Rating : 8/10
Age of Myth is the first book of Michael J. Sullivan newest series, the Legends of the First Empire. Set 3000 years before the timeline of Riyria Revelations, the series aspires to set the record straight and tell the truth behind the myths shrouding the First Empire’s creation !
Age of Myth’s stunning cover, designed by Marc Simonetti
Being a huge fan of the Riyria Revelations and Chronicles, it was pretty obvious for me that I would seek to read every story Michael J. Sullivan would write in the world of Elan (or anything written by him, really)!! And I had so much fun reading Age of Myth !! It was so exciting to know more about the early foundations of the Empire, to meet the people behind the myths and to collect the hints and links to the original series : Avempartha, Horn of Gylindora, Cenzlyor and much much more ! 😉 Funny, however, how even the true events taking place in this book are already misquoted and twisted, often to serve political or ideological purposes ! The series aims to reveal the truth, but the first seeds of the Myths are already planted ! 😀
Remember, it’s easier to believe an outlandish lie confirming what you suspect than the most obvious truth that denies it.
In Age of Myth, the world is dominated by the mighty Fhrey (elves), viewed by the humans as gods. While Fhreys thrive in the beautiful cities of Erivan, men are divided into clans, live simple and primitive lives, worship different gods and believe in spirits. And while the Fhrey despise the Rhunes (humans), the latter fear the Fhrey and both races are utterly ignorant of the each other’s characteristics, traditions and abilities !
We’re ants to them, and if an ant bites you, do you seek out that one ant? Or do you set fire to the whole colony to make sure you’re not bitten again?
Besides the references to Riyria, Age of Myth’s true strength resides in its characters for me ! Michael introduced us to a unique cast of so many compelling characters : a determined and brave chieftain’s widow, a hilarious, out-of-sync, clever Mystic and her wolf, a trained fighter seeking his place in the world, a powerful Fhrey Artist, a rebel and arrogant Fhrey and a myriad of lively and realistic secondary characters. One of Michael’s strengths is definitely his characterization in my opinion, and he delivered, once again ! With a special mention to his amazing female characters !
“Live with it long enough and the prison stops being the walls or the guards. Instead, it’s the fear you can’t survive on your own, the belief you aren’t as capable, or as worthy, as others.
Since I rated this book 4 stars, I feel it’s important to mention that though I enjoyed the read and had a lot of fun diving into old Elan, both the plot and the writing were pretty simple. The feeling was probably amplified by the fact that having already read the Riyria Revelations, I already roughly knew or guessed where the main plot was going. And true, the simplicity of the book made it very easy to go through but I was left hoping for more poignant twists and more epic actions and fights ! That being said, knowing MJS and having experienced the same feeling with his first book Theft of Swords, I know we’ll have plenty development and surprises coming our way in the sequels and I’m confident the books will only grow in quality, scope and “epicness” !
Lastly, guys, make sure you read the Author’s note ! You’ll find a detailed explanation of MJS about his writing process and his choice to write a series entirely before publishing it !
Review by Haïfa.
Read in June, 2017.