I added a new page under lists to keep updated. It is the list of 50 books I’d like to read before 2020.
I am also in the progress of updating my series status page.
I added a new page under lists to keep updated. It is the list of 50 books I’d like to read before 2020.
I am also in the progress of updating my series status page.
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.
I recently read through the entire Machineries of Empire Series by Yoon Ha Lee. I reread Ninefox Gambit and retried to read Raven Stratagem. When I initially read Raven Stratagem I DNF’d the book around the halfway point. I wanted to give it another try and then, if I enjoyed it, grab the last book too, Revenant Gun as it came out around the time I’d finish the second one. Well, I don’t know if I was in a better mental state or if the reread really helped me but I enjoyed the books much more this time through.
I think at first I approached this series as the story of Cheris and Jedao. After reading Ninefox Gambit, I had the impression that this series was being told through their eyes. When I found out that Raven Stratagem was more of multiple points of view story, it kind of surprised me. It surprised me because in Ninefox Gambit there was such a focus on the interaction between Cheris and Jedao inside each other. Raven Stratagem and later Revenant Gun makes Mikodez, Kujen, Brezan, and Khiruev just as important characters as Ninefox Gambit made Cheris and Jedao. It’s interesting because Yoon Ha Lee makes it a point to make every character in these stories have their own decisions. Each person is rather proactive to their situation and that causes a story narrative that can sometimes appear to be unclear to the reader. The focus of these stories can sometimes shift at moments where you aren’t sure who you want to live and who you want to die. Everyone is a shade of gray in these stories, there really isn’t much black and white or lines that delineate between the good guys and the bad guys. Regardless of who you root for, they probably do some pretty awful things somewhere within this universe that Lee has created. If Star Wars was told as a story with only the people from the Empire attempting to gain power and influence without any rebels, that would be what this series does.
Yoon Ha Lee writes a story that is at times extremely personal with the characters enjoying whatever sexual appetite they desire but then makes their desires for the actual story arc a little hazy. I think what comes out of these stories are political ongoings that is quite reminiscent of the murky atmosphere that clouds the real world’s own politics. No one is necessarily the good guy and everyone is out to achieve what they want. There aren’t many unselfish characters in these books.
These are slow reading books. I had a bit of a hard time losing myself in the story just because I had to constantly think how each scene not only impacted the characters within that scene but the characters elsewhere in this world. The story takes place over many years, especially in Revenant Gun, where Ninefox Gambit took place in a rather small amount of time. Because of this, the reader has to play catch up at times to understand how things have shifted over the time that they did. I usually enjoy a more self-contained story and I feel like I would have enjoyed the second two books a little more if it didn’t jump around as much.
Yoon Ha Lee does something in the third book that really impressed me and this isn’t a spoiler because it basically talks about this on the back cover of the book, he reintroduces the same character, Jedao, as a new clone without the memories of the Cheris/Jedao. When this happened I had to ask myself, “Is this a smart thing to do, introducing the same character, when another character could fill the same role?” Well, I was soon a believer because what this new Jedao showed was just how impactful the events in the life of the original Jedao really were to change his personal characteristics, especially the abuse that the original Jedao experienced but the new Jedao didn’t. With this, Lee really showed us how much impact our life events have in shaping who we are.
I would recommend this series to anyone that wants to attempt to read a science fiction series that demands the reader to think around what is being shown and said on the page to how the things on the page are going to impact the rest of the side stories and characters. If you are looking for a fun series to lose yourself in, I don’t really think this is the one for you. I had to put a little more effort into reading these than with books I usually read. That effort paid off as I feel like a more intelligent reader with science fiction through reading this and I won’t be as daunted by future books that are written similarly in the future. Basically, reading this series feels like an accomplishment, one I’m glad I achieved.
I’d like to talk about how my health has impacted my reading over the years and how improving my health has improved my reading. For many years I was obese with serious back issues. I struggled with sciatica pain to the point where I couldn’t walk a block without excruciating pain and my leg going numb. I developed this back issue because of the many years I sat at my computer screen for countless hours playing video games. My posture was terrible(still isn’t the best, but I’m working on it, as I sit up straighter typing this) and to make matters worse I have a blood disorder that requires me to get up and move at least once an hour. My back got so bad that I couldn’t sit at the computer any longer for long periods of time and I had to lay in bed. This is when I started to fall in love with reading again. I took almost 10 years off of reading heavily to play computer games and I regret that decision every day. Now that I couldn’t physically sit at a computer, reading became my new escape, and seriously, all of my hobbies became escapes because I was depressed. I knew that my health was one of the main reasons for my depression but also I valued myself based off of the opinions of others. Through reading a lot of self-help books and falling in love with reading again, I realized that I was responsible for my own happiness. I finally went to physical therapy and started to fix the issue with my spine. Through countless days of stretching and strengthing, my sciatica finally went away and I was able to walk normally again.
At this point in my life, I was able to walk but I was still pretty obese. I started to do something that completely changed my life, I started to listen to audiobooks. Audiobooks made walking fun. Audiobooks made me look forward to moving around. I soon joined a gym and started to take my health more seriously. At this point though, I thought I could walk and lift away my lbs without changing my diet. I was so incredibly wrong and I struggled with back injuries because I just wasn’t losing weight yet I was putting my body through the rigor. About a year ago, after being semi-successful with losing weight, I decided that living life in pain is going to be a thing of the past for me. I’ve changed my diet, love working out, and of course am still in love with audiobooks.
Now, I am still considered obese, but -70lbs lighter, things have really improved for me. Being able to read more and better was a goal I knew would come about from the weight loss. One day, when I was still extremely obese, I realized that if I didn’t do something about my weight, I was going to die much earlier in life. Maybe I would have been about 50 or so when I died. If at a healthy weight, I could live to 70(hopefully more), that is 20 whole years of reading that I could gain just by losing weight. I read about 100 books a year, so that would be 2000 extra books read in my lifetime! This was such a motivating factor for me to losing the lbs.
Another benefit of losing the weight had on my reading is that I can focus a lot easier now. I no longer use chemicals to wake myself up(caffeine) in order to read. I have a very stable sleep schedule now where before I really struggled to maintain any type of sleep schedule. I’m not going to lie to you and say I don’t fall asleep still while reading, I do, but by and large, I’m able to keep focusing on my book for longer periods of time. If I do end up falling asleep, it is usually just a 30-minute nap(as opposed to me sleeping 1+hr naps before), and I am super energized to read after I get up from that nap. I’m able to read more every day because I’m awake more every day. I used to not read at certain times at night because I just was too tired. With everything I try to do in a day, I still get super tired at night, but now I just go to bed, wake up early, and get things done.
I can now read in basically any position I want to. I stand up and read sometimes, use a chair, lay down, use a bench, read at a restaurant, and many other positions where before my back’s pain would distract me from my reading. When I was a kid, I used to always read on my stomach. I can’t quite do it yet for a long period of time but I can do it for a few minutes again.
I’m a moody reader and when you are a moody reader you can hate what you’re reading without the book even being bad. When I was depressed, I struggled to read at times. Some of the books I didn’t like may have been because of my mood and my mood may have been influenced by my self-worth that was harmed because of my weight. When you aren’t happy with yourself, it is so easy to take your frustration out at that stupid book you are reading. When you don’t feel well, it is so easy to get annoyed with other book reviewers and social media. Social media used to bother me to the point where when I would pick up a book all I would think about is that tweet so-and-so said. Now that I am happier with myself, these small annoyances barely bother me. and I seek out so much less validation from the internet than I used to.
My reading speed has increased from about 30 pages an hour to about 40 pages an hour. This might not seem like a huge deal to some of you but this is a HUGE deal to me. I’ve always wanted to read faster and I’m seeing a slight improvement in reading faster. I don’t know if this is just a natural improvement because I read a lot or if it is because of my improved health, but whichever it is, I am so excited about it.
I still have a long ways to go with my health and I still struggle every single day with my reading focus but I am making some serious improvement. I am adding years of extra reading onto my life. I am not the fastest reader so allowing myself to have a few more years of reading is paramount. Someone figured out how long it would take Brandon Sanderson to finish up his Stormlight Archive books and it was over 20 years. I saw that and asked myself when I was obese, at my current health do I think I’m going to be able to finish The Stormlight Archive? I had to be honest with myself and say that I didn’t know. Yes, we never know when we are going to die, and the fittest person in the world may drop dead tomorrow, but I wanted to improve my odds, and hopefully add many years of reading onto my life.
Second read: 7/1/18
This is one of those foundational books that I read at a time when I really needed to find myself. Five years later it still offers up some great insight that grounds me. I’ve been feeling detached from myself as a man and needed to read this to realign my thinking properly. The core of this book is about letting go of the desire for people to accept you and to just be you without any strings attached to others. To do things that you want to do and not to do things for the acceptance or attention of others. Great book that I highly recommend to any young man trying to figure out who he is.
First read: 9/5/13
Will be reading this again at some point. A little bit repetitive at times though. Helping me become the man I want to be.
I am finally caught up with The Dresden Files, yay! Even though Skin Game wasn’t really my favorite Dresden Files book it was still a ton of fun. This was so caper heavy in execution and I think that singular focus of Dresden working with a lot of these other bad guys was a bit much at times. Sure, it was a good book but the stand out moments came not from the actual caper but from the quiet moments of stillness between characters and I think there should have been a few more of those moments in this book. Looking forward to reading the short story collections from the Dresden universe next.