Cover Image: Age of War

Age of War

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It was exactly as good as I expected a Michael J Sullivan book to be. Wonderful. Really great stuff.
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I pre-ordered the audiobook from Audible and also got an ebook copy from Netgalley, so I was able to listen to the wonderful narration from Tim Gerard Reynolds and also read from the ebook. This third installment of the Legends of the Empire is my favorite so far. I'm looking forward to the next installment and wish it were out already!
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"Heroes are those who refuse to create or become victims. I failed to see it then, but I lived among many heroes. I think maybe everyone does." --THE BOOK OF BRIN 

In this third book of the Legends of the First Empire series our heroes are lamenting losses, but also preparing for war. Quite a few of them are hit with some pretty tough choices in this book. Persephone in particular did some things that I didn't like at all. I understood the reasoning behind her choice, just not the way she handled it and treated someone. This resulted in me liking her far less in this book. I was honestly disappointed in her.

That being said, I can't really think of any other negatives about this book. All my favorite characters were there and each contributed greatly to the story. There were twists that I didn't see coming and heartbreaking things that happened. Chapter 28 had me crying, but as I always say, the best fantasy stories break your heart a little. Each installment of this series has had a way of tugging at my heartstrings. The characters feel so real to me, and even though some of them have special gifts, they feel like ordinary people just doing what they have to do. Those are the best sort of heroes.

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of this book.
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Sullivan once again does not disappoint, Age of War kept me turning the pages and on the edge of my seat.
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This installment was the most serious of the series so far.  Our characters are established (and there aren't lots of new ones this time), and boy do they have some big obstacles to overcome - like how do the primitive humans fight the much more powerful Frey!?  I loved the some of the character progression/reveals, and others just tore at my emotions.  It is one of those books that now that I'm done, I'll need to pause and think for awhile :)
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The Fane and the Fhrey loyal to him intend to wipe out Nyphron, his followers, and all of humanity. Nyphron is preparing to use humanity to overthrow the Fane and take over the Fhrey. In order to do that Nyphron needs the keenig Persephone and he proposes marriage to her in order to gain control over humanity through her. Persephone, despite her feelings, seriously considers the proposal to protect her people from the wrath of the Fane. The Age of War is upon them all and sacrifices must be made in order to survive.

Age of War is so so good. This was one of those books that kept me reading late at night and early in the morning. Sleep simply wasn't necessary while I was reading Age of War. I never imagined I could enjoy a prequel book so much and it's making me want to reread Percepliquis because I just know I'm missing all kinds of tie-ins.

If the deaths in Age of Swords were too heavy a weight for anyone to bear then be warned that Age of War may leave people crying. The weight of events picks up significantly as Nyphron reclaims Alon Rhist. He allows those inside the choice to simply do nothing rather than attempting to capture or kill The Galantians. His fellow Instarya agree and war preparations on both sides begin. Persephone is forced to deal with the various Rhunes, their needs, and distrust for one another.

The world building, tie-ins from Riyria Revelations, and the characters really made the book stellar. The world is growing steadily and Michael J. Sullivan does an excellent job bringing his various writings about this world together. The characters are amazing, but in Age of War one stood out to me most. That character is Tesh. The starved Dureyan survivor has taken his chieftain's advice and is learning all he can about the Fhrey in order to exact revenge. Tesh trains seemingly endlessly and his progress is showing. He's become one of the best archers and has gained the name Techylor from the great Sebek for his prowess with a sword.

Age of War is a great story and a necessary book for anyone who enjoys Michael J. Sullivan's writing in the Riyria world.

5 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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4.5/5. Age of War, the third installment of this series picks up right where the second left off. The action in the final 1/3 of the book was fantastic and I appreciate the chapters varying from points of view to get the whole picture of the Battle of Grandford. Sullivan's characters continue to grow and his world building is phenomenal Like Suri, I was not prepared for the ending, but, like Suri, I saw the necessity and powered through. My fear is Suri will wall herself from the rest of humanity and the world, and we did see a bit of foreshadowing in that regard. My hope is there will be someone or some event to break down that wall in the next 2 installments., There is always loss in war, but it was still hard to lose two of my favorite characters.  Their loss made me feel all the feels!
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The third book in the Legends of the First Empire series is one of the best! I had a little trouble picking up the strings of the story at first but soon was totally immersed in the adventure as our friends and heroes head into war. An epic battle is waged between humans and the godlike Fhrey at the fortress Alon Rhist, but it is soon obvious that heroism and bravery is not enough. It will be whose magic is more crafty and powerful. In the end, what sacrifices will be called for and who will step up? 

These stories have great heart too. The most touching quote for me came from the god killer Raithe while wiping tears from his eyes after he'd had his heart broken: "There's just no winning for some people. Doesn't matter if you do everything right. Once the gods hate you, there's no happiness that can be achieved and hope is just another torture." 

Highly recommend this series for lovers of fantasy and adventure. Great strong characters, including many resourceful and brave women. Heroism knows no boundaries. 

I received an arc from the publisher via NetGalley for my honest review. Many thanks! I am looking forward to the next three books in the series.
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Deeper and darker…

I just love this whole series so far, and what a reminder! To do this book justice and remind myself of the story so far, I went back and read the first two books, Age of of Myth and Age of Swords before leaping into this latest tome. It was an engrossing binge-fest to add Age of War to the mix as the storyline became deeper and darker and even more fascinating. I’m not entirely sure I can separate the stories from between the three books now, since reading them so quickly back to back, but happily, Age of War plunges right back into the midst of the story with one of my favorite characters, Suri, as she waits for Arion to awaken, and she and Michael J. Sullivan hit the ground running and never let up.

Sullivan pulls off what is one of my favorite styles of writing, where the story just keeps getting twistier and mystery stacks upon mystery as the story unfolds to be a much larger mythology than it felt like at the beginning of the tale. Sullivan’s writing improves with each book, as does his plotting. While there are a few too-telegraphed reveals, that’s a minor quibble when so many strands of the tapestry are coming together on so many story levels in such a satisfying way.

While there are many important characters, each is fleshed out well, except where the needs of the mystery intervene, and the world-building is comprehensive, immersive, and believable. There are many strong female characters in this book: Suri is an incredibly powerful Rhune mystic, Roan is a Asperger-y inventor, Moya is a fierce warrior, Persephone is a chieftain’s wife who’s united the Rhune tribes beneath her as keenig, Arion is a Fhrey/elf mystic and Sure’s mentor who has changed sides and now defends the Rhune against the Fhrey, Brin is the keenig’s Keeper of Ways who’s reinvented writing, and Padera is a grouchy old Rhune healer who has hidden motivation for her treatment of a young crippled character. Well, I could go on, plus add in the male characters, but I’ll only mention a few. Raithe continues with honor in this book, while Nyphron provides even more mystery, and a certain someone who shows up in a garden in other places is revealed to be even more mysterious. I’m also questioning if a certain Fhrey lady is who she seems to be.

Overall, an excellent read, I’d say incredibly fun, except this book is so dark at times it left me alternately spent and crying at those spots. And yet, through the bleak darkness, there was always a reason to continue, a reason to have hope. In the end, I was left very pleased with how the story was fleshing out and yet also just so ready to plunge into the next book. Can’t wait to read it! Carry on, Mr. Sullivan; we’re waiting! Highly recommended.

I received this book as an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) through NetGalley. My opinions are my own.
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I received an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review. 

This series just keeps getting better! The story continues with Persephone taking up the mantle of Keenig and walking right into a war with the Fhrey. 

Pros:
Character and World development were on point.
Story was pretty engaging and faced paced most of the time.
Love the direction the story is headed and can't wait to read more.
It made me cry. I don't like crying but I like that Michael was able to draw me into the world enough to make me feel that strongly about it.

Cons: 
The first chapter seemed a little wooden. IDK why. May have just been me but I am going to reread and see if I can pin it down.
The Gifford trope seemed way overplayed to the point of being irritating. I hated his chapters.
It wasn't long enough! I would actually like more chapters based in the Fhrey world.
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