I really loved this. It's certainly as good as the Theft of Swords books, and I'm well into Heir of Novron by now. I did subtract a star because Rise of Empires leaves too many loose ends, a feeling I didn't have after the first two books (i.e. Theft of Swords). I don't mind a few loose ends, but this time, it just didn't seem -- complete -- for lack of a better word.
Again, I listened to the extraordinary narration by Tim Gerard Reynolds, who brings all the characters to life wonderfully.
I admire the world building in this series, and I love the characters. I would write more to both, but there'd be spoilers, so I have to restrain myself.
Suffice it to say, that the locations are fantastic, and that I love the variety. I do suffer with our heroes, but I laugh, too, because once again, the story doesn't lack humour, and I frequently found myself grinning.