Book(s) Review: Legend of the First Empire

I rather read a good book than watching a movie or a series. There are many good books out there, but only a few that captivate me enough to not wanting to stop reading. There are a few authors I follow and I cannot wait until they publish their next book. A recent discovery is the author Michael J. Sullivan and his series Legend of the First Empire. It is a six-book series of which the first three have been released. They are called Age of Myth, Age of Swords, and Age of War. In this article, I want to tell you a little bit more about the books and why they are special to me. Oh, and small spoilers ahead =).

Michael J. Sullivan named the realm in which (I think all of his books) are located Elan. In this series (so far) there are mainly three races. There are the humans, who are underdeveloped in comparison with the other two races and who are partially at war with each other. Then there are the elves, who live for millennia and consider themselves as the dominant race. And, there are the dwarfs which are only introduced later but are most probably the technologically most advanced race.

The elves or Fhrey how they are called are also the ones with magical abilities. At least one of the elven tribes. They are also leading the entire race and this also leads to tensions among the Fhrey. The Fhrey consider humans as animals. Barely capable of reasoning. They wage war against the humans (or let them fight against each other) to keep their numbers in check. The way we do with some species out of fear that their numbers get out of hand. A couple of thousand years ago, the Fhrey won a war against the dwarves. That is why they are also at odds with each other.

The humans regard the Fhrey as gods. Not only because they live thousands of years, but they are also faster in battle and possess more strength, and they know magic. The story begins with one of the main characters called Raithe. He and his dad cross a river into the elven territory to hunt which is strictly forbidden and punishable by death. Of course, they get caught and his dad dies but so does one of the Fhrey. A slave of that Fhrey called Malcom helps Raithe and they both flee.

This starts a series of unfortunate events. The Fhrey want retribution and slaughter and destroy some of the human villages. It seems as if war is inevitable. I don’t want to get into more detail to not spoil everything.

So why are those books something special? The main reason is his female characters. I don’t know why but sometimes I don’t like to read about female heroes in a fantasy story. I think that sometimes those characters are not very believable and you could also change the name into a male one. Here this is different. Maybe because his wife has some influence. At least she seems to be part of the writing process.

Those women in the book are real women. And they are real heroes. They are who carry the story forward. They are the ones who overcome barriers through team work, ingenuity and courage while simultaneously acknowledging their own shortcomings. The diversity of his characters and how they play together makes it a fantastic read.

Then there is Raithe. He is the character I can identify with the most. Wants to do good and make his life count. Is in love but is rejected and there are more elements which I cannot write because of spoilers. There is one moment when I had to cry quite a bit, but so did his wife who acknowledged it after reading the book.

Again, this is a series which is not only entertaining but can tell also a lot about us as a society. I invite you to reflect while reading to take a step back and see what this means for you and how we all live together. But even if you are just looking for a good read. You will get a fantastic story, inspirational characters and a lot of laughs and maybe tears.

The Legend of the First Empire is waiting for you =).

 

Stephan

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