Book Review: Avempartha by Sullivan (3.5 Stars)

Avempartha by Michael J. Sullivan

3.5 out of 5 stars

Read in May 2009

Warning: Spoilers

Good pacing and good action throughout this second episode of the Riyria Revelations series. A trimmed down cast of characters with a few guest stars rounded out the adventure. I missed Myron, my favorite character from The Crown Conspiracy. The most character development occurred among the guest stars, particularly Thrace and Theron of Dhalgren. Hadrian and Esrahaddon revealed more of themselves. I learned more about Royce, but Arista faded to two dimensions.

Hadrian and Royce rescue a girl, Thrace, from robbery and worse. She left her small village, Dhalgren, searching for the two thieves to hire them to steal a sword. Thrace relates the horrific circumstances visited upon Dhalgren, which is under attack by an unknown invisible beast that snatches victims from their homes on an almost nightly basis. Surprisingly, Royce accepts the job, but refuses the money, and shocks Hadrian with his acceptance. A mysterious elvin tower, Avempartha, houses the sword, and the challenges to reach the tower seem insurmountable.

Arriving in Dhalgren, Hadrian and Royce are reunited with the fugitive wizard Esrahaddon. Esra (as he’s affectionately referred to by the villagers) has his own agenda for gaining access to Avempartha, and he needs Royce to accomplish his goals.

Meanwhile, Arista accepts an appointment to Ambassador from her brother, King Alric, to the province where Dhalgren resides. The local king rebuffs Arista’s overtures, but she isn’t given time to process her failure. The bishop she’s travelling with rushes her off to Dhalgren, where the Church plans to stage a contest of mythic proportions. Sentinel Guy, second-in-command to the patriarch of the Church of Nyphon, announces to the gathered knights and nobles that whosoever slays the beast will be Heir to the Empire. Let the slaughter of not-so-innocent contestants begin!

The plot leaked more clues concerning the Church’s agenda. The casualness towards the loss of life bordered on the callous, but never reached the level of terror I thought I should feel from the characters. I just wasn’t convinced, except perhaps in the Church’s abuse of power and ability to manipulate.

The book suffered from a prevalence of passive voice and run-on sentences. Several times these obstacles stopped me dead in my tracks.

The climax was thrilling, exciting and left just enough unanswered question to tease me towards the next episode.

If you enjoyed the first episode, you will not be disappointed by this followup installment.

GR Status Updates:

05/09/2009 page 1 0.3%
05/09/2009 page 21 6.34% “First chapter got us reacquainted with Hadrian and Royce and tied up a loose end from the first novel.”
05/09/2009 page 31 9.37% “Nearly every paragraph evidences passive voicings. And I think I’ve stumbled upon a sentence fragment (see comment).” 2 comments
05/10/2009 page 76 22.96% “Ambassador Arista meets with the Archbishop and learns closely held Church secrets.”
05/10/2009 page 86 25.98% “Arista seeks a glimpse of the patriarch.”
05/10/2009 page 112 33.84% “Esrahaddon and Royce catch up on old times at the well in Dahlgren.”
05/10/2009 page 146 44.11% “Home in time for supper … and not the main course.”
05/10/2009 page 209 63.14% “The contest location declared upon arrival; the target acquired and the challenge commenced at sunset.”
05/11/2009 page 284 85.8% “From heist to hostage rescue.”
05/11/2009 page 331 100.0%