sullivan (Four Stars)


Book Review: The Viscount and the Witch (Riyria Chronicles, #1.5) by Michael J. Sullivan

(Four Stars)

“Don’t mind him; he was raised by wolves.”

Sullivan at his best. Has vitality of The Crown Conspiracy without the silliness of later books. The relationship between the protagonists is part of the fun, and it’s displayed here in its quintessence.

“Royce was no longer behind him. He often disappeared at times like this. Being more adept at stealth, Royce enjoyed using Hadrian for the noisy distraction he was.”

I’m embarrassed to claim a “book” read for a short story of less than thirty pages. Still, it’s a fun read and the price was right. (Free) May motivate you to read more of the series, which was the whole idea, right?

“You can stay here and die or work for us, and if you work for us, you work sober.” Albert rubbed his bristly chin. “That really should be an easy choice, shouldn’t it?”

Book Review: “Little Wren and the Big Forest” by Michael J. Sullivan (Three Stars)

Book Review: “Little Wren and the Big Forest” by Michael J. Sullivan

Three Stars

“That was the nature of the forest. Things went in and never came out.”

A brief excursion into the greater world of Sullivan’s First Empire. This short story appears in Unfettered II, but I got it separately, so I’m reviewing independently. Not up to the quality of most Sullivan fiction, but a fun read.

“Naive. Innocent. Dumb. Maybe, Wren thought as she followed the sheep, but I’m not a coward.”

A modern fairy tale heroine. Pretty introspective for an eight-year-old.

“The moment you thought of something terrible, that’s exactly what would happen.”

Sneak Peak: Rhune by Michael J. Sullivan

Sneak Peak: Rhune by Michael J. Sullivan

(no rating yet)

I just finished reading the beta version of this new novel by Sullivan. I can’t tell you anything about the story, of course, but I do suggest you add it to your “I want to read this” list.

Fans of the Riyria books, rejoice! If this book is any indication, the First Empire series will be a welcome addition to the Riyria series.

If anything Sullivan’s writing is better, and the book has more depth and subtly than his previous publications. This is so good; fans of epic high fantasy won’t want to miss it.