Have you ever put off reading a book because your afraid that it won’t measure up to the author’s previous works? No? Just me? Okay lol. In the case of Age of Myth, book one of the Legends of the First Empire series, by Michael J. Sullivan, that’s what happened. I’d wanted to read this book since it was released but I put it off because I was afraid there was no way this series could be as good as the Riyria series’ (Riyria Revelations and Riyria Chronicles). But since I was in the mood for a good story I picked Age of Myth up while I was at the bookstore. My fears, however, proved groundless. I found this book just as compelling as the Riyria books. (although, Hadrian remains my favorite character and probably always will).
This epic fantasy series is set before any of the Riyria books (both the Riyria Revelations and its prequel series Riyria Chronicles) and relays the “true” account of the myths and legends in the Riyria books. This series is centered around the humans who were able to overcome their fear of the “gods” who oppress them. But who are these “gods”? The Age of Myth follows 3 different characters: Raithe: the son who followed his father into what he thought would be a better place to live, Persephone: a leader facing an uncertain future for her clan and Suri: a mystic who tries to warn of the upcoming disaster facing the world.
This book was set up with three main perspectives with an occasional chapter told from another perspective thrown in. Each of the character’s perspectives tells a piece of the main story. All the perspectives lead to the conclusion. This differs from other perspective novels where each perspective tells their own story. where the storylines do not necessarily intertwine. Which is probably why I enjoyed this book when I usually don’t enjoy books told from multiple perspectives.
This novel demonstrates that courage can be found in the most unlikely of places. That being brave is so different for different people. For Raithe, it’s facing down creatures he knows can kill him, for Persephone, it’s having the courage to go against tradition to do the best for her clan and for Suri, it’s coming to trust people other than herself. But Age of Myth also has examples of courage that are far less obvious including a slave learning to trust herself and her new freedom, as well as a man people believed should have died, who defied them all to live and create beauty in his pottery. This is the reason I loved this novel so much. Michael J. Sullivan creates such beautiful multidimensional characters you can’t help but love. Each character has such a compelling storyline that I loved, whether they were a major character but he also had me rooting for the minor character’s accomplishments as well.
The pacing of this story was excellent it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. It never became bogged down with excess exposition. (which is somewhat surprising in the first novel of a new series.) I’ve always liked the magic system “the art” (which is the same magic system in the Riyria books) because while the author explains how it works it is never excessive to the point where the novel evolves into a step by step manual of the magic system. “The art”: still maintains a bit of mystery which has continued to keep my interest and still has me looking forward to what I might learn next.
This book lived up to the standards I expect when it comes to Micheal J. Sullivan. He has such a gift for crafting action-packed plots and compelling characters and this book is no exception. I can not wait to pick up the next novel in this series and in fact, it is currently on the way to my house. So to conclude who would I recommend this book to? Anybody who loves a good story. 5/5 stars from me.