This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.Age of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan
Series: The Legends of the First Empire #2
Also in this series:Age of Myth
Also by this author: Age of Myth
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Book Depository ◊ Google Play ◊ Kobo ◊ IndieBound ◊ Books-A-Million
In Age of Myth, fantasy master Michael J. Sullivan launched readers on an epic journey of magic and adventure, heroism and betrayal, love and loss. Now the thrilling saga continues as the human uprising is threatened by powerful enemies from without—and bitter rivalries within.
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.
Age of Swords is the second installment of The Legend of the First Empire series. This is a series that is better off read consecutively. There is some background information given that would help grasp what happened in the first installment but to fully understand the overarching plot you really need to read these books in series order.
I was thrilled that some of the races that were mentioned in the first book, such as the Dhergs and Grenmorians, were brought to life in the Age of Swords. Yay! I enjoyed learning a little about the giants but better than that was the interactions with the Dhergs, also known as the dwarves. Not only were these characters introduced but I was taken on a journey to their home land. There a rich history of the three races unfolded as well as extreme testing of Persephone and the band of rhunes that accompanied her to the kingdom of the dwarves.
There was an introduction of many new characters and further development of the characters we had already come to know. I applaud the Author for his strong female characters. They are all feminine but at the same time tough enough to endure trials. Their development is not forced and nothing they do is beyond the realm of reason for how their characters were written. They are just natural in their own skin. I admire these female characters and am excited to be a part of their adventures.
This story is told in alternating narratives between the story unfolding for man, dwarves, and elves but the main focus is on mankind and how they are preparing for an upcoming conflict. I really enjoyed how the rhunes from the Dahl Rhen clan made discoveries that was akin to watching them evolve from cavemen to something other. Between their new alliances and their evolution, the rhunes are having advantages never before available to them. They are more than the dogs that the fhrey akin them to. The fhrey who are intent on the rhunes destruction fail to give them enough credit and this will give the rhunes several advantages in the upcoming war.
The scenes in this book are depicted so vividly. All I can say is wow! I was able to visualize everything from the clothing that the characters wore, the environment they were in, to the scenery that surrounded them. This was a truly mesmerizing story that engaged all my senses. The complexity of magic used in this world is phenomenal. The way that the Art is explained and demonstrated is just captivating. I did not want to stop learning about it!
This story is truly about an age of swords as the rhunes struggle to find the weaponry necessary to mount a defense against the forces that are coming to destroy them. Although this is a story that deals with some dark issues, such as war and impending doom, but there is a blending of humor, friendship, new discoveries, love, and sacrifice as well. This complex weaving of elements give this story a feeling of hope and rallying against the odds. It left me feeling optimistic for the situation as well as cringing for what is to come. Age of Swords is one epic fantasy that I highly recommend to all readers.
*Thank you to NetGalley & Random House Publishing for this eARC of Age of Swords*