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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

ARC Review: Age Of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Please Note:  I received an advance reader's copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
n 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.


Review:
About a year ago, I was fortunate enough to be approved for the ARC of Age of Myth, by Michael J. Sullivan.  I loved the characters, and epic storytelling.  My only frustration was that the story ended and I would need to wait a year to read the next installment!

I finally was able to receive the ARC of the next book in the series, Age of Swords, and it was worth the wait!  Everything that I loved about the first book is amplified in the next.  Plus, the characters journey on an epic adventure worthy of The Lord of the Rings, trilogy.

What I Liked:
Characters:
In a book where all the characters are preparing for war, you might be surprised that the focus of the story is on the many outstanding female characters.  Here are just a few of my favorites:

Persephone is the widow of the Rhune chieftain, Reglan, who is the obvious choice to succeed him.  Even in this patriarchal society, everyone can see Persephone is a strong leader (and was probably advising Reglan).  She is fiercely devoted to her clan, and will do whatever it takes to make sure they survive, even leading her people into a war with the Frhey. 

Arion is one of the Fhrey, an elf-like race of people that were thought (until recently) to be gods.  She is powerful in the "Art", which means she can manipulate the elements to do magic.  She is the natural enemy of the Rhune (primitive people), but has switched sides and is helping the Rhune to find a way to fight the Fhrey.  I enjoyed how she mentored Suri and became almost a big sister to her.  I think she embodied the spirit of sisterhood that some women are luck enough to tap for comfort and support.

Stunningly beautiful, Moya has been written off as nothing more than a whore.  But she longs to be useful and trains for combat so she can be Persephone's "Shield" (bodyguard).  I loved her spirit and determination.  She knows what others think of her.  And, while she is hurt, she pushes past everyone's perceptions of her to forge her own identity.

Roan is also a damaged soul.  The ex-slave has been through horrible abuse and can't stand to be even casually touched.  She is the group's tinkerer and comes to invent many useful devices for her people.  Reading about her bursts of inspiration was a delight.

Teen-aged Suri is the group's mystic and seems to possess Arion's talent for The Art.  She had the toughest journey in the novel, going from carefree child to an adult who must assume responsibility far too soon.  

Setting:
Although this is a fantasy novel, it seems to be set in the Bronze Age.  I loved this because of all the amazing technical innovations that the characters made throughout the book.  I also enjoyed the mix of historical fiction and fantasy.  It almost seems possible that in a time of world-changing discoveries (that must have seemed to be magic) there would be elves, demons, and gods.

Story:
I love storytelling which focuses on characters finding out who they are meant to be.  Discovering these talents is not always joyous.  It means sacrificing some desires to make room for the work of becoming your true self.  

In the book, several of the characters must travel to a faraway land in order to find what they need to defeat the Fhrey.  Everyone thinks they are fools to do it.  And those who go are tested beyond almost all reason.  But they emerge with wisdom, and are transformed.  I can't say more without revealing spoilers, but this is a Bronze Age road trip to end all road trips!

What I Didn't Like:

               
via GIPHY
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32337902-age-of-swords

https://www.amazon.com/Age-Swords-Legends-First-Empire/dp/1101965363/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500968046&sr=8-1&keywords=age+of+swords+michael+sullivan

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/age-of-swords-michael-j-sullivan/1126093488?ean=9781101965368

https://www.bookdepository.com/Age-Of-Swords-Michael-J-Sullivan/9781101965368?ref=grid-view&qid=1500968141968&sr=1-1



Rating: 




Release Date:  July 25th, 2017

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Pages:  512

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  ARC E-Book

Recommendation:  
I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  It is a sweeping tale of discovery in a mythical time.  The characters, story, and Bronze Age setting make this a highly entertaining second installment.  Can book three please come out soon?

 

 
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The Hummingbird's Daughter
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