Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Category: High Fantasy
Publication Date: June 28th, 2016
In Age of Myth, the Fhrey walk among the Rhune, the race of men that see the them as immortals. The elf-like people are deadly in battle and one has never died by the hands of a Rhune, until Raithe makes a choice that changes his life, and the lives of everyone, forever.
Age of Myth is a grand story that draws you in with characters that you can relate to. The banter between Raithe and Malcolm brings humor to the story. It is easy to feel the pain that Persephone goes through as she loses all her family and must find a way to protect her village. You feel the strength Suri possess as she figures out her role in life, now that her mentor and the closest thing to a mother has passed away. You care about all of these characters and they are written well.
Learning about this world and its magic is interesting to say the least. The author shows you the beauty of it while at the same time, this is the first book in the series, he doesn’t spill the beans to early on how it works. So it leaves some of the charm and mystery to the “Art”.
However, we as avid fantasy readers have seen this all before and many elements seem pretty cliche.
-mythical story about gods/magical creatures and men fighting
-a unlikely odd person turns out to be special
-power hungry crazy guy that feels he deserves the world
The list goes on and on. Nothing really new to the fantasy genre was introduced.
That said, Sullivan certainly used these elements to write a fun and engaging story that has us ready for the rest of the series.
I have not ready the original series, and reading this book makes me want to go back and pick them up. I love the writing style and can legitimately say that I was not bored at any point during this adventure. From the fantastic fighting, to the discussion on whether a man can make themselves gods or just believe that they are. Not the most original book but maybe the rest of the series will change that.
I think if I there was one thing that I felt this book was missing, it was more of the god-mortal dynamic that was played up in the blurb. It is made clear very early on that the Fhrey are not actually gods, just a very long-lived people who possess a speed and strength that humans do not. The humans, or Rhunes, see them as gods because they are seemingly immortal to them with their long lives and no one has ever been able to kill one before. But there is no worship of these beings, nothing besides fear really. Is this what it means to believe something is a god? To fear it?
The impact of Raithe killing a Fhrey was not as immediately earth-shattering as I was expecting. It did lead to a series of events that looks to the stuff that will change the face of the world. But it was more political in nature than I expected. There was no exploration of if a god can be killed, how does this change a way a people view the world around them?
I started out unsure if I would like this book and I did have a bit of a hard time getting into it in large part because of all the elements that are kind of copy-pasted from every other fantasy book ever. One of my early thoughts about this book was that it read like it was written by someone that had read and loved fantasy for a long time and was now writing a fantasy story not because there was anything new to add to the genre but just for the sake of writing itself.
After reading the entirety of the book I still feel that way but can’t deny that it was very well written. Thankfully, it didn’t take long to begin to enjoy the story for what it was and I really do look forward to reading more of the series.