Not a review: Percepliquis – Michael J. Sullivan

About the book

“I saw a great journey. Ten upon theroad, she who wears the light will lead the way. The road goes deep into theearth, and into despair. The voices of the dead guide your steps. You walk backin time. The three-thousand-year battle begins again. Cold grips the world,death comes to all, and a choice is before you.” — Fan Irlanu, Tenkin Seerer of Oudorro Village 

Percepliquis is the final installment of theepic fantasy, The Riyria Revelations. In this saga that began with The CrownConspiracy, two thieves caught in the wrong place at the right time werelaunched on a series of ever escalating adventures that have all lead to thismoment. Three thousand years have passed and the time for Novron’s heir to acthas arrived. 

Thisis not a review. Usually when I not-a-review someone, it’s because I didn’tfinish their book for some reason. Well, that’s not the case here. In my humbleopinion, a review should be comprised of both positive and negative aspects ofa book. As you will soon see, while I could quibble over small, meaninglessdetails there is just no point to discuss anything negative regarding Percepliquis. Thus, this isn’t a review;it’s more like an ode to Michael Sullivan and his wonderful series.
Ithas taken me a while to really wrap my head around Percepliquis. In reality, despite the fact that I got Fiona (myfour-month-old) to sleep last night and had ample time to write a review, Icouldn’t do it. This is one of those books that grips you so tight, and pullsyou so close you have to take time to untangle yourself from it and step backso you can actually wrap your head around its wonder. I had to completelyswitch gears and read some Stephen King or my excitement over Percepliquis would have kept me up allnight, and with a lively four-month-old, that’s just not an option.
Riyria Revelations is a wonderful swordand sorcery series which is very reminiscent of many of the fantasy books whichreally got me into the genre in the first place. This fact is true with thewhole series, perhaps most strongly with Percepliquisthan other books. There were many times in PercepliquisI was reminded of other fantasy books that I had read and loved many years ago.An example of this would be the dwarf cities in Lord of the Rings, or even thequest for the ring itself. In other books comparisons or similarities like thatmight come of as cliché and tired, but Sullivan pulls them off masterfully andwhile Percepliquis does remind me ofmany other fantasy books, it just endeared me to the book even more as thesesimilarities worked to remind me why I love fantasy so much.
Percepliquis has everything. It’s filledwith drama, an epic quest, and adventure, plot twists and, perhaps mostimportantly, it’s incredibly emotionally compelling. The whole of the Riyria Revelations series has been verycharacter driven, but Percepliques isperhaps the most character driven of the series and is incredible intimate withreaders often seeing sides of characters that they hadn’t seen in previousbooks. These characters grow, develop and unfold quite a bit in Percepliquis and become exactly whatSullivan has been building them up to become. It’s a book of transformation andwith its raw emotional quality it’s incredibly poignant. While it’s the longestbook in the series, roughly double the size of most of the others, the factthat it’s impossible to put down will make the pages practically turnthemselves. Percepliquis, while beinglong, didn’t last long enough. It was over too soon and I found myselfautomatically wanting to reread the whole series just so I could enjoy it allover again.
Ifeel that epic fantasy is a genre which could easily become notorious forhaving series that never end. In fact, I haven’t read many end-of-series books inepic fantasy. This recent trend of authors writing trilogies is starting to endthat, but it’s a rare treat for me to find an epic fantasy series that lastslonger than three books and actually has an end. The fact that Percepliquis is the end of a six bookseries is notable in and of itself. However, what really sets it apart from thecrowd is that Sullivan did something unique here. He took ideas that aren’tincredibly new, and proudly made them his own. In the afterward (which I highlyrecommend everyone read as it sheds a lot of light on the series, andSullivan’s inspiration behind writing it), he mentions that he wrote thisseries because he couldn’t find anything like it on the shelves. He wrote whathe wanted to read and share with his daughter. Perhaps because of that, theseries is more than an incredible journey and some great writing, but it’s ajourney away from current trends and into something new and it’s a series witha lot of heart. Riyria Revelationshas a happy ending, a strong emotional base, a visual and exciting world andcharacters you can really root for. It’s a book that reminds you why you lovefantasy, and brings you back to the classics like Lord of the Rings all the while blazing it’s own trail into new,shining territory.
Percepliquis is the end of all endings.Sullivan masterfully ties together every possible loose end that he could. Someyou’d expect some come as a surprise. Characters from previous books (some ofwho I never expected to see again) are revisited. While some of the plotelements are rather predictable, Percepliquisisn’t about predicting the plot, but savoring it. There are plenty of “ah-ha”moments as things tie together, or light shines on something and suddenlyeverything seems to make sense. The truly amazing thing is how much thought anddetail (many of these details I never noticed until I read the afterward)Sullivan used throughout the series. I can’t imagine how he managed to keepmeticulous track of over all the books he’s written in the series to makeeverything in Percepliquis so flawlesslyclick together.
Idare say that most of us were introduced to fantasy through books filled withburly heros with swords, sorcerers, shadowy evil people and epic quests. Theseare the stories that most of us fell in love with, that blazed the path intospeculative fiction for us. These days the trend is toward graphic, gritty, darkand “different” but it’s these sword and sorcery roots that got us to desirethese new trends. It’s sword and sorcery that brought us to love the genre. It’sbooks like Percepliquis that bring usback to our roots and remind us what fantasy is all about. Percepliquis reminded me of the magic of the genre. Percepliquis made me fall in love withfantasy all over again. It’s a book to be proud of, finishing off a series thathas quickly become one of my absolute favorites. Percepliquis truly is Michael Sullivan’s magnum opus.

6 Responses

  • Jared

    Wow. Amazing non-review, I need to get my hands on this series…

  • Bibliotropic

    I can't count the number of times I've heard and seen people talking about this book, and all I can do is grumble because I haven't even read the first book of the series and likely won't be able to for a little while. From the sounds of it, it's a series I'll probably love, and I'm dying to give it a chance, moreso after seeing this review!

  • Melissa (My words and pages)

    YES!! 😀 Absolutely yes! lol. Wonderful non-review. 🙂 Michael is really one in a higher class of writing he has created.

    I'm screaming form the rooftops, MASTERFUL!! 😀

    Every fantasy reader NEEDS to get this series. 🙂

  • Scott

    Great "Not-A-Review" Sarah, and a perfect reason for one! Well written missy.

    I'm so glad we feel the same about the book, and I'm doubly glad that Michael will feel so good about the first few words about the series he spent so long with, and nurturing to this conclusion.


  • Liviu

    For a slight dissenting opinion, I did not like the book as much as Wintertide; too much of a cookie cutter ending with everything wrapped up and a few other niggles I talked on goodreads, combined with the book being firmly in the traditional :ancient evil, heroes gotta save the world" camp which I kind of got tired of.

    I liked much more Royce and Hadrian as a pair of adventures thieves

  • LunaRaven

    I'm shocked that I've never heard of this series before! Thanks to your informative review(well, Not-A-Review review) I now have something else to put on my 2012 reading list. Tis a list that keeps growing and growing and GROWING…

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