Wintertide by Michael Sullivan is the fifth book in the Riyria Revelation series. I have to say that Wintertide is a whole of a lot better than the previous book, The Emerald Storm. The author has gotten his groove back and it really shows in Wintertide. Similar when reading the very first book of the series, I experienced the “could-not-put-it-down” syndrome. The book simply captures your attention from beginning, middle and right till the very end. The pacing is excellent and pitted together with the author’s gifted writing talents, it’s an unstoppable combo. I was so happy when the author finally brought Myron back into the story even if it was only for a brief moment! Anyways, I think it is safe to say that if you have made it this far into the series, you’ll see it all the way through. With one more book to go, users are desperately waiting to see how things will end.
“The New Empire intends to celebrate its victory over the Nationalists with a day that will never be forgotten. On the high holiday of Wintertide the empress will be married. Degan Gaunt and the Witch of Melengar will be publically executed. Then the empress will suffer a fatal accident leaving the empire in the hands of the new emperor. It will be a perfect day. There is only one problem-Royce and Hadrian have finally found the lost heir.”
What made Wintertide so interesting for me is due to how I didn’t find myself hating on any of the characters. In the last couple of books, I got a tad bit irritated with Amilia, Princess Arista and Empress Modina. I know, sounds like I hate all the women characters in the book but I just couldn’t help it. In Wintertide, things turned out for the better. With Empress Modina being the way she is, the majority of the focus was shifted to Lady Amilia. While not necessarily the most interesting character, she held her own here. As for Arista, although not a whole lot of time was spent on her this time around, I still felt her pain in the story. The hardship she goes through will only make her that much more of a stronger character for the last book in the series.
Here in Wintertide, you really get the sense that a whole lot of stuff is going on within the palace grounds. The author does quite a good job at creating a busy and lively atmosphere. Pacing is very important for a book and as I said earlier, this book had a great one. When story advancing was needed, there were dialogues and character building. When it was time to turn things up a notch, there was action. All in all, I really couldn’t find anything I didn’t like about Wintertide. When writing my review for The Emerald Storm, I stated that I was worried about the direction the series as a whole was headed. With Wintertide, I finally got it through my thick head that the author really meant for the Riyria Revelations to be a “episodic” series. I have no idea why it took me so long to admit this. I guess I’ve been so used to reading other trilogies that I failed to comprehend this fact. Here, I realize I should just let it go and enjoy the story as it goes. Everything will take care of itself.
With one more book to go, I am so excited to see how things will end for all the characters in the series. Will Royce go to jail because of the crimes he commited? Is Degan Gaunt the real heir of Novron? Will Hadrian really protect Gaunt even though he’s not what he believes a perfect emperor should behave like? What is the horn and what/who is “coming” for everyone that Eshrahaddon was talking about prior to his death? Where is Percepliquis? These are just some of the questions that popped into my head after reading Wintertide. I’m both glad and sad that the series is coming to an end. The former because after being hooked into the series, I can finally move on to reading other books! The latter because well, I’ll be missing the whole crew. But all things must eventually come to an end. Sad or happy conclusion, I’ll be glad I stuck with the series all the way to the end!
The Riyria Revelation series is actually re-packaged into three books, with each book consisting of two books in the series. Wintertide is actually now called Heir of Novron, which includes this book along with the next book in the series, Percepliquis.