Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Nolyn by Michael J. Sullivan
Series: The Rise and Fall #1
Published by Self-Published on August 3, 2021
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After more than five hundred years of exile, the heir to the empyre is wary about his sudden reassignment to active duty on the Goblin War’s front lines. His assignment to rescue an outpost leads to a dead-end canyon deep inside enemy territory, and his suspicion turns to dread when he discovers the stronghold does not exist. But whoever went to the trouble of planning his death to look like a casualty of war did not know he would be assigned to the Seventh Sikaria Auxiliary Squadron. In the depths of an unforgiving jungle, a legend is about to be born, and the world of Elan will never be the same.
Micheal J. Sullivan has created a world I just cannot get enough of. Nolyn is the first book in the new The Rise and Fall trilogy. It is actually the 13th full length novel set in the fantastic Fantasy world of Elan with stories spanning millennia. While this is a new series and supposed to be an entry point, there are tons of Easter eggs for readers for the past set The Legends of the First Empire series as well as future set The Riyria Revelations and The Riyria Chronicles. I honestly recommend reading all the books in their order of publication. But if you can’t fit 12 other books into your reading schedule, you could get by just reading the Legends of the First Empire series. Still Michael J. Sullivan is one of my favorite fantasy authors and he always delivers. He has an unusual writing style of finishing the first drafts of all of his series before releasing a book so the reader can trust they will not be left hanging with an unfinished book series, *cough* other fantasy authors you know who you are *cough*
Nolyn is set 600ish years after the events of The Legends of the First Empire. Nolyn is the son of the Fhrey (Elf) king and his human wife. He is one of the first hybrid children ever produced and there are very few like him. He has been pretty much estranged from his king father for the past 500 years; they have a bit of a complicated relationship. But he has just been sent into an unwinnable battle in a war that has been going on fifty years and he is about to meet some people who will change his life forever.
Luckily, Nolyn was sent out with Seventh Sikaria Auxillary Squadron; they don’t seem to die as easily as other soldiers. Could be the Teshlor training their leader has given them. With a squadron in tow, Nolyn now has to find out who is trying to get him killed, even if it is probably his own father, and possibly find a way to make amends with the woman he has loved for centuries.
Sephryn is the daughter of Moya and Tekchin and another elf/human hybrid. Her son has been stolen by someone and will not be returned until she can figure out a way to steal a horn she has never heard of before. She will do anything to find her child, even if it means figuring out how to steal something from the Emperor himself.
The story is told with multiple PoVs so the reader can get into the head of all the important players. Even the villain, who readers of the other series will know, gives great insight into the motivations and the personalities of the characters. Moya was a favorite character of mine from the prior series, so it was hard to read how she could be with both her daughter and her husband, but it would be hard to grow old while those you loved stayed young looking and perfect. As a reader of all the books set in this world, I always marvel how history has been corrupted in the future and the real events are so different from the ones I first read. I also love how MJS takes something that you think you knew from the books set in the future and turns it completely on its heels making you see it so differently.
If you love fantasy I recommend all the books set in this world highly. The banter between characters, the twists, the betrayals and the workings of the gods of this world really do know how to capture the reader. He is in my top 5 fantasy authors and absolutely an auto-buy for me.
“Something I’ve learned about people, both human and Fhrey, is that they hate having long-held beliefs challenged by facts, even about stupid things. Once you get something settled in your head, it becomes comfortable and difficult to dislodge.”
Decisions based on a feeling. Women referred to it as intuition. Men called it gut instinct. His father believed such things to be foolishness, but his mother had referred to it as the Voice of Elan. Suri once told him his feelings were the sounds his soul heard when listening to the world singing the music of truth. Nolyn didn’t know which to believe, but he missed Sephryn, and those eyes reminded him of her.
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