In the fifth and penultimate volume of Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations, he once again manages to play off a familiar fantasy storyline, in this case the art of the joust and power of the nobility within a city, and with his unique cast of characters, makes Wintertide feel completely original. While readers of the series may be familiar with Royce and Hadrian, it’s the adventures they get up to in this book that really make it worthwhile, with an ending that sets up for a grand finale in the final book of the series. Wintertide is the quiet before the storm.
On this year’s holiday of the same name, a special celebration has been planned. The New Empire wants to make a big deal of its victory over the Nationalists, and has some important public executions planned: the villainous Degan Gaunt and the Witch of Melengar. The only problem is that Royce and Hadrian are in town and they happen to be good friends with both of those people and have plans of springing them free whatever it takes.
Sullivan clearly had fun with Wintertide, playing around with Hadrian engaging in a joust, even though he doesn’t know much about the whole nobility and chivalry thing, but he sure knows how to fight. And how having friends in the most unlikeliest of places often proves invaluable. Fans will enjoy this penultimate chapter, with Sullivan’s strong descriptions and scenes of the winter festivities; of the sounds, sights and smells. It’s an enjoyable, thrilling tale before the final showdown.
Originally written on February 8, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.