I loved all the books in both the Riyria Revelations and the Riyria Chronicles, didn’t much care for the slow pace in Age of Myth but when I heard there was to be a new series in the world of Elan, I decided to give it a shot. I’m happy I did, because it didn’t dissapoint.
Michael J. Sullivan knows how to build a world, one with thousands of years of history at that. It’s woven pleasantly within the story, with constant references to this or that person that has done this or that thing in the past which causes the current situation to be thusly. Some of the names sounded familiar and I really regretted not having finished the Legends of the First Empire series first. The amount of references was staggering, from the epic deeds that were done to the men and women that were involved and that are somehow related to the characters in Nolyn. Job well done!
There’s 2 protagonists here, Nolyn and Sephron. Both half frey/half human, in love with each other and both having trouble with authority in there own way. I took a liking to Nolyn right away but it took some time for Sephron to grow on me. There’s a small cast of background characters who are fairly one-dimensional but they do what they’re supposed to, move the plot along and provide comic relief.
The story itself is written from the POV of our protagonists and plays out in real time, alternating between the two. It’s not a super complex story or a very deep one, but it is entertaining, with some small twists and turns along the way.
Solid writing overall, with witty undertones to keep it light:
His skin had the pitted texture of a rotting gourd. Mawyndulë guessed his mind suffered in much the same way. If his head is rancid on the outside, how good can it be inside?
Not only is he the city’s most prominent businessperson, he’s also the Belgriclungreian ambassador,” Sephryn replied. “I’m impressed you can say that word. Rumor has it that a man once sprained his tongue while trying. Most just use dwarf for obvious reasons
There’s some nice descriptions:
He sat on the little maple-wood stool, the one Sephryn had bought for Nurgya that stood just a foot off the ground. Still an infant, her son had yet to use it. The thought that he never would knocked on the door to her mind, demanding admission—a door she braced against with all her might
As well as some nice quotes every now and then, like this one:
When the fate of the world is in your hands, gambling is an unaffordable luxury, and idealism is often burned on the altar of reality.”
I very much liked Nolyn. It was entertaining and light, with lots of hints and references to other books in the same universe. I’m glad I helped Kickstart the next one, but first I’ll have to get through the “prequels”, cause I’ll be damned if I’m gonna “not understand” one more reference.