Michael J. Sullivan – Nyphron Rising

As my review of the second book of the Riyria Revelations fantasy series by Michael J. Sullivan was not that positive, I already had the next installment (as I don’t like waiting until I’m able to get the next book in a series), Nyphron Rising (2009), so I continued on, hoping Sullivan was able to get back to the level of the first book, A Crown Conspiracy. I had already lowered my expectations, as to me this is a fantasy in the tradition of Feist while being of a Young Adult nature and style, although there is lack of young adults among the main characters. The simplicity of the plot and style, the light-hearted attitudes and generally friendly atmosphere contributed to that opinion.

In that sense, this third novel is not much different. The plot complexity has improved, although it is not of the quality of A Crown Conspiracy. Sullivan also seems to have learned from my remarks about the second book. The characters don’t talk too much as before, keeping matters more to themselves so the secrets remain something for the reader to guess about. Even so, the dialogue hasn’t improved and the character behavior doesn’t really convince. The latter also happens at times when Sullivan tries too hard to present a certain character, making him sound impressive while the other characters act similarly impressed as if they’ve never seen something like this before. Here I do have to add that the general intelligence and behavior makes such attitudes possible. Perhaps this kind of approach is suitable for a Young Adult audience, but I do know that quality in those things is possible.

At some points the story did disappoint somewhat. Early on certain expectations were made which later on turned to be rather insignificant. Another disappointment was a second storyline Sullivan added which at the end had no relevance for the story at all. Maybe it will in a later book, but even when left out it would not be required for background purposes as Sullivan makes jumps in time between the books anyways and setups can be explained at that time.

In the end my feelings toward Nyphron Rising are mixed. It is better than the second book, although still falling short compared to the first book. This series is not really spurring me on. It is OK, but in hindsight I would probably not have bought the series. It is very mainstream and the overall quality level is mediocre (my opinion of Feist, though hardly Young Adult, is rather similar so it is good to compare them), certainly to my tastes. I think I will be taking a break before tackling the fourth novel, which I already have as they came in two dual omnibi.

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