I just really like Michael J. Sullivan. Not only is the guy a fantastic writer that I can’t get enough of but he is such a super chill dude. Of all the authors that I’ve followed on social media and other parts of the internet, Sullivan, to me, is a prime example of how an author should behave themselves online. They are super helpful, respectful, and talk a lot about books. Granted, an author can act however they want to act online, I’m not trying to be the internet police or anything, but it is just refreshing to see a guy working so hard to maintain his online presence in just a positive way. So, you are probably wondering dear reviewer reader what this even has to do with reviewing Age of Myth. Well, this is important to me because #1 his personality online first got me to read his books, #2 he continues to make me want to read his books, and #3 I have faith in what he is building in this series.
First off, let’s address the question about whether you should read the Riyria Revelations first. If you are planning on reading all of his books right in a row, I think it might be good to read the Riyria Revelations first, but for everyone else that doesn’t have a perfect memory, you probably won’t remember much of the details from Riyria that will make much an impact on Age of Myth. Yah, there are a few, of cool, moments, but overall I can’t remember the details enough for me to suggest to read one series before the other.
Age of Myth is a ripple fantasy. When I say a ripple fantasy I mean that when you throw a rock into a pond or lake, the ripples will start out really small then grow very large. The rock being thrown happens in the first few pages of Age of Myth when the death of a Fhrey(elf) by a human takes place. In this world, many of the humans believe that the Fhrey are gods, so this shatters all concepts held by the humans quickly. The Fhrey retaliate against the humans and the ripples keep advancing. What’s great about this story is that the ripples are affecting everyone, in all towns, and high places. Through this, Sullivan introduces us to a cast of characters with their own issues going on. The main focus is a small human village where the leader just got killed and the widow is now figuring out what her role is now. Persephone is an older woman with a heart for her people and will do everything to see them safe. Also in this village is a young seer that lives in the woods and two individuals that are escaping their trouble of having just killed a Fhrey.
So, listening to this on audiobook, and also reading some in the physical book it is obvious that this series is all about humble beginnings. The theme seems to be that normal, everyday people, doing extraordinary things, will in many thousands of years become legends. I really love this type of storytelling. The only thing is with this type of storytelling, it really works because the series as a whole works. As a stand alone book, a humble beginnings story can feel kind of similar to a lot of fantasy that came before. It can also feel a little underwhelming at times. This is when the faith of the author comes into play from when I talked about at the beginning of this review. I believe in Sullivan’s ability to craft a series and even if this book in particular didn’t excite me tremendously, I know that he will deliver. Do not get me wrong, this is a great book, but I never really got much excited while listening to it.
The best thing about this series so far is how many amazing women there are in this story. Here are the main characters in this book that are women(there are even more in Age of Swords):
1. Persephone – a late 30’s widow of a former clan leader
2. Suri – a young girl that lives in the forest that can commune with animals and trees
3. Arion – a mystical Fhrye
Others that are more prominent in Age of Swords:
4. Roan – an inventor that is on the autism spectrum
5. Brin – a girl training to be the next lore keeper
6. Moya – an attractive woman that knows she is attractive and gets judged but who is a fighter too
I’m just going to let readers know that these women all go on a quest together in the next book, so you definitely have to read Age of Myth to read Age of Swords.
Sullivan is this generation’s equivalent of David Eddings in my opinion. He is doing traditional fantasy in a way that makes it fresh but similar at the same time. If you are looking for a LoTR or a Belgariad like story, you can’t go wrong with Age of Myth.