Book Review: Nyphron Rising (Rise of Empire: Part 1 of 2) by Michael J. Sullivan

Nyphron Rising (The Riyria Revelations #3) by Michael J. Sullivan

Publisher: Orbit

Publication Date: December 14, 2011 (first published April 8, 2010)

Edition: Paperback, 786 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

Nypron Rising? My like Arista Rising! Am I right?



War has come to Melengar and Princess Arista runs a desperate gamble when she defies her brother and hires Royce and Hadrian for a dangerous mission. As the power of the Nyphron Empire grows, so does Royce’s suspicion that the wizard Esrahaddon is using the thieves as pawns in his own game. To find the truth, he must unravel the secret of Hadrian’s past.

Nyphron Rising? More like Arista Rising! What a development we got to see with her. I had a lot of (Riyria) revelations in this book that proved to me how great this story and how impressive Michael’s writing is. This is a great series so far!

Nyphron Rising picks up roughly six months after the evens of Theft of Swords, and we see that the New Empire has taken over most of Avempratha. All except for MelengarArista is returning home from her ambassador job, which went about as well as you could except for a women ambassador (who is also accused of witch-craft) to do in this time-period. Things are no easier for her brother, Prince Alric, who is leading a kingdom and gaining the respect of nobels about as well as you could except a newly crowned twenty-year old to do so. Needless to say, things are no going well.

Riyria is no much better themselves, having issues of their own with their future is in question.

Determined to prove herself worthy, Arista seeks the help of Riyria to take her down to see Degan Gaunt and the Nationalists in hope of creating an alliance to defeat the Imperialists. Despite the shaky ground of Riyria, they decided to take one last job. Royce, still battling with the decision of whether or not to tell Hadrian about his inheritance, sees this as a perfect opportunity to stop in Hintindar, Hadrian’s birthplace, to find out more information if what Esrahaddon told was true.

With everything that has gone in Theft of Swords, I saw Arista as a total rebel/badass chick. She goes of to University, and she study and learns magic. She sneaks off to meet with Esrahaddon, and breaks Riyria out of prison. Then whole deal with her Uncle, becoming an ambassador and the stuff that happened last book, and then hiring Riyria in this book. Arista in nothing at all like the other nobel ladies! But, she is still a nobel, and I completely over-looked that when her journey began this time. Granted she may be way different from other nobles, but she is still of nobel upbringing, and while she may not seem so nobel relative to them, compared to regular citizens, she is a total little pampered princess.

Aritsa trying to prove herself in this story – and I guess thinking she’s more a rebel or could handle a regular citizens life – make for some extremely funny moments. More importantly though, it provided a chance to see who Arista was and who she could become. This book takes her on quite a path that puts her to the test, but she passed with flying color. It was great to see how she handled situations and overcame her birth (never though I would say this) as a nobel lady. Aside from Royce and Hadrian, no one else is close to being my favorite character.

Royce and Hadria, like I said, are still my favorite. These two are a total bromance. The major conflicts they faced this time were great for the story. I was not surprised by one of them wanting to break up Riyria, but between Royce, the lone elf thief, and Hadrian, the righteous honorable warrior, when it came time to calling it quits I was little surprised by who called it. This breaking up, and the decision of whether or not for Royce to tell Hadrian the truth, puts their friendship to the test.

I am still impressed by how well Michael’s writing is able to make these character’s feel real and genuine. One moment in particular stood out and caused me a moment of pause.

Very early on the book we have a conversation between Royce and Hadrian discussing the future of Riyria. The details don’t matter, but what Michael writes is,

“Nothing.” [Royce] let his hands run through his hair. “How did you get so wise?”

When I read that, I just pictured Royce sitting there at the bar, sighing and closing his eyes as he ran his hand through his hair. Maybe even shaking his head a little bit, thinking about what the hell is going with Hadrian now? Granted Michael only said the bit about the hair, but the development of the two characters as individuals and as team, the situation at hand, and the importance of what they were talking about – all this combined, created this moment of reflection for me. Royce running his hand through his hair, just felt so perfect. I read that, stopped and thought, that was something I could totally see Royce doing – it just felt so Royce.

Another things that dawned on me in the book was how Michael was creating the ‘good verse evil’ theme. These are considered to be fun, heart-warming and ‘anti-grimdark’ stories – no arguing there. But at times we see some pretty dark things, nothing on the ‘grimdark level’, but some dark and sad things that leave me wondering, “how can you call these fun and up lifting when this happens?” Then it dawned on me –  because good always prevails.

In particular we will see how poor, broken-down and tough life is in Ratibor for some. Yet, as I was wondering what the point of showing me this was, I realized it was to show how the good can overcome. We need these dark and sad moments in the story to show how certain characters are changing, and how good is defeating evil. Like they say, “you cannot know light without dark”. So in retrospect now, I appreciate these moments of despair. While at the moment the seem bad, the upside (so-far) has prevailed.

This was another great story. Not much else to say. I myself prefer the climax of with the Gilarabrwyn from the last book more, but overall, this is just as good as the last. The only real complaint I have is that it felt kind of the same as the previous two. By that I mean, Riyria goes off on another quest, their friendship is put to the test, main focus is on another character, and we learn more about the Church of Nephron. These stories are still great, don’t get me wrong. Still reading through these ridiculously fast, I can’t put ’em down, and are much better than other fantasy I have read. But I just want a little more. I know there is more to offer here – more potential – and I want it to come out. (Edit: I have long since finished the series, and the last 3 book are leaps and bounds the best of the series!)

P.S. Great ending again!

4/5 Rating


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7 thoughts on “Book Review: Nyphron Rising (Rise of Empire: Part 1 of 2) by Michael J. Sullivan

  1. StCyril says:

    I just finished the prequel to this, can’t wait to get to this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love these books, and Hadrian and Royce! I’m so glad Michael J. Sullivan has got another Riyria prequel in the works, if what I saw about an upcoming book three of the Chronicles is accurate.


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