HEIR OF NOVRON by Michael J. Sullivan

Though the first two books of THE RIYRIA REVELATIONS, I still wasn’t sure exactly what it was about these books that allowed them to escape the stigma of self-publication and become worldwide bestsellers that were picked up by a traditional publisher.

The prose was solid and easy to read, but didn’t attract notice. The plotting, likewise, was good, but not outlandishly so. Hadrian and Royce had an easy, relaxed camaraderie, but it didn’t seem like their dynamic would be enough to explain why these books were so popular. Then I read the final book in the trilogy, and I understood.

Sullivan’s plotting is at its best in this book, with stunning plot twists and reveals, coming in rapid-fire fashion. Not only do they catch the reader off balance, but they challenge all the characters we’ve gotten to know over the previous books in ways we haven’t seen before. It’s the most complex book Sullivan has published to this point, and he does an excellent job of pulling all the threads together at the end. I remember before I read any of his books I saw something in which Sullivan explained that there would be no sequels after HEIR OF NOVRON because he felt as though he’d created the perfect ending and didn’t want to spoil it.

I think he’s probably right. If the ending isn’t perfect, it’s at least wrapped up tight, and while he certainly could find a way for sequels, I’m content with this ending. It’s always nice when a series’ final book is also its best.

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