This is a review for "Nolyn" the first book in the new fantasy series titled "The Rise and Fall" by bestselling author Michael J. Sullivan. The review is a five minute podcast, but a brief summary is available below.
Brief summary: Overall an enjoyable read set in a world with very rich lore. The plot is interesting and compelling, but at times a little predictable and forced. The characters are mostly well-written and engaging, but not on the same level as Michael J. Sullivan's previous work (in particular the Riyria series).
Nolyn is set in the world of Elan, about 1000 years before the Riyria Revelations series and Riyria Chronicles series and about 800 years after the Legends of the First Empire series. It is intended to be a standalone read, but new readers would definitely benefit from starting in order of publication, i.e. with the Riyria Revelations.