Book review · novel

Book review: Age of Swords

Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire #2), by Michael J. Sullivan

Please note that this is a sequel and you might get spoiled if you keep reading further and haven’t read the first book yet.

9781101965368Description: (from Penguin Random House)

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

The answer lies across the sea in a faraway land populated by a reclusive and dour race who feel 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, as fearsome as it is deadly.

Publication date: July 25th 2017.
A review copy (eARC) of this book was provided by the publisher through Netgalley. Some things might change in the final copy.

Reminder that my review for the first book in the Legends of the First Empire series is here.

It is such a wonderful feeling to come back to Persephone, Raithe, Arion, Suri… I kept having flashbacks from the first book and remembering how good it was. This calls for a re-read!

While they were also on the first book, to my delight these supporting characters have a much greater place and role in Age of Swords:

  • Roan, a genius mechanic young woman, touch-averse mostly because of the abuse she suffered from her father.
  • Brin, a bright young woman with the title of Keeper of Ways.
  • Moya, a fearless and beautiful young woman.
  • Minna, Suri’s white wolf.
  • Gifford, a disabled young man with a speech-impermeant, best potter of the village, and the nicest of all people.

Raithe is not as present than in the first book, but that didn’t bother me that much. Since Age of Myth introduced so many great characters and this sequel gives those the importance they deserve, I’m happy with this. Moya gets so much development, same for Suri, Gifford and the other listed above. (I’m literally trying not to yell about how much I love them <3)

Persephone might remain my favourite. Now chieftain, she shows great strength but without ever losing sight of who she is, never sacrifying her integrity and her individuality to fit in a world not yet used to women in a position of power like this. She is a strong woman, not for her fighting skills but for her incredible personality. She trusts her skills, her authority and leadership, she trusts her people and will do anything for them.

I love that the whole village is important and we don’t just get to know the main characters. We end up caring and rooting for so many people. A recurring theme in the novel is grief, because from the events of book 1 almost everyone lost someone. All the characters are coping in different ways, together.

While the stakes are starting to get higher in this book, you can feel it’s a sequel and most of the big stuff will happen later. While you could call it a set-up book, it didn’t make me enjoy it less. The book took the time it needed to let the reader witness the characters’s growth and development. You know how I love The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet for the characters and their relationships, well this book could almost be the fantasy equivalent because while the plot does not move that much, the characters are AMAZING. And mostly the women to be honest. And what an amazing squad of brave women they make ❤

Without some of the things I’m going to talk about next, this could have been an all time favourite. Still, I’m sure this is a book I’ll love to reread later, because so many amazing things happened and it moved me deeply.

A thing that bothered me is that, at first, everyone kept on calling the Dherg people “Dherg” when they specifically said this was an insult to them and told them their actual name (Belgriclungreians). But then they ended up being renamed Dwarfs (because of course). I feel there’s a missed opportunity here, about people not being willing to call a people with their actual name. I kept hoping for them to try but I’m a bit disappointed it didn’t happen. I get that the author is trying to bring the whole human/elf/dwarf in an original manner, but on this case, it didn’t felt okay.

I still don’t like Mawyndulë’s point of view. He is the antagonist and I feel like the author is trying to add nuance to him, but I just don’t like being in the head of such a despicable person, even if it makes me understand a bit his actions, he’s still awful. There wasn’t that many chapters from his perspective but it still felt too much for me, and a bit predicable.

The wheel, writing, barrels, bow and other big inventions are invented in a short period of time by one or two characters and I found that quite convenient? It’s a fantasy novel so eh, why not, but it did make my eyes roll a bit I have to admit.

The pacing might feel uneven to some people, but it wasn’t a problem to me. Like I said, I love how it managed to make time for a lot of “secondary” characters, so much that I don’t feel like they are secondary anymore. It all just seem like an amazing cast of characters that I can’t get enough of and am glad ended up in such a great novel.

As a whole, I’d say I love this book more than the first – that I already loved. This is one I’ll buy as soon as it is out in paperback and read again with great pleasure. 2017 is starting to feel like the year with all the best sequels to me!

Trigger Warnings: abuse, violence
Does the dog/cat/pet dies? (highlight to see) YES why must you do this to me. There were tears involved in the reading of this great book.

2 thoughts on “Book review: Age of Swords

  1. I just finished this one too. I actually liked the first book more, this one felt a bit on the slow side (though I still really enjoyed it). With four more books to go though, I understand that the author has to pace himself a bit 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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