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 Mr. 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.