Sunday, July 10, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan

I received this book for free from Netgalley. This did not influence my review.

Fantasy fans of Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria books will be thrilled by his newest offering: The Age of Myth. This first book in a new series takes us back to the world of Elan created in Sullivan’s first two series (The Riyria Revelations and The Riyria Chronicles). The new series takes place 3000 years earlier and shows the "true" history of the land, events that are alluded to in previous books.

A whole new cast of characters is needed, so readers may miss the wonderfully entertaining relationship between Royce and Hadrian, the heroes of Riyria. But The Age of Myth is peopled with fascinating, complex characters as well, both human (Rhunes) and elves (Fhrey.)

The Fhrey are powerful and warlike. They’ve conquered the other races (men and dwarves) and confined them to suboptimal places in Elan. The Rhunes live in outer barren lands as subsistence farmers, hunting in the few spots allowed them.

However, the Fhrey are having political problems that threaten the fabric of their advanced civilization. One group, the Miralyith, have discovered how to use magic. With this incredible power, they dominate the other elves. Some of the Miralyith consider themselves gods and relegate the other groups to a lower status, approaching that of Rhunes, whom they consider little more than animals. Conflict between elf factions is inevitable, but is expected to be limited by the unbreakable rule that elves cannot kill elves.

Events of the epic are set in motion when a Rhune named Raith crosses a forbidden river to hunt in the more promising lands of the Fhrey. He encounters one of them and, after a violent confrontation, kills him with the help of one of the Fhrey’s slaves, a human named Malcolm. The elves come after the humans seeking revenge. Raith and Malcolm seek refuge in a small village of humans that is having troubles of its own.

The leader of the human village has recently been killed by a vicious bear that appears to be hunting down the townspeople. They have elected a new chief, but many of the people are more comfortable following the widow of the old chief, Penelope.

The first elves to find Raith are led by Nyphron (a familiar name from the Riyria books.) He’s not a Miralyith and he has an agenda of his own. When Miralyiths start showing up, the stage is set for a clash of civilizations.

The Age of Myth introduces us to the conflicts and major characters of what promises to be another superb fantasy series from Michael J. Sullivan.