Book Review: The Emerald Storm (Rise of Empire Part 2 of 2) by Michael J. Sullivan

The Emerald Storm (The Riyria Revelations #4) 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: 4.5/5

Hands-down, best book of the series thus far!



Ex-mercenary Hadrian Blackwater sets course on a high seas adventure to find the lost Heir of Novron. His only hope lies in confronting the ruthless and cunning Merrick Marius. Fearing Hadrian is not up to the challenge, Royce Melborn joins his ex-partner for one last mission. Their journey finds them adrift amid treachery and betrayals forcing Hadrian to face a past he had hoped to never see again.

This book had two of my favorite story settings: sea-voyages on ships, and jungle-explorations with the native/exotic tribes. The drama that can happen on a boat out alone at sea, and the excitement and danger of the unknown lands – I could read stuff that like all day! Then with this story line, which was intense and shocking right from the get-go, and kept that momentum going throughout – this was hands-down the best book of the series thus far!

We start off right in Ratibor with Arista now having to deal with duties of being the (unofficial) queen of the land. While there she receives a visit from Esrahaddon imploring her to use her magic to help him once again with the Heir of Novron. A conflict arises quickly, and Arista must soon decide wether to remain in Ratibor or to go in search of Degan Gaunt.

Up in Aquesta, we still have Empress Modina under the loving and protecting care of Amillia. However, Saldur has another task for Amilia to prepare the Empress for. One that may allow the Imperialists to expand the Empire even further.

Meanwhile, Royce and Hadrian have officially ended the dynamic-duo of RiyriaPrince Alric on the other hand, does not care. Upon intercepting a letter meant for the Imperialists, he again requirs their assistance. Hadrian intends to go off on the quest alone, however Gwen will not let Royce sit this one out, and allow Hadrian to go off on his own. This mission from the Prince, takes them down to the port and on to The Emerald Storm. This voyage across the sea will take Hadrian to a past-life from long ago, and Royce to future that may or may not be.

Up until now, the Riyria Revelations had been a fun series and followed a fairly typical, slightly predicable, story line. With The Emerald Storm, things went from fun and games, to serious business and no-joking around – real quick. Everything I been wanting this series to be, began to unfold:

The pasts of Hadrian and Royce, that we keep getting little bits and pieces of, finally come to main stage. (It was more-so Hadrian but with how MJS has been teasing us with Royce’s dangerous personality, and the way it ends… I have a feeling that Royce is just at the boiling point now). We go off on this fantastic quest. Daring the high-seas, exploring far away lands, and coming face to face with the Ba Ran Ghazel themselves. There is conflict too. Oh man, is there some conflict this time. I’m talking accusations of murder, mistrusts and betrayals, friendships and characters put to the test, and nerve-racking moments… I was seriously into this novel.

We meet some new characters this time around. My personal favorite is the young chef-assistant Poe. There is also midshipman Wesley – who I was constantly battling with to decide wether or not I was fan of – and there is a whole ‘crew’ of new characters we meet as we set sail. Loved the dynamic and battling of personalities on the trip.

Last review I mention how impressed I was with the development of Arista and how she became one my favorites along with Royce and Hadrian. The same came be said for Modina this time around. Not for being one of my favorite (sorry), but for how her character is developing and unfolding. I came to realize, that they both are becoming strong characters; strong female characters.

With all the struggles and heart-brakes that Arista went through in Nephron Rising, and what has happened to Modina and how she is literally, and figuratively, been locked away in a cell – MJS could easily have gone down the road of helpless female. We have the perfect set-up for the empress locked away in the highest tower, waiting for the theifs-turned-good to come rescue her. There is the run-away princess, off to prove herself, but failing and regretting her decisions, and needing to be rescued by some knight in shining armor, who comes to bring her back to her kingdom. BUT, Michael doesn’t do that. Instead, he chose to make these strong female character, who do not fall to that unfortunate trope.

Best book of the series. There are intense battle scenes, conflict and drama, but there is still that nice hint of humor in there to smooth things along. All the things I liked from previous from are here and nothing added that I did not like! (Except for no Magnus and Myron… I really miss them)

I haven’t a clue, why you wouldn’t want to continue reading.

4.5/5 Rating


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3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Emerald Storm (Rise of Empire Part 2 of 2) by Michael J. Sullivan

  1. Modina and Arista both definitely made leaps and bounds over the course of these two books from when they were introduced. I can’t wait for your review of Heir of Novron 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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