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When a destitute young woman hires two thieves to help save her remote village from nocturnal attacks, they are drawn into the schemes of the wizard Esrahaddon. While Royce struggles to breech the secrets of an ancient elven tower, Hadrian attempts to rally the villagers to defend themselves against the unseen killer. What begins with the simple theft of a sword places the two thieves at the center of a firestorm — that could change the future of Elan.

331 pages, Paperback

First published April 1, 2009

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About the author

Michael J. Sullivan

110 books92.6k followers
Esrahaddon, the last book in the Rise and Fall trilogy, is almost done. Just finished the recording of the audiobook, and the layout. Will pass it by Gamma readers for one last quality check then it's off to the printers!

In other news, Farilane, hit #1 on Amazon's Bestselling Epic Fantasy list! The ebook and audiobook are already released, and the hardcover will release on May 16th.

Thanks for visiting my page! Here are other sites where you can contact me.

I'm a New York Times, USA Today, and Washington Post bestselling author with 9 Goodreads Choice Award Nominations.

I first opened the door to my imagination with typewriter keys while playing hide and seek and finding a black behemoth when I just ten years old. Serious writing started in my twenties, but after more than a decade trying to publish (and getting nowhere), I quit altogether. I returned to writing in 2004, and published my first novel with a small press in 2008. If you had told me that I'd be a New York Times Bestselling author, have 85+ novels translated into 13 languages, and sold more than 2 million copies, I never would have believed you!

But now that we have that out of the way, let me tell you a bit about my books, which can be broken down into two main series.

THE LEGENDS OF THE FIRST EMPIRE: The foundations of Elan are laid by an unlikely band of misfits.

Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between men and those they thought were gods changes forever. Now, only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer. Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom. And Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over; the time of rebellion has begun.

THE RIYRIA REVELATIONS & CHRONICLES: The strongest bonds of friendship are forged in blood.

They killed the king. They pinned it on two men. They chose poorly.
There's no ancient evil to defeat or orphan destined for greatness, just two guys in the wrong place at the wrong time. Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, are enterprising thieves who end up running for their lives when they're framed for the death of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy that goes beyond the overthrow of a tiny kingdom, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery before it's too late.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 616 reviews
Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
234 reviews3,011 followers
April 22, 2022
Check out my new youtube channel where I show my instant reactions to reading fantasy books seconds after I finish the book.

4.5 stars. An improvement over the first book in every way

I had a lot of fun reading the first book in The Riyria Revelations. It was a fun, light read, and a good palate cleanser to the dense epic fantasy novels that I am used to reading. But I am happy to say that the second book in this series improved upon the first in every way.

For the first 1/2 of the book I was a little bit underwhelmed though, as the pace was rather slow and I worried that it was just going to be an extremely slow burn through the whole book. This didn't mean it was bad, as these characters are so well written that they made up for the plot going slowly.
But the second 1/2 of this book was amazing. It turns out the slow build at the beginning of the book was necessary for the action packed back half.

The writing in this book felt improved, and the dialogue between the characters was more entertaining than the first book. All in all, just exactly the way you hope a series would progress with the second book being such an improvement on the first.
Profile Image for Nicole.
731 reviews1,829 followers
April 13, 2021
3.5 stars

Avempartha was an improvement from The Crown Conspiracy. It’s the most enjoyable Sullivan book I read so far. I can only expect this series to get better at this point. It’s been a while since I wanted to start the sequel immediately after I finish a book!

Truthfully, the first 30% or so were tedious. I kept thinking there’s no way I am going to enjoy this book, I can’t see how it can get better. How wrong I was! There was an event that marked the substantial improvement and it’s joining the two (boring to me) plotlines in the book. It honestly made sense and I should’ve seen it coming but I was probably blinded by my prejudice lol.

This book, sadly, suffered from the same issues of Crown Conspiracy. I still do not see any personality depth to Hadrian and Royce. It is slightly better because we discover more about their story but at the start, it’s like Sullivan wanted us to know the background of Royce. The easiest solution was an old acquaintance of his telling his story to annoy him, wow! Not even Hadrian knew all of it! This was cheap.

Another problem was inconsistency. Hadrian and Royce were told two times at the very least before about “a special group of people” in Crown Conspiracy and they were explained to our main characters at least once. And then when Mauvin mentions them, Hadrian and Royce have no idea who is he talking about. I get that Sullivan wanted us to understand their importance but this is not acceptable. I also saw their twist coming miles before it was revealed and without making the connection to their names (it was obvious once I thought about the names but I’m very bad at remembering new words).

The dialogues were also too long sometimes and one-sided. Hadrian teaching “someone” how to use a sword was very uninteresting because it was paragraphs of dialogues. If this was interesting to me, I’d make my own research. No need to recite what the author knows about sword usage. That scene should’ve been cut. This is only one of the examples where dialogues dragged. In other cases, they should’ve been cut by another character asking a question or making some remark!
Another issue with the dialogues that for example, when Thrace was talking, she started mentioning all these people’s full names in her village. It doesn’t make sense. No one starts telling a stranger all about people’s occupation in his/her town. It’s unnatural. And the reader can’t keep track at all. So it’s not even a good intro to these characters if we’re going to meet them later.

These things aside, the book was very enjoyable and fun to read. We got to know more about the church’s plot and were introduced to some interesting characters. We also saw more of Mauvin, he’s fun! I’m looking forward to continuing this series and I couldn't wait long before starting Rise of Empire! I’m honestly glad I found a series that picked my interest. I’m reading too many first books only to realize the rest is not interesting.
Profile Image for Choko.
1,196 reviews2,583 followers
August 8, 2017
*** 4.35 ***

A buddy read with my friends at BB&B, because we love Hadrian and Royce!

Back with one of the best bromance couples ever, the thieving duo of Hadrian and Royce. The second in the Riyria Revelations, this book starts couple of years after the events which first introduced us to this risk taking, butt kicking and at this point, somewhat infamous team of very capable "retrievers of objects". Since the last big job, their names have become well known and even badly written plays are being performed by traveling troupes in front of crowds in many cities around the continent. This is why many people are looking for them - some to give them a job, some to lock them up, and others to maybe take more drastic measures... However, a young woman has been looking for them for a while and risks everything in order to find them. She and her father, as well as her whole village, need their help, although the way she initially presents the job to them is a bit misleading. She hires them to find a sword, I know, another one!, but forgets to mention that it is currently locked in a tower with no way to enter it, and a magical monster protects it. The same monster which has been eating and killing off the population of the local settlements. Simple, right?

Well, it turns out, the gentle big man Hadrian, who has a big heart and can't stop himself from wanting to help people, might have gotten them in a bigger mess with much higher stakes than he could have possibly imagined. The always practical, laconic and seemingly cold-hearted Royce reluctantly agrees to help as well and neither one of them were properly prepared for the mortal danger lurking after sundown...

The village is very pathetic! It is sad to see the difference between the way the big city rich folks live and the rustic poverty the rest of the people have to deal with. Thrace Wood is a farmers' daughter and until couple of weeks ago, she had a family, of which the monster have not killed only her father, as of yet. SHe is desperate to keep him alive, and her quiet strength and determination in the package of a diminutive and naive young woman is very compelling and wondrous to read about. We also get to see Princess Arista once again, a character which is still in its formative stages. She is learning about herself as she is discovering how treacherous the world around her can be. Her lessons come with a lot of loss and disillusionment as well... Despite her still not being who I believe she could be, I love this character and am looking forward to her reaching her potential.

Of course, Royce and Hadrian steal the show with the power of their personalities. Hadrian shines in this one and the reader can truly appreciate the differences in the two men, while enjoying how they compliment each-other in every way. Another strong and dubious character shows up again and the Wizard Esrahaddon brings in that enigmatic, wise, mystery man type of vibe to the story. We also get to hang out a bit with the weapon-obsessed Dwarf, whom I feel a bit sorry for at times and I am sure it will break my heart eventually, since the Dwarfs are not very good matured, to say the lest...

This volume takes the already familiar to us political intrigue and shows its place in the much bigger picture of the machinations of the Church of Nyphron to tear down and then restructure the world's governing system in a manner which will give them full control of the vast human population. We also start getting some idea of the current miserable situation for all the Elf descendants in this land and learn some history, which speaks of much better times for them in the far past... It is very fascinating to read this after having the first two books of the Legends behind, because we get to see how truth gets warped in the telling and how much it depends on who controls the narrative... After all, it is his-story, the one told by the victors...

I loved this book just as much as I did the first one, despite this being a bit darker. I will fervently recommend it to everyone who loves a good Adventure or a Fantasy story!!! You will not be disappointed:):):)

I wish you all happy reading and may you find what you need in the pages of a good book!!!
May 11, 2023
Why the despicably low rating, you ask? First, because my boyfriend Myron the Super Hot Monk isn't featured in this installment, which is completely and most definitely unacceptable. Second, because despite a few interesting developments, the two plotlines in the book are pretty meh. Third, because one of said plotlines is far-fetched as fish. Fourth, because the story feels disjointed as shrimp. Fifth, because it would be refreshingly refreshing to have Hadrian and Royce steal something other than swords once in a while. Sixth, because there are more exciting things to read about than sword fighting lessons (especially when said lessons are spread over what feels like 2,500 paragraphs). Seventh, because there isn't much depth to Royce and Hadrian. (Granted, we see some development in Royce's character in this installment which makes him a lot more interesting—and thank fish for that—but Hadrian feels pretty cardboard-like.) Eighth, because the more I think about the story the more cliché it feels. Ninth, because it seems this book is suffering from Accute Second-Book Syndrome (ASBS™). And tenth, because reasons and stuff.

I know, right? 😬

After reading the previous paragraph you might find your little selves wondering why I didn't go for an even more despicable rating. Why because my girlfriend Arista, obviously. Her chapters are the most entertaining in this installment and really saved the story for me. Oh, and there's Mauvin, too. Now there's some real High-Security Harem potential there and I can definitely see myself kidnapping him in the near future. Which means I'll have to read the next book. I can't say I'm overwhelmingly excited at the prospect but, yeah, Mauvin. And Arista. Oh, and I want to find out what the shrimp is going on with my boyfriend Myron. Especially now that the dwarf-whose-name-I-forgot-shame-on-me-and-stuff is going to work for him. 💕💕Lurve is in the air💕💕, if you ask me.

· Book 1: The Crown Conspiracy ★★★★
· Book 3: Nyphron Rising ★★★★
Profile Image for Saimi Vasquez.
1,341 reviews61 followers
May 18, 2023
Ahora Royce y Hadrian son contratados por una joven para buscar una espada que ayudara a destruir a un mounstro que esta azotando a su pueblo, pero lo que realmente los llevo al pueblo fue que el hechicero fue que los mando a buscar. Asi que cuando ambos llegan al pueblo y se dan cuenta a lo que se tienen que enfrentar, saben que el hechicero realmente los necesita, y ellos van a necesitar esa arma. Sin embargo, altos dirigentes de la iglesia de Novron han congregado a un grupo de caballeros para destruir a la bestia, y el premio es algo que muchos de ellos no dudarian en tomar. Asi que, como Royce y Hadrian van a poder mantenerse lejos de la iglesia, pero destruir al mounstro?

Como ya conocemos a los protas, este libro nos lleva un poco mas hacia el pasado de ellos, conocemos un poco mas de Royce y de como se convirtio en ladron, y de Hadrian, de quien fue su padre y donde nacio. Pero tambien comenzamos a ver los trucos de la iglesia, comenzamos a ver las conspiraciones y realmente nos muestra un camino para la historia.
Esta lectura esta llena de aventuras, magia, misterio, dudas, complicaciones, pero tambien muchos momentos de hermandad, apoyo y solidaridad. Es una muy buena historia, facil de leer, entretenida, seguro que voy a continuar con la saga para saber el final de nuestro par de ladrones y el reino.
Profile Image for Molly.
342 reviews127 followers
September 8, 2015
Not one dull moment with Hadrian and Royce.

Rating 4.5 (or am I too stingy)


Two years have passed since the happenings described in The Crown Conspiracy. Hadrian and Royce continue to live their lives as nothing changed. Rescuing royalty it's all in a day's work .... well, kind of...

Crossing the district, Royce and Hadrian halted abruptly in front of the theatre’s large white painted board. It depicted the silhouette of two men scaling the outside of a castle tower and read:


Royce raised an eyebrow while Hadrian slipped the tip of his tongue along his front teeth. They glanced at each other, but neither said a word before continuing on their way.

Their path crosses with Thrace, a young peasant girl who wants to buy their services.

“She gasped and threw her arms around the smaller man’s neck, hugging him tight and crying even harder. Royce stood awkward and stiff while Hadrian peeled her off.
“So I get the impression you’re glad to see us; that’s good,” Hadrian told her. “Now, who are you?”
“I’m Thrace Wood of Dahlgren Village.” She was smiling. She could not help herself. “I have been looking for you for a very long time.”

Royce and Hadrian are far from cheap, but after hearing the request they decide to help her. Their assignment takes them to a little village on the border with the elven lands, where the population has been decimated by a mysterious beast. Their task ... break into the inaccessible tower, Avempartha, and bring out the only weapon capable to slay the monster.

The little village for a short time becomes too crowded when a quest is announced by the Nyphron Church....

Things a falling into place in the second part of the Theft of Swords omnibus. We start to see the bigger picture.
The tone is still pretty light, but we see the storm coming.

I loved that some of my favorite characters from The Crown Conspiracy are back.... Esrahaddon (love the wizard),

“And what makes you think I can find the answer?”
“Call it a bunch.”
Royce looked at him curiously. “You mean hunch?”
The wizard looked irritated. “Still a few holes in my vocabulary, I suppose.”

The young Pickerings

“A loud banging hammered the roof of the coach, shocking both of them. Gingerbread men flew. “Oh dear!” Bernice gasped. A moment later Mauvin Pickering’s head appeared in the window, looking down and inside from the back of his horse so that his dark hair hung wildly.
“So how did it go?” He grinned mischievously. “Do I need to prepare for war?”/i>

and Magnus the dwarf (I would be happier only with Myron's comeback).

“Royce sighed, “Did I mention I hate dwarves?”/i>

We see more of the Nyphron Church politics in this book, and the baddies are doing their best (or worst) to spoil everyone's fun .... I bet they did regret crossing paths with our duo.

In this book we get a glimpse in our heroes past and possible destiny... it should be interesting to see where the story goes.

As for new characters, Thrace, our poor, brave young peasant girl


will probably have a big role in

Next book soon!

“I’m sorry you were ill used, but as I said, I’m not DeWitt. I’ve never heard of him. I’ll be certain to mention you should our paths ever cross. Who shall I say is looking?”
“Riyria.” Behind Wyatt, the feed store light winked out and a voice whispered in his ear, “It’s elvish for two.”
Profile Image for Jim.
Author 7 books2,027 followers
October 22, 2014
March 2012: Reading the book this time & in order. It was good on a re-read, better in order.

Feb 2009: I have the ARC pdf to review. It was a really good, fun read. It should have been a quick one, but reading a pdf just isn't that easy for me. I can't wait to sit down with the first book & hope the next one is done soon.

Yes, I read the 2d book first & still enjoyed it. That's surprising. The second book stands just fine alone, makes me want to read the first & the one that comes after it, though. It wrapped up at a good point, in a logical manner, yet I know there's a lot more story to be told. This book does reference the first many times & Michael hands out just enough information so that I don't feel I'm in the dark, but if I had read the first, I wouldn't feel like I was re-reading a lot either. He spaces it out & let's me know what I need to know, as I need to know it. Very well done.

It's a medieval setting in a fantasy world. The powerful church is at odds with the nobility in a realistic fashion. The peasants are being squashed by both to some extent, but their importance as a group is recognized, too. Our heroes are specially gifted in logical ways, but not overpoweringly strong, which I liked. The story was just complex enough to provide a lot of tension without being overly complex. There were enough characters, fleshed out well enough, but not too many. Names were pronounceable!!! That's something I really appreciate these days.

I had a few issues with the woods & woodworking that is described, but I doubt anyone who isn't really into trees & old-time woodworking would notice it. I understand these were fixed from the ARC version, anyway. Animals were described pretty well. At least no bowman was sticking his bow into the horse's girth, as Jordan did. They weren't ridden as if they were cars, either.

It was just a well balanced, fun read. OK, I said it before, but it is worth repeating. This isn't a novel that is heavy on philosophy, but an entertaining read to relax with. Practically perfect!
Profile Image for Chris  Haught.
576 reviews213 followers
November 23, 2015
For the first half of this book, I was a little disappointed. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it - it was great to be reunited with old friends such as Hadrian, Royce, Arista, and good (or is he evil?) ole Esrahaddon. The new developments with the church of Nyphron and their schemes, plus Arista's new assignment to serve as ambassador were all nice to read about. But it just didn't have the heart pacing action I'd come to expect after reading The Crown Conspiracy.

But talk about calm before the storm. The build up was necessary to properley deliver the knockout punch that we get in the second half. Wow! I can now step back and see how it's woven together and I'm impressed. Avempartha not only met my expectations, but exceeded them. The characters were developed more in depth and some of my suspicions were confirmed. New mysteries came to pass as well. There were some great battle scenes, and a surprise casualty or two. The ending was unexpected as well, and had me wanting volume 3 immediately.

All in all, the writing is smoother and reads more comfortably than in the first book. I don't know if that is due to superior editing or simply the author finding his comfort zone and settling into it. I will say that the chapters were sectioned off much better - the first had a strange way of breaking them up that was somewhat uneven. And as far as the story itself, where Book 1 ran like a quick burst of action and plot twists, Book 2 was more epic in nature and promises so much more to come.

Profile Image for Anna [Bran. San. Stan].
260 reviews80 followers
October 16, 2021
I have professed my undying love for GraphicAudio's dramatized productions countless times. For the first time, I’ve got beef with them.

From what I’ve observed, what little is usually left out in these productions are minor details, often descriptions of buildings or landscapes, which I have not missed so far and never minded.

This time they did something unforgivable: When Esrahaddon tells Royce and Hadrian about old legends and the old gods, most of that conversation is abridged to the point that it doesn’t make sense any more. (The mentioning of a feather Kile receives seems arbitrary and leaves only question marks.) What‘s worse, having read Legends of the First Empire, I know the significance of these old legends. I can only deduce that different script writers were involved who didn’t know what they were doing. Still, even if you deem those legends expendable, the meaning of the feather should be made clear text-immanently. Shame on you!

My recommendation: If you have read or plan on reading Legends of the First Empire, only listen to this if you’ve read the book first. It’s still an amazing production and worth your time and money.
Profile Image for ChopinFC.
268 reviews75 followers
April 3, 2018
full review…

Sullivan delivers another quick knock-out with Avempartha, in the second installment of the ‘Riyria Revelations’! This is a fantastic second entry, bringing back our favorite ‘thieves’ in Hadrian and Royce in a whole new adventure.

Sullivan again keeps things extremely light. The worldbuilding is not as emphasized, but the plot develops quite nicely, specially due to the linearity of the story. After reading a couple of the ‘prequels’ “Riyria Chronicles”, and now my second ‘Revelations’ book, I feel very invested in these 2 characters and the world. Sullivan is smart that way, he stretches the world building and ‘supporting’ cast through multiple series of the ‘Riyria’ adventures. The results are phenomenal!

In ‘Avempartha’ a destitute young woman hires two thieves to help save her remote village from nocturnal attacks by a mysterious ‘beast’, they are drawn into the schemes of the wizard Esrahaddon. What ensues is a new adventure, that is filled with action, magic and a good amount of comedy. The relationship between Hadrian and Royce evolve even more, and you can’t help but always root for these 2 thieves!

Sullivan's strategy for the series is brilliant. Because most of the supporting ‘cast’ of kings, princesses, soldiers and priests are often recurrent in each book, the story arc evolves at a ‘familiar’ pace. We don’t need a full exposition of each character to fully become engaged into each book! I was entertained and engaged with the narrative, and I highly recommend the series.

4 ½ Stars
Profile Image for TS Chan.
699 reviews868 followers
August 21, 2017
Having done with the introductions in The Crown Conspiracy, Avempartha takes the Riyria Revelations series to the next level fairly quickly. The political intrigue that was revealed at the end of the first book took on greater proportions in this instalment. We also finally have more female representation in the cast via Princess Arista, and Thrace Wood (a daughter of a farmer).

The mysteriousness of the Riyria duo by now fades into fascination as we are clued on to more of their back story. How Hadrian became such an amazing swordsman is a revelation that made me sit up and go “Nooo waaaaay!! That is so cool!” The reveal was also quite well orchestrated as it did not come by way of heavy exposition and even by the end of the book, it remained “unspoken”. Royce’s heritage and notoriety in his previous life made his character more compelling and interesting. By now, I was frankly very keen to read The Crown Tower but was advised to finish with the Revelations series first.

Avempartha definitely had a ‘darker’ tone compared to the first in the series with greater stakes at hand, and an unexpected climax. All in all, the series is showing great promise to get better and deeper as it progresses.
Profile Image for David Sven.
288 reviews445 followers
December 16, 2013
Again, a fun fast read. Sword and Sorcery that reminded me a lot of Skyrim with an ancient Elven tower to plunder, an enchanted sword to steal, a princess to rescue, a village to save, and a dragon to slay.

Royce and Hadrian are back and off on another feel-good quest - you know... the sort their rules say not to take. You would have thought they would have learned from the quest they took two years earlier in The Crown Conspiracy – and besides, this job pays nowhere near as much.

As with the first book, there isn’t a whole lot of depth to the story. However, we still get a few more layers added on to the wider world and some of the characters. There’s a history of a war between the Elves and Humans, - we get an inside look at what the Church of Nyphron are up to – we get a closer look at Ezra – and we learn more about Royce in particular and why he always perks up when anything to do with Elves gets mentioned.

I liked this a bit more than the last book – partly because I think the writing has improved, partly because I was already attached to Royce and Hadrian from the start, and mostly because my interest was pricked with hints of a larger world, a larger conspiracy and a bigger potential threat to Avryn and the rest of Elan.

Adding to my enjoyment of the book was the excellent audio narration by Tim Gerard Reynolds and I can highly recommend the Audible edition of Theft of Swords which combines book one and two in a single Omnibus.

3.75 stars
Profile Image for Tammy.
76 reviews35 followers
November 21, 2016
Michael J. Sullivan is now a favorite of mine, i'm determined to read everything he writes. I'm never bored reading this series, it's way too much fun. I think it is special thing when an author is capable of making you truly feel for his characters, major or minor.

I loved learning more about the world, the mythos, the elves. I also loved the small stories within the story.

Again, the character's were amazing. Arista, Eshraddon, Theron, Thrace, Magnus the dwarf. I had to save the best for last, ROYCE and HADRIAN. These guys are awesome. At the end of the first book I thought I knew everything about them, this book showed me there's a whole lot more to both of them. The author keeps teasing us with Royce's past and i'm literally begging to know more. A lot of revelations were delivered as well though.

I loved the first book but i'm hooked now and will be reading Nyphron Rising soon.
Profile Image for Sonja Arlow.
1,080 reviews7 followers
March 16, 2021
This is the 2nd instalment in the Riyria Revelations series and overall, it was an enjoyable read.

But to be honest, with all the political intrigue, flying monsters and an impenetrable tower I kinda expected to feel a little more excited about it.

If you have read every single day for decades, its almost unfathomable to go one day without reading at least one chapter of a book. So, this felt like habit reading rather than passion reading.

There is nothing wrong with the story I was just not swept up in the suspense or drama.
Profile Image for Pavle.
413 reviews141 followers
December 20, 2016
U trenucima opšte halabuke - čista, destilisana zabava. Jednostavno, isklišeisano, ali i roman koji zna šta je i koji ne želi da bude ništa više od toga, od užitka čitaoca. Zar nije to i cilj? Likovi takodje postaju sve draži i draži, posebno centralni dvojac, a i zdravo je nekad videti svet kao crno-beo. Nešto najbliže tolkinovskoj tradiciji u savremenoj fantastici, ali ličnije i intimnije, ljudskije prirode.

Sve u svemu, ispostavlja se da vredi, pogotovo u ovako kriznim trenucima mog (ne)čitanja.

Profile Image for C.P. Cabaniss.
Author 4 books95 followers
June 16, 2018
“What did you think? They were coming to lynch you?”
He shrugged. “What can I say? I’m a glass-half-empty kinda guy.”
“Half empty? Hadrian chuckled. "Was there ever any drink in that glass?”

It's been less than one year since I read this series for the first time, but a reread was already in order. And I'm hoping to reread the rest of the series fairly soon as well.

Just like with the first reading, I absolutely adored this one. The first book in the series (the first half of Theft of Swords) is really good, but Avempartha surpassed it for me. It delves deeper into the politics and history, we learn more about the characters and their motivations, and plenty is left open to keep us wanting more.

Royce and Hadrian are excellent and their bromance is top notch. They are also just fascinating characters and each book I read about them reveals something new.

Of course, one thing that I appreciate about this one is how much Mauvin Pickering is in here. There is something about that entire family that I adore and he is definitely my favorite of them. I wish that I could live with them all at Drondil Fields and climb apple trees.

I appreciated certain characters more on reread than I did on the initial read of the books, probably because of what comes later in the series. Knowing where things lead gave me a better understanding of each of them, which is one thing I really like about rereading books.

If you haven't read any Michael J Sullivan books yet, you really should.

Original Review

"It's elvish for two."

Here's the thing, I really liked The Crown Conspiracy. But I loved Avempartha! The first book made me like Royce and Hadrian, but this one made me love them. Particularly Royce.

Some time has passed since the previous book, but that doesn't mean that Royce and Hadrian have forgotten about the events of The Crown Conspiracy. In fact, they seem to be playing a big role in the lives of our duo. Which means that we get to see some of the characters from the previous book, which I really enjoyed.

Since I read Age of Myth before starting this series, I am really enjoying all of the connections and trying to figure out how everything ties together. It makes me even more excited to continue that series as well as this one.

I felt more connected to the characters this time around. Both Royce and Hadrian felt more real to me than they had before. Their stories were explored a little more, giving us some background. Particularly Royce. We find out quite a bit--and early on, too--about him. And then there are little snippets of information dropped here and there, giving the characters and their stories more depth the further we go. Which is fantastic and works really well with this type of story.

Royce and Hadrian spend most of the novel in a small town called Dahlgren, which is near the elvish tower Avempartha. All of the characters in this little town were amazing. Honestly, there are a few of them I would love to see again. And the descriptions of Avempartha were wonderful. I wanted to be there with Royce and Hadrian, finding out its secrets.

There were characters from the first book that popped back up here and I really loved seeing all of them. The Pickering brothers are probably some of my favorites. Their interactions with Royce and Hadrian really made me smile.

Alright, let's talk about our two main guys a little more. I really fell in love with Royce here. He was my favorite in the first book as well, but I liked him even more here. There's still a lot of his story that I want to find out, but I really like what we did get. And I'm sure we'll get more as the series continues. While I don't enjoy Hadrian quite as much as Royce, I do really like him. We still don't know a whole lot about his background, but we got a few nuggets of information to help us out.

Royce and Hadrian together are wonderful. Their banter had me smiling as I read and the ways they make it out of impossible situations always has me in awe. They don't always get along, but it's obvious they are very loyal to each other and care about each other.

Michael J Sullivan is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. He can craft some great fantasy tales and his characters are lifelike and vivid. I will definitely be reading the rest of his books in the coming weeks.

Let's end with a quote I really liked:

"It was beautiful yet disturbing, like swimming out too far, delving into unknown, unseen, and untamed places."

Profile Image for faanielibri.
464 reviews23 followers
January 28, 2023
Ich liebe die Reihe jetzt schon. Fantasy zum Wohlfühlen, humorvoll, manchmal auch brutal, immer spannend. Die Charaktere sind einfach nur toll und ich freu mich so, dass noch viele Bände auf mich warten!
Profile Image for Nicholas Talty.
116 reviews67 followers
February 16, 2015
3.5 Stars

The bane of having expectations. I went into this expecting a The Lies of Locke Lamora type thief story set in an epic expansive world. It is certainly witty at times, the characters are likable, the story itself is well told, even though the transition between The Crown Conspiracy and this book was a bit disjointed.

What I wasn't expecting was that this is really a modernized classic fantasy. Lots of inspiration from Tolkien. I love me some Tolkien, but I would have preferred knowing that's the kind of world I was entering rather than expecting something entirely novel.

Alas, that is my own fault. Now I know for book three, and I am excited to keep on going with the story.
Profile Image for Kinga.
623 reviews22 followers
June 20, 2020
(I've read this in Hungarian back in 2015, so my review was in Hungarian but here's a rough translation:)

In the beginning the story itself was rather slow-paced, but from the second half I was unable to put the book down, I literally read it in one sitting.

I got everything I wanted, everything that makes a great fantasy book. The amount of details and descriptions throughout the pages is still incredible, but in a good way. And finally, we got some answers to our many questions! Even though of course, in the last pages many more questions were raised again.

I am so glad that I have the next part in this series here with me, I can't wait to continue this journey.

(And I'll be quite pissed off for a few days because of a certain character's death.)

My original Hungarian review from 2015:

Az elején kicsit lassabban indult be a cselekmény, de a felétől képtelen voltam letenni a könyvet, és egy szuszra olvastam ki. Semmit sem hiányoltam, minden volt benne, ami egy igazán jó fantasy könyvhöz kell. A részletesség továbbra is ámulatba ejtő, és végre néhány kérdésre választ kaptunk, de az utolsó oldalakon csak újabbak születtek, és most nagyon örülök, hogy nálam van a következő rész is. De az egyik szereplő halála miatt még pár napig nagyon mérges leszek.
Profile Image for aria ♡.
653 reviews44 followers
July 25, 2022
You don’t win battles with hate. Anger and hate can make you brave, make you strong, but they also make you stupid.

“Avempartha” is the second book in The Riyria Revelations of the greater Riyria Universe. It is found in the bind up Theft of Swords.

The plot follows Hadrian and Royce as they are hired by a girl called Thrace Wood to help her father kill a beast that is terrorising her village. Contrary to Royce’s policy, Royce himself offers to do the job cheaper than usual, especially when he learns that the wizard Esrahaddon was the one to point Thrace in their direction and is still residing in Dahlgren Village.

Hadrian looked into her eyes and shook his head. “I hate to say it, and I’m very sorry, but we can’t take—”

“Your money,” Royce abruptly interjected as he spun around. “It’s too much. To take the full twenty-five silver for this job … Ten really seems like more than enough.”

Hadrian raised an eyebrow and stared at his partner but said nothing.

We also follow Princess Arista, who has been appointed by her brother to be an Ambassador for Melengar. Her first assignment is to travel to Dahlgren Village where a tournament is being held by the Church of Nyphron.

The world is expanded as we learn more of the Erivan Empire, the legacy of the elves as well as the prophesied heir of Novron. More politics come into play as Arista learns exactly why the church is holding the tournament and secrets are revealed that may change the future of the world. There’s not much I can say in my review as it would be delving into spoiler territory but I just love this world and the humour is especially top-tier.

He returned to the fire, where Thrace was dishing out a thick broth of carrots, potatoes, onions, and salted pork. Royce was sitting with a bowl on his lap and a smile on his face.

“You don’t have to be that happy,” Hadrian told him.

“Look, Hadrian—food.”
586 reviews15 followers
March 8, 2009
So, I got an ARC copy of this book from the author's wife (and let me just say I was proud of myself for ignoring the typos that get edited out before publication; being an editor is sometimes a curse). It's the second book in the series of six (curses! I broke my rule of only reading completed series again!), and I’ve now finished the first one as well. I wanted to know if they really could go out of order without being a problem, and overall it was fine. There was obviously some backstory referred to in Avempartha, but there wasn't anything too confusing.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It wasn't anything earth shattering, but it was a fun, clean read and an entertaining fantasy. The characters are likable, and though they tend toward the stereotypes (thief with a good heart, mysterious wizard, etc.), they were still entertaining. They were fun enough that I actually wanted to read the first one, and I will almost certainly keep up with the series.

Now that I’ve read the first one as well, I can say that I think Avempartha was a bit better than Crown Conspiracy. To me this means potentially good things. It means that as the series continues, hopefully the writing will continue to get better. Even though it was still fun and good in the first one.

I’ve just decided to start rating my books like movies are rated, so here’s my first one. I would put it somewhere between PG and PG-13 for violence. It’s not gory or anything, but big fiery deaths, nasty death threats, and an old-lady-dismembering monster just don’t seem quite tame enough for PG.
Profile Image for Sarah.
110 reviews12 followers
April 29, 2009
It had been some time since I read the fantasy genre. In March I stumbled across The Crown Conspiracy, the first book in the series. I first noticed it in the Giveaway section. It sounded so interesting and seemed so well received by other readers that my curiosity was piqued.

I ordered it directly from the author and read it immediately. It was wonderful. Exciting story, great characters, I couldn't ask for more from a fantasy story. I was pleased to see Avempartha was scheduled for release in April. I marked my calendar and waited, ordering it again from the author's website on the release date.

Once received I impatiently waited for the weekend to arrive. I knew once I started reading I would not be able to stop. Saturday arrived. I put my phone on vibrate, sent the boys to the patio and sat back to read my precious, cover to cover. I had high expectations and Michael Sullivan surpassed them. Once again he delivers a wonderful novel.

Avempartha is a wonderful tale of a village in distress, a magical monster, a continued conspiracy and two friends who always seem to find them stuck right in the middle of trouble. Tagging along on the adventures with Hadrian and Royce is well worth the investment of both your time and money. It may be the most enjoyable $14 I've spent to date. Thank you Michael for such a wonderful series. I'm eagerly anticipating your next installment. I have it marked on my calendar and once again I'll be ordering it as soon as you release it.
Profile Image for Lee.
351 reviews192 followers
December 14, 2013
The second book in this series has me wanting more. But not in a sense that it has built more of the story and I can't wait for the next installment, more along the lines that I was hoping for a lot more from this story and didn't get it.
There are some developments in the main plot and the character development of Royce was very good, but overall, I was still hovering around the 3.5 star mark for this story.
I am enjoying the story and look forward to the next, but am not 100% engaged yet. In saying that, I recognise the potential that the story does have and I am beginning to really enjoy the relationship between Hadrian and Royce, their camaraderie is fun and certainly in this book Royce really shows the two sides to his personality. He can be thoughtful and yet still willing to slice open a throat when needed.

So I will be jumping straight into the next and hoping to see a bit more of the main plot. I really want to have those cross river elves start making a scene.
Profile Image for Lazybee.
512 reviews25 followers
March 16, 2016
Royce or Hadrian. I like them both. It's like to choose between sasuke and naruto or tom and Jerry. You can't select one. I love them both equally. And will continue to do so.

Book is even better than the predecessor, if that's even possible. Plot twists everywhere, don't try to guess. I tried and failed.

It was a pleasure to read.
Profile Image for Dirk Grobbelaar.
550 reviews1,064 followers
December 17, 2012
My wife commented on the fairly ambiguous nature of my review for The Crown Conspiracy. I did enjoy the book, hence the three star rating, but it didn't exactly blow me away.

Avempartha, on the other hand, comes a lot closer to doing just that. The very title of the novel intrigued me. I wasn't going to read the book quite yet, as I had some other ones lined up, but I was curious as to what the title referred to. Was it the name of a person? A city? An artifact?

A character that really annoyed me in Conspiracy, was Alric Essendon, and he is thankfully absent from this outing. Esrahaddon is back as a key character, and this is extremely important since the history of Sullivan's setting is divulged through these sequences. It's fascinating stuff too, especially the way the Elves are portrayed.

Avempartha, as it turns out, is an ancient Elven Citadel (tower) in the middle of a vast river. Not only is it an enigma, but the very act of reaching it poses a fair share of problems. It's obvious then, that this is the very place the protagonists have to go. Linked to this is the ongoing search for the Heir of Novron (this is the main story arc), and a mysterious creature that terrorises a local village by night. Expect a wee bit of horror. Not only is Avempartha a meatier novel, it is also much darker, and there is a sense of wonder here that was absent in book 1.

The novel has a lot going for it. It's fun and it reads quickly. Oh, and there is that very, very tantalising final line. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Profile Image for Mike's Book Reviews.
139 reviews5,688 followers
March 4, 2020
Full Video Review Here: https://youtu.be/RTdxvhGSBvE

I’ve always had an interest in this series because of Michael J. Sullivan’s interaction with his readers. He emails, responds on Reddit, and even grants video interviews to talk about this series. Add to this that he bailed on his publisher to release his books independently with Kickstarter perks to his fans and he’s basically the unicorn of an interactive author. With Theft of Swords, I was able to see why this series has the rampant fan base that it does.

With Avempartha, Sullivan does what I believe to be a light tribute to The Hobbit; impenetrable fortress, a manipulative wizard, a reluctant hero, a talking dragon guarding a treasure, and much much more. But this is meant in a good way, as I am a Tolkien honk.

This one sees Royce and Hadrian taking a job from a young villager named Thrace who needs their help keeping her father from killing himself in going after this dragon creature that killed their whole family. Familiar face from The Crown Conspiracy show up in this town and we have yet another adventure that sees you turning the pages like a seasoned speed reader.

Unlike The Crown Conspiracy that felt like a closed-ended story, this one plants some seeds and answers some questions leaving you with a ton more and an undying thirst to pick up book 3.
In the end, I loved these two stories. Royce and Hadrian are the type of main characters I want to see on endless adventures and I’m very much looking forward to reading what comes next.
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