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Percepliquis (The Riyria Revelations, #6)
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The Riyria Revelations > Percepliquis Discussion (Spoilers)

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Isaac Martinez | 60 comments I know people have read the book but the previous thread only goes up to Wintertide and I really want to talk about the last book :-).

I'm going to read it again, but this time I'm going to take it all in and not speed read through the whole thing just to find out the climax lol.

Who got caught off guard by Nimbus? I mean I had a feeling he was in the world somewhere, but I would have never thought it was Nimbus. and then to have been the one to help Royce in prison AND make his blade? holy crap!

Magnus, that little lovable bastard. That's ultimate redemption right there. No matter how many times he betrays them or tries to kill them, they always forgive and even risk their own lives for him.

The redemption for him and Royce after all the evil they've done hit me hard. That was one of my favorite parts of this series. The redemption and all the chances they receive to make right what they've wronged.

Myron was f'n hilarious man! I mean the way the meet with his sister went. I laughed out really loud. As devoid of common sense as a rocket scientist! I keep expecting for someone to smack the poor guy in the head hahahaha

I just wish Esra had been around for the end. I can easily see why he and Arcadius had to die, but they were great characters. I can't wait to see how the younger versions look in the new book!

What Arcadius did was beyond cruel man. I can see why he did it. Hell even Royce agreed with his reasoning, but damn dude. That's f'd up! I would never have thought that kind old man would have been capable of such manipulation and straight murder. It made me see him in a completely different light.


Proud Book Nerd (ham1299) Yes, Nimbus totally surprised me, too. Did NOT see that coming. but it was a delightful surprise, I think.


Genna Warner (GennaLee) | 6 comments With the way the book was ending, I wasn't at all surprised by Nimbus and fully expected and wanted to see it happen. And Myron's talks to both Royce and Magnus were great. He talked from experience and helped them both.

It was a wonderful ending to the series.


Isaac Martinez | 60 comments I agree, it was a great ending.

I found it funny though that Myron would be the one to talk sense into Magnus and Royce given his complete lack of commmon sense and both of them being criminals.

His innocence and ignorance are what make him such a lovable character.

My favorite character in the whole series though is still Royce. He lives in the world we live in today. Survival of the fittest with nice guys like Hadrian finishing last. I'm glad Michael was able to give us a character that comes fresh out of our own dilemmas and finds a way to bring him salvation. It gives hope to those that see the dismal black and gray of the world we live in.


Proud Book Nerd (ham1299) Funny. Hadrian was always my favorite. No disrespect to Royce, whom I also love!


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Michael (MichaelJSullivan) | 300 comments So fun to see people in here talking about the last book. It's been a long time coming...It's funny because the book is all about redemption but I really couldn't say that as it would be a huge spoiler.

I'm glad I caught some people off guard with Nimbus - its a hard tightrope to walk and I'm never sure if I say too much or too little. If you ever do a re-read I think you'll find all kinds of things that didn't seem to mean much at the time.

Now I have a few questions for you all...

1) Did you ever think Royce, Arista, or Hadrian was in "real danger" did you suspect I might kill any of them off and where in particular?

2) At what point did you realize that Mercy was Royce's daughter. Early on...just as Hadrian was putting it together? Some other time.


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Michael (MichaelJSullivan) | 300 comments I'm actually stealing some of this from another thread....The following were predictions from Bryan.

Arcadius had the true heir. But the ages don't work out unless another generation passed since then. The heir was a twin that lived, found in ratibor.

Yes Arcadius does have the true heir...and also knows the father of that heir. Were you able to piece those two together...you are oh so close.

What if Royce is the true heir? Arcadius put them together for a reason. Hadrian could protect him, and teach him a better way of living.

I suspected that many people would think this way. Which is why I proclaim Arcadias' ward Mercy as the absolute true heir right in the beginning of the last book. I think some will be able to piece it together. But my hope is that most won't as it is more fun that way. I think my responsibility is to put enough clues out here that you can piece it together so once I finally pull the trigger it doesn't come out of left field. But I'm always curious at what point people finally realized the connection between the two.

It is said Royce's decisions will affect many. Well, he could decide to save the world or not...if he was the one who had to blow the horn.

I was hoping that there would be a few that would worry about Royce "going into darkness" in some ways it would have been a lot of fun to write but also very depressing overall. I'm glad to see that some people are paying attention to the fortune telling aspect from The Emerald Storm. That was a fun piece to weave in.

I truly hope Gaunt is not the heir. Maybe all this is speculation so I don't have to think it's him, cause he is worthless.

Wish granted - I'm glad to have obliged.

I am starting the book, and am on vacation! So it won't take long! We'll find out if I'm right or not about any of my theories!

Hoping to see Bryan here in the final discussion area - so much to talk about ;-)


Genna Warner (GennaLee) | 6 comments Michael wrote: "1) Did you ever think Royce, Arista, or Hadrian was in "real danger" did you suspect I might kill any of them off and where in particular?

2) At what point did you realize that Mercy was Royce's daughter. Early on...just as Hadrian was putting it together? Some other time. "


1. I could actually see one if not all of the three being killed off. I am so glad that you didn't kill any of those three off. And of course the story would have ended completely different. The fact that you killed off Eshra, Arcadius, Alric and several others, seem to tell me that no character was safe.

2. I knew Mercy had to be the daughter of the true heir and was surprised that it was Royce. I just kept going back and forth on who the heir could be. I knew it wasn't Guant. (I kept wishing he would die in the last book. He was annoying.) So I was kept in the dark on that one until near the end. So this calls re-reading everything and see what little hints were placed in the earlier books about the heir.


Isaac Martinez | 60 comments I never thought either of those three would be offed. They were just too central to the story. As soon as Arista started falling for Hadrian, I knew you'd let her live after what you did to Gwen. There was no way in hell you'd be cruel enough to kill them both.

With Royce, as soon as you gave him the choice between "light and darkness" I knew he would live because there was a greater overall purpose to his survival (even though the ultimate revelation blew me away lol). I didn't suspect he was the heir because of how many other possibilities you had thrown out there. Also his decision between light and darkness I thought was when he decided not to follow Merrick into the water. Am I wrong? Granted he could've killed himself at any point after that, but he knew Gwen had wanted him to live for a reason so his decision was past.

I didn't realize Mercy was Royce's daughter until Hadrian did. I hadn't even thought about Mercy until Arcadius brought her up at the meeting during Wintertide and I had not the foggiest clue about her heritage until Hadrian stumbled upon it himself at the end.

As for Esra, damn it man why did you have to ruin my hopes! Now I'm going to wonder if you're going to bring back his humor in the next book or not! I understand your reasoning but at the same time he's a smartmouth which is why he and Royce worked well off each other. If he's going to be a student amongst so many people far stronger than he, then it only makes sense that he'd have that smart mouth on him talking smack to all the people above him.

Now Michael, I have one question man, how/why did you have Arcadius pull that stuff off with Gwen? I mean I see how it fits with the story, but I'm curious how you came up with that little twist. At the end of Wintertide I had on clue whatsoever who had killed Gwen. I thought maybe it had been the Patriarch or some other person from the Novron Church. When Royce figured that one out, it was a mindblowing moment for me. One of those times during reading where I actually said out loud "Are you serious?! Holy Crap! No Way! I picture my grandpa shuffling atop a ceiling prepping his killing tools and pulling that trigger and I just can't grasp it hahahaha


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Michael (MichaelJSullivan) | 300 comments @Genna - thanks for the feedback. I know my wife got scared about Arista when they returned to the boat and were ambushed. She also thought that Royce "might" die as he really didn't have much to live for but then again she didn't realize who Mercy was.

I'm glad that Mercy being Royce's daughter was indeed a surprise. I was really affraid that EVERYONE would see that right away. If they did...it's not the end of the world but even better if they did not.


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Michael (MichaelJSullivan) | 300 comments Issac wrote: "I never thought either of those three would be offed. They were just too central to the story. As soon as Arista started falling for Hadrian, I knew you'd let her live after what you did to Gwen. There was no way in hell you'd be cruel enough to kill them both."

Ha! We'll don't ever trust me I can be exceedingly cruel...For instance Hadrian almost died in the final battle and that would have really messed up Arista - but in the end I opted for the "hapilly ever after."

Issac wrote: With Royce, as soon as you gave him the choice between "light and darkness" I knew he would live because there was a greater overall purpose to his survival (even though the ultimate revelation blew me away lol). I didn't suspect he was the heir because of how many other possibilities you had thrown out there. Also his decision between light and darkness I thought was when he decided not to follow Merrick into the water. Am I wrong? Granted he could've killed himself at any point after that, but he knew Gwen had wanted him to live for a reason so his decision was past.

Royce's big decision has two components. The "light" and "dark" really relates to him going postal after Gwen's death. It would be really easy for him to turn away from any growth he had received and just decided that the world is too horrible and spent the rest of his life spreading a reign of pain to match his own. When he took Hadrian's hand on the bridge - he didn't really "choose light" he just decided that gwen didn't want him to kill himself. His real choice of "light" came when he chose to accept his position of ruler of the elves which ultimately saved mankind. Again it would have been much easier to just die and go be with Gwen...and in reality he didn't really care all that much about the "large implications" he just didn't want his daughter to be an orphan like he had been.

Issac wrote: I didn't realize Mercy was Royce's daughter until Hadrian did. I hadn't even thought about Mercy until Arcadius brought her up at the meeting during Wintertide and I had not the foggiest clue about her heritage until Hadrian stumbled upon it himself at the end.

Well a good place/time to learn it then. I'm glad you found it out at that point.

Issac wrote: As for Esra, damn it man why did you have to ruin my hopes! Now I'm going to wonder if you're going to bring back his humor in the next book or not! I understand your reasoning but at the same time he's a smartmouth which is why he and Royce worked well off each other. If he's going to be a student amongst so many people far stronger than he, then it only makes sense that he'd have that smart mouth on him talking smack to all the people above him.

To be honest...I have no idea exactly what is personality would be like. I know for sure that he and Jerish did not get along and there would be a fair amount of cuts and jibes on that front. But beyond that I really don't have it figured out just yet. Plus whatever I think sitting here right now could likely change at any time. After all in one version of the Riyria Revelations...Arista becomes evil...Royce steals Esrahaddon's hands... and the two go "at each other." Obviously that's not how the book turned out but as you can see a lot can change as it unfolds.

Issac wrote:
Now Michael, I have one question man, how/why did you have Arcadius pull that stuff off with Gwen? I mean I see how it fits with the story, but I'm curious how you came up with that little twist. At the end of Wintertide I had on clue whatsoever who had killed Gwen. I thought maybe it had been the Patriarch or some other person from the Novron Church. When Royce figured that one out, it was a mindblowing moment for me. One of those times during reading where I actually said out loud "Are you serious?! Holy Crap! No Way! I picture my grandpa shuffling atop a ceiling prepping his killing tools and pulling that trigger and I just can't grasp it hahahaha


Well it really comes down to this...Gwen had to die...always had since the beginning. The question is who would do the deed and why. I did have it be the Patriarch at one time - he was going to use her to apply pressure on Royce to get the horn. (In this version the Patriarch knew who Royce was and only he could retrieve the horn). But that didn't fit with other potential outcomes. I could have easily made it be Merrick - in repayment for Jade - but that is just "too straitforward" a motive.

When you understand Arcadius's motivations the piece falls in place pretty easily. He originally tried to "fix Royce" to make him worthy but when Gwen brought him their child he had an even "better idea". Royce is actually the one who sealed her fate because in Wintertide he mentions to Arcadias that Gwen and he are going to be married. He knew that they would take Mercy from him and he was more than a little affraid the three of them would just go off to Avempartha and let the rest of the world fall to pieces. Above all else he couldn't let Royce know he had a daughter. The only ones who knew were him an Gwen and so he had to take her out before she could spill the beans as it were. Yeah it was cruel...but he just felt the stakes were to great to risk rolling the dice with Royce.

I'm sure the old man didn't scale any rooftops - there were plenty of windows from which to shoot the crossbow - but I did get a humerous picture in my mind when you mentioned it.


Isaac Martinez | 60 comments Yeah I understood the reasoning in the story after Royce explained it, I was just wondering how you had come up with the idea of having Arcadius be the one to pull the trigger.

I have no doubt in my mind Royce would happily let the world burn so long as he, Gwen, and Mercy were safe. That's what I like most about him, that he doesn't have Hadrian's morals.


Proud Book Nerd (ham1299) I'm very, very glad you didn't kill of Hadrian, Michael. I don't think I'd have been able to forgive you if you had!


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Michael (MichaelJSullivan) | 300 comments Heather wrote: "I'm very, very glad you didn't kill of Hadrian, Michael. I don't think I'd have been able to forgive you if you had!"

Lol Heather - You would forgive me any transgression ... but I'm glad that we didn't have to put that theory to the test. ;-)


Proud Book Nerd (ham1299) Michael wrote: "Lol Heather - You would forgive me any transgression ... but I'm glad that we didn't have to put that theory to the test. ;-) "

I don't know, Michael. I just don't know. I still haven't forgiven Rowling for killing of Sirius Black and Dumbledore ...

;-)


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Michael (MichaelJSullivan) | 300 comments Isaac wrote: "Yeah I understood the reasoning in the story after Royce explained it, I was just wondering how you had come up with the idea of having Arcadius be the one to pull the trigger.

How - is simply by understanding the motivations of each character. As I said -- I knew she needed to die - so in many respects it was a matter of setting the pieces in place to make the motive fit the crime. I "could" have manipulated threads to make several people do it... I "choose" Arcadias because his reason fit the rest of the story nicely and it provided for good drama.


Lucinda | 38 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "1) Did you ever think Royce, Arista, or Hadrian was in "real danger" did you suspect I might kill any of them off and where in particular?

2) At what point did you realize that Mercy was Royce's daughter. Early on...just as Hadrian was putting it together? Some other time. "

1. At one point I thought Merrick might be the heir. This would have set Hadrian and Royce at odds (epically!) and I could then see one of them having to die...

2. When Arcadius introduced Mercy I knew she was Gwen's daughter (I have a friend named Mercedes who goes by Mercy). That led me to believe Gwen was the heir...right up until we found out that Fan Irlanu had the same tattoo that Gwen had.I put Royce as Mercy's father when they told the story of the bad winter and spending it with Gwen - then her being sick when they left to do the job in Alburn. It wasn't until the beginning of Percepliquis that the "Oh MY! Mercy is the real heir...so that means Royce is an heir too!!" moment hit.

What a fantastic ride reading this series is! Thank you Michael Sullivan.


Proud Book Nerd (ham1299) Michael wrote: "1) Did you ever think Royce, Arista, or Hadrian was in "real danger" did you suspect I might kill any of them off and where in particular?

2) At what point did you realize that Mercy was Royce's daughter. Early on...just as Hadrian was putting it together? Some other time. "


1. Yes, I had times of thinking they were in mortal danger. Toward the end with Hadrian, when he was seriously injured. Not really with Royce, though. Arista, I had faith she'd be OK, but when she was caught trying to get Gaunt freed, I was a bit worried then.

2. I didn't know Mercy was Royce's daughter until Hadrian put it together. That was a gasp moment for me! LOL

Knowing now what I do about the heritage of the Heir, I see the true reason behind the church's (or at least whoever was in power at the time) attempt to purge the elves - er, well, I guess mixed-blood elves - from society.


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Michael (MichaelJSullivan) | 300 comments Wow Lucinda - you put it together early. I'm glad that knowing that piece of information didn't ruin the book for you.


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Michael (MichaelJSullivan) | 300 comments Hey Heather, thanks for the feedback. Yeah the killing off of the mixed-blood elves does make more sense by the end of the book.


Lucinda | 38 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "Wow Lucinda - you put it together early. I'm glad that knowing that piece of information didn't ruin the book for you."

Nothing ruined this series (other than having to wait for "Percepliquis" to come out). It was actually way too much fun to string together all the threads - after "Avempartha" I realized you actually had a carefully crafted over-arc to the six books (like you claimed in your author's notes)and that I could trust that you would not resort to Deus ex Machina devices to fill in the holes in your plot or save your characters...It's sort of like online dating: the 2nd book convinced me you were actual as talented and clever as your online profile made you out to be! HA!


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Michael (MichaelJSullivan) | 300 comments Lol - Lucinda - that's a new one on me. Guess I'll have to remove the airbrushed model pictures I have on eHarmony's site. ;-)


Elizabeth Risley (ElizabethRisley) | 228 comments Woah...So I've been gone a really long time. I tried...oh how I tried...to make Percepliquis last longer but I was thwarted. Wonderful job Michael - simply brilliant ending to an amazing series.

@Isacc - I was totatlly caught off guard by Nimbus. I certainly felt that there was 'something up with him' but had no idea exactly "what." I do remember at some points in the book I was affraid that he might be working covertly for Sauldur and Co. - Lol guess I was of the mark on that one.

Magnus was a great character - I'm glad he finally got the dagger in the end (and not the point of it). It's amazing how many times he betrayed them and yet also was a huge help to them (fights at Avempartha, digging in the well in Wintertide).

Myron - "is the man" I loved when he gave the Patriarch a slap down. I'm with Mauvin - he is my hero. A wonderful and memorable character to be sure.

Esra - I liked that the way in which he came back - an interesting way to insert him into the storyline to be sure. I guess I didn't miss the "humor" aspect as the scenes with him were pretty dire and "cracking wise" there wouldn't seem to fit the mood.

Arcadius - yeah I had him all wrong. That was an increibly cruel act.

But why no mention of Arista and Hadrian!! Come on guys I know we've seen this coming for a long, long time, but seiously - how touching was that moment?


Elizabeth Risley (ElizabethRisley) | 228 comments @Michael -- I thought Arista was "done for" during the ambush on the boat. Hadrian was too far away and I totally didn't expect Royce to show up there.

I did think Royce would die at the end. I knew he wanted to be with Gwen and I kind of felt (because you had in the past) that ONE of the more important characters would die in this book. If it wasn't for Mercy he would have indeed been beyond Arista's help and then the men of Elan would have been royally screwed. The interjection of Mercy was completly brilliant...I did not see it coming and when I got there my jaw dropped. I did not know until Hadrian put it together. Again - an amazing job.


Elizabeth Risley (ElizabethRisley) | 228 comments @Michael - Count me as glad for the "happily-ever-after" if you would have taken Hadrian from Arista...you'd have some pretty strong words from me and a lot of "splaining to do Lucy." For me the best parts about these books were.

The very subtle and well played love affair between Hadiran and Arista.

The theme of redemption that is so powerful at the end but is restrained right up until the end which makes it even more impactful. Not to go "all Narnia" on you...but are you trying to say something on a more spiritual or religious level here?


Elizabeth Risley (ElizabethRisley) | 228 comments A question...for Michael but others feel free to weigh in on your thoughts.

When Royce controlled Gilly in Percepliquis is this because (view spoiler)?


Isaac Martinez | 60 comments It was because he was the heir. Michael explained it in his Percipliquis Afterword for the series.


Isaac Martinez | 60 comments Ok, with the Afterword, I feel like The Church of Nyphron is The Catholic Church and The Church of Maribor are all the other denominations of Christianity. I know you didn't want to make any comparisons, but I honestly hadn't really considered the religious aspect of the book until you pointed it out.

I'm inclined to agree with your view of religion through Myron's speech, thoughts, and actions. He shows mercy whenever the opportunity arises, is innocent to a fault, has no aspirations for power whatsoever, and lives solely to serve. I also agree that I absolutely LOVED how Myron just completely shut the patriarch down with mere words!

I'm glad your ultimate idea for the book fit with what hit me the most, personally, about it. Redemption. That may be why I enjoyed it so much :-P Made me feel like I still have chances :-)

Thank you again Michael for bringing hope into the lives of people like me :-)


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Rachel Day | 15 comments Elizabeth wrote: "But why no mention of Arista and Hadrian!! Come on guys I know we've seen this coming for a long, long time, but seiously - how touching was that moment?

..."


I'm totally with you on this point - I was rooting for them to get together from book 3 onwards. I think it was beautifully written, nice and subtle, and just right for both characters. I'm so glad that they got their happy ending :) I hate it when authors end a book by killing off everyone important.


Proud Book Nerd (ham1299) I was hoping for Hadrian and Arista to get together. With each book, it became something that seemed more certain. I'm glad it came to fruition! :-)


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Michael (MichaelJSullivan) | 300 comments I too have often wondered why there has been so little mention of Arista and Hadrian’s big scene. Not just here but with all the early readers and reviewers. I suspect in most public cases it stems from fear of spoilers, which I appreciate. Yet in confidence I still haven’t heard much. This is troublesome as that one scene in Novron’s tomb is my favorite scene in the entire series. I had envisioned it many times before writing and often ran it through my head each time becoming choked up. I also had the song “Feels Like Home” written by Randy Newman but performed by Bonnie Raitt (from the Michael movie soundtrack) that was part of the inspiration for that scene. And as I wrote it, at the moment Hadrian finally gets his point across and Arista slams to a stop in understanding, I pressed play and wrote the rest. If this was a contemporary movie that’s how that scene should be done with that song coming in at that moment where Arista is speechless.

What’s interesting is that a very prominate review described it as: “Sullivan is not a subtle writer, and the sudden romance between Hadrian and Arista is hastily tacked on…”

I never thought a four-book-build would be seen as hasty, but perhaps the previous hints were too...subtle?

As for Royce, yes, I went to great lengths to set him up for death. a) I gave the reader a reason why he could die and for it to still be “okay”, or “acceptable.” b) I faked it once with the “Sacriface” chapter. By the end you should have been primed to believe Royce would really die this time. Also, he was going to. As I approached the end of this book, I had no escape for Royce. Originally I planned for some lame “he falls off a cliff with the Patrarich” ending only to still live but tell no one. I hated that, so I finally resigned myself to kill Royce because he simply had no reason to live. It wasn’t until I was picking up my daughter in a torrential rainstorm that I thought of Mercy—who didn’t exist at the time except in the one sentence in Emerald Storm where Gwen names her children-to-be and one is Mercedes, which I originally wrote as a joke, as a play off of Royce (Rolls Royce having Mercedes as a daughter.) I thought it was funny, and I liked the name. Then I realized Royce having a daughter would do the trick. Like Edison I became frantic in the car as I waited for my daughter to come out to the parking lot. I ran the story through my head, and realized I had a problem. I had to mention Mercedes in advance or it would be a cheat, and if I mentioned that name at all, everyone would know. Then I thought…nickname! Okay…Mercy. Sure that would work. Then BAM! I saw the scene where Royce is dying and Hadrian sees the little girl and thinks, not mercy…Mercy! Then I knew I had it and Royce was saved.


Isaac Martinez | 60 comments HAHAHAHAHA Wow man the way your brain works is badass!

I'm sorry to say I have to agree with the Hadrian/Arista romance. You saw it coming and when it happened it played out like the stereotypical movie love scene you had in mind.

As soon as you put the idea of Hadrian being anything besides a bodyguard in Arista's head, it was there. Hadrian NEVER had anyone else's real attention or interest throughout the series. The only things that kept throwing me off were all the guys falling for her. When you didn't introduce anyone else to take their places, the only one left was Hadrian.

Personally that scene did make me shed a tear and laugh my ass off, because I've tried those moves and it didn't work. Either I wasn't subtle enough or she was too thick. I've had it done on me too and I played dumb :-P So to see it work out for both, I did love it, it just wasn't on par with so many of the other scenes.

I can honestly say I can't pick just one that I thoroughly enjoy above the rest. Being somewhat of a stereotypical guy, I was all about the action and comedy :-)


Isaac Martinez | 60 comments I'm somewhat torn on Royce's fate as it is. I thought Hadrian deserved a dose of reality like he got with the Viscount and the Witch to see that life does not work out every way you want it to just because you're good and honorable. I was actually looking forward to Royce dying just to finally shut Hadrian up and prove his point.

I really hate that Hadrian got his way after all the crap Royce had to get him out of, but at least Royce kept his characteristics of antipathy and selfishness saving the world only for the sake of his friends and staying alive again only for the sake of a loved one. That Hadrian was unable to convert him completely gives me a measure of satisfaction :-)

It's like a christian talking someone out of committing crimes, but not being good enough to talk them into going to church :-) it's balanced.


Proud Book Nerd (ham1299) Michael wrote: "What’s interesting is that a very prominate review described it as: “Sullivan is not a subtle writer, and the sudden romance between Hadrian and Arista is hastily tacked on…”

I never thought a four-book-build would be seen as hasty, but perhaps the previous hints were too...subtle?"

It wasn't too subtle. I saw it coming since Nyphron Rising, I believe. I think I even mentioned something during one of our group discussions in the Riyria group. Perhaps that reviewer just somehow didn't pick up on the hints?

As for Royce/Mercy, I LOVED how you did it. It was perfect. Absolutely perfect. When Hadrian has the ah-ha moment, I did, too. It was a simultaneous light bulb moment! LOL


Proud Book Nerd (ham1299) Oh, and I forgot to mention that I LOVED that scene in the tomb. Loved it. It was very exciting to read. :-)


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Rachel Day | 15 comments I guessed that Royce was the heir when I re-read Rise of Empire - the fortune telling scene and the big secret in Royce's life. However, while I was waiting for Heir of Novron, I sort of dismissed the possibility - Royce isn't exactly what you'd expect the heir to be, and Esrahaddon didn't give any hints that he recognised Royce. Having read the afterword, I'm keen to re-read the prison scene in Crown, as the afterword says that Esrahaddon knew right away. But then despite having dismissed the possibility, I did wonder why Esrahaddon said he'd need Royce and Hadrian's help on a job (before he died). So yeah, I was surprised at the reveal, but in a semi-satisfied way, because I'd sort of guessed :) I was also genuinely afraid for Royce when he went in to face Gilly - I thought that might be it. Ditto when he 'saw' Gwen at the end - I was sure he wouldn't be coming back from that.

I thought the Mercy reveal was perfect. I definitely didn't work it out until Hadrian did, and spent a lot of time worrying about how they were going to get Mercy there for the big show down at the end. Didn't even consider that there might be *another* heir already there. And Nimbus too - I knew that there was something going on with him but I definitely didn't work out that he was Kile until the feather dropped. But then it was an 'ah-ha' moment rather than, 'where did that come from'. I love the way the big reveals are all set up with clues - you just have to recognise them for what they are.

I have to say, re. Hadrian and Arista, I don't think the build was particularly subtle, I'm surprised the reviewer missed it. It wasn't glaring and in-your-face, but I'd have thought it was difficult to miss entirely. Seemed a very natural progression to me. I loved the scene in the tomb, I thought it was very sweet and touching. Just how I wanted things to work out :) Also, with the benefit of hindsight, Gwen's comment to Hadrian in Rise about Arista, "She's a remarkable woman,...Don't you think so, Hadrian?" seems prescient. I think she knew. This made me wonder at the time as well, even before I realised the extent and accuracy of Gwen's sight.


message 37: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Day | 15 comments Two elements that gave me pause for thought - Arcadius - how could he do it?! Royce started to say that he was like a father to him, and invited him to his wedding, and Arcadius went away from that conversation intending to murder Gwen? I mean, wow. That really surprised me.

Also the other bit I struggled with is why Gwen never told Royce he had a daughter. I know Hadrian gave speculative reasons, and I can kind of understand how five years ago Royce might not have been ready to handle it. But I was surprised that even when they were engaged and talking about having children in the future she didn't mention it. Also, Royce is pretty sharp, I was surprised as well that Gwen could have hidden something like that from him.

Any thoughts anyone?


message 38: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael (MichaelJSullivan) | 300 comments HIDING ROYCE
It is interesting in that within the story Esrahaddon was trying to keep the heir hidden, and as an author, I was too. We ended up using the same techniques.

I guessed everyone would assume that Royce was the heir the moment the story focused on finding his identity, and absolutely the moment I revealed that Hadrian was the guardian. It would be a natural conclusion as it fit so well. That’s when I had to plot to mislead readers. I did this in several ways.

First I had Esrahaddon mimic me in drawing attention elsewhere, in this case to Degan Gaunt. So the moment I said Hadrian is the guardian (end of Avempartha) I also said Esrahaddon is looking elsewhere for the heir--so it can’t be Royce. This is reinforced by the supporting idea that Royce is an elf, (this revelation was a gimmie but surprisingly a few people--new to fantasy I suspect--needed it spelled out,) and the heir couldn’t be an elf. Together these should have kept the reader from completely settling on Royce and caused them to doubt their instincts.

(There are MANY clues that Esrahaddon knew Royce was the heir in Dahlgren, some as subtle as how he speaks to him at the well. That word-fencing scene is the result of Esra resuming his role as tutor to the heir. He acts similarly when teaching Arista, but in that scene and in those that follow in Avempartha, Esra is educating the heir to the throne on what he needs to know to rule in a Socratic method, which is how he taught Nevrik. He also blatantly states Royce is the only one who can open Avempartha, and even clarifies this when Royce doesn't understand. This was a huge risk, for if the Patriarch was listening, he could have figured it out.)

Second I centered the middle of the story on finding and saving Gaunt, causing readers to start to accept he is the heir. Once it was revealed that Gaunt was a jerk, I knew everyone would start looking for another candidate and Royce would rise back to the top of that list again. So soon after I weakened Gaunt as a candidate, I give up Mercy (both happening in Wintertide.) Then if anyone was still on the fence, still stubbornly clinging to the idea that Royce was the heir, I gave the definitive reveal that Mercy is the heir. This I felt would completely derail anyone who had been counting on Royce.

If all this worked, readers should have considered Royce, then dismissed him on more than one occasion until finally deciding he is not the heir during the final book, not long before he was revealed making the end a moment of both surprise and “I knew it!” at the same time--shock mixed with inevitability. I therefore don’t doubt that many people suspected, and at times were convinced, Royce was the heir, I just doubt that anyone thought this consistently all the way through.

I won’t comment on Rachel’s topics of Gwen/Royce/Arcadius until others weigh in.


message 39: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Day | 15 comments Michael wrote: "If all this worked, readers should have considered Royce, then dismissed him on more than one occasion until finally deciding he is not the heir during the final book, not long before he was revealed making the end a moment of both surprise and “I knew it!” at the same time--shock mixed with inevitability. I therefore don’t doubt that many people suspected, and at times were convinced, Royce was the heir, I just doubt that anyone thought this consistently all the way through. ."

That's exactly how it was for me, so I'd say it worked!

I'm looking forward to going back and re-reading Esrahaddon's scenes in the light of what I know now. I definitely didn't pick up on any clues from him first time around. The teaching-style of conversation makes sense though - now I think back, he only did this with Royce / a little with Arista.


Proud Book Nerd (ham1299) That's exactly how it worked for me, too. You did well with it!


Isaac Martinez | 60 comments Same here. reading how you came up with that twist, man dude, genius.


Lucinda | 38 comments Mod
Rachel wrote: "Two elements that gave me pause for thought - Arcadius - how could he do it?! Royce started to say that he was like a father to him, and invited him to his wedding, and Arcadius went away from that..."

Arcadius killing Gwen was easier for me to accept than Royce never knowing Gwen had a daughter.

I figured once Mercy had been entrusted to Arcadius and he began "making" her into the heir, it would be easier for Arcadius to see the child as his own creation (his own daughter, even). Therefore, any action taken to protect her would be easier to rationalize, including the act of killing the child's birth mother.

Royce not finding out that Gwen had a child while he and Hadrian spent a year in prison is harder to accept. Surely Gwen could not have hidden a pregnancy from a house full of prostitutes and bargirls. At some point she would have either had to entrust a local midwife or leave for an extended journey to actually birth the child. While it is possible that her "girls" would have shielded her secret for fear of Royce's reaction, it is less plausible that the men involved (Albert in particular) would have failed to mention it even once in five years(especially when inebriated). Once mentioned, I can't imagine Royce letting the topic slide.


message 43: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael (MichaelJSullivan) | 300 comments Lucinda,

You've got a good point. I more imagined Gwen going for an extended stay to Sheridan where she gave birth and entrusted the child to Arcadius who hired a midwife, so no one in Medford would have known anything, but you're right there might have been comments about her absence that could have had Royce wondering. Also who was running things while she was gone? And likely some of the girls would have guessed upon her return. Would they have talked, gossiped certainly I suppose. Would such talk have reached Royce and Hadrian it is very possible. I just hope it isn't too implausible the way I had it turn out.


Lucinda | 38 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "Lucinda,

You've got a good point. I more imagined Gwen going for an extended stay to Sheridan where she gave birth and entrusted the child to Arcadius who hired a midwife,...Would they have talked, gossiped certainly I suppose. Would such talk have reached Royce and Hadrian it is very possible. I just hope it isn't too implausible the way I had it turn out. "


Oh no - not too implausible...just worthy of a short-story to explain away the mystery! (that was an overt plea for more Riyria stories).

One of the things that makes the series work for me is that you haven't peopled it with a huge supporting cast bearing a ponderous backstory. So many series cast the road the heroes have traveled in concrete, leaving little "wiggle-room" for when events are examined in hindsight.

I don't know if you did it on purpose, but, when re-reading the series, I find these little moorings where your characters are tied to time/place/event, but how they got there and back is left open; it works as a brilliant device for maintaining continuity. There is never a "But that's impossible because in book 2 this happened!!" moment. I can fill in a plausibility that works because you've given me nothing to contradict it. It's like you've painted your 6 book masterpiece with half your color pallet unused, lol.

To steal Isaac's observation, "man,dude, genius!"


Proud Book Nerd (ham1299) I think it's still plausible. I mean, it's not like Royce and Hadrian were around all that much as Riyria, right? They traveled a lot for their jobs. With how little they were around in those times, I think it's conceivable that it wouldn't get back to them. By the time we're reading these stories, Mercy is old news in the Medford gossip chain. Plus, it still happens nowadays where somehow a woman surprises a man with a (insert number here)-year-old kid he didn't know he had.


message 46: by Amber (last edited Jan 31, 2012 02:38PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amber Ivers (mohawkguy28) | 18 comments "Did you ever think Royce, Arista, or Hadrian was in "real danger" did you suspect I might kill any of them off and where in particular?"

Royce, I did not think would die because Gwen said that he would live a long time. Hadrian I wasn't sure about because he said that he would lose the one he loved the most and he would have to make a decision but she never said that he wouldn't die after. But before Gwen died, yes I thought that it might be Hadrian because she said that she was never wrong so I thought that he might die in Avempartha.

I never knew when Arista would die but I suspected that she could die at any time. I even thought that she might die in the prison as well as Hadrian.

"2) At what point did you realize that Mercy was Royce's daughter. Early on...just as Hadrian was putting it together? Some other time."

I started to think that Mercy might be Royce's when she got to the empress but I wasn't sure because I didn't think that Royce was with anyone other than Gwen and she never said anything. When Mercy was riding off she said that she was his only "daughter", not heir and that was sort of a clue. I knew that Esra said that the heir needed to be with Arista and that Royce and Hadrian must go, those were clues too. Then when he was trapped underground and he and Hadrian were going to fight the Ghazel's and he said the word Mercedes, then I started thinking that it was even more possible. But it wasn't until he was able to talk to the monster and stop it from killing his friends that I knew for sure that she was his.


The question that I have is, why didn't Gwen tell him before hand? Wouldn't it have stopped a lot of what happened to them if she had. Like her death? Especially when he proposed to her.

I felt bad for Hadrian every time that Royce said that he had nothing else to live for. Like he forgot that other people cared and kept slapping him in the face.

When Mauvin was in the dungeon telling Arista that she had died, was that while she went after Alric or when she was sleeping too? And how did he feel about Arista after he found out all that she could do. He seemed very quiet and hardly ever talked to her and I would have thought that he would have, at least as close as they were growing up.


message 47: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael (MichaelJSullivan) | 300 comments "The question that I have is, why didn't Gwen tell him before hand? Wouldn't it have stopped a lot of what happened to them if she had. Like her death?"

Absolutely...which is why she refused to tell Royce, and why she kept Mercy a secret.

She had two choices, one selfish that consisted of running away with Royce to Avempartha with their daughter while the world was destroyed, and one not, which consisted of keeping silent and letting the future play out the way she knew it would. Of her own future she only knew Royce would live a long life, but that she was not in it. This meant either he left her, indicating he did not truly love her, or she died. Of the two she hoped it was the later.

This is why when you see Royce saying he will not go with Hadrian and will stay with her (this happens more than once) she becomes emotionally upset, because Royce is tempting her without knowing it.

In retrospect, when you know what is really happening, these seemingly innocent scenes of Royce leaving Gwen are some of the most gut-wrenching to read.


message 48: by Amber (last edited Feb 01, 2012 03:43AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amber Ivers (mohawkguy28) | 18 comments Michael wrote: ""The question that I have is, why didn't Gwen tell him before hand? Wouldn't it have stopped a lot of what happened to them if she had. Like her death?"

Absolutely...which is why she refused to te..."


so she chose to have him really love her other than leave..but if she told him about mercy he still would have gone to percepliquis if she asked him too right and still saving hadrian.

I always thought that she was crying because she knew that one of the two was going to die. And that the choice was most likely her. That's why I thought that she kept pushing him away. I wonder how he would have reacted to her not accepting the proposal?


Pauline Ross (PaulineMRoss) | 4 comments Michael wrote: "1) Did you ever think Royce, Arista, or Hadrian was in "real danger" did you suspect I might kill any of them off and where in particular?

I did wonder about Royce, because after the end of Wintertide it seemed like he had nothing he wanted to live for. But Arista and Hadrian - no, especially not after they got together. But glad they all survived!

2) At what point did you realize that Mercy was Royce's daughter. Early on...just as Hadrian was putting it together? Some other time."

I was very suspicious about Mercy when Arcadius made such a big deal about her in Wintertide, and as soon as she was revealed as they heir, I started wondering who her parents were. Gwen and Royce were the obvious choice, but there had to have been a separation and the elf blood appeared to be a problem. Then there was the story about Royce and Hadrian being in prison for a year, and as soon as Royce talked to Gilly, it was obvious. But so cool - a real punch the air moment!

But I didn't guess that Novron was an elf, and Nimbus/Kile came totally out of the blue, although the white feather story was repeated so many times I should have guessed. I worked out who the Patriarch was from the anagram :-)

There aren't many loose ends left dangling, but I have a couple. What happened to Degan's medallion, and why did Merrick make a copy? I thought that was going to be important but nothing came of it, unless I missed it.

And secondly, I have totally forgotten what happened to Royce's parents. Can someone point me to wherever that gets explained, please?


message 50: by Amber (last edited Feb 02, 2012 08:33AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amber Ivers (mohawkguy28) | 18 comments Pauline wrote: "Michael wrote: "1) Did you ever think Royce, Arista, or Hadrian was in "real danger" did you suspect I might kill any of them off and where in particular?

I did wonder about Royce, because after t..."



what happened to Royce's parents is in Nyprhon Rising. Merrick was wearing Degan's Medallion when he defeated Esra.

Michael I'm not sure if you saw my second question or not about Mauvin.

I knew Nimbus was more than he said, I just wasn't sure what it was. He knew too much!


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