Heir of Novron - Michael J. Sullivan There are many different kinds of fantasy: epic fantasy, dark fantasy, heroic fantasy, sword and sorcery, etc. It's hard to label the Riyria Revelvations series as any of these, though. If I had to, I think I would coin my own term -- down-to-earth fantasy, a compliment I don't often get a chance to bestow. The author set out to tell a great story with great characters; there is no pretension, and what you see is what you get. That in itself really makes this series stand out for me. While dark fantasy is all the rage these days, and as much as I enjoy a good gritty tale myself once in a while, it's still refreshing to be able to read something like this -- an uncomplicated and no-nonsense adventure fantasy.

That isn't to say it is not without its surprises. In fact, Heir of Novron is probably the best out of the three omnibuses precisely because it ties together all the threads in the previous books, and more than a few revelations come to light. It's clear the author had the events of all six books mapped out before he even started writing them, and everything that happens is part of an overarching grand plan. So of you're the kind of fantasy reader who prefers tackling series only when they are completed, then this is definitely for you. Likewise, it is doubly recommended if you are sick of long, dragged out multi-volume series that make you question whether or not the author even has a clue where to go with the story.

But back to why I think Heir of Novron is so great: it is actually a collection comprising two books, Wintertide (book 5) and Percepliquis (book 6). Wintertide was as I expected, a "bridge" book that was relatively short, but does its job filling in some of the story and setting up for the grand finale. It is a good book, but like I said, shorter and more to-the-point when it comes to the plot.

Percepliquis, on the other hand...WOW. A classic quest tale of a group of adventurers setting off on a long, harrowing journey, this is also the book that ties everything together and finishes things off with a bang. And here's the thing I've noticed with a lot of fantasy -- the last book doesn't always live up to the rest of the series. But I'm happy to say this was absolutely NOT the case here. In fact, Percepliquis was probably my favorite, the best of all the books. I already mentioned how I liked that everything came together and that there were no loose ends. It is for the most part a happily-ever-after series, perfect if you prefer unambiguous and lighthearted endings. Still, not everything ends up perfectly for all the characters; there were a few setbacks for our protagonists Hadrian and Royce, and a few deaths that I did not see coming at all, a couple of which really upset me, but that only goes to show the depth of the connections I have developed for the characters. And sometimes, bittersweet is best.

And finally, I think my love for this series increased tenfold the moment I came to realize that so many hints had been dropped, so many seeds had planted during the course of the series, finally to come to bloom in the last book. I can't really talk about any of them here, of course, as that would just spoil things, but it was definitely one of those "The Sixth Sense" moments. My mind was just completely blown. I must have asked myself "How the heck could I have missed THAT?!" more than a dozen times. While I don't usually reread books I've finished, a reread may be in order for this series in particular, just because I want to know what else I might have missed the first time around. Now that I have finished the last book and know how everything ends, I have a feeling I may see everything in a different light.