Wintertide: Just a plain ol’ fashioned good time

Michael J. Sullivan The Riyria Revelations 5. Wintertidefantasy novel reviews Michael J. Sullivan WintertideWintertide by Michael J. Sullivan

Wintertideis the next to last book in THE RIYRIA REVELATIONS series. As with the rest of these books, this is a fairly self-contained story, but at the same time the reader can feel the momentum building toward an explosive conclusion. Hadrian is forced into a deadly deal to kill an honorable knight by making it look accidental in a tournament, while Royce is desperate to be done with Riyria’s contracts so that he can try his hand at domesticated bliss with his true love.

Wintertide is my favorite book in the series so far, which is as a series should be: each installment a little better than the last. It seems that Sullivan has really hit his stride with Wintertide. The series is at its best when he concentrates more on Royce and Hadrian than on other characters. However, the street orphans introduced in this book do play a very interesting role.

THE RIYRIA REVELATIONS is a swashbuckling fantasy; action, adventure, and intrigue are its strong suits. The world-building and system of magic are left to a bare minimum by design — even more so in Wintertide than in earlier installments — which is a good thing in this kind of tale. You won’t find the complexity of MALAZAN EMPIRE or A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE here. Nor will you find a “dark and gritty” fantasy. RIYRIA REVELATIONS is just a plain ol’ fashioned good time. The stories read fast and there’s no nagging pressure that you need to be able to recall all the details from previous books. In fact, the plot is simple enough that you might even be able to skip a book and still gain a solid grasp of what’s going on. The books are good enough, though, that you won’t want to miss a single one.

Michael J. Sullivan’s genius is that THE RIYRIA REVELATIONS series is as much fun as YA fiction, but written for grown-ups.

~Greg Hersom

fantasy novel reviews Michael J. Sullivan WintertideWintertideis the fifth book in Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations. This fast-paced, highly entertaining series continues to chronicle the adventures and trials of Royce and Hadrian, our dynamic heroes.

Wintertide is truly a culmination. Many of the storylines that we have been following are drawing to a sort of nexus. In the city of Aquesta the new Emperor is to be crowned after marrying the heir to the throne, Modina (Thrace), while several rebels, Degan Gaunt and Arista, are executed. It’s a veritable powder keg of problems and opportunities for the likes of Hadrian and Royce.

Here is what makes Wintertide so good: The pace of the book is very even, but very quick. Sullivan doesn’t gloss over details, but he doesn’t spend pages going over things that are not meaningful to the story. He moves back and forth between characters to show the passage of time instead of trying to keep time with one character. As readers we are not privy to everything that is happening, but only to those events that really matter. It makes the story move right along.

As always, the character of Royce is compelling to me. Over the last four books, Sullivan has shown us his history and what has shaped him. In Wintertide, Royce continues to evolve as he is torn between different loyalties. For a man who has survived by avoiding ties to anyone or anything, this is very interesting to read about.

Michael Sullivan has done a wonderful job with Wintertide. The balance between action, excitement, character development and story leads to a page-turner that is over much too quickly. This is not a book to try and read as an intro to the series; it ties back to previous storylines a great deal. That’s not a problem, just an observation for readers who have not read everything up to this point. I really liked Wintertide, and Sullivan has gotten me back on the bandwagon!

~John Hulet

SHARE:  facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail  FOLLOW:  facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrsstumblr

GREG HERSOM’S (on FanLit's staff January 2008 -- September 2012) addiction began with his first Superboy comic at age four. He moved on to the hard-stuff in his early teens after acquiring all of Burroughs’s Tarzan books and the controversial L. Sprague de Camp & Carter edited Conan series. His favorite all time author is Robert E. Howard. Greg also admits that he’s a sucker for a well-illustrated cover — the likes of a Frazetta or a Royo. Greg live with his wife, son, and daughter in a small house owned by a dog and two cats in a Charlotte, NC suburb. He retired from FanLit in Septermber 2012 after 4.5 years of faithful service but he still sends us a review every once in a while.

View all posts by Greg Hersom (RETIRED)

One comment

  1. I have been loving this series thus far. I have to say it is great how each book is all part of the same series and takes the series a step further each time. But there is also a new story or angle of the book that keeps me interested and wanting to come back for more.

    Really is a great series to read.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *