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In AGE OF WAR, the battle between humankind and the cruel, god-like beings who once ruled them finally ignites. And it will be up to Persephone--the first woman to lead her tribe--to become the hero that the world needs.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 6 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
5 stars and a standing ovation!

When you are sniffling, then actually brushing tears from your eyes, through the last 100 pages of a book-well, it is a pretty darn good book!

This is the 3rd book in Legends of the First Empire series. At the end of book 2, the humans and the elves had reached the point of no return, and you knew there would be a war. You fear for the Ruhns (the humans) as the Fhrey (elves) are so much stronger, they have magic. So much happens before the actual escalation of the war, that you think...maybe, just maybe all the Ruhns you have fell in love can somehow pull this off.

Michael J. Sullivan blows me away every time. His storytelling and world building are at the top of the fantasy genre. As has been the case in books 1 and 2, small things from his prior Ryria series are explained, and yet more questions are formed and leaving the reader wanting and needing more of this world!

Sullivan confesses in his Forward of this book to getting influence from The Wizard of Oz and The Island of Misfit Toys from Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer! Loved this quote "Many of the characters in my story weren't likely to be picked first in gym class." So many of the "broken toys" in this book become the hero-you have to love that!

I waited a year for my library to get the first 3 books, and then I gobbled them up-Now it looks like it will be months before 4th is released. *heavy sigh*....I just may read them all over again. ( )
  JBroda | Sep 24, 2021 |
Life had been the same for hundreds of years. Then the war came, and nothing was ever the same again.
-The Book of Brin


Age of War is the third book in the Legends of the First Empire series by Michael J. Sullivan. For those following along so far the title on this one should be a dead giveaway. This is the book where the war between Rhunes with their outcast Fhrey allies against the Fane and his Fhrey army begins in earnest.

Events pick up not long where book two left off and takes a bleak turn as both sides face the reality of an impending war. For the first half of the book we are treated to continued character building and just how hard a job Persephone and Nyphron have of holding their sides together along with the psychological toll this has been taking on everyone. Then we reach the point where the war starts and holy smokes! Long range planning and politicking all come to fruition in the midst of a pitched battle for the fate of the Rhunes.

If I'm being purely objective the plot on this is pretty standard fantasy fare. Where Sullivan elevates it is how much of an emotional punch this story packs. Sacrifice, a major theme in the series so far, is front and center along with betrayals and some genuinely heartwarming moments amid all the ugliness. There were several places where I had to keep reading through my tears.

The way this first main story arc ended I'm definitely curious to see where the rest of the series goes. I have so many questions! Hopefully some of them are answered in the second half. ( )
  Narilka | Jul 3, 2020 |
Legends of the First Empire, and specifically this book, is a solid epic fantasy fare. The focus is on characters, mostly, with the original two races in headlocks against each other. Pretty standard fare, really. Long-lived elfish versus the ignorant humes, add new technology of war after knocking the scales off the eyes and mix well.

This particular novel combines friendly immortals with the struggling humes and a full ramp-up of the war including stronger magics, stonger weapons, and runic arrows.

In other words, its the big payoff for the previous two novels and the fully established ancient history of the realm. Including the big reveals that bridge both series, of course. And a bridge to more action to come, of course.

So how did I like it?

Honestly, it was a solid read with about the same amount of pathos from the others, with bigger consequences, more death, and a fairly strong wrap-up in the same style. I thought it was fine. Not spectacular unless you've never seen epic fantasy before. Not brilliant or groundbreaking or hugely original. (Or much originality at all.) But it is solid and it holds together and it has a pretty good core. I can't complain about what it does at all, only what I wish it would do. And that is my problem, not the book's problem. It's a satisfying and above-average book.

So what's my problem? I just feel like something big is missing. The last battle here was pretty cool, maybe even awesome, but the rest seemed to plod along without much flavor. I wish it was a bit spicier. :)

I'm sure others will gush, however. This is what it means to have fanboys and fangirls. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Modest underrated genius

TLDR; Legends of the First Empire are magical pieces of art but accessible to everyone, created by an amazing author and you don’t want to miss out on any of his books if you even remotely consider reading fantasy.

I rarely feel compelled to write a review and it’s actually the first time ever I feel an obligation to write one.

Michael J. Sullivan is the creator of Hadrian and Royce, two unlikely heroes, put together by circumstance, fate or whatever you prefer. I enjoyed those novels greatly and can hardly wait for the next installment. They, both the characters and the books, are clever, entertaining and feature very unobtrusive yet important morals.
Those novel have always hinted at what Michael might accomplish and what, to me, seems to rapidly become his magnum opus: The Legends of the First Empire

Calling the books of the Legends a prequel would be unfair because even though their narration predates Hadrian and Royce by far, they shine on their own. In Legends, Michael narrates slowly and patiently (at first at least!) how humanity rose to power beyond the elves, dwarves and other races around in his world. Is it actually Michael’s world, though?

I would laud his world building as brilliant and hardly ever matched. That would be wrong, though, because Michael didn’t just invent a world and built upon it; instead he cautiously took our world and gave it a living, breathing history. I can imagine how my great-grandparents lived but that’s pretty much it. Everything that came before them is a rather murky affair; I have read about earlier times and while it (sometimes) sated my curiosity, I never really “connected”. In countless museums I’ve seen in great detail how people from pretty much any period lived and that, too, was interesting on an intellectual level but I never felt pieces falling into place.

And then Michael came along: Starting from the day-to-day life in a small settlement to leveling entire mountains using magic, he tells us how we might have come to be. While Micheal is certainly most capable of painting said history with broad strokes, he has an immensely human understanding when to apply the small brushes and use tiny strokes to unerringly add details that fit in so neatly that you might not even notice them.

Every little details has its place and its meaning. Every character is a small world in itself and fits into the big picture or, actually, the piece of art Michael created (did you try burning something with your mind yet, Michael? 😉 ) and you’ll understand them, feel with them, sometimes want to shout at them or grab and shake them.

Speaking of characters: Michael’s characters are far from Aragorn, Gandalf or any other heroic types. Michael’s heroes are you and me, everyone. Most characters actually do what they do because they simply have no viable alternative. They don’t want power, or lord over anyone or even create things – they just can’t help it.

Now, go and read those books – both you and they deserve it! ( )
  philantrop | Mar 4, 2019 |
Age of War continues the events begun in Age of Myth and continued in Age of Swords. The humans, or Rhunes, have risen from warring tribes living a primitive existence to a cohesive force capable of confronting the elves, or Fhrey, in battle. Formerly believing the Fhrey to be gods, they now realize that Fhrey can die and view the humans as a threat to be exterminated. With the help of the Fhrey, Nyphron, the humans led by Persephone, see the great elven fortress near the border of human territory surrendered. This provokes the Fhrey leader, Fane Lothian, to stir and come deal with the human problem himself. Just as the humans have learned that the Fhrey are not invincible gods, Lothian must learn that humans are more than the animals he has believed them to be.

Age of War continues to develop strong characters both among the human and the elven cast. Politics play a role on both sides, although more so among the Fhrey, where there is something of a split both among the magic-wielding Miralyith and the non-magic Galantians. The humans and the Fhrey move closer to a battle in which the humans are horrible outclassed, dependent on superior strategy and a couple of secret weapons of their own: the invention of steel weapons and a human who can wield magic.

The humans have the more developed and sympathetic characters, from the mystic Suri, to the inventer Roan, the pessimistic warrior Raithe who is in love with their leader Persephone. Persephone herself is torn between her own feelings for Raithe and her duty to her people, which may be better served by the loveless marriage offered to her by Nyphron as part of an alliance between the humans and the Galantians. Sacrifice is a key theme in this book and this series, making the battle that the entire novel is marching towards even more fraught with tension. This battle may be the first step in redefining the power structure of an entire world, or it may be humanities last stand.

The audio version of the book is narrated by Tim Gerrard Reynolds, who does his usual outstanding job in breathing life into the material. Reynolds’ pacing is impeccable, bringing excitement to the action sequences and solemnity to the quiet moments. His voicing and inflection of the characters convey their distinct personalities, social standing and mood. Another superb job of narration.

This is not a jumping off point for anyone unfamiliar with the series, but it will be certain to entertain fans of the series.

I was provided a copy of this audiobook by the publisher. ( )
  tottman | Oct 16, 2018 |
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In AGE OF WAR, the battle between humankind and the cruel, god-like beings who once ruled them finally ignites. And it will be up to Persephone--the first woman to lead her tribe--to become the hero that the world needs.

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