Saturday, June 18, 2016

Early Critique: "Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire #1)" by Michael J. Sullivan

Disclaimer: I was given a free advance ecopy of this book via NetGalley from the publisher, Random House/Ballantine Del Rey in exchange for an honest review. My opinion remains as forthright as ever.

Expected Publication: June 28th

I'm always a bit apprehensive trying out a book by a new-to-me, but generally well respected author, because there's always the possibility I'll be less than impressed. I had low expectations for this book because of that, though I knew there was always the chance that the author might actually impress me- and that's what happened in this case. Age of Myth has plenty of mythology to satisfy those who might consider themselves a bit of a mythology buff.

This book was easy to dive into for me- several things factored into this, but the main one I noticed was the author made each of the characters distinctive. Sometimes with fantasy, I am so awash with names, goals, and plots that I can barely wrap my head around which is which. From the beginning, I could differentiate characters, which given each character started in a different part of the world, helped a lot to hurry up the plot. Beyond that, the characters were fairly active from beginning to end- no endless travelogues or introspection (other than the few scenes needed for fleshing out the world).

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'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.'

I was pleasantly surprised to find the author had included plenty of heroines in the novel- generally, male authors tend to add a few female characters, then fill up the rest of the world with male characters. That wasn't so with this book- I'd say the female characters almost outnumbered the male. Suri and Persephone both proved their merit, though I prefered Suri of the two because she has a pet wolf(!) and she reminds me ever so slightly of Luna Lovegood (of Harry Potter fame). Persephone is a clear leader-character, but both she and Suri have moments where they aren't as clever as their smarts would suggest they are. Though Raithe was well-characterized, something about him seemed a bit dull- Malcolm was his more dynamic half.

If you've read a few fantasy novels, chances are you'll recognize many of the races in this fantasy world. I think that was one of the disappointing aspects of this book- although I've yet to "meet" all the races, most of them seem pretty much the typical ones you'd find in fantasy. The author does well at weaving lore around them to make them seem unique, but I can't help but feel a bit let down by the fact that they aren't that different. The magic in this book still puzzles me a bit, though I don't mind mysterious magic in fantasy. With the worldbuilding in this book being a bit mysterious as well, it seems to suit the ongoing theme.

Age of Myth came as a pleasant surprise to me- fantasy infused with great worldbuilding set at a quick pace is sometimes hard to come by for me. With passages that bring you straight to the action, while being subtly lyrical, Age of Myth has a lot to offer the vacationing fantasy reader. It's hard to say what might befall the characters in their continuing adventures, but needless to say, I'll be sticking around to read the next book. If you want to visit a land steeped in different cultures and myths this summer and can't afford a plane ticket, Age of Myth might be the book for you.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for a mythology rich fantasy that isn't a slow read!

Content: Ages 16+ for violence, prejudice, and magic.

Page Count: 432 pages

Alternate Title: Agent Meth, bestowed by my mother, who always seems supportive of my reading habits, even when she actually misheard me say Age of Myth.


  1. This sounds pretty good! It sounds like something I would binge read when the entire series is out. Let's hope it isn't more than a trilogy. :)

    1. An interesting thing about this author is he writes the entire series before publishing it, so readers don't have to wait as long. So far, it looks like the series will be six books, so you're out of luck! ;)
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, La La!
      ~Litha Nelle

    2. It seems to be the era of the series of epic proportions! Although, I have been seeing more duologies lately.

    3. Absolutely! I haven't seen many duologies, but then I don't look at as many new releases. I am currently following a ten book series, a series that was supposed to be a trilogy but is now a planned five book series, and other series that we're supposed to be short, but became long, as I mentioned before.
      ~Litha Nelle

  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! I read another review recently that was also very positive. I'm looking forward to giving this one a try as well. I love that the female characters stand out. I've noticed that too about fantasy--that often times the men outnumber the women and the women are often just there.

    1. I was pleasantly surprised by this book- I only requested it after a Goodreads friend with similar taste in books rated it five stars. Some authors just don't know what to do with female characters in fantasy, but Michael J. Sullivan impressed me with his portrayals. I hope you enjoy this one whenever you read it!
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Wendy!
      ~Litha Nelle


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