Review Detail

A New Epic Fantasy Series
Overall rating
Writing Style
AGE OF MYTH is the first installment in the new Legends of the First Empire series by Michael J. Sullivan. It is perhaps the first fantasy novel I have ever read that begins with an Author’s Note detailing his particular writing style. Sullivan claims that before publishing his first book, he likes to write out his entire series. In his opinion, it makes his stories better, and I was certainly excited to be the judge of that.

The level of detail in this novel is exquisite. The world building is rich and easy to imagine. Sullivan describes the setting as such that it is not just words on a page, but a real place. My suspicion is that crafting the whole series at one time allowed him the chance to fully develop this location past the typical one-dimensional descriptions. In this particular instance, his writing style definitely benefits the book on a whole. I also understand that he has written other series set in the world of Elan, which again adds to a more developed backdrop. This result is the benefit of dreaming up a place and exploring it for the length of fourteen books, if not more.

The characters in this series are very compelling. I especially enjoy Persephone, Moya, and Suri as strong female leads amongst a society predominantly run by males. However, there are enough quality men, such as Raithe, Malcolm, and Gifford, that it does not feel as though all men in this society are devoid of morals or cast in a poor light. In other words, there is a good balance. There are, however, so many characters in this story that it made it hard for me to form a solid connection with any single one of them. Though I did care about the major players, I also felt as though I was kept at arm’s distance.

Because the story is so epic in scope, there are some opportunities that are missed in character development. For instance, at the beginning of the book, Raithe kills a Fhrey, which prior to this instance, was thought to be impossible. Raithe finds himself to be a hero among Rhunes, when in fact, he was never a hero, just a boy avenging his father. Unfortunately in the book, this point gets lost as Raithe must step up as the unlikely champion in many cases. It certainly would have served his story more had we as the audience seen a deeper struggle in Raithe with this newfound title as “The God Killer.”

The other missed opportunity was with Malcolm. There is a moment in the book when Raithe looks at Malcolm and says, “We really need to talk about this habit of yours…” In context, I remember reading that and laughing out loud. It reminded me how much more humor could have added to this book, including, but not limited to, making it more unique. While there were some other playful elements already present, Malcolm would have been the perfect character to use for comic relief.

Overall, AGE OF MYTH has definitely intrigued me. The final scene in the book is a huge plot twist that I absolutely did not see coming, making me very excited to read the next installment. Additionally, Michael J. Sullivan has certainly caught my attention as an author with unconventional methods and I am so happy to have been introduced to his work.
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