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Michael J. Sullivan: Legends of the First Empire – Lioness at Large

Michael J. Sullivan: Legends of the First Empire

Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria books have been on my TBR for a while, but until I’d read two short stories from the cycle — The Jester and Professional Integrity — I hadn’t been sure whether his writing would be for me.  Then I found out that (much like Tolkien’s Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and The History of Middle-earth) he had created a cycle of books set 3,000 years prior to the Riyria narratives and providing a background to those in a similar way as Tolkien’s narratives of the prehistory / First, Second and early Third Ages of Arda and Middle-earth provide a background to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  Even better, from an author’s note to Age of Myth (the first of these six books) I learned that, again much like Tolkien, Sullivan approached this cycle as a cohesive whole and was not ready to publish even book 1 before he had completed his drafts of all (initially five, ultimately six) books.  And while I knew that these books were only published after the two Riyria series (Riyria Revelations and Riyria Chronicles), I also knew that more than just providing the backstory and setting the scene for the Riyria worldbuilding, the six Legends books were set to reveal the true story behind “the big lie” at the heart of the Riyria tales, so I figured it made sense to start with these — and I certainly didn’t regret it; even though once again I found that J.R.R. Tolkien, to me, still remains the undisputed master of the genre that he himself created in the first place.

[Detailed review and maps after the page break.  Blurbs and ratings of the six individual books and “100 books of summer” prompt assignments to follow on page 3 of this post.]

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