Rise of Empire by Michael J. Sullivan feels very much like a middle chapter in the series and the most exciting plot line did not really include the series’ dynamic duo of Hadrian and Royce. Rise of Empire is made up of 2 Riyria Revelations stories. The first one is a diplomatic mission to try to talk a kingdom into joining the side of Arista, Hadrian, and Royce against the new Imperialist Empire. We also get a lot more information about the past of all our characters and information on who the actual Heir of Novron is. These character building scenes are fantastic and flesh out the world really well.
Arista becomes the central figure in this book as Hadrian and Royce do all the “dirty work.” Arista’s character is coming into her own as a magic user and as a reader that is exciting. Arista ends up bringing a city together against the oppressors that want to hurt them. In the second book, Arista does a spy like mission into the heart of the Imperialist Empire. Her storyline is just great and I found it to be much more engaging than Hadrian and Royce’s. I also really loved Modina and Amilia’s points of view in this story as well. Basically, the women overshadowed the men in this story.
The second book had Hadrian and Royce on board a boat setting sail for places far away. They are trying to get more information on the rival assassin/thief Merrick but they kind of go on a wild goose chase. I didn’t really like the boat scenes all that much and the plot of them going off, away from Arista, and the people they care about seemed a bit odd to me. Arista seemed to be doing what they should have been doing. I never really bought into the idea that Hadrian and Royce could really out think and go after Merrick.
I really enjoyed this book, it was a fantastic read, but I just wasn’t as excited about the story as I was in the first book. You can tell that Sullivan is building to a great final bind up book with Heir of Novron. Rise of Empire just didn’t capture my love for Hadrian and Royce like I thought it would. This isn’t a bad book at all, it just wasn’t all that impressive, and I think I was expecting a little more out of this one. I’m still excited to read Heir of Novron and how our heroes can set things right.
3/5(a 3.5 for you half star people out there)
15/25 Possible Score
3 – Plot
3 – Characters
3 – World Building
3 – Writing Style
3 – Heart & Mind Aspect