Age of Legend (The Legends of the First Empire, #4)
Each culture has its own myths and legends, but only one is shared, and it is feared by all. With Age of Myth, Age of Swords, and Age of War, fantasy master Michael J. Sullivan riveted readers with a tale of unlikely heroes locked in a desperate battle to save mankind. After years of warfare, humanity has gained the upper hand and has pushed the Fhrey to the edge of their homeland, but no farther. Now comes the pivotal moment. Persephone’s plan to use the stalemate to seek peace is destroyed by an unexpected betrayal that threatens to hand victory to the Fhrey and leaves a dear friend in peril. Her only hope lies in the legend of a witch, a forgotten song, and a simple garden door.

Age of Legend (The Legends of the First Empire, #4) Details

TitleAge of Legend (The Legends of the First Empire, #4)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 9th, 2019
PublisherGrim Oak Press
Rating
GenreFantasy, Fiction, Epic Fantasy

Age of Legend (The Legends of the First Empire, #4) Review

  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    As people may know, I don't write reviews of my own books, but I do use this space to update people on status...so here I am.May 29, 2019: I can't believe how long it's been since my last update, and I apologize for the lack of communication. Part of the problem is my 97-year-old mom was in decline and passed away in early April. As part of that, my brother has come to live with Robin and I in Virginia and we are going through a lot of issues trying to get through all that comes with both of tho As people may know, I don't write reviews of my own books, but I do use this space to update people on status...so here I am.May 29, 2019: I can't believe how long it's been since my last update, and I apologize for the lack of communication. Part of the problem is my 97-year-old mom was in decline and passed away in early April. As part of that, my brother has come to live with Robin and I in Virginia and we are going through a lot of issues trying to get through all that comes with both of those events. Still, time marches on and a lot has been happening. Here are some highlights.1. The Kickstarter was a huge success (2,553 backers pledged $110,865). This makes it one of only 5 fiction projects to ever pass six-figures, and it's the 2nd most backed fiction project of all time.2. Backers of the Kickstarter read the book starting April 9th.3. The books have been printed and are in the bindery right now. We expect them to be shipped around 6/4 and we should have copies in our hands around that time.4. For those who want to get the book a bit before the release date (and have their copies signed), we'll add the book to our bookstore as soon as we have books available.5. Age of Legend was selected by Goodreads as one of their Hottest Books of the Summer - given the great titles coming out now, and the vast number of books, this is a HUGE honor, and it has a lot to do with people "shelving" the book - so thank you for everyone who has done so and expressed an interest.6. If you need recaps of the firsts three books, you can find them here.7. We will be running a Goodreads Giveaway for Age of Legend starting June 1, so keep your eyes open for that.Well, that's a big update, and I think I hit the major points. It's getting exciting, and I can't wait for the book to be "out there" for everyone to read.March 18, 2019: Well, just 26 more hours on the Kickstarter and it's gone amazingly well. We broke the $100,000 mark (only 4 other fiction Kickstarters have done that) and we became the 2nd-most backed fiction Kickstarter of all time). We've hit 7 stretch goals, so there are a lot more bonus perks for backers. You can check them all out on the Kickstarter page. And, heck, if you want the book 3 months early, consider backing it!March 4, 2019: A lot has been going on! (1) We finished the beta test - which went really well, and the changes have been incorporated. (2) We have copy edits back from Laura and Linda is working on her changes, these should be back in sometime around mid to late March. (3) We started a Kickstarter...and it funded in 3 hours and 8 minutes! People who pre-order the book through the Kickstarter will get the ebook on April 9th -- that's 3 months before the July 9th release date. Plus, you'll see you name in print as it'll be included in the acknowledgments, and there are other Kickstarter perks like a Minna and Suri short story, screensavers, custom bookmarks, and much more. So, drop on over and take a look. We are currently the 17th most funded Kickstarter of all time, and if we raise another $1,197 we'll move up to the 15th spot! Septempber 27, 2018: I've received the final cover design from Marc Simonetti - and wow, is it amazing. I'm not sharing it just yet...I want to roll it out once the pre-order pages are up. And we are working on that now. But you'll be seeing it soon!March 19, 2018: And done! I've now turned over the new and revised version of Age of Legend to Robin. Hopefully, she'll like this better than the last round. More than any other book, this had some major restructuring and I now feel its on the right track. It'll probably be a bit before the beta for the book hits. Maybe a month while Robin reviews? Just thinking out loud here.Jan 6, 2018 Boy, how times flies! I JUST finished up my review of the copyedits for Age of War, and I'm thrilled with how that book turned out. With that out of the way it's time to turn my attention to final edits on this (and the remaining three books in the series). The plan is to get them into beta shortly after Age of War hits the street, so if you are interested in being a beta tester, here is a link where you can sign up. Robin has even more edits for me, and before she turns them over, she wants to go through the other three books one last time. But I should be able to start the editing soon, and I'll post an update when I do. July 2016: I just finished up edits on this, the fourth book of the new series. It's come in at 113,000 words and required a lot of editing based on alpha reader feedback from Robin. Of all the books, this one needed the most work and I'm really pleased with how it's come out. Part of the restructuring has meant that a lot of what was in this book now fits better in book #5 and I'm starting my edits on it now. That particular book has grown dramatically. Usually, my books tend to be 100,000 - 135,000 words in length but book #5 is currently at a 176,000! In general, I don't concern myself with the length of books. I just write what is needed to tell the story I want to tell and let the chips fall where they may. We'll see what the last book ends up like and whether any of the content added to book #5 ends up coming back to this book. But for now, the book is done and waiting for another read from Robin before going to beta testing.
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  • TS Chan
    January 1, 1970
    A brilliant sequel which fulfilled my eager anticipation and high expectations, Age of Legend takes the First Empire series to the next level of greatness with the promise of a showstopper by its finale.Age of Legend is structurally different from the continuous narrative in the preceding three volumes. This book has three sections; the first part is the shortest which deals with the immediate aftermath of the battle at Alon Rhist. The second section takes place one year after that, and there wi A brilliant sequel which fulfilled my eager anticipation and high expectations, Age of Legend takes the First Empire series to the next level of greatness with the promise of a showstopper by its finale.Age of Legend is structurally different from the continuous narrative in the preceding three volumes. This book has three sections; the first part is the shortest which deals with the immediate aftermath of the battle at Alon Rhist. The second section takes place one year after that, and there will be another five years' time leap for the third and largest part of the book. Without needing to go into too much detail and dragging the narrative, the three-part story enabled the reader to appreciate how protracted the war was between the Rhunes and the Fhreys, before going into the more portentous events. What a strange treasure is innocence, a virtue to the old and a curse to the young, so highly prized but eagerly parted with - the riches of beautiful skin traded for the wisdom of calluses. Each chapter is once again preceded by an excerpt from the in-world The Book of Brin, and the first being that of innocence lost after the first war between men and elves. These excerpts in the previous books tended to almost give too much away about the probable events in the ensuing chapter. In Age of Legend, however, they were more obscured and provided more of an impression or a feeling of what is to come, and I thought this was masterfully done. Sullivan's writing has also improved so much since Riyria, but that ease of immersion that feels like a welcoming embrace is still ever present. Reading a new book from him is akin to slipping into your favourite cosy sweater. But lo and behold, what is this hidden pocket that you just discovered? You may feel like you know Elan well, but you'll still be surprised by well-crafted revelations about its lore and history that surface at all the right moments.Sullivan became one of my favourite authors with the Riyria series through his innate skill of creating and writing characters that feel like good, old friends that you would want to revisit time and again. In the First Empire series, such intimate characterisation continues to be the hallmark of Sullivan's writing. There are no shortages of empathetic, three-dimensional characters, be it ones that you loved or despised. One individual which I found so unlikeable in the earlier books became such a sympathetic character that you couldn't help rooting for her. Then there was one whom I thought would be a beacon of honour, due to his legendary name, who turned out to be a viper fuelled by vindictive vengeance. As much as I can understand his motivations, it unnerved and shocked me. And I loved how Sullivan created real heroes from those whom you least expected. Not heroes of might and magic, but of steadfast courage born of compassion and loyalty. Squishy heart moments are aplenty in these books. Things that were obvious in the confines of the heart often failed to translate well when expressed through the inadequate filter of language. As mentioned by the author, this next phase of the series is made up of a single overarching plot over the final three books. As such, the plot did not progress as much as what we had in Age of War, which served as the first climax of the series. However, there was not once throughout the book which I felt bored in the slightest. The character development is so compelling and riveting that every moment and every page felt important. What I enjoyed most about the First Empire series was getting the unvarnished account of the events and true heroes that shaped the legends that were told three thousand years later.Given that Age of Legend is past the midway point of the series, I prefer not to make any mention about the plot at this stage except that it is working its way to a showstopping finale in a most engaging manner. Please note that this book ends with a cliffhanger of sorts, and I am thankful to know that the next two books are most likely to be released on an accelerated schedule.Age of Legend will be published on 9th July 2019. I received an early copy of the ebook as a Kickstarter backer. You can pre-order this book from: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Book Depository (Free shipping worldwide) You can also find this, and my other reviews at Novel Notions.
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  • Claudia
    January 1, 1970
    My first time to the author’s Kickstarter project and I must say I’ll be a regular one from now on because I got to read this book three months before its official publication. Yey!Sullivan’s books are like a cozy nook for me: comfortable, relaxing and mood improving, with extra bonuses such as joy, laugh and a great feeling overall.This fourth installment makes no exception; I missed this universe and I’m thrilled two more books are following.Unlike the previous volumes, this one ends with a cl My first time to the author’s Kickstarter project and I must say I’ll be a regular one from now on because I got to read this book three months before its official publication. Yey!Sullivan’s books are like a cozy nook for me: comfortable, relaxing and mood improving, with extra bonuses such as joy, laugh and a great feeling overall.This fourth installment makes no exception; I missed this universe and I’m thrilled two more books are following.Unlike the previous volumes, this one ends with a cliffhanger and there are more questions raised than answers, but that makes the fifth installment even more anticipated. Can’t detail more without giving spoilers for the others, so I’ll just say we get a fellowship-of-the-ring sort of quest, Malcolm’s identity is almost (!) revealed, a god from Riyria makes an appearance, Tressa becomes an important piece of the puzzle and Suri gets challenged as never before. Oh, and I am certain Fane Lothian name comes from ‘loathe’; his brat's too!Intrigued? Don’t miss this one.And if you need recaps for the first three books, here they are:https://firstempireseries.com/book-re...
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  • Terence
    January 1, 1970
    The war rages on until it reaches a stalemate. Persephone tries to forge a peace only to see her ambassador betrayed and taken captive. An unlikely group seeks a legend in order to save their friend.Age of Legend is an enjoyable book, but I just don't see how they could end it where they did. Worst of all it caught me completely off guard because I was only 86% of the way through the book according to my Kindle. I can't believe I have to wait another year at minimum to learn what happens next. T The war rages on until it reaches a stalemate. Persephone tries to forge a peace only to see her ambassador betrayed and taken captive. An unlikely group seeks a legend in order to save their friend.Age of Legend is an enjoyable book, but I just don't see how they could end it where they did. Worst of all it caught me completely off guard because I was only 86% of the way through the book according to my Kindle. I can't believe I have to wait another year at minimum to learn what happens next. That just kills me.Age of Legend has all the usual style and substance of Michael J. Sullivan. Excellent world building and thrilling plot points. I also love so many of the characters. They just complement one another so well. Persephone takes a major back seat as this book is largely carried by Brin and Tesh among others. The devotion between characters is truly touching as well.Age of Legend is a great book even if I'm disappointed with the cliffhanger ending.
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  • Audrey
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsBeta read: Jan to Feb 2019Gamma read: April 2019Me picking up a Michael Sullivan book:The truth is that everyone can achieve greatness, but many don’t try because they think of themselves as merely ordinary.This six-book series is sub-divided into two three-book arcs. This is the beginning of the second arc, which means the story heads into a very unexpected direction and has a bit of a cliffhanger. However, the next two books should be out rather quickly.This volume focuses the most on 4.5 starsBeta read: Jan to Feb 2019Gamma read: April 2019Me picking up a Michael Sullivan book:The truth is that everyone can achieve greatness, but many don’t try because they think of themselves as merely ordinary.This six-book series is sub-divided into two three-book arcs. This is the beginning of the second arc, which means the story heads into a very unexpected direction and has a bit of a cliffhanger. However, the next two books should be out rather quickly.This volume focuses the most on Brin and Tressa. The characters really make the story, but there are still plenty of twists and surprises. The ending was a real sock to the gut! It really is a story of Legend. Book Blog
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  • Tim
    January 1, 1970
    OK I am definitely weak, yes I was a Kickstarter backer and I thought I could wait for the actual physical release of Age of Legend. But I guess not as I just went through the book this weekend. I mean what else was I going to do after a blizzard rolled through and dumped nearly 2 feet of snow and stranding us in...********* WARNING THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS OF THE PRIOR BOOKS AHEAD ***********[and I will try to keep other spoilers to a minimum since well this is still nearly 3 months prior to of OK I am definitely weak, yes I was a Kickstarter backer and I thought I could wait for the actual physical release of Age of Legend. But I guess not as I just went through the book this weekend. I mean what else was I going to do after a blizzard rolled through and dumped nearly 2 feet of snow and stranding us in...********* WARNING THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS OF THE PRIOR BOOKS AHEAD ***********[and I will try to keep other spoilers to a minimum since well this is still nearly 3 months prior to official publication, and those who have read the original Riyria books some of these "spoilers" won't come as a surprise]Now this book definitely has a different feel than the other books in the Legends of the First Empire series. Where as the first 3 books happened in relatively short time, this comes away with multiple time jumps but Michael does explain that in the Author's Note in the beginning of the book and some of the reasons behind it.But as with the prior books the War between the Rhunes and the Fhrey is in full swing. The Battle of Granford is over and Fane Lothian has suffered a crushing defeat after the Raithe sacrificed himself to Suri in order to summon him back as a Gilarabrywn to bring destruction on the elven forces and force their retreat.Now it is time for Nyphron to lead the forces of the west in an offensive against the retreating elves. But as with all wars nothing ever goes according to plans. Engagements that often plan on taking days or weeks then turn into months and years.Relationships further bloom and those who you least expect to make a difference or even notice become those that will eventually hold the fate of all in their hands.And as with all wars scarifies are always to be found but they may not come in the form one suspects or sees coming. And when gods meddle in the affairs of the worlds all bets are off.Now I have to wait for Age of Death later this year, because the cliffhanger at the end makes me want to just scream why...
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  • Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    The good:If you have been enjoying the Legends of the First Empire so far, you're probably going to enjoy this and the newish direction it takes. In a very positive way, it is more of the same with many of the same characters, dealing with the aftermath of the big blow-out of the previous book and learning how to move forward. Brin gets a lot of page-time and I, for the most part, enjoyed these parts more than the rest. Writing about writing is fun.The bad, or rather, the indifferent:I just coul The good:If you have been enjoying the Legends of the First Empire so far, you're probably going to enjoy this and the newish direction it takes. In a very positive way, it is more of the same with many of the same characters, dealing with the aftermath of the big blow-out of the previous book and learning how to move forward. Brin gets a lot of page-time and I, for the most part, enjoyed these parts more than the rest. Writing about writing is fun.The bad, or rather, the indifferent:I just couldn't get into this book much. I found my mind wandering a lot, never connecting or caring much about most of the happenings or the characters. It might just be me or perhaps I'm getting slightly burned out on the series.It's a shame! I did enjoy quite a few parts of the previous tales, and this one has some pretty interesting, if very late, reveals that rallied my attention. I'm just not sure if I feel like it's worth it, tho. ; ;Who knows? Maybe the rather mythological new direction will appeal to a lot of ya'll.
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  • Maja Ingrid
    January 1, 1970
    4,5 starsI. NEED. AGE. OF. DEATH. NOW!- - - No spoilers, just short rant, because that's what I do best.Okay, so it's been some hours since i finished the book and I've been trying to, and failing, to gather my thoughts. It was a solid 4 through most of it, but the ending had me in pieces so bumped it up 0,5 stars and rounded up to a 5. It will likely remain at 5 because I'm still all over the place about it. It's not my favourite of the books, on the third place actually but it still deserves t 4,5 starsI. NEED. AGE. OF. DEATH. NOW!- - - No spoilers, just short rant, because that's what I do best.Okay, so it's been some hours since i finished the book and I've been trying to, and failing, to gather my thoughts. It was a solid 4 through most of it, but the ending had me in pieces so bumped it up 0,5 stars and rounded up to a 5. It will likely remain at 5 because I'm still all over the place about it. It's not my favourite of the books, on the third place actually but it still deserves to remain with the other 5 star-rated ones (Myth and War).The book starts where Age of War ended and you all know had that ended and it tore up old wounds and I was hurting A LOT. there's also bit of time jumps. Though it was handled in a good way I still wasn't too fond of it, mostly because I don't like time jumps. Plot is solid and I love the characters and the world Michael has created here. Suri will forever remain my fave, I adore her so, so much (also Suri and Auri from KKC would be the best friends and nothing can convince me otherwise). I also adore Brin, Roan and Gifford a lot. Then, HUGE cliffhanger. I don't deal with cliffhangers well and this one still has me seething every time I think about the stuff we got left on. Did I know it would end with a cliffhanger? YES! Michael even put a warning in the Author's Note. I WAS STILL NOT PREPARED. But you have been warned. Big cliffhanger that will ruin you. I took part in the Kickstarter. Official release date is July 7th.There will be Kickstarters for Age of Death and Empyre too! If you want to take part in those Michael is good at keeping updates on his website/newsletter as well as here on GR :)
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  • Hillary
    January 1, 1970
    After burning through all the of these in a week, I am a bit crushed that I must now wait. Time to reread the Royce and Hadrian escapades...
  • Calley Odum
    January 1, 1970
    Edit: I helped to fund the Kickstarter, so I have access to the ebook format. Told myself I would wait for the print. Didn’t happen.Obsessed? Me? Never.But yes, I finished this book in less than 24 hours, so maybe.This 4th installment is VERY different from the previous books in the series, both in content and style. First, There are a few year/multi year time jumps, which is... hmmm. It’s necessary, I think, given the time period and methods of warfare, to show how much of a slog war can be. Bu Edit: I helped to fund the Kickstarter, so I have access to the ebook format. Told myself I would wait for the print. Didn’t happen.Obsessed? Me? Never.But yes, I finished this book in less than 24 hours, so maybe.This 4th installment is VERY different from the previous books in the series, both in content and style. First, There are a few year/multi year time jumps, which is... hmmm. It’s necessary, I think, given the time period and methods of warfare, to show how much of a slog war can be. But it’s also a bit disappointing, in a FOMO sort of way. Like, suddenly Brin is 22, and Suri is a woman and you, the reader, *missed the f**k out* on all that time. They grew up, changed, matured (or didn’t, in Mawyendule’s case) without you. 😞Second, there are some POV changes. Persephone, for example, takes about 7 years outside of the spotlight. What we *do* see of her is... just life? This badass leader of humanity is just trying to get through raising a child and dealing with the guilt of letting the man she loved die. And... that’s it? Fortunately, this allows us to connect to other familiar faces, and they *are* worthwhile. I just miss my face-down-your-fears-with-compassion-and-wisdom Persephone. Third, the "quest like” portion of the book – which we’ve sort of gotten used to over the course of the last three books – is put on the back burner until the final 3rd of the novel, with a motley, if strange, crew of seven that you probably *would not* guess at as a team. This was probably my favorite portion — it was also the most linear, and occurred over the smallest timeframe, which I don’t think was a coincidence. My point is, if you feel a lag in the middle, stick it out. Lastly, we get a LOT more world lore than previous books. Any questions you’ve had about manes and leshees, raow and witches, Gods and doors — it’s about to be answered. I think we should expect even more of this in the 5th book. This is the upshot to those massive timeskips - you get to watch movement happen through the world. Now, maybe the world lore only felt complete to me because I’ve read all of Sullivan’s other books (all of them. Every single one. Fight me.) but suddenly there are a bunch of connections I’m making to other books. I’ve got a guess on who the “spirit” from Death of Dulgath is!!!Anyway... umm.... read this book!
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  • Scott Pare
    January 1, 1970
    I loved it. The only thing I have to say I didn't like . . .IT WAS TOO SHORT.I'm proud to have supported Michael in self-funding this book though and look forward to the next book in the series.
  • Rachael
    January 1, 1970
    Intense ending to a fun book! Even forewarned of a cliffhanger it was still shocking. Also the whole book was wonderful and well done. Definitely 100% interesting. Great pacing, great characters. Not perfect (not enough Persephone!) and definitely very ambitious but I’m such a sucker for this world and I’m thrilled that each installment gets better and better. I can see readers having difficulty with the time jumps. But the war is LONG and I don’t want to read 5 years with no forward progress, s Intense ending to a fun book! Even forewarned of a cliffhanger it was still shocking. Also the whole book was wonderful and well done. Definitely 100% interesting. Great pacing, great characters. Not perfect (not enough Persephone!) and definitely very ambitious but I’m such a sucker for this world and I’m thrilled that each installment gets better and better. I can see readers having difficulty with the time jumps. But the war is LONG and I don’t want to read 5 years with no forward progress, so I think it was definitely the right call. But, without spoilers, I was disappointed where roan & giffords relationship was after all those years, as well as Tesh&Brins anddd again we needed way more Persephone. But basically I love every moment of this series and would like the next one now please and thank you!
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  • Jess
    January 1, 1970
    Not my favorite installment to the series but really good nonetheless. The pacing felt really fast and the (cliffhanger) ending snuck up on me before I knew it, so obviously now I'm dying for the next book!
  • Jonas
    January 1, 1970
    Beta read, temporary review. The score I'm giving is for the book on its own. The book within the series is alas my least favorite so far, within the series it will have to be a 3/5, but that doesn't mean this is a bad book. In comparison to the others I found the delivery to be a bit lacking, I didn't feel satisfied when I finished the book. I think just one chapter more would have done it for me. The story itself is a buildup to 2 separate events, both of which get answered in a way but leave Beta read, temporary review. The score I'm giving is for the book on its own. The book within the series is alas my least favorite so far, within the series it will have to be a 3/5, but that doesn't mean this is a bad book. In comparison to the others I found the delivery to be a bit lacking, I didn't feel satisfied when I finished the book. I think just one chapter more would have done it for me. The story itself is a buildup to 2 separate events, both of which get answered in a way but leave you wanting for more. The cliffhanger is a nice thing but tricky, and here it didn't fit for me. The characters are bright again. They all gain a bit more juice but some still need development. Locations.. not a lot of them actually. Most were previously visited or just not really special. One new place is fun though!Timeline.. there are some timeskips here. which I don't really mind but it does feel like for some characters, it hasn't really skipped. It feels a bit odd sometimes.All in all a great addition to the series. I guess it needs a book like this to set the tone for the next ones to come. Looking forward to them.Thanks again for this opportunity! I really enjoyed the reading. Most fun beta read I've had so far.
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  • Wulf Krueger
    January 1, 1970
    “Time had sneaked in and stolen her recklessness.” Michael J. Sullivan has done it again: He has written a book that doesn’t need to hide behind any other work in contemporary fantasy. His latest masterpiece, Age of Legend, the Kickstarter of which I had the honour to participate in, begins after the Battle of Grandford at the end of the previous book, Age of War. This makes “Age of Legend” the fourth book in Michael’s “The Legends of the First Empire” series which I whole-heartedly recommend t “Time had sneaked in and stolen her recklessness.” Michael J. Sullivan has done it again: He has written a book that doesn’t need to hide behind any other work in contemporary fantasy. His latest masterpiece, Age of Legend, the Kickstarter of which I had the honour to participate in, begins after the Battle of Grandford at the end of the previous book, Age of War. This makes “Age of Legend” the fourth book in Michael’s “The Legends of the First Empire” series which I whole-heartedly recommend to, well, actually anyone who reads. (In fact, my wife isn’t really into fantasy but thoroughly enjoyed Michael’s Riyria books.) I already wrote it in the review for the previous book but this latest instalment solidifies this feeling: More and more, “Legends” turns into Michael’s magnum opus. The Riyria books, which are fairly different from Legends, are undoubtedly great but the narrative depth of Legends is absolutely remarkable. Michael gets pretty much everything right and this starts even before the actual book with his “Author’s Note”: “Now, there are a few things in this second half that I’ve done differently than my other books, and I want to warn you about them in advance.” This is expectation management done right – before we even get started Michael informs us about what he has done differently. I love his transparency. The main part of the book again takes us to the war of the Rhunes against the Fhrey and lets us accompany our heroes Persephone, Suri, Brin, Gifford and the others in their global as well as their personal struggles. True, some of them take a backseat compared to the earlier books but to me at least this feels completely natural – there's so much story to tell that the narration has to concentrate on slightly fewer characters. Some of them grow far beyond what I expected (and they themselves!) and some fall short of their own expectations. Michael is a master of characterisation, though, and consequently, those characters he focusses on truly come to life and “feel” real, alive. Literally nobody here is perfect, none of them are spotless white-vested heroes. As do we all, our heroes struggle – against their own fallibility, their doubts and, of course, an enemy who considers them animals. Among all the considerable developments in this book, Michael never loses his touch for careful world building, e. g. a very simple question... “I noticed a number of carts being lashed to horses outside. What’s that all about?” … leads us to the invention of chariots. Just as in the earlier books this is executed brilliantly. And while all this plays out about 3000 years before Riyria and, thus, long before our time, Michael carefully makes us think of contemporary challenges but never preaches or lectures us: “The dwarf?” Malcolm paused and thought a moment. “Well, I wasn’t referring to him specifically. But now that you bring it up, I should point out that you run the risk of painting a whole race with the same ugly brush, which could have unexpected consequences in the future.” I think Michael’s greatest gift and the key to understanding his work but especially “The Legends of the First Empire” is his empathy. The downtrodden, the despised – however deserved that may be – are not beyond redemption. This deeply human attitude is part of what makes me love his books: “Empathy—the ability to understand and appreciate the feelings of others—is the cornerstone of civilization and the foundation of our relationships. Lack of it . . . well, lack of empathy is as close to a definition of evil that I can come up with.” In the beginning, I already referred to Michael doing Kickstarter projects for his latest works (and even this he does pretty much perfectly). Kickstarter projects are great for this kind of stuff – the author finally gets more than just a meagre share of the proceedings and we, the readers, get to read the book earlier at the very least and, if committing by pledging higher amounts, lots of other goodies. I certainly wish more authors would make such good use of Kickstarter. So, if you’re into fantasy go ahead and read Michael J. Sullivan’s fantastic books!
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  • Vigasia
    January 1, 1970
    I give this book 4 stars not five, because most of action in the later parts is basen on one very stupid decision. And as most as I love all the characters, it's too obvious how easily all of what happened could be avoided. I can't write more to not spoil anything, but the main event leading to the adventure of our heroes seemed to me to be written this way only for them to have a reason to go into danger and it bothered me a little.Despite this one issue I still really liked this book. It's har I give this book 4 stars not five, because most of action in the later parts is basen on one very stupid decision. And as most as I love all the characters, it's too obvious how easily all of what happened could be avoided. I can't write more to not spoil anything, but the main event leading to the adventure of our heroes seemed to me to be written this way only for them to have a reason to go into danger and it bothered me a little.Despite this one issue I still really liked this book. It's hard not to when you can again meet so many wonderful people you've known for a while and see how they grew through years. Age of Legend is divided in three parts:- part I takes place after events from book III- part II takes place one year later;- part III (the longest) takes place 6 years later.This novel is obviously kind of middle-series installment, a little slower-paced with plot that isn't so big, but leading to some bigger things we hopefully get to see in the next book.Legends of the First Empire is one of my all time favourites series, and though I think that Age of Legend may be the weakest so far, I see a lot of potential to the future story and even my complaints didn't much influenced my enjoyment of reading. I believe in Michael J Sullivan who can create brilliant characters, interesting plots and wrap it all in a beautifull prose. Age of Legend ended with cliffhanger and I can't wait to put my hands on the continuation of the story.
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  • Kati
    January 1, 1970
    4/5This was another excellent addition to the Legends series, but it did fall short of the other novels. I think it would have landed better with me to have a shorter novella bridging 3 and 4 since there was such a time gap early on in the book. The jump hurt my immersion in the world and made some of the character developments feel hollow. (view spoiler)[It also took away from Persephone's inner turmoil with marrying Nyphron to fulfill her duties as keenig while also harboring resentment, regre 4/5This was another excellent addition to the Legends series, but it did fall short of the other novels. I think it would have landed better with me to have a shorter novella bridging 3 and 4 since there was such a time gap early on in the book. The jump hurt my immersion in the world and made some of the character developments feel hollow. (view spoiler)[It also took away from Persephone's inner turmoil with marrying Nyphron to fulfill her duties as keenig while also harboring resentment, regret, and a broken heart over the death of Raithe. We essentially missed the character arc where she comes to terms with her inevitable marriage, and also missed the important decision of trying to have a child with Nyphron. Being that a Fhrey/Rhune marriage and child had never occurred before, these felt like very important plot points that were largely glossed over. (hide spoiler)] I was able to get back into the world after a few chapters, but the abruptness took away from my experience as a reader.After the jump, we also got very different character perspectives from the other books. While I enjoyed the character development we saw in Tesh, Tekchin, Moya, and Tressa, I did miss Persephone's voice, which had filled the void left by other characters' deaths. The cliffhanger ending was also disappointing compared to other books, but that's probably more due to my anticipation of #5's release - if I had the next book to start right away, it wouldn't have bothered me in the least.
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  • Koeur
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 4.4/5Review: It is interesting, at least to me, how all of the reviews that are 3 stars or less have no written content. Takes me back to the time I was a Beta reader for team Sullivan; when if you are more than honest about the content, you are summarily dismissed. As a lot of effort and time goes into Beta reading any expectations about receiving summary novels in the series are quickly quashed by the lack. Self-centered doesn’t quite describe that behavior but I suck too with having a Rating: 4.4/5Review: It is interesting, at least to me, how all of the reviews that are 3 stars or less have no written content. Takes me back to the time I was a Beta reader for team Sullivan; when if you are more than honest about the content, you are summarily dismissed. As a lot of effort and time goes into Beta reading any expectations about receiving summary novels in the series are quickly quashed by the lack. Self-centered doesn’t quite describe that behavior but I suck too with having any expectations.The first in this series was a dismal failure what with Persephone, well, being Persephone and the publisher did not approve any subsequent novels up until this one. Too bad, as this was very good. Not Riryria good but still compelling. What this author excels at is developing characters over the course of a fast paced story line and even the newly introduced are woven into the mix and imbued with deep character. Very deft writing for sure.I had a good time reading this despite my personal failures at forgiveness, and this might have received the full 5-star accolade, but there are gaps from the previous novels that needs filling. Perhaps once satisfied, then I can revisit this review with the alacrity it deserves.
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  • Ron
    January 1, 1970
    “Suri sat alone with a sword across her lap, staring at what most would call a dragon, but which the onetime mystic of Dahl Rhen saw as a fragment of her broken heart.” The opening of a monumental work. As Sullivan explains in his Author’s Note, this book opens a trilogy similar to the three volumes of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The comparison is both apt and misleading. Apt because the struggle described is both intimate and cosmic, and misleading because Elan is a very different world than M “Suri sat alone with a sword across her lap, staring at what most would call a dragon, but which the onetime mystic of Dahl Rhen saw as a fragment of her broken heart.” The opening of a monumental work. As Sullivan explains in his Author’s Note, this book opens a trilogy similar to the three volumes of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The comparison is both apt and misleading. Apt because the struggle described is both intimate and cosmic, and misleading because Elan is a very different world than Middle Earth, reflecting the difference between Tolkien’s nineteenth century worldview and Sullivan’s twenty-first century. Legend lacks the cosmic clash of good versus evil but has more depth of many characters.“Crazy was only crazy … until it happened.” To draw the reader deep into the inner conflicts and manifest the misunderstandings, Sullivan tells the story from inside the consciousness of a dozen different characters. It’s confusing, but worth the effort. He manages to give different voices--certainly inner dialogue--to many of them. Still, the reader must work to stay engaged and clear on whose head is the current viewpoint.“Things that were obvious in the confines of the heart often failed to translate well when expressed through the inadequate filter of language.”Read and heed the Author's Note. Potential readers should not start this volume without having previously read Age of Myth, Age of Swords, and Age of War. He also explains why this book ends so abruptly and promises the subsequent volumes will become available soon. Hope so.“Sometimes our need to believe blinds us to reality, and sometimes seeing reality blinds us to what we need to believe.” (Appreciate the link to the high-resolution online map. Maps, especially in ereader versions, are often unreadable.)“Now that I knew where the legend came from and the truth behind the tales, I can see why we were taught what we were. But we had it wrong. So very wrong. Truth, I learned, is so much more terrifying than myth.”
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  • Alex
    January 1, 1970
    Gamma reader over here.I’ve been enjoying Michael J. Sullivan’s work since I sampled The Death of Dulgath a few years ago. I’m ashamed to say that I still haven’t caught up on all of Royce and Hadrian’s adventures, and this is only my second Legends of the First Empire book. I read Age of War last year, also as a gamma reader. Predictably, since it was the third of a planned six-book series, it was a slightly overwhelming and confusing experience without any prior knowledge of the plot or charac Gamma reader over here.I’ve been enjoying Michael J. Sullivan’s work since I sampled The Death of Dulgath a few years ago. I’m ashamed to say that I still haven’t caught up on all of Royce and Hadrian’s adventures, and this is only my second Legends of the First Empire book. I read Age of War last year, also as a gamma reader. Predictably, since it was the third of a planned six-book series, it was a slightly overwhelming and confusing experience without any prior knowledge of the plot or characters.After this one, though, I fully intend to go back and read the first two in the series to fill in the gaps.I borderline loved this book and would happily give it 4.5 stars if half stars were a thing on Goodreads. The truth is, I didn’t expect to feel this way after the disorienting experience of all of the battles and characters coming at me one after another in the previous entry of this epic. Yet, despite that, this story felt warm and familiar, especially since it really slowed things down to focus on character relationships and conversations about plot details and emotions.When a book does this, it can feel like an exercise in exposition. And though there might be people disappointed by the lack of battles, this book is not without action—it’s just that most of the movements take place inside of the characters, as their histories are discussed, and they carry the weight of the things they’ve gone through and continue to go through separately and together. I loved the Tetlin Witch. I loved Tressa. I loved Brin. I even loved the cold-hearted Moya. I’m even developing sympathy for the son of the evil Fane, Mawyndule. These characters feel lived in for me, and while they physically don’t go too far in this book—except perhaps at the very end—they travel through their own doubts, fears, prejudices, preconceptions, beliefs, and perspectives, questioning everything and leaving no stone unturned. If you enjoy books with a heavy emphasis on character relationships and the struggles and challenges of simply existing among others and reconciling your past and present self, this is an excellent book. Just don’t make the same mistake I did, and start the series from the beginning. Can’t wait to read the next one! And I’ve now got a year to catch up on the ones I’ve already missed. This was a really good one, Michael. Keep ‘em coming.
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  • Will Todd
    January 1, 1970
    Over the last week, I have had the privilege of gamma reading Michael's latest installment of the First Empire series. Admittedly, I found the previous two novels somewhat lacking...and I'm not quite sure what wasn't clicking with me. I am starting to think it was because books 2&3, while interesting, are building blocks to get to the meat of the story. I won't assign fault to that at all. But let me tell you, Age of Legend definitely leaves you chewing on some wonderfully marbled meat. Befo Over the last week, I have had the privilege of gamma reading Michael's latest installment of the First Empire series. Admittedly, I found the previous two novels somewhat lacking...and I'm not quite sure what wasn't clicking with me. I am starting to think it was because books 2&3, while interesting, are building blocks to get to the meat of the story. I won't assign fault to that at all. But let me tell you, Age of Legend definitely leaves you chewing on some wonderfully marbled meat. Before tonight, I had only cried once while reading a novel: a few years ago when I read The Book Thief. Age of Legends makes two. When you get to the end, you'll understand why. I've experienced some heartache very recently, as has Michael & his family. I can't imagine what it's like losing a mother. So my wishes, my thoughts, and my heart goes out to him and his family. Michael often has a way with words, making you laugh, gasp, or roll your eyes (in a 'this-character-would-so-do-that-thing-wouldn't-he??' sort of way). But he also can get under your skin, down to your soul. He says in one simple sentence what has been tearing at my heart for months.So thank you, Michael. Thank you for allowing me to help improve this novel ever so slightly with my input and suggestions. And thank you for giving words to the confusing thoughts and feelings that have been erratically spinning in my mind and heart. Credence.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    This book isn't the best in the series to date...but it was definitely a necessary installment. It covers a lot of ground quickly and we were pre-warned that it skips ahead a number of years, which I think made the book feel like it was over too soon. Besides this, it was great to see our favourite characters grow and the world of Elan expand. You can tell there's still a lot to happen and I'm glad the last two books will be coming out in quick succession! And that ending.... sooo intense!!
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  • Chad Harrison
    January 1, 1970
    I'm always amazed by Michael J. Sullivan's books. There's something about the things that he chooses to focus on that irritates me. In the First Empire series it's, for some reason, ridiculous explanations of how a couple of people invented everything, from writing to archery to individual English words. It's just a side thing that pops up every once in a while, but man it gets on my nerves, and it makes the book lose a star. (Michael, I know how active you are on Goodreads, so if you're reading I'm always amazed by Michael J. Sullivan's books. There's something about the things that he chooses to focus on that irritates me. In the First Empire series it's, for some reason, ridiculous explanations of how a couple of people invented everything, from writing to archery to individual English words. It's just a side thing that pops up every once in a while, but man it gets on my nerves, and it makes the book lose a star. (Michael, I know how active you are on Goodreads, so if you're reading this, sorry!)But despite that, I loved the story and really enjoyed the characters. You can tell that Sullivan loves this world that he's built. This is a really interesting and satisfying continuation of the story told in the first three books, and I'm looking forward to reading the last two!
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  • Phillip Olive
    January 1, 1970
    Great book, though he totally left it on a cliff hanger, I hope to be reading book 5 very very soon.
  • Matthew
    January 1, 1970
    As usual, I'm drawn into the world and characters created by Sullivan and am left wanting more.
  • Pete Vagiakos
    January 1, 1970
    You had to use that kind of ending, didn't you Michael... Easy 5 stars; setting up bigger things and answers start appearing in the horizon. I likey.
  • Jesper Pettersen
    January 1, 1970
    Once again I'm pulled wholehearted and headfirst into the Legends of the First Empire, and what a truly wonderful read this was! And as usual with Michaels books, there was laughter, suspense, anger, revelations and one or two (very manly) tears shed in the process.Even though I was aware of the potential of a cliffhanger ending....wow, just wow!Got this e-book as a backer of the Kickstarter, and can't wait to sign up for the next installment: Age of Death.
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  • Katherine
    January 1, 1970
    Another entertaining fantasy novel by Michael J. Sullivan. I enjoy his writing and am eager for him to publish more books.
  • Chris Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    Age of Legend continues a story set at the beginning of the realm that eventually becomes the setting for the Ryria chronicles. Unlike most prequel series that I've come across this particular origin story is interesting and entertaining. The characters are deep and intriguing, each voice different from each other and different from its earlier written sequel. This book in particular was no exception to that. As always Sullivan writes interesting dynamics between his characters, relationships an Age of Legend continues a story set at the beginning of the realm that eventually becomes the setting for the Ryria chronicles. Unlike most prequel series that I've come across this particular origin story is interesting and entertaining. The characters are deep and intriguing, each voice different from each other and different from its earlier written sequel. This book in particular was no exception to that. As always Sullivan writes interesting dynamics between his characters, relationships and the world itself feel natural without sacrificing the mystical. There are enough touchstones and tie ins to the much later series without it being too much, it feels like a fairly accurate depiction of how much history skews based upon what parts are remembered, what is forgotten and what is written over by the victors. If I had one complaint, and I'm hesitant to say it as we are warned in the preface that this book is paced more as 3 parts of a single book rather than 3 books in a series, it is that this book essentially takes us from beginning to another beginning with very little closure in between. Minor characters are slightly changed from start to finish but it didnt end with much satisfaction in any of the storylines. Each is once again sitting at the beginning of their respective quests that were ultimately begun in the opening pages. The journey to get to this point was, of course, interesting. Sullivan is fantastic at giving us reasons to care about his characters, but in a book that spans 7 years of time I dislike the feeling that I've barely made it through what would be chapter 1 of a book. Frodo's is just getting to the edge of the shire, rand althor is reaching edmunds field, vin has met kelsier. I have no doubt the next books will be equal to what remained of those stories but that feels where we are in this adventure, the start of everything.All in all as enjoyable as ever, brin and tressa, tesh and his techylors, mawndule and the elves are all beginning fantastic arcs in their stories and I expect the ending of this series will be as wonderful and explosive as all of the previous stories. I do wish this ended with at least a few knots being tied but knowing it will be a truncated publishing schedule and a brief wait only for the next part of the tale eases my frustration quite a bit.
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  • Marie
    January 1, 1970
    I swear I'd only just gotten invested in the story when it ended *sigh*. Kindle books can be deceiving because without looking ahead one can't really know when it's going to end. This book was one such surprise - ending with a major cliff hanger at 86%. I don't really mind cliffhangers though some are harder to deal with then others. In this case it was more like - well, that happened ... rather then Nooooo! when is the next book coming out! I will definitely read on but even here in book four a I swear I'd only just gotten invested in the story when it ended *sigh*. Kindle books can be deceiving because without looking ahead one can't really know when it's going to end. This book was one such surprise - ending with a major cliff hanger at 86%. I don't really mind cliffhangers though some are harder to deal with then others. In this case it was more like - well, that happened ... rather then Nooooo! when is the next book coming out! I will definitely read on but even here in book four am having a difficult time caring about most of the characters. At this point I've mostly given up making a connection with anyone.This book is very Brin-centric which is fine because she's one of the more interesting characters - she's at her best in the chapter heading quotes though (she's less dimensional in the story itself). A few of the other featured characters are like fingernails on a chalk board - I get that I'm not supposed to like Tressa ... at least not at this point, but Moya drives me batty - she's so obnoxious it's painful.I guess it boils down to ... I like the story and the Riyria pre-history perspective, but not the characters. There's just something about the characters (caricatures?) and their interactions that screams soap-opera/melodrama and it feels in-genuine. It's not what I hoped for, but it's ok and worth reading if you're a Riyria fan. So, if you haven't read Riyria and feel this was just ok, I recommend giving Riyria a try. The Chronicles are my favorite (I thought the writing was better), but I very much enjoyed the Revelations too and recommend them to lovers of classic fantasy.
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