The story continues for Royce and Hadrian and still they just seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Though at least in the follow up to Michael J. Sullivan’s The Crown Conspiracy, Royce and Hadrian are apart of the adventure through their own volition. Avempartha take’s place shortly after the events of the Crown Conspiracy with Royce and Hadrian taking a job from Thrace, a 17 year old village girl from a small town near the border’s of the old elven lands. Apparently a monster/weapon from years past is terrorizing the local population, has killed Thrace’s entire family excluding her father and many others in her town. Add to the fact that Thrace’s father is probably going to be next because he is dead set on vengeance against the beast; the heros have a serious problem on their hands. Else where, the political machinations of the Church are a foot and the re-establishment of the old empire is upon them. What will our heros do (I’ve always wanted to say something like that) You’ll have to read to find out.
Pros: Again. Awesome. Mr. Sullivan has this way of getting to the “main” plot of each individual book while weaving the overall tale. Avempartha gave me more of what I loved in the first book adding layers upon the characters and world building without the audience even really realizing it. We found out more about his world, the great war between humans and elves and what could lie in the future for our heros. There are few stories as engaging as this one.
Cons:truth be told however. I actually think this book is the weakest out of the series so far. (I’ve read all five books that are out) I thought some of the plot transitions and the “arc” (or the accumulating conflict of the story) were bit choppy and the solutions to the problems facing our heros a bit farfetched. (What I mean by farfetched is that the solutions seemed overly simplistic once the answers were found.) I’m also having problems with Esrahaddon (a sage like character from the old empire) character as I have the feeling that he’s important to the story and that I should care about him, but I am finding that I don’t. Its difficult to pin point my discontentment with him but if I had to pick something it would be that I don’t feel like he fulfills the role he was written and set to fullfil. Much of this could be a matter of personal tastes though and it didn’t stop me from be completely engaged in the story.
Overall: A great follow up to a great story. If you liked the first one, you’ll like this one. Even with its weaknesses I would recommend this book to my friends and loved ones. I have read it more than once, (all the books in the series) and found I liked it more on the second read through. Again, tight story telling and likable characters without the overbearing complexity and details you see in most epic fantasy.