Nyphron Rising (2011) by Michael J. Sullivan

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The third book in the Riyria Revelations follows our intrepid thieves Royce and Hadrian as they are once more hired by Princess Arista of Melenger. Thrace, the young girl who hired them in the previous entry returns, this time having been put on the throne of the Empire as a puppet, the church claiming that her slaying of the mighty beast proved she was the Heir of Novron. A young servant in the empress’s castle has the good fortune to become the empress’s secretary and Amelia quickly becomes a favorite character. Thrace is now known as Modina and is in a catatonic state, not eating or talking, and Amelia spends most of the time in this book trying to bring the young Empress out of her shell. Meanwhile the church has plans for their puppet ruler and the newly formed Empire quickly swallows kingdoms throughout the land, threatening dominion over all.

I found this book a little too ‘by the numbers’ and as such did not enjoy it as much as the first and second books in the series. Sullivan spends too much time making sure that the reader knows ‘unrelated’ pieces of information so that the series can progress, and not enough time making this individual book progress. There is alot of talking and not alot of action. I think this is one of the reasons that the publisher released the series in three books, rather than one. the first book wasn’t as good as the second and the third wasn’t as good as the fourth. Hopefully the fifth and sixth books justify the series’ sometimes rambling plot line.

Backstory is key here. Much time is spent discussing the pasts of Royce and Hadrian and while this is something that Sullivan does well, it is sometimes too much. A little more time stealing and killing and pushing one another’s buttons would have lent this book more of an air of adventure. As it is Nyphron Rising is the least exciting entry in the series so far but still a fast and enjoyable read.

The introduction of new characters made up for the slow pace of the book and between Amelia and Merrick Marius, a chess enthusiast hired by the Church to help with the war, the list of characters I look forward to reading more about grows in this book. Marius is only in a few scenes but he is calm and rational and slightly terrifying.

Read the first and second books before this and you will have a good time.

3 Stars

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