There's something quite wonderful, and I think it stems from my childhood, about picking up a fantasy novel and being whisked away on some adventure or other. I don't get the craving too often, but when I do, it must be sated, and typically is rather easily.
This last week I read Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan. Now, if you're familiar with some of his other work you'll at least know the world this book operates in. I read his first novel (or the first book in his first novel ) Theft of Swords, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but that was some years back. Sullivan said Age of Myth is the first in a 5 or 6 book series that is basically a Silmarillion type of thing for his 9 other novels (collected in 6 volumes). While only the first book of Age of Myth has been released (Age of Swords a.k.a book 2 comes out July 25th) I ways like starting a the chronological beginning of things. The author has also said that Age of Myth is just as good an entry point into his world as his original series.
So, what is Age of Myth about?
Something that I like about the book and plot, one I don't think is seen all to often in fantasy, is the formation of a new empire. When I say that, this means there isn't a lot of "this guy is kind, but that guy wants to be king, and then there is this betrayal and etc... ." But there actually is some of that. Just less than usual from fantasy. Age of Myth, to me, can be most closely compared to "Beginnings Part 1 and 2" of Avatar: Legend of Kora. In both Kora and Age of Myth nobody really knows how magic works, why it works, or who gave magic to the inhabitants of this world. While Kora takes two 30 minute episodes to explain this, Sullivan will be giving us 5 or 6 books.
As I read Age of Myth I felt as though I could see the animations, much like the ones I referenced above, playing out in my head. The whole story has cinematic quality to it. This isn't to say Age of Myth isn't without some typical fantasy tropes. There's the reluctant hero, the mystic, the magician, all that stuff. But where Sullivan succeeds is playing all these tropes up and showing how aware he is of these tropes. Often times the best thing an artist can do to cover up over used tropes, plot holes, etc, is by pointing them out.
So who should read this?
Anyone who enjoys a good fantasy story. If you like origin stories in which characters are just beginning to understand their world, part adventure, part discovery, you'll likely enjoy this book. I know I'm excited for the next one.