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The Qwillery

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Review: The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan

The Death of Dulgath
AuthorMichael J. Sullivan
Series:  The Riyria Chronicles 3
Publisher:  Riyria Enterprises, LLC, October 15, 2015 (ebook)
       Mascot Books, December 1, 2015 (Hardcover)
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 432 pages
List Price:  $24.95 (Hardcover);  $9.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9781943363025 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Author

Review: The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan
Three times they tried to kill her. Then a professional was hired. So was Riyria.

When the last member of the oldest noble family in Avryn is targeted for assassination, Riyria's Royce and Hadrian are hired to foil the plot. Three years have passed since Hadrian, the war-weary mercenary, and Royce, the cynical ex-assassin, joined forces to become rogues-for-hire. All has gone well until they're asked to help prevent a murder. Now they must venture into an ancient corner of the world to save a mysterious woman who knows more about Royce than is safe and cares less about herself than is sane.

From the best-selling author of The Riyria Revelations comes the third installment of The Riyria Chronicles. Although part of a series, it's designed to thrill both new readers looking for fun, fast-paced fantasy and Riyria veterans wishing to reunite with old friends.

Melanie’s Thoughts

The Death of Dulgath is the product of Michael J, Sullivan’s active imagination, his obvious love of both the Riyria world and its characters and a very successful Kickstarter campaign. Without these factors we might not have had opportunity to enjoy another excellent adventure of our two favourite characters - Royce and Hadrian.

This novel is set in between The Rose and the Thorn and Theft of Swords where the Riyria have only been together for a few years and just starting to establish their reputation. In need of some cash they accept a job on the opposite side of the kingdom to try to prevent a young woman from getting murdered. It sounded like a quick and easy assignment involving no mystery, no intrigue and no death or mayhem. Sound like something that should go to plan? Unfortunately for the Riyria this quick and easy job turns out to a little more than they expected. Idyllic countryside, happy citizens who love their Lady and a kind and benevolent ruler? If it sounds too good to be true then usually someone is determined it doesn't stay that way. Enter Royce and Hadrian who need to use both their combined and individual skills to find out who wants the Lady dead and why. Its what they find out about each other however that is what makes this story such an excellent read.

I was extremely lucky to have been selected as part of the beta reader group for The Death of Dulgath. You may have read some of my other reviews of Sullivan's books and know that I love just about everything about this series and its two main characters. This instalment in the series was no exception. Sullivan continues to develop both of his main characters with POV chapters where we gain a better insight into how they feel about each other which is really interesting and gives both them and the story more depth. Sullivan also gives us some additional background into a new region of the kingdom, of the religious beliefs of the citizens of Dulgath and what the Church of Novron is planning. The plot largely focuses on Lady Dulgath who features not just as the intended victim of the murder plot but as the subject of the artist Sherwood, who has been commissioned to paint her portrait. Sullivan uses Sherwood's POV chapters and the painting as a tool to advance the plot, as well as, the mechanism for revealing one of the story's big mysteries. Lady Dulgath is an enigmatic character and has some interesting scenes with Royce where she reveals some home truths about who (or what) he really is. Royce is drawn to the Lady as he is intrigued by what she tells him. I apologise for sounding vague but I can't reveal too much as I don't want to spoil the story for you.

Fans of this series, will enjoy the chapters dedicated to Royce and Hadrian. As with the other books in the series it is in the scenes with Royce and Hadrian that Sullivan's writing really shines and these were my favourite parts of the novel. Royce and Hadrian's POV chapters give us a better insight into how they feel about each other and we get an inside view of how their relationship continues to grow and flourish.

This is another great book by Sullivan and another star in the Riyria collection and a must read for any fantasy fan. Although you can easily enjoy The Death of Dulgath as a one off I wouldn't want you to miss any of the excellent books in the series so start back with The Crown Tower.

Review: The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan - August 17, 2013

The Crown Tower
Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Series:  The Riyria Chronicles 1
Publisher:  Orbit, August 6, 2013
Format: Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages
Price:  $16.00 (print)
ISBN: 9780316243711 (print)
Review copy:  Provided by the Publisher via NetGalley

Review: The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan - August 17, 2013
Two men who hate each other. One impossible mission. A legend in the making.

Hadrian Blackwater, a warrior with nothing to fight for, is paired with Royce Melborn, a thieving assassin with nothing to lose. Hired by an old wizard, they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. The Crown Tower is the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built and home to the realm's most prized possessions. But it isn't gold or jewels that the wizard is after, and if he can just keep them from killing each other, they just might succeed.

The Rose and The Thorn
Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Series:  The Riyria Chronicles 2
Publisher:  Orbit, September 17, 2013
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
Price:  $16.00  (print)
ISBN:  9780316243728 (print)
Review copy:  Provided by the Publisher via NetGalley

Review: The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan - August 17, 2013
Two thieves want answers. Riyria is born.

For more than a year Royce Melborn has tried to forget Gwen DeLancy, the woman who saved him and his partner Hadrian Blackwater from certain death. Unable to get her out of his mind, the two thieves return to Medford but receive a very different reception --- Gwen refuses to see them. The victim of abuse by a powerful noble, she suspects that Royce will ignore any danger in his desire for revenge. By turning the thieves away, Gwen hopes to once more protect them. What she doesn't realize is what the two are capable of --- but she's about to find out.

Melanie's Thoughts

I loved the Riyria Revelations and so I really excited when I saw that Michael J. Sullivan had written a prequel series The Riyria Chronicles including two books -  The Crown Tower and The Rose and the Thorn. What could be better than spending more time with two of my favourite characters Royce and Hadrian?

The Crown Tower is the story of how Royce and Hadrian got thrown together and their very first mission together to break into the Crown Tower. This mission is referred to in the Rise of the Empire from the Riyria Revelations series. Sullivan gives us the full back story of how the two met and carried out their first mission. Sullivan also uses this book as a way to tell Gwen's story. While Gwen plays a very important part in the Revelations series we don't really get to learn how and where she came from until The Crown Tower.  I don't want to give too much away but The Crown Tower rounds out Royce as a character and shows a side of his character that I was rather surprised about.

The Rose and The Thorn follows on from The Crown Tower a year later. Royce and Hadrian have made a name for themselves as thieves and have returned to Medford where they ended up, in Gwen's care at the end of The Crown Tower. Royce has become intrigued by Gwen and comes back to town to see her. The pair are a bit more than surprised that Gwen refuses to see them. Royce is on a mission to find out why and if anyone has hurt Gwen they are going to pay....probably with their life. Sullivan also introduces us to Reuben Hilfred who is the son of one of the guards at the castle. In meeting Reuben we also get to meet Alric and Arista, the prince and princess of Melengar who are key characters in the Revelations series. Fans will remember Reuben as Arista's bodyguard during the Riyria Revelations and he is given the chance to tell the story of how he ended up in this auspicious position.

I cannot say enough good things about Riyria Chronicles or get enough of Royce and Hadrian. I don't think Sullivan's wife can either. According to the author's note Sullivan was convinced to write more about these two characters because his wife fancied Hadrian.  Sorry fellas but Michael J. Sullivan wins the 'nicest husband 2013 award' for writing two whole books just because his wife likes one of his characters.  Now that is motivation to tell an engaging story. There is enough new information to make these an interesting read for someone who has already read the Revelations series and a fantastic introduction for newcomers to the series. I enjoyed reading these two books so much that I have decided to go back and read the Revelations series.

Sullivan has a great capacity for story telling. He has created a richly detailed world as the stage for his story. He has written two characters who almost seem to come alive and leap off the page. These two stories not only give diehard fans another chance to spend time with the pair but also gives us an insight on why they made the choices they do in the next series.  I like to compare both the Riyria Chronicles and the Revelations to going to dinner at a great restaurant where Sullivan is the master chef (hang in will make sense in a minute). The Riyria Chronicles are the starter. The Crown Tower and The Rose and The Thorn set the stage for the main course by teasing our literary taste buds, preparing us for the sumptuous main course that is sure to follow. Following the starter is the rich, detailed and well balanced main course in the form of Theft of Swords and  Rise of Empire. The characters we have grown to love are fleshed out further in a world of intrigue and subterfuge encased in religion and folklore. Finally, for dessert is Heir of Novron to finish off our literary meal. The literary dessert is bitter sweet like a rich, dark, chocolate cake which leaves the reader fulfilled, satisfied and maybe a tiny bit sad it is all over.

The Crown Tower and The Rose and The Thorn are a great way to start this series. We get to see how our favourite heroes come together and how the plot from Revelations starts to unfold. As much as I love these books and both series I hope this where Sullivan decides to leave the rest to our imaginations. Like a rich and delicious meal there can be too much of a good thing and I wouldn't want Sullivan to dilute the power of both of these series by writing anything else on this pair. If you haven't had a chance to enjoy this series I urge you to start at the beginning with The Crown Tower. Its only a few more weeks until The Rose and The Thorn is released and after reading that you can jump right into the books of the Riyria Revelations.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 28, 2013

Melanie's Week in Review - July 28, 2013

Melanie's Week in Review - July 28, 2013
As some of you might know I read the Riyria Chronicles by Michael J.Sullivan last week.  This got me all nostalgic and I decided to have my very own Riyria reunion. Who better to get back in touch with than Royce and Hadrian. The ultimate good cop, not so bad cop. I started with Theft of Swords this week. I will read the remaining books of the Riyria Revelations over the next few weeks. Reading the 'Chronicles' series has really added a new dimension to the 'Revelations' series. I enjoyed this book again and sure that I will feel the same way about the following books.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 28, 2013In between reading the Chronicles and first of the Revelations I needed something I could read in a day.  I flipped through the Kindle recommendations and it came up with book 9, Lover Unleashed of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R Ward. I have read a few but not all of this series. If you have read my 'week in reviews' before you will know that I am especially choosy about what PNR I read. Everyone gives the BDB series such positive reviews so I thought it could be just what I was looking for. I also read quite a few reviews about book 9 and some said that the sex scenes were much tamer than the other books so I thought this would be perfect as an 'inbetweener'. Holy cats is all I can say.  If those sex scenes are tame then I must cloistered...almost nun like. While I will admit PNR isn't my favourite I do like some of it especially where plot prevails over the 'R'. It wasn't the case with this installment which was all hot and steamy from almost chapter 1. What perplexes me about the BDB books is that these are vampires that have been around for 400-500 years but they talk like they have just stepped off the Wire..and not as the cops.  Is saying 'true' part of modern venacular?  If so....stop it immediately. I know people love this series and I am not the biggest fan. I have read several of the books trying to figure it all out. I guess I will have to live with the knowledge that these books are not my cup of tea.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 28, 2013I apologise profusely to all the books I haven't finished this week.  I am dolefully behind but I keep adding more. I haven't finished The Havoc Machine by Steven Harper. I am not sure that I will. I feel quite pathetic but I am totally judging the book by the cover. I cringe every time I look at it and just not engaging with the characters. I have started Broken Elements by Mia Marshall and quite surprised how much I am enjoying it.  I feel bad because I have had this from NetGalley for a few fact ... long enough to get book 2 Shifting Elements from NetGalley too.  I won't even go into the books I got from NetGalley this week!!!!

I am watching Skyfall as I write this and about to hit the big highlight of the plot so better get back to it.  Until next week Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 21, 2013

Melanie's Week in Review - July 21, 2013

Another week has gone by in the UK's first real summer since 2008.  Yes, we have actually had consecutive days of super warm weather. I did feel a little bit like a ice cream walking to the tube last Monday. I started out with a spring in my step, nice and cool and ended up a hot, sweaty mess when I got on the train. It was sooo hot on the train I thought the heating was on which in turn made reading impossible.

Well, that is the excuse I am going to use this week for only reading 2 books. For those of you who read my Week in Review last week I had just bought The Glass God by Kate Griffin. I think I am going to be reviewing this book so I don't want to give too much away but to share a secret *whispers* go buy it quickly!

Melanie's Week in Review - July 21, 2013
I also read both of the new short stories by Michael J. Sullivan - The Crown Tower and The Rose and The Thorn.  They are billed as short stories but they are quite long. I don't really remember the rules on length of short story versus novella but suffice to say they take long enough to read for them to feel like a full fledged book. I will also be reviewing these so not even going to give a hint away.  Sorry!

I started but  not very far into All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen. It is a steampunk version of Twelfth Night by none other than William Shakespeare (Bill to his friends). It has started out quite interesting so I have high hopes for it.  Stay tuned until next week when I hope to have finished it.

I am in a tad of a quandry of what to read next. London Underground + 30C = not much concentration. I really need a great book to get me through the tube journey.  Any and all suggestions are gratefully appreciated.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 21, 2013In other bookish news I tweeted Stefan Petrucha to find out when the next installment of the Hessius Mann series was out.  He told me that they are waiting to hear about the movie/TV show.  HOW EXCITING!! If you haven't read either Dead Mann Walking or Dead Mann Running then rush immediately to your local book store or your computer and get buying them. Books that combine social commentary with humour so well are few and far between.  Petrucha quite cleverly mixes themes such as racism, bigotry and social exclusion with a nail biting murder mystery.  I hope that putting these stories on either the big or small screen doesn't change the message (s) that Petrucha is trying to get across.

Well enough hot weather rambling for me. I am off to go out and enjoy the sun.  Until next week Happy Reading.
Review: The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. SullivanReview: The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan - August 17, 2013Melanie's Week in Review - July 28, 2013Melanie's Week in Review - July 21, 2013

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