Sunday, July 14, 2019

Review: Age of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire, #2)
by Michael J. Sullivan
Release Date: July 25th 2017
2017 Del Rey Books
Kindle Edition; 512 Pages
ISBN: 978-1101965368
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhune make it all but impossible to unite against a common foe. And even if the clans can join forces, how will they defeat an enemy whose magical prowess makes the Fhrey indistinguishable from gods?

The answer lies across the sea in a faraway land populated by a reclusive and dour race who feels nothing but disdain for both Fhrey and mankind. With time running out, Persephone leads the gifted young seer Suri, the Fhrey sorceress Arion, and a small band of misfits in a desperate search for aid—a quest that will take them into the darkest depths of Elan. There, an ancient adversary waits—an enemy as surprising as it is deadly.

My Thoughts
Age of Swords is the second book in a planned six-book series.  The story is set thousands of years before the Riyria Revelations and explores how the empires in those books developed and who the major players were.  It is a fascinating look at the legends and people who shaped the events in one of my favourite series.

There are many things happening in this book, many of which will definitely continue into the next book, but I like how the author does kind of give you closure for each book while still giving you tantalizing clues as to what could happen in the next one.  This book is full of heroes, but what I especially liked, was the involvement of women and how women features in this book.  The book was full of strong women, each different in their own way, with different weaknesses and strengths, but they all worked together to pull of the impossible. First of all, there is Persephone, a born leader, always pushing herself for her people no matter the cost to herself. My favourite character, Moya, who has to prove herself over and over again that she is just as brave and talented as any man, someone who can train hard and learn good weapons skills to defend her land and her people. And then Brin, who is developing a written language so their deeds are never forgotten. And even though I have to sort of look the other way on this one, I loved the concept of how it developed. Roan, so brilliant, but so...broken? My heart goes out to her so much. And then there is Suri, poor Suri.

The story has several different POV, all of them interesting in their own way.  I really liked Raithe's POV as he continued to struggle with taking on a leadership role and what that would mean both for him and his people, and if it could cost his people everything.  It was interesting to see the byplay of thoughts among the different groups of people as to the possible outcomes so when an unexpected solution came up, I was a bit caught off guard though I thought it was perfect.  Mawyndule's story line was a bit harder to read simply because he was so young and didn't have a lot of experience so he was quite gullible.  He was also spoiled and a bit petulant about his circumstances which is why it was easy to predict what would happen to him.  I don't dislike his character but he is a bit annoying, which is how I think he is supposed to be.  

Who I can't quite figure out at the moment is Nyphron and how he fits into the whole story line.  I think the author is really playing with the idea of how history changes so if you are familiar with the Riyria Revelations, you can see the changes from the true history to what is believed in those books, and that is how it should be.  I am really curious to learn about Nyphron and Persephone but so far, nothing.  

Age of Swords is a really good book and I really like where the story is going.  And while it is lacking the amazing banter of Royce and Hadrian, there is much to recommend both in the characters and in the story.  I have always enjoyed the author's writing style and while the pacing is a bit slower, it didn't really bother me as I enjoyed learning about the different characters as well as visiting the different places.  I am definitely looking forward to reading the next book in this series, Age of War.