Review: Age of Swords (Legends of the First Empire #2) – Michael J. Sullivan

Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire, #2)With the death of Gryndal, the people of Dahl Rhen realize that war with the Fhrey, with gods, is inevitable. Persephone takes her clan to Dahl Tirre after an attack to help appoint a keenig, a leader for their people, but soon realizes that they need weapons. And only the Dherg can help with that.


Why this book?: It’s Michael J. Sullivan, and a sequel to an amazing book. Why not this book?

I would like to thank the people at Del Rey for allowing me to have an ARC of this book via NetGalley.

Going into these books, the first thing to know is that they’re written like what they are–an epic fantasy novel series meant to be long, winding, entrancing stories. Age of Swords reminiscent of it’s predecessor, in which it took a good quarter of the novel for the story to pick up pace. At first, I was kinda disappointed in this. I had previously adored all of Sullivan’s novels, and I didn’t want this to be the first one that I disliked. In comparison to Age of Myth, though, AoS is so much more. It’s a literal EPIC story, similar to Tolkien’s epic, but with less racism, more badass woman, and a unique magic system.

I do have to admit, that there were things I didn’t enjoy, but they were mainly because of the world around them. This is a fairly female dominated book, but most of the men are very sexist towards them. I loved reading about this group of women, Persephone, Moya, Brin, Roan, Suri, and Arion, prove everyone wrong, though, and overcome the challenges. Not only that, but Persephone is a widow and a mother, Roan is a survivor of abuse, and mostly everyone considered Moya to be useless. Sullivan, despite his privilege as a white man, wrote these diverse and outstanding women, focusing the story on them rather than the men around them. That’s how you bring in diversity while still having privilege.

Speaking of diversity, I loved how inclusive this book was. Not only was Roan an abuse survivor, but Arion was mentioned to have had a wife in the first book. There were people of color scattered throughout the story, as well. There was also a disabled character, with a warped spine. He often went though verbal attacks because of how he looked, often being called a cr*pple. But Gifford, the disabled character, gets so much character development from the first book, and has the potential to be an amazing protagonist of the next book.

See, the thing with Sullivan writing these problematic things is that he challenges them. There’s also extreme racism between the races, as well as inter-species classism that’s discussed in-depth in multiple chapters. Sullivan is able to include these discussions without ever being overbearing in the subject, having them just nuanced enough that they’re seen as negatives within, and not apart of the actual weave of the story. 

The plot of AoS was also so badass. I can’t even think of other words to describe it. The moment they got to the dwarf city, I couldn’t stop reading. The whole legend and quest they learn and go through were just amazing. I don’t want to give much away, but just power through the beginning. It might be a little slow, but it’s so worth it.

Final Rating: ★★★★★

Overall?

It was slow. But epic. And diverse. And amazing. I just. I cannot recommend Sullivan’s novels enough, okay? His first novels, The Riyria Revelations, features two friends, and lots more badass women, like a kickass royal brat and a WOC sex worker.

Would I Recommend?

Yes. How can I not? I’m so glad I stumbled upon these books, and I cannot wait for Age of War. I just know that one will kill me worse than this one!

 


Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire, #2)

Additional Information:

Published: July 25th, 2017

Publisher: Del Rey

Page Count: 512

Genre: Fantasy/Epic Fantasy

Synopsis: via Goodreads

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.

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