Avempartha (The Riyria Revelations, #2) (ebook) - Michael J. Sullivan Avempartha is the second in a series of standalone novels called the Riyria Revelations, and picks up two years after the infamous escapades of Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater in Essendon castle. The first book was primarily about a simple sword heist that was not-so-simple at all and all the fall out from said sword-theft/assassination. The second book centers more on the machinations of the Church and whatever measures it deems it has to take to find the Heir and crown him as Emperor once more. Avempartha is a fine sequel to The Crown Conspiracy, building on the knowledge of the world we have from the previous book to create an intricate, delicate and creative world. More backstory on the history of the world, the Empire, the Nyphron Church, the elves and dwarfs are all expanded upon from the first book, creating a credible and believable basis for a world-wide tension among all the races.No longer in Alric's realm, we find our heroes in Colnora, a moderately sized city and the urban center of Avryn, where they are stunned to learn someone has been asking for them... by name. Investigating this anomaly, Royce and Hadrian find themselves enmeshed with a force even they cannot defeat alone. My personal favorites, the charming and funny Pickerings, make an appearance in the novel with two scions of the House, Mauvin and Fanen, joining our intrepid rogues in an unprecedented showdown.The Art, as magic is called in this universe, is expanded upon greatly. We learn more about what used to be possible, how Art functioned and was needed in the days of the Empire to its sad decline to the state it is in during the novels. Esrahaddon, as inscrutable as ever, appears as a harbinger of evil? good? One is never certain what his end game is, who he is using and most of all, what he knows. Esra is by far the most dynamic character in the series thus far, though Hadrian is another personal favorite of mine.Arista is a main character in this novel as Melengar's foreign diplomat and official Ambassador but her brother Alric does not appear. Arista continues to grow into a flawed, intelligent and above all, believable character. At times frustrating, at times determined and likable, Arista continues to grow and change as a character. Royce and Hadrian and clearly the heart of the series. Their interactions and dialogues are like old friends that can count on each other, and in the end that's one of the things that keeps me coming back to this series, the relationship between Riyria.More of my reviews here: http://bibliophileanonymous.blogspot.com/