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Age of Myth Review

Updated: Mar 18

This is my review for Age of Myth by Michael J Sullivan


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Here is my review for the next book in the series, Age of Swords: https://www.braydensbookreviews.com/post/age-of-swords-review

Michael J Sullivan has done something really amazing with the world of Elan, and that continues in Age of Myth. This is a series connected and unconnected to his other works, both expanding on the world and redefining Elan as we know it. The series takes place in a bronze age in a world of elves, dwarfs, and humans, where the elves are viewed as gods for their long life span and use of magic. It tells the story of how humans overcame their oppressors and formed the first multi-species empire.


 

Characters: 4/5

Story: 3/5

Worldbuilding: 5/5

Magic: 4/5

Wow Factor: 4/5

 


Characters


The characters are very good and bad for me in this book. The story begins with Raithe, a man caught in the wrong place in the wrong time, and ends up on the run. Along the way, he meets Malcom, a former slave to the Fhrey, or elves. They eventually make their way to a human settlement, Dahl Rhen, where the rest of the cast reside. In this book Raithe is certainly the main character, and it suffers for it. While he is put in an interesting set of events and earns the title of “god killer“, he came off as whiny, never wanting to be a part of the events. The other characters are the ones who really shine, such as Persephone, Suri, and Arion. Each of these characters feels unique and vibrant, and this shines in their interactions with once another. In this, Raithe stood out to me. While the other characters interact in interesting ways, he always has his head in the clouds, thinking of what ifs rather than the present. One stand out is the villains of this story. Each feels unique and understandable, to a point. The real stand out here is Mawndulë, a trainee to a few of the Frehy characters, and son to their version of a king, Fane Lothian.

Overall, I like the characters. I don't like how this book focuses more on Raithe, though I get it, since he was at the center of the inciting incident. The other characters begin to shine more and more, and some of the background characters in this book become main characters. Though I didn't love some of the point of view choices, I understand why they were needed to set up the overall story.


 

Story


For me, the story was the weakest aspect of this book. Similar to the characters, it plays its part, and in the overall arc it makes a lot of sense. Just because it makes a lot of sense doesn't mean it was the most enjoyable. I felt like the beginning was very meandering, with Raithe and Malcom literally wandering in the wilderness like "now what?" Eventually, they run into the other characters and the story gets going, but it felt lacking for me in the beginning.

If I could give any advice to you going into the story, it would be to keep going. The slow start almost made me put the book down, but I am so glad I did not. I love this series, and the story beats here set up a fantastic story that is one of my favorites. Long story short, the slow start is so worth it. There is so much payoff as you go on. At the end of the six book series, it was extremely satisfying to look back and see all the side characters in this book get some main character treatment with full, satisfying story arcs. The ways Age of Myth's story works is making you care about all of the characters and setting up such a solid story.



 

Worldbuilding


The worldbuilding in Age of Myth is amazing. It feels airtight for many reasons. A few of those are building on previous books, Michael J Sullivan's approach to history and legends, and the balance of realistic and fantastic details. If you aren't familiar with Michael J Sullivan's previous work, he has two series, set in the same world, that take place 3000 years after the Age of Myth series. A accepted history and mythos can be found in those books, and this book succeeds as it takes those accepted facts and turns them on their heads. Reading how things really happened can be quite satisfying, if you have read any of the Riyira books. Even if you haven't the way the world comes off as beleivable while having elements of the fantastical. I think the Bronze Age setting lends itself to that, as the various races are not at the technological level we would expect of generic fantasy races. Magic and technology both feel exciting, and I love that about this series.


 

Magic


The magic in Age of Myth has elements of uniqueness that feel slapped on someone else's system. Generally, the way magic, or "The Art" is perceived by the characters helps it feel different from other fantasy series, but there are times in the reading where I felt like I had stumbled into a scene from another book. Magic is new and not well understood by most at this point in Elan's timeline. For that, it often feels mysterious, powerful, unkowable. I like how the book shows the different perceptions of the Art, from pure fear from most humans, all the way to some magic users feeling that their Art made them new gods. Age of Myth sets itself up well to explain the magic system to the reader in an organic way, with one Artist explaining how the Art works to a character with no training and untapped potential. The system focuses on unseen chords that bind everything together and drawing power to change those chords. This requires Artists to hum and move their hands. The Art works because the explaination is simple, and what an Artist can do with the magic is only limited by their creativity. There were a few moments of explaination where I felt like I was reading about Saidar from The Wheel of Time, but overall, the magic is unique and beleivable.



 

Wow Factor


Overall, this book serves its purpose. The book is enjoyable by itself, and it earns extra wow from me, having read the previously released books in the same world. If you have not read the Riyira books by Michael J Sullivan, I encourage you to here: https://amzn.to/3t4nPtX If that is not something you are interested in, you will find this book to be a solid stand alone novel. This book is a lot about setting up the overall series, yet it still manages to tie a lot of plot lines up, while giving you a lot to anticipate for the sequel. I highly recommend you read Age of Myth by Michael J Sullivan, as this is a good beginning to a fantastic series.


 

Overall Score 20/25


Buy the book here!






https://amzn.to/3t4nPtX







Read the review for the next book, Age of Swords, here: https://www.braydensbookreviews.com/post/age-of-swords-review

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