Avempartha (2011) by Michael J. Sullivan

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Avempartha is the second book in the Riyria Revelations, making up the second half of Theft of Swords. The lovable rogues Hadrian and Royce are back and have, despite their rules, taken another quest to help the poor and save the innocent. A destitute young girl has been asking for Riyria all over town and the pair of thieves find her and agree to take the job. It seems some kind of beast has been terrorising the young girls village and she has come to enlist their help. As per the first book the pair fight over it for all of two seconds and then agree to take the job for ten silver. Considering that the meal and clothes they bought her cost 65 silver, this is simply a charity case.

Many of the characters from the first book, The Crown Conspiracy, reappear despite this story taking place two years and many hundreds of miles away from the first one. It seems the Nyphron church has an interest in slaying the beast as well and have organised a tournament like challenge, inviting all of the best warriors in the land, noble and common alike, to the small village to fight for glory.

The beast is called a gilarabrywn, and is actually a creature of magic, a leftover from the war a thousand years earlier with the elves. The beast is very similar to a dragon but cannot be slain by conventional means. There is a sword, hidden in a nearby elven tower (Avempartha), which has the gilarabrywn’s true name written on it and is the only way to slay the beast. Enter Royce. The thieves have been hired by the young girl to enter the tower, find the sword and give it to her father. The father wants to kill the beast because it killed his entire family, excepting the girl, and he wants revenge.

This is strong sequel to the Crown Conspiriacy, and doesn’t suffer from the first book’s initial lack of focus. It is well written and the plot is enjoyable and moves along at a brisk pace. If you like fantasy but dont have the time for a true epic then this is a good middle ground.

4 Stars

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