The Emerald Storm – Michael Sullivan

About the book

Ex-mercenary Hadrian Blackwater sets course on ahigh seas adventure to find the lost Heir of Novron. His only hope lies inconfronting the ruthless and cunning Merrick Marius. Fearing his friend is notup to the challenge, Royce Melborn joins his old partner for one last mission.Their journey finds them adrift amid treachery and betrayals forcing Hadrian toface a past he hoped never to see again.

375pages (paperback)
Publishedon: April 2, 2010
Publishedby: Ridan Publishing – will also be released by Orbit

Thanks to the Sullivans for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Iread Nyphron Rising when I wasdiagnosed with cancer about a year ago. I reviewed it, and then got sooverwhelmed with life I basically completely forgot I read and reviewed it,until Robin Sullivan reminded me in an email. I felt like an idiot, but I guessit’s excusable. That was a pretty incredible period of my life. That beingsaid, The Emerald Storm did anamazing job at refreshing my memory with plot and characters withoutoverwhelming me with a series-up-to-this-point summary that can take up half thebook. I mention this to say that TheEmerald Storm is strong enough to stand on its own merit, but, unlikeprevious books, I’d recommend readers read the series up  to this point before they start on this one.It can be read as a stand alone, but I think it would be a confusingstand-alone and would lack the punch it will have for readers who have alreadyinvested time in the series.
Theworld in The Emerald Storm growsquite a bit compared to other installments in the series. Along with growing,it seems to gain a history and depth that other books hinted at but neverreally expanded upon in this amount of detail. New cultures are introduced tothe reader, like the Tenkins who are somewhat tribal and live in the jungle farsouth of the Empire. Sullivan also mentions other lands which the beyond theboarders of where the series has thus far ventured. This really adds a newlayer of depth and development to the series as a whole and reminds me a bit ofSteven Erikson’s history filled Malazan world, yet on much more reader friendlyterms lacking the overwhelming qualities of Erikson’s series.
Thecharacters in The Emerald Storm alsodevelop nicely along with the series. Women in The Emerald Storm seem a bit more powerful, sure-footed and pivotalto the plot than they did in other installments in the series. Arista, inparticular, is developing nicely and really becoming a character to watch for.While I did find myself wishing she had a bit more time in the limelight, Itruly enjoy how Sullivan is developing her. Despite the strong character growthand development in the main cast, the antagonist, Thranic, was a bit toostereotypical and predictable in his role. He was interesting to follow andadded a nice panache to the book, but he lacked the strong qualities of therest of the cast and was a bit of a disappointment overall.
The Emerald Storm reminds me a bit of The Wizard of Oz, specifically, the “manbehind the curtain.” The events that dominate Royce and Hadrian’s part of thestory are almost completely manipulated and planned out by Royce’s nemesis,Merrick, whom the reader won’t really interact with until the end of the book.While Merrick’s name is mentioned quite often, the fact that he remains anillusive, shadowy figure throughout the book gives Royce and Hadrian’s entirechunk of the book an incredibly mysterious air and leaves the reader curiousabout a number of different plot elements.
As Imentioned above, the women in The EmeraldStorm really stood out more than they have in previous installments,specifically Arista who is really coming into her own. While her portion of theplot centers more on the empire and the depressing and somewhat mad puppetempress, the real highlight of that portion of the book is Arista’s overallcharacter development. Though she doesn’t seem to have as much stage time asAmelia, she truly steals the limelight in her sections and dominates the castthat enters her portions with her.
Ishould mention the plot. The EmeraldStorm is quickly moving and because of Sullivan’s writing style, it is easyfor the book to engage the reader. However, a large portion of the book takesplace on a boat and, if you know me, you know that not much turns me off fasterthan paranormal romance, zombies and boats. It says more for the book and plotdevelopment that I enjoyed the portions of the book that took place on a shipas much as the landlocked portions, which is no small feat.
Theending of The Emerald Storm willleave readers frantic to move on to Wintertide.The plot pace mirrors the development of the series as a whole. There is noslow boil here. Something is always happening, yet in the midst of Sullivan’squickly moving plots are some incredible character developments. The series isat once bold and subtle, serious and fun and so is this book. Sullivan toys with tried and truesword and sorcery tropes and twists them into something new and fresh. Readerswill want to be invested in the series before they embark on The Emerald Storm, but it’s well worthit. The Emerald Storm is a qualityinstallment in an already beloved series.


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