Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#1



Will be reading this in July, so here's a thread for any who do the same.
I haven't read any Riyria books except for The Crown Conspiracy (The Riyria Revelations #1) (which was enjoyable), but according to the man himself, that's not a problem.

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P.S.
All the books in this new series are already written, so if you do end up liking it there's no need to fear when the next one will be published. It will be next year.
 
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kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#2
I just finished Age of Myth and it is definitely one of the best books I have ever read, and I don't want to spoil anything beyond what Amazon's book description mentions. It's about the interactions between elves (Fhrey) and humans, humans and the natural world, and the friction that those interactions cause when there is such a wide divide between the educated, sophisticated and almost divine Fhrey and the fairly primitive humans who the Fhrey consider to be no better than animals of the forest. It's a story of blossoming realization and discovery of attributes of other beings set in a backdrop of a lot of violence and blood shedding. Amazon tells you about three of the protagonists but there are many more, whose lives we get to learn about in detail. Sullivan has always been about developing characters in an action-packed setting and does so once again here, but in a unique and meaningful way that teaches as well as entertains.

Highly recommended for fans of epic and magical and anthropological fantasy and those with a Jean Auel-like interest in development of primitive societies within a dangerous world in which each day is a struggle to survive for some, and a search for higher understanding and expression for others.

An absolutely wonderful book that I rate at 9.8/10.
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#3
Wouldn't it be nice if more successful writers appreciated and respected their readers as does Sullivan.

I enjoyed the Riyria books, except for the last chapters of the last installment of the series, which I thought was a bit of a sellout.
Also, from time to time Sullivan releases free short stories on audible.com. He strikes me as a writer who is genuinely surprised at his success and doesn't take it for granted. I'll definitely listen to Age of Myth.
 

Diziet Sma

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#4
I have heard of Sullivan and Age of Myth is definitely bookmarked.
There is a series that deals also with the Fae/Human/witches relationship : Tir Alainn Trilogy by Ann Bishop. Probably not one of her most popular series but I enjoyed it. The intolerant, dismissive, abusive liaison between the races threatens to destroy both worlds human and fae. Tir Alainn doesn’t exude the gothic, obscure mystery of The Black Jewels Trilogy. It is a more simplistic almost YA epic and magical novel, with a fantastic world building and a myriad of characters that Bishop plays beautifully. She always manages it to make it look so effortlessly…

those with a Jean Auel-like interest in development of primitive societies within a dangerous world in which each day is a struggle to survive for some, and a search for higher understanding and expression for others.
I read years ago Jean Auel Earth Children’s series. I remember loving the first 2/3 books, then all grew a bit too romantic and convenient for my liking to the point I don’t recall much at all of the final books in the series.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#5
I have heard of Sullivan and Age of Myth is definitely bookmarked.
There is a series that deals also with the Fae/Human/witches relationship : Tir Alainn Trilogy by Ann Bishop. Probably not one of her most popular series but I enjoyed it. The intolerant, dismissive, abusive liaison between the races threatens to destroy both worlds human and fae. Tir Alainn doesn’t exude the gothic, obscure mystery of The Black Jewels Trilogy. It is a more simplistic almost YA epic and magical novel, with a fantastic world building and a myriad of characters that Bishop plays beautifully. She always manages it to make it look so effortlessly…


I read years ago Jean Auel Earth Children’s series. I remember loving the first 2/3 books, then all grew a bit too romantic and convenient for my liking to the point I don’t recall much at all of the final books in the series.
Thanks for those recommendations Elvira. I used to go outside my favorite genres more than I do now, and I jumped on the Earth's Children books as they came out. I found it hard to pin down what formally labeled period of human development this book resembled, maybe none as they seem more advanced in some areas than others. Hmm, I don't think that's a spoiler.
 
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Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#6
I'll definitely listen to Age of Myth.
That's how I'm reading it as well.

I'm somewhere around halfway point right now, and there are good things and bad things I've noticed so far.
THE BAD
The pace is really slow, but I guess that goes with epic fantasy genre. There are action scenes early on, but the plot moves in a sluggish way.
The world building is nothing to brag about, it's the point I would contest the most. It's quite derivative and nothing new. Sullivan basically lifted whole human/elf dynamics from traditional fantasy and went with it. The names of the elves are very much reminiscent of LotR as well is their general character.
The Elves themselves are divided into different subspecies where the basically High Elves rule supreme, because they have magic abilities. There is an equivalent of wood elves and some others elves species, which are lower on the social scale. This is very reminiscent of RPG games to me, and I don't like it when books just lift preconceived concepts from RPG games. It's lazy writing.
He also names one character Arya. It's a dumb decision imo. That name became iconic with GRRM. Sullivan is not going to make it his, especially since it's just a character that is mentioned in relation to one of the MCs, but it was jarring enough to take me out of his story. But maybe that's just me.
There is an overall "The End is Nigh" plot and while that is not bad as the "evil overlord wants everyone dead", it's still a cliche and I don't care for it.
THE GOOD
The characters are quite diverse in age, sex and social standing, and there is enough of them to like at least one.
There is a sense of mystery concerning the wood nearby and one very angry bear. This part of the story hovers on the edge of the main plot, and to me that part is more interesting.
Humor is present, especially in the scenes with Malcolm.
I CANT DECIDE IF IT'S GOOD OR BAD
Sullivan's writing style. It's easy to read and it flows, but it's not very evocative or special in any way like Erikson's style is for example. It doesn't pull me into the story completely like Gaiman or Erikson do for example.
But it is easy to read so there's that.


A small note that is no fault of Sullivan.
The narrator is pretty good, except with one main character. Raithe is a warrior in his mid twenties, that has all the characteristics of that class. Yet his voice is like that of a 16 yo kid. That takes me out of the story.

Anyway, half way through I would give this book a 7/10. It's enjoyable but quite derivative and unoriginal.
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#8
That's how I'm reading it as well.

I'm somewhere around halfway point right now, and there are good things and bad things I've noticed so far.
THE BAD
The pace is really slow, but I guess that goes with epic fantasy genre. There are action scenes early on, but the plot moves in a sluggish way.
The world building is nothing to brag about, it's the point I would contest the most. It's quite derivative and nothing new. Sullivan basically lifted whole human/elf dynamics from traditional fantasy and went with it. The names of the elves are very much reminiscent of LotR as well is their general character.
The Elves themselves are divided into different subspecies where the basically High Elves rule supreme, because they have magic abilities. There is an equivalent of wood elves and some others elves species, which are lower on the social scale. This is very reminiscent of RPG games to me, and I don't like it when books just lift preconceived concepts from RPG games. It's lazy writing.
He also names one character Arya. It's a dumb decision imo. That name became iconic with GRRM. Sullivan is not going to make it his, especially since it's just a character that is mentioned in relation to one of the MCs, but it was jarring enough to take me out of his story. But maybe that's just me.
There is an overall "The End is Nigh" plot and while that is not bad as the "evil overlord wants everyone dead", it's still a cliche and I don't care for it.
THE GOOD
The characters are quite diverse in age, sex and social standing, and there is enough of them to like at least one.
There is a sense of mystery concerning the wood nearby and one very angry bear. This part of the story hovers on the edge of the main plot, and to me that part is more interesting.
Humor is present, especially in the scenes with Malcolm.
I CANT DECIDE IF IT'S GOOD OR BAD
Sullivan's writing style. It's easy to read and it flows, but it's not very evocative or special in any way like Erikson's style is for example. It doesn't pull me into the story completely like Gaiman or Erikson do for example.
But it is easy to read so there's that.


A small note that is no fault of Sullivan.
The narrator is pretty good, except with one main character. Raithe is a warrior in his mid twenties, that has all the characteristics of that class. Yet his voice is like that of a 16 yo kid. That takes me out of the story.

Anyway, half way through I would give this book a 7/10. It's enjoyable but quite derivative and unoriginal.

That's probably enough for me to figure it's not my cup of tea.
Sullivan is a very conventional writer, which is fine when you've got two main characters like Hadrian & Royce that can carry a story. But if it's just another humans and elves epic it's not for me. I'm also not crazy about stories that revolve around doom and gloom prophesies.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#11
Finished the book. The rating after the second half went down a little, so my final rating is 6/10 or 3 stars on Goodreads.
The reason for this is the introduction of the most basic, cookie-cutter villain you can imagine. Of course it is glaringly obvious that he is the villain, but nobody sees that because he is so sophisticated. Not! I hate when writers dumb down the good guys only to uplift the bad guy. Yet in every other aspect the good guys are smart.
So when I wrote this
There is an overall "The End is Nigh" plot and while that is not bad as the "evil overlord wants everyone dead", it's still a cliche and I don't care for it.
I didn't come across the villain character yet.
There is an overall 'doom impending' AND the 'evil overlord' who at one point actually shouts 'KILL THEM ALL'. Well fuck. Just the sort of villain I hate. Simplistic character who somehow manages to fool everyone. I'm having none of that.

Everything else stands. This is basically an elves (they are called Fhrey in this book) and human conflict, with the possibility of adding an elven civil war to the overall plot as well.
Besides these two, there are also dwarfs mentioned, only they are called by different name. There are giants and goblins as well. As you can see the whole mythology is very traditional and it might as well been lifted from any generic RPG game. It's derivative and unoriginal, and it adds very little to the world.
That said, there are some female characters which are pretty cool, there's an exploration of deceit and mother-daughter relationship in more then one instance and with different characters. Not everyone are what they seem at first, and there's a good character development to most of the characters with the exception of the villain and the elven prince.
The writing style is little too simplistic for my taste, but I realize that is just my personal preference.
The book itself doesn't go very far, think of it as a prologue to the 5 book series. This is basically character intro and set up. If you don't expect much and aren't bothered by cardboard flat villains, as well as derivative world building, you might have fun reading this.

I might check out the second book next year, if nothing better pops up.
 
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Kalavan

Ran bridges next to Kaladin
#12
A 5,5/10 (2,5 stars, rounded to 3 on GoodReads) for me, after a promising opening the pace of the book slowed to a crawl, with lots of talking and walking around, but too little and quite poor action scenes. The rhythm picks up in the final 20%, but I didn't feel any tension or danger in this part neither, none of the characters ever seemed to be seriously threatened, everything seemed safe and convenient.

None of the characters had the charisma of Hadrian or Royce, they were all quite likable and quite diverse, but they all lacked something, I didn't feel any real connection with any of them. Perhaps because they felt too diverse, as if they were designed to cover, in a very politically correct sort of way, the different ages and sexes, but without developing their own voice. Suri and Seph being perhaps the only exceptions.
As for the villains, the less said the better, generic Evil Guys without an ounce of depth.

Anyway, the books could be quite fun at times, thanks to Sullivan's humor and extremely skillful dialogues, and it reads very quickly, thanks to the flowing, if a little bit too easy, writing style. In short, a typical summer reading, enjoyable but unremarkable, I'm probably going to read also the future installments, but perhaps I'll wait till they all have been published
 

MorteTorment

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#13
Ok, apparantly someone thought that I was insulting you guys with the comment I made here. I'm sorry. For what it's worth it was meant as a joke.

Like whatever you all want to like, seriously.
 
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