Review: Nolyn (The Rise and Fall #1) by Michael J. Sullivan

Rating: 8.5/10


From the bestselling author of the Legends of the First Empire: New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post…

After two hundred years of service, the heir to the empire is suspicious about his reassignment to active duty on the front lines of the Goblin War. His first assignment to rescue an outpost leads to a dead-end canyon deep inside enemy territory. Suspicion turns to dread and then sinks to despair when it’s discovered no such outpost exists. But whoever went to the trouble of making his death look like an accident didn’t know anything about the Seventh Sikaria Auxiliary Squadron he was assigned to. In the depths of an unforgiving jungle, a legend is about to be born, and the world of Elan will never be the same.

A new adventure begins with the first book of the Rise and Fall trilogy. While set in the same world as Riyria and Legends of the First Empire, this is a standalone series, so no prior knowledge of the other books is required to enjoy it to its fullest.


Thanks to the Michael and Robin for having me on to be a Gamma reader for Nolyn (The Rise and Fall #1). This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

Rapid pacing, intense battles, and captivating characters make Nolyn a tremendous first entry in the Rise and Fall series. Fans of Sullivan’s previous works, and even new readers, will find a ton to love here.

First off, another winner from Marc Simonetti, amirite? His art never ceases to amaze and I’m always happy to see what he has in store for a Sullivan release.

So, set between Legends of the First Empire and the Riyria novels, we have Nolyn. Fans of either series will find plenty to enjoy here, along with some Easter eggy goodness, but like with any other series Michael puts out, it can be a starting point for new readers, too. New characters, new adventures, and new machinations with the same fantastic writing you have come to love from Sullivan. The one thing I definitely did not expect were all of the plot twists. Just when you think you have it all figured out.

The majority of the story is told from two (2) POVs, Nolyn and Sephryn, both of whom you get acquainted with fairly quickly in the onset. The chapters have character breaks throughout so you are getting the “real-time” perspectives of the characters as the story progresses. I quite enjoy when chapters aren’t 100% focused on one character at a time as it can feel like playing catch-up once you hit the next chapter, sometimes having to rehash pieces already explained – only from a different vantage point.

I have to say that I enjoyed Nolyn’s storyline over Sephryn’s, mostly because it dealt with the Goblin War and him blazing a trail to find who put him in his current predicament. I mean, if someone wants you dead and you don’t, in fact, die, you’re going to be pretty pissed, right? Having said that, Sephryn’s arc definitely appealed more to my emotions and I felt more of a connection with her because of that. Having a child of your own really changes your perspectives, even when reading fiction, and my heart went out for her during the entirety of the novel. I honestly figured Nolyn was going to be fine once I got to a feel for the Seventh Sikaria Auxiliary Squadron.

I don’t want to deep-dive into the story because it is one you need to experience for yourself. If you enjoy high fantasy with war, magic, betrayal, a little dose of humor, and likeable characters, this is one to definitely add to the list.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Rebecca says:

    Glad to see you enjoyed this!! I backed the Kickstarter and can’t wait to get my hard copy! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

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