Age of Myth feels like a bit of an outlier in modern fantasy. There have been a lot of books over the past couple of decades that have leaned in a dark direction: Game of Thrones and the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, the First Law series by Joe Abercrombie, and many more. These are jokingly often referred to as “Grimdark”, typically full of awful things happening to awful people. They are often excellent works, but the relentless darkness can be tiring.
Michael J. Sullivan’s work isn’t like that at all. In fact, he is consciously writing against that type, and the series that starts with Age of Myth is a great example of how a more positive outlook can still work in a high-stakes adventure.
Penelope is the wife of the chief of her village, one of several small human settlements. When her husband is killed on a hunt, she is left without her position in the village as a new chief is chosen. The new leader, her husband’s former guard and advisor, refuses to listen to her advice despite Penelope’s years of experience as the right hand to her husband.
And they need her advice: The race they believe to be gods, the Fhrey, are on a rampage: a human has, against all odds, killed one of them. This was previously thought impossible, and they are now bent to wipe out humanity in revenge. The Fhrey’s killer, Raithe, is on the run, and meets up with Penelope by chance.
Age of Myth caught me by surprise: I haven’t been wrapped up in a story like this one in a long time: it’s lighter, brighter, and more fun than I had expected. It has since been followed by two more books, and a total of six are planned.
The best news is, unlike George R.R. Martin or Patrick Rothfuss, Sullivan has already completed the entire series. We won’t have to wait years for the next installments. I’m glad for that; Age of Myth is a lot of fun and I don’t want to wait forever for the series to finish.
Steven McCreedy is a library technician at the Cambie Branch of the Richmond Public Library