But Royce has plans of his own and uses this opportunity to discover if an ancient wizard is using Riyria as pawns in his own bid for power. To find the truth, Royce must unravel Hadrian's hidden past. What he discovers will lead them to the end of the known world on a journey rife with treachery and intrigue.
And so continues the second tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.
Rise of Empire was amazing .
While the first two books (found in Theft of Swords) were fantastic books, they felt much more like stand alones that happened to contain the same group of characters. Now in books 3 and 4 of the series, Sullivan turns this fantastic series into a continuous series.
Readers finally learn more about the heir, we are introduced to new characters that play huge new roles (such as Modina, Amilia, Merrick and Wyatt). And older characters get to play bigger and more important storylines (especially Arista and Saulder).
That said my favorite new aspect of the books is the introduction to Royce and Hadrian’s pasts. Readers will get to visit the towns these two each grew up from, discover the source of Hadrian’s amazing fighting skills, and even see who put Royce in prison. Each of the two characters are much more flushed out, and we really get to see what makes each of them tick. They are tested in ways we never saw in the previous two books and I have to say they will be tested further in the last installments.
Of course I also loved Arista’s growth and discovery. Arista goes from becoming a smart yet pampered princess to something altogether more. She becomes a real character that readers will sympathize with. Fans of the series will root for as she defies the odds and feel sorrow for as the people in her life die around her. Through Arista readers are also finally introduced to magic. As her powers grow, so does her importance in the story, and lets just say she’s darn important by the end of book 4.
Of course while that’s all well and good, other things to keep in mind are that this book is chalk full of great action scenes, as Hadrian and Royce battle everything from mythical monsters, to religious soldiers, to goblins. All in all this book is fantastic. Sullivan has created quality characters who deepen the story, filled it with non-stop action, and thrown in a good deal of mystery and deception, to the degree that readers themselves wont know what will happen next. All in all a great book and I can’t wait for the last in the series.