Riyria Revelations as a whole *SPOILERS*

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Palarran, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. Palarran

    Palarran New Member

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    I am putting massive spoilers throughout this post, ones that will ruin the entire series if you don't stop reading. If you continue, you only have yourself to blame. :)

    I just finished all three Orbit volumes, and I quite enjoyed the series. I was definitely entertained throughout.

    The Good:
    Royce's identity was hidden in plain sight quite well, as I was unsure of the true identity of the heir until halfway through the final volume. Although, looking back on it, it seems pretty clear that enough information was provided by the midpoint of Rise of Empire that Royce was the only real choice.

    I really appreciate the theme of the series: That love, redemption, and forgiveness are the greatest gifts, and are what make life worth living. I can't argue with this, and I heartily approve of the way this was played out. Very well done.

    Being a fan of naval fiction (Hornblower, anyone?) I enjoyed the The Emerald Storm plot line especially.

    Non-pretentious, this series is simply an entertaining epic fantasy. It doesn't strive to be anything else, and it succeeds.

    The Bad:
    My biggest criticism is that the "heroes are captured, and there's no way out" and "a member of the party has been bribed to become a traitor" plot points were used time and again. Our heroes surrender and are thrown into a dungeon in all three books. Sometimes multiple times within a book. Hadrian, while being captured, only once(!) seriously considers fighting it out: While in Saldur's office he thinks about killing everyone. Clearly from his bravura performance in Heir, he would have had no trouble succeeding and escaping. And in the second and third book, there isn't a party that doesn't have a traitor in it. I know there are only so many plots an author can utilize, but it seemed to me that these were overused. I think it would have been better to have more death defying near brushes with detention, rather than having Riyria continuously being thrown in prison and then being broken out. Or mix up the traitor bit: don't let all of the traitors be invariably successful. Also, some of the "traitors" should have motivations that conflict with those of the heroes, rather than being simply treacherous, whether through bibery or due to their own character.

    A few questions:
    If Royce had blown the horn in the tomb and waited a day, he would have been king, with no challenge possible, right?

    If the horn had not been found: After humanity would have been pushed to the brink of extinction, the elves would have most likely devolved into internecine warring, as they had before the horn was created, correct?

    How did Mawyndule/Venlin convince nearly all the Cenzar and Teshlor to betray the imperial line? These were people who knew the truth about the horn and what that line meant for humanity, and who had been training and devoting their entire lives to protect it for posterity. How was he able to convince all of them to go against everything they believed in and commit the basest of treason, or is this a tale for another time?

    Was Mawyndule lying when he said he had been promised absolution for murdering his father? I ask this, because he pretty much lied whenever he spoke. If he wasn't, wasn't the council truly responsible for his father's death, and shouldn't they have forfeited their afterlife as well?

    In closing, thank you Mr. Sullivan for an entertaining read, I enjoyed it very much.
     
  2. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    I'm glad to hear that...Thanks for taking the time to write.


    The Good:
    My hope was that people would "consider" then dismiss Royce on several occasions. I tried to always offer up a more viable solution to keep the attention off of him.

    Thanks - some people find the theme a bit to sentimental - but what can I say I like happily after afters and I like my fantasy to turn out well in the end. It is/was frustrating that when people ask me, "What is your series about?" That I can't bring up the true nature which is a story of redemption and that anyone can be forgiven no matter how great their trespasses. To do so would completely spoil the book so I have to make stuff up about unlikely heroes and classic adventures, which is true but secondary to the real point of the story.

    I'm a HUGE Hornblower fan...I'm sure you'll notice more than a passing resemblance between Wesley and Horatio.

    I wanted to write something primarily to entertain and for people to have fun. I'm glad that it hits the mark on that account.

    I don't usually respond to "bads" as it is usually taken as confrontational or defensive. I actually have no problems with any of the "bads" you mention and think you have a legitimate point of view. I offer up commentary here not to refute what you say, but merely to provide a "behind the scenes" peak a you will - as you might get from a director's cut of a DVD.

    Being captured: This was by design...and actually something that SO MANY people overlook. Everyone says these guys are so bada** or so capable - but I didn't want them to be invincible. I wanted to show that they don't always get themselves out of trouble and that the chips don't always fall their way. I hate heroes whose guns never jam and always get there "just in time" I wanted to show failures as well as success. It's amazing that most people don't realize that they rarely get themselves out of the troubles they are in.

    Bribed Traitor: Was also a recurring theme that was necessary to build the point of redemption. It's not just Royce and Nimbus who are redeemed but Magnus as well. He is like an alcoholic who constantly falls off the wagon. As for Wyatt...well his betrayal was just too good of a plot point not to add in for Emerald Storm. Plus I wanted more than one person to be suspected as a traitor for Percepliquis so I wanted to have both Magnus and Wyatt as possible candidates.

    Whenever Hadrian chooses not to fight we are generally in his head and he explains why he decides what he does. You might not agree with why he makes the choices he does - or if you were him may have gone a different way but I'll not rehash what is already written in those scenes. There is no question he could fight his way out of just about all of the situations presented - but the fact is...he's seen more blood for three lifetimes and has learned over the years that sometimes the best solution is not found at the end of a sword.

    As for traitors being conflicted...You might want to re-read Emerald Storm now that you know that Wyatt was coerced - on multiple occasions he comes oh so close to confessing and joining R&H. As for not being "ultimately successful" that indeed happens. Magnus gives him self up to the party so he went against the Patriarch who was paying him.

    If Royce had blown into the horn it would have made no sound. It is a horn of challenge and Royce was already king. The law states that the king must present the horn for possible challenges, failure to do so strips the king of honor and releases the elves from the obligation to obey. In essences Royce can't challenge himself so him blowing the horn will have no effect.

    If the horn is not presented, the ruling king (in this case Royce) is renounced and then two members can challenge each other and the victor ruiles. The horn was made to prevents infighting and strife. Once a king is chosen through the horn ritual, the rest of the Ervian Empire will obey that ruler. Those who do not are severed from the community as Mawyndulë was. This is why the horn is so important to their society.

    It is a tale for another time, but I can say that it was primarily a racial issue, where Mawyndulë preyed on division by way of bigotry and the idea that humans should not be ruled by elves. I think there are numerous examples in our own history that suggest such things are possible. There is however, more to the story.

    Actually at the end Mawyndulë had no need to lie, so yes it was all true. And of course the council should have been punished, but the world is not fair, and only those on the council and Mawyndulë knew this. His word against theirs—a boy with the blood of his father’s on his hands against the wisest of the government. And it is not illegal to lie, but the murder of the king is.

    You are very welcome - it was a blast writing it, and I thank you for taking the time not just to read but also to stop by here and chat.
     
  3. Palarran

    Palarran New Member

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    Yup, this is exactly what happened each time. Again, very well done.

    I appreciate your response, and I see your point of view. Perhaps I didn't like it as much as I otherwise would have; the "hero gets thrown into prison and must break out/be broken out" is probably my least favorite standard fantasy plot. :)

    Yes, but Ferrol knows what really happened. And I assume that it is illegal in elven society to perjure oneself. So are there any eternal consequences for these traitors, who damned this young idealistic elf for their own selfish gain? This seems like a very serious sin that needs to be dealt with.

    The pleasure is all mine.
     
  4. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    To be honest...I never followed their story lines on past death :) The important thing is they had a job they needed doing while alive and they had no qualms about using someone to do their dirty work. Mawyndulë wasn't guiltless in all of this. Manipulated...yes...but he made his own choices and should have known better.
     
  5. Haliax

    Haliax Registered User

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    I just finished Percepliquis, and enjoyed it. I wasn't really surprised that Royce ended up being the true heir- this was something I suspected for quite awhile. The rest of the big reveals did surprise me.

    Overall probably one of my favourite series, though I have a hard time explaining why. The stories flowed well and the characters were well thought out and there was a lot of growth from the start to the end. There were some small dialogue issues that would have bothered me more if the story wasn't so persistently interesting. The pacing was always quite good throughout, though I'm going to have to go back and do a re-read to brush up on some confusing moments in Percepliquis that are more than likely explained by what occured earlier in the series. In that way I think it would be hard to say that all the books work well as a stand alone, as it was kind of marketed. There are things that without previous knowledge of would make especially the last two books quite confusing, or at least appear to be full of plot holes.

    Anyways, I loved the books Mr. Sullivan! I look forward to whatever you publish next.
     
  6. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    Thanks for writing Darksbane. I'm glad you enjoyed. I suspected that many people would suspect Royce...but I also tried to give them reason to doubt their suspicions.
    Did you know that Mercy was his daughter? And at what point did you figure that out?

    I think a re-read will uncover things that, without context seemed to have little significance, but after all is revealed they may have a new meaning.

    As for the episode version of the books...my goal was always that each one had its own separate story - with a conflict and resolution....and then as a bonus...for there to be a biggger story that spans the series. Having a complete story in an episode was important to me...but if they didn't get the bigger picture...or didn't have every single detail about a past event...well that's part of the downside for not reading in sequence. I didn't want to penalize those that did read in seuqnce for the sake of those that skipped.

    Certainly as the story goes along and more of it involves prior happenings it gets more difficult. That being said...I have been in book clubs (face-to-face) where people have read "just Wintertide" and they actually found it quite easy to follow because there were references to past events like what happened in Dalghren. Sure they don't get all the nitty-gritty details but the things that are important for themm to know they've been filled in on.
     
  7. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    Thanks for writing Darksbane. I'm glad you enjoyed. I suspected that many people would suspect Royce...but I also tried to give them reason to doubt their suspicions.
    Did you know that Mercy was his daughter? And at what point did you figure that out?

    I think a re-read will uncover things that, without context seemed to have little significance, but after all is revealed they may have a new meaning.

    As for the episode version of the books...my goal was always that each one had its own separate story - with a conflict and resolution....and then as a bonus...for there to be a biggger story that spans the series. Having a complete story in an episode was important to me...but if they didn't get the bigger picture...or didn't have every single detail about a past event...well that's part of the downside for not reading in sequence. I didn't want to penalize those that did read in seuqnce for the sake of those that skipped.

    Certainly as the story goes along and more of it involves prior happenings it gets more difficult. That being said...I have been in book clubs (face-to-face) where people have read "just Wintertide" and they actually found it quite easy to follow because there were references to past events like what happened in Dalghren. Sure they don't get all the nitty-gritty details but the things that are important for themm to know they've been filled in on.

    Anyway that's the thought process I had...whether I succeeded at it or not is hard to say.
     
  8. Haliax

    Haliax Registered User

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    I suppose it depends on the level of depth that you expect out of the experience then. I would say that you did achieve your goal in writing self contained stories, but like you said, the experience out of sequence would be nowhere near the experience that you get out of reading them in sequence. I don't mean to offend on this point, it was just a small observation really.

    I didn't figure out that Mercy was his daughter. When it came out that Novron was an Elf I figured that the "test" for the heir just exposed hidden elf blood. That could just be me missing details again, with the previous books not being totally fresh in my mind.

    I did know that something was up with the Patriarch and his guards, but I never expected the truth of the matter. I don't think there really was any way to know exactly who he was until the end. I thought that was a great plot twist. I also never suspected that the old man from the University (his name is slipping my mind right now) killed Gwen. Of all the reveals I think that one hit me the hardest.

    In the end, the fate of the characters, big or small, mattered to me. Every character death hit me pretty hard. I can't say that of very many series. Obviously the more central the character the harder the impact, but I've never had side character deaths effect me the same way as they did in this series. It really speaks to your ability to get people to relate to each of the characters you write.
     
  9. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    Oh I was offended at all...no worries there - I was just explaining what was inside my head - not trying to defend a position.
     
  10. Farles

    Farles New Member

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    Sorry that this thread is old, but it seemed the best place to post.

    I just finished the series last night and loved it. Thank you Michael for the thought and love you put into the series. That love is very clear with the consistency and tone of all the books. I hate nothing more than falling in love with characters only to have their personalities change for no reason.

    One of my favorite activities after finishing a series is looking around at forums and hearing all the ideas other people had that. How cool to have the author on the forums answering questions.

    I have a few nagging questions:

    What happened with the mid-wife that left Royce as an orphan and Gaunt with the necklace? Who named him...etc? How/when did Miranda get in on the ruse that Gaunt was the heir? Did she know that Royce was the heir?

    The other question is what happened to the amulet that Merrick wore? If he had it on the night of the fight with Royce, could he still be alive? Did it provide that much luck?

    On the line of the amulet. If it made the wearer invulnerable to magic and the Gilarabryn was made out of magic, shouldn't Hadrian have not been affected by it?

    Sorry for all the questions, but I tend to mull over things I read. Again thank you for a great series and I fun adventure!
     
  11. DJ94122

    DJ94122 Registered User

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    I thoroughly enjoyed the series because I think Sullivan did the big things exactly right: story and character.

    I really liked some things in particular. A partial list, as I reserve the right to add to it later if I am so inspired:
    1) If an ending isn't happy, I'm not happy. This series had an unapologetically happy ending, and I loved it.
    2) I'm a sucker for good romance subplots, and they had better end well (see #1 above). The books are not heavy on romance (although the romantic aspects do pick up in Wintertide and Percepliquis), but the romance was well done and satisfying.
    3) The series has dwarves, elves, dragons (of a sort), magic swords, beautiful princesses, nobodies destined for greatness, yada, yada, yada. It's a showcase of hackneyed fantasy tropes... that worked wonderfully. It just goes to show you that a good story is a good story.
    4) Other than the heroes saving the world, there were overarching themes of friendship, love, and redemption (the last ended up being particularly poignant). Many books share these themes; many also don't pull them off as well as Mr. Sullivan.

    My only real quibble was some pacing issues here and there.
     
  12. Andols

    Andols I like stories

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    just finished up the series yesterday. overall a great series for me, certainly one of my favorite works that is not considered dark or gritty. it reminded me a lot of early Sanderson or Weeks.

    i didnt see any of the reveals coming, but did suspect Royce a few times and subsequently dismissed the idea.

    i expected quite a bit more from Esrahaddon and Saldur specifically. They came off as lackluster to me in comparison to how much impact they had in overall plot. Kind of makes sense given that there was no real #1 prot, but i just wanted to see them more directly involved in the main viewpoints.

    overall a great work, will definitely buy any additional works from you sir.
     
  13. Heather Myst

    Heather Myst Chocolate.....Count Me In

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    I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed these books. The action was non stop and the redemption theme was very powerful for me. The only down side for me was that the series ended and I really miss these characters that I grew to love. Hopefully we will see them again in the future? Bravo Mr. Sullivan. You have written a series that has stayed with me long after I finished the books.
     
  14. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    Wow, so sorry that I didn't see this out here for so long. I wasn't trying to ignore you just didn't know the questions were here.


    The mid-wife had a visit from Arcadius came "snooping around" and knocked on her door. That got her spooked so she got rid of Royce. When her own son Gaunt grew up she gave him the necklace. On her death bed the mid-wife told Miranda what she had done and sent her to Arcadius to tell him that a child lived - she then joined the Therom Eldership and started working with Arcadius. Yes she knew.

    That amulet fell with Merrick, and although it does provide a bit of luck it is not enough to save him. Merrick is indeed dead.

    The wearer can't have a spell cast upon them...but the Gilarabryn is a magical beast which has a real form - so just as a sword can hurt him so could teeth and claws.

    Don't be sorry for asking questions - I'm glad to answer them - and will try to be more timely in the future ;-)
     
  15. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    Thanks - your list is very similar to mine - so it's good to know that what I was shooting for as a goal is one that I reached.
     
  16. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    Glad you liked it - and thanks for putting me in such fine company.

    That was indeed the hope. I'm very satisfied that I seemed to "walk the tightrope" well as I have some people who were able to figure things out (indicating enough clues existed) and also those that I was able to slip the wool over their eyes (so not too simple or straightforward).

    I do try to stay out of the heads of certain characters - and those are two of them. I toy with the idea of doing Esrahaddon's story as a young apprentice up to the Fall of Percepliquis - I think you'd learn a lot more about how he thinks if I ever do that.

    Thanks! The Crown Tower comes out Aug 1, 2013 and The Rose and Thorn Sep 5, 2013. So not too far away!
     
  17. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    Thanks for posting Heather! Yes more is on the way - The Crown Tower (Aug 1, 2013 ) and The Rose and the Thorn (Sep 5, 2013).
     
  18. mulligancraigm

    mulligancraigm New Member

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    Excellent read!!

    I have never written an author before. My closest consideration, would have been Brent Weeks after finishing his Night Angel trilogy, but you sir have taken the cake. While I was impressed with the story and plot-lines used throughout your books (I had the pleasure and the opportunity to read ALL six of the books at one time), I was equally impressed with the forward and the "extras". I tend to read the small bio's and author notes in the book if I particularly enjoy the experience, and I enjoyed the fact that you were open and honest with how difficult the experience was to achieve published success.

    That being said, I'm sorry if you've answered this question before (I've read through this whole thread already), but could you explain in a greater detail exactly who Nimbus is, and his origins???!!! I loved the twist at the end, but was utterly confused. I understood the obvious, but did not understand the feather significance, or exactly who Nimbus was besides Royce's savior in Manzant Prison. Thanks so much for the read!!!
     
  19. sullivan_riyria

    sullivan_riyria Creator of Worlds

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    Hey there...sorry it took me so long to reply. I just now saw this....

    In the mythology of the Gods there is Erebus (father of the gods) who had four children...Ferrol (god of Elves), Drome (god of Dwarves), Maribor (god of men), and Muriel (daughter who created animals and plants). Erebus got intoxicated one night and raped his daughter producing Uberlin (god of the underworld). Ferrol, Drome, & Maribor tried to kill Erebus for his crime...but Gods don't die. Erebus is grief stricken over what he has done and went to his daughter for forgiveness. She told him to return to Elan...but not as a god but as a man. And while there do good deeds and for each good deed he does, she'll reward him a feather from her cloak. Once he has received all the feathers she will forgive him. Erebus can be found in the book in a number of "Kile" legends and as it tuns out Kile and Nimbus are the same person. He is the "invisible hand" that Yolric speaks off who goes around correcting things.

    Hope that helps.
     
  20. youngm

    youngm New Member

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    Royce origins clarity

    Hi, I thoroughly enjoyed the series. Definitely one of my top 5 favorites all time.

    Since this appears to be the thread where people are asking questions and getting answers I thought I'd ask some of my own.

    I felt like by the end I had a really clear understanding of everything that happened and how it all came together. However, one area where I wished for a bit more clarity is around the events between the night in Ratibor where Royce's parents are killed and the the time that Arcadius bails Royce out of prison. This is the way I presume things went down annotated with requests for clarity.

    • The story Miranda gives Hadrian is mostly true. Miranda's mother does save Royce.
    • Miranda's mother takes Royce in as an infant.
    • Presumably once Royce is old enough to survive as an orphan on the streets Miranda's mother kicks Royce out. Why? Is she is scared the knights will find out. If so why would she keep the medallion and give it to Gaunt? Did she have some secret plan to pass Gaunt off the heir?
    • On her death bed Miranda's mother confesses to Miranda her shame about Royce and the medallion.
    • How and when does Arcadius find out about Royce? Does Miranda tell Arcadius? What is the relationship between Miranda and Arcadius that would allow such a topic to come up?
    • My guess is Arcadius doesn't find out about Royce until just before he bails Royce out of Manzant prison. Otherwise I would think that Arcadius would have saved Royce from the streets of Ratibor before he were permanently tainted by the streets?

    That is the best I can piece that part of the story together. I'd be grateful for any additional clarity you can provide.

    Thanks again for the wonderful series!

    Mike