Age of Death (The Legends of the First Empire, #5)
Winter blankets the land, and more than just hope has died. Prevented from invading the Fhrey homeland by the tower of Avempartha, the western army seeks a way across the Nidwalden River before the fane obtains the secret of dragons. As time runs out for both humanity and the mystic Suri, the only chance for the living rests with the dead. Having made their fateful choice, can a handful of misfits do the impossible, or are they forever lost to an inescapable grave? Do gods truly exist? Is it possible to know the future? And what lies beyond the veil of death? In the tradition of Virgil’s Aeneid, Dante’s Divine Comedy, and Milton’s Paradise Lost, the most epic of tales transcend the world of the living. It’s time to see what lies in Elan’s Age of Death.From Michael J. Sullivan (New York Times, USA Today, and Washington Post bestselling author), comes the second to the last installment in the epic fantasy series, Legends of the First Empire. The series chronicles a pivotal point in Elan’s history when humans rise against the Fhrey who they once saw as gods. Set 3,000 years before the Riyria tales, Legends is a standalone fantasy series which is independent of all other Elan stories. That said, if you do read the other books, you’ll see lies revealed and the truth about historical figures unmasked.

Age of Death (The Legends of the First Empire, #5) Details

TitleAge of Death (The Legends of the First Empire, #5)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 4th, 2020
PublisherRiyria Enterprises LLC
Rating
GenreFantasy, Fiction, Epic Fantasy

Age of Death (The Legends of the First Empire, #5) Review

  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    I don't review my own books, but I do use this space to update readers. So here goes...10/19/19 - We are back from New York (we were there for the start of the recording of the audiobook. We still have at least one, and maybe two days of recording left. We are finding some very minor adjustments that we are making during the recordings, so I'm going to wait until we are done before making the ebook. But we are dangerously close to having everything locked down and sending the Kickstarter backers I don't review my own books, but I do use this space to update readers. So here goes...10/19/19 - We are back from New York (we were there for the start of the recording of the audiobook. We still have at least one, and maybe two days of recording left. We are finding some very minor adjustments that we are making during the recordings, so I'm going to wait until we are done before making the ebook. But we are dangerously close to having everything locked down and sending the Kickstarter backers their ebook on the next installment.10/10/19 - The beta reader feedback is in and incorporated, and I've received the copyedits from both Linda and Laura. I'll just need a few days to accept/reject the copyedits and then we're done! Kickstarter people should receive their copies of Age of Death ebook within a week. If you missed the Kickstarter and want a "manual add" that's still possible. Just fill out his form, and we'll add you! 09/24/19 - Did you miss the Kickstarter? No worries, there is a manual way we can add you to the project, so you can still join in the fun. Just fill out his form, and we'll get you set up! 09/10/19 - The Kickstarter ended and it was a great success! • 3,120 backers (567 more than my previous best project) • $119,337 in funding ($8,471 more than my previous best project)• 2nd most-backed fiction Kickstarter of all time• 4th most-funded fiction Kickstarter of all timeFor those that missed the Kickstarter, there will be a way to participate through the BackerKit pre-order store. I'll be posting when it is live.09/09/19 - The book is essentially "done" and has gone to the copyeditors for them to work their magic. One will have it back on 10/04 the other on 10/08. It'll take me a few days to go over their changes then we can get the Kickstarter backers their copies.08/23/19 - Well, yesterday we launched the Kickstarter for Age of Death, and while I'm not surprised the project funded...I was shocked that we did so in just 25 minutes. Currently, it's raised more than $61,000 from nearly 1,700 backers. That makes it the 7th-most backed and 15-most funded fiction project of all time. We already cleared our first stretch goal, and Robin just posted a second one (all backers will receive a bonus short story: Autumn Mists). If you want to get Age of Death 3 months before the retail release, then come on by the Kickstarter! 08/06/19 - And done! Well, mostly. Some time ago, Robin had some major alpha feedback for this book, which made me take apart the engine, and for a while, it was in pieces around my garage. Well, I put it back together, turned the key, and what do you know it started! With the magnitude of the changes, Robin needed to go over it again, and she did. There was still one major area that needed work and after a surprisingly short and easy meeting (they don't always go that way) we had a plan, and so while she finished reviewing the book, I worked on some tweaks to the part she and I agreed to in our "meeting." Well, I finished them about half an hour ago, and at the same time, Robin sent me a file with her full book's review comments (of which are simple "line edit" level changes) - no more structural issues! These types of changes usually go quickly for me, and I predict we can be in beta in less than a week. We'll keep you posted.07/18/19 - Okay, with Age of Legend officially released we have seen a lot of excitement for this title. So, here are some details. #1 Pre-order pages are already up for the audio and hardcover editions. We hope to have the ebook live in the next few weeks. Official release date is 2/4/20, but we WILL be doing a Kickstarter and people who pre-order through that will get the book in October. The artwork for the cover is finished. Marc Simonetti did a great job, and I hope to be revealing the cover soon. Stay tuned!03/28/18 - Finished the post-alpha-2 edits on this book, and it should be "done" except for any minor tweaking I might find as I work on post-alpha-2 edits on the final book. What is a post-alpha-2 edit? Well, Robin gave me initial (alpha) on books #4 - #6 "back in the day," and #4 needed some pretty extensive work. That's what I had been spending the majority of my "post Age of War" time on. It was the most extensive rework of a book I've done, but it was (a) essential and (b) I'm now happy with the way that book is (and if Robin agrees it'll start getting reading for beta). Okay, so back to this book. I went over it all given the massive changes to book #4. There were some things I trimmed out that weren't working for me, but very little needed to be revamped. This book was actually in much better shape than I remembered, and if Robin is satisfied with it, It'll go over to beta shortly after Age of Legend. Oh...and we changed the title of this...again...but I think we'll be sticking with Age of Death.
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  • Audrey
    January 1, 1970
    Beta read – went through it rather quicklyGamma read – very few changes – I think some of the chapter titles changed, but I’ll have to compare the two versions to be sure.–------------------------------4.5 starsThis book felt so short, yet it’s over 400 pages. The book starts off with Brin, thankfully, right where the previous book ended. This book also has a cliffhanger, but I don’t think it’s quite as agonizing as Age of Legend.About half the book follows “the seven” as they explore and fight Beta read – went through it rather quicklyGamma read – very few changes – I think some of the chapter titles changed, but I’ll have to compare the two versions to be sure.–------------------------------4.5 starsThis book felt so short, yet it’s over 400 pages. The book starts off with Brin, thankfully, right where the previous book ended. This book also has a cliffhanger, but I don’t think it’s quite as agonizing as Age of Legend.About half the book follows “the seven” as they explore and fight through uncharted territory. Everything they experience is new and fascinating. The other half follows Suri and the Fhrey, who are on the road to civil war. I enjoyed seeing the conspiracy take shape. Very little time is given to Persephone and the other humans.If you’ve enjoyed the series so far, you’ll find this one quite satisfying. It’s quick and easy to read, full of adventure. There are several characters, like Tesh, who grow and change. This element complemented all the adventure stuff nicely.Clean language; no sexual content; some violence. Book Blog
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  • TS Chan
    January 1, 1970
    Age of Death is aptly titled as it would be the death of me. We have yet another cliffhanger ending as the second arc of The Legends series is indeed shaping up to be a continuous story. I can empathise with Sullivan on where to break off for each instalment, short of releasing it as a single doorstopper. The mythology of Elan as we know it (from Riyria) has been completely blown apart, and our beloved characters continue to grow and develop. It's going to be so hard to write a review for this Age of Death is aptly titled as it would be the death of me. We have yet another cliffhanger ending as the second arc of The Legends series is indeed shaping up to be a continuous story. I can empathise with Sullivan on where to break off for each instalment, short of releasing it as a single doorstopper. The mythology of Elan as we know it (from Riyria) has been completely blown apart, and our beloved characters continue to grow and develop. It's going to be so hard to write a review for this penultimate volume without spoilers. For now, I will just say that it was fantastic and I loved it. Full review to come, closer to release date. I received an early proof-copy of Age of Death as one of the Kickstarter backers.
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  • Claudia
    January 1, 1970
    WTH was that ending?! I was warned it will end in a cliffhanger, but I expected a milder one, like in the previous volume, not like this! Damn! Well, at least I should be happy that with Kickstarter I’ll get to read the final volume in February, not May.Anyway, despite the vexing ending, I very much enjoyed the book. It picks up the story from the previous volume but now its focus is on the fellowship (view spoiler)[trying to save Suri (hide spoiler)]. Their path takes them inside Elan, in the WTH was that ending?! I was warned it will end in a cliffhanger, but I expected a milder one, like in the previous volume, not like this! Damn! Well, at least I should be happy that with Kickstarter I’ll get to read the final volume in February, not May.Anyway, despite the vexing ending, I very much enjoyed the book. It picks up the story from the previous volume but now its focus is on the fellowship (view spoiler)[trying to save Suri (hide spoiler)]. Their path takes them inside Elan, in the realms of Death. MJS creates even now a rich world, with creatures long forgotten, dead heroes, even gods, with all sorts of challenges and an epic battle.(view spoiler)[Despite her imprisonment (hide spoiler)], Suri forms a sort of alliance with a powerful Fhrey inside Estramnadon; Mawyndulë turns out to be not the prick I thought he was, and Fane Lothian remains the most despicable of all.I would have liked a bit more about Nyphron and Persephone, but I think they will have the biggest share in the last volume, due to what we know so far about the Empyre.Nevertheless, it was a fun and easy reading, as is the case with all Sullivan’s books. If you ever feel down, tired or not in your best mood, try one of his books - as a matter of fact, start with The Riyria Revelations Series, if you haven't already; you won't be sorry.PS: as always, if you need a recap of the previous volumes, here they are: https://firstempireseries.com/book-re...
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  • Terence
    January 1, 1970
    With Suri in the hands of Fane Lothian, Nyphron is convinced he no longer has a chance of winning the war. Persephone finds herself alone. Her brave friends who went to save Suri are dead, but Malcolm tells her that there's still a chance they could return. The group who willingly entered the land of the dead are the Rhunes only hope.Age of Death like Age of Legend ended in a cliff hanger. At least I know I won't have to wait too long for the last book of the series, but I really wish the story With Suri in the hands of Fane Lothian, Nyphron is convinced he no longer has a chance of winning the war. Persephone finds herself alone. Her brave friends who went to save Suri are dead, but Malcolm tells her that there's still a chance they could return. The group who willingly entered the land of the dead are the Rhunes only hope.Age of Death like Age of Legend ended in a cliff hanger. At least I know I won't have to wait too long for the last book of the series, but I really wish the story progressed further.Age of Death clearly shows that in this world, death isn't the end. The reader is granted a view of the afterlife and the realms within it. The history of the world and the gods are mentioned in some detail which was interesting to say the least. The gods aren't exactly what I imagined they would be.I love the work put into the various characters. I find myself enjoying all of them and what they add to the tale, which is rare. Michael J. Sullivan puts them through what appears like hell at times and they all face it differently. I know it's not reasonable to expect a happy ending for all of them, but I hope things all turn out for the better for each one of them.Age of Death was a really enjoyable read. Now I just have to wait for the series conclusion, Age of Empyre.
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  • Maja Ingrid
    January 1, 1970
    Send help for I am not okay thAT IS NOT HOW CLIFFHANGERS WORK GODAMIT MICHAEL IT'S PURE CRUELTY THAT'S WHAT IT IS While it certainly feels like a middle book it's still a real good read. Also I expect a big bang in Age of Empyre aND I'M READY FOR ITAlso a reminder that Suri is the Preciousest of Precious and I love her. If you came here expecting a proper review, you have came to the wrong place. (view spoiler)[also I had half a panic attack at least three times because I thought our little gang Send help for I am not okay thAT IS NOT HOW CLIFFHANGERS WORK GODAMIT MICHAEL IT'S PURE CRUELTY THAT'S WHAT IT IS While it certainly feels like a middle book it's still a real good read. Also I expect a big bang in Age of Empyre aND I'M READY FOR ITAlso a reminder that Suri is the Preciousest of Precious and I love her. If you came here expecting a proper review, you have came to the wrong place. (view spoiler)[also I had half a panic attack at least three times because I thought our little gang might meet Raithe in the Afterlife and my heart would not have been able to handle it but the fact he was nowhere to be found there, makes me even more scared for what's to become of him and how it might develop in Empyre (hide spoiler)]
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  • Tim Hayes
    January 1, 1970
    Best yet.
  • K
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars. This has been my favorite of the Legends series so far. Went by quickly and left me wanting the next book.I have a tendency to get a little impatient with certain parts of the Legends series books. Since there are things going on in different locations, with different characters, you have to go back to some of the less exciting spots from time to time. I do find myself just wanting to be back where the “action” is, and have a tendency to try to get through these less exciting parts 4.5 stars. This has been my favorite of the Legends series so far. Went by quickly and left me wanting the next book.I have a tendency to get a little impatient with certain parts of the Legends series books. Since there are things going on in different locations, with different characters, you have to go back to some of the less exciting spots from time to time. I do find myself just wanting to be back where the “action” is, and have a tendency to try to get through these less exciting parts quickly. While this still happened occasionally with this book, it was kept to a minimum and just what was necessary to keep you informed of what was going on elsewhere, so I appreciated that!It does end in a cliffhanger that left me feeling much like the characters must be feeling. I wanted to keep reading and I was grumbling for a couple minutes, but Mr. Sullivan does warn you ahead of time and explains why he had to do this. I feel confident that not all is lost, so I can handle waiting. Luckily, the Sullivans are awesome and get the books out as quickly as humanly possible, so the wait should be fairly short. Side note: I received an early copy of this book as a Kickstarter backer, and I look forward to backing the next one!
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  • Mike
    January 1, 1970
    Michael (and Robin) gave me an advanced copy in exchange for my services as a "gamma reader" (aka proofreader). Thanks for the book, and happy to help!There will be spoilers up to and including *Age of Legend*. Also some mildly-spoilery references to the *Riyria Revelations*. You've been warned.This will come as no surprise to those who have read *Age of Legend*, but *Age of Death* is dominated by Moya, Brin, Roan, Gifford, Tressa, Tekchin, and Rain going all Dante-style and journeying through Michael (and Robin) gave me an advanced copy in exchange for my services as a "gamma reader" (aka proofreader). Thanks for the book, and happy to help!There will be spoilers up to and including *Age of Legend*. Also some mildly-spoilery references to the *Riyria Revelations*. You've been warned.This will come as no surprise to those who have read *Age of Legend*, but *Age of Death* is dominated by Moya, Brin, Roan, Gifford, Tressa, Tekchin, and Rain going all Dante-style and journeying through the underworld. I expected this to be fun - it's pretty much an ideal setup for a good old fashioned D&D style dungeon crawl, and Michael has already shown he can go a great job of that with the journey to Percepliquis (pretty certain I spelled that wrong) in the Riyria Revelations. He delivers. There's all sorts of adventures, plus (in true journey-to-the-underworld style) we get to revisit a bunch of people who had died earlier in the series, figures out of legend, and a nice assortment of gods (primarily Drome and Ferrol).Character-wise, I would say the main focus of this story is Brin. The series has always kinda-sorta been from her perspective, thanks to the Book of Brin stuff at the opening of each chapter, but this is the first time she's really been front and center.And that fits, because we learn a LOT about the history of the world. Lots of what we "knew" about the gods is, unsurprisingly, not quite accurate, and those who love knowing the mythic backstory will love this. That being said, this was also super frustrating. There's one scene where Brin & company are learning part of the ancient history of the gods, something happens to interrupt them, the speaker says something to the effect of, "Oh well, I guess I'll finish up that story later then" and I was like "***NO YOU KNOW DAMN WELL YOU F---ING WON'T! FINISH THE STORY NOW!***" Michael doesn't live more than a couple of hours away from me. If I knew his address, that scene may well have prompted me showing up at his door and beating him with a knee sock filled with pennies and unsatisfied curiosity.Since the story focuses on Brin & company journeying through the underworld, there's necessarily less focus on what's going on topside. Persephone has always given a certain steadiness to the books - she has a calm and a quiet confidence that no one else really does. Her being pushed toward the background left a hole that no one else really fills. Not that feeling a bit unmoored is inappropriate for a book featuring a bunch of recently dead people going through the underworld, but even so.There was also a fair bit of predictability. The Chekov's Guns hanging on the walls here are pretty obvious. It didn't detract much from the fun of the story, but I wasn't particularly shocked by any developments.It does end on a cliffhanger, which I never like, but this one isn't too bad. As I said, I more or less saw it coming.So there you have it. Another worthy entry in a worthy series. I give this 4 out of 5 stars for the moment, but depending on the next book I could see it being promoted up to 5 stars. So let's all hope that Michael can stick the landing.
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  • infael
    January 1, 1970
    Sigh. Cliffhangers.
  • Dan Secor
    January 1, 1970
    It pains me to give such a low rating to a book written by my favorite contemporary author, but this book left me feeling flat. It’s not because of the cliffhanger ending (I expected that), but mostly because I felt the pacing was off, and some of the character interactions felt a little more forced than usual.Apart from that, the overall writing was top-notch as usual, and for once I was more captivated by the the side story than the main “Dante-like” one. I strongly suspect that the conclusion It pains me to give such a low rating to a book written by my favorite contemporary author, but this book left me feeling flat. It’s not because of the cliffhanger ending (I expected that), but mostly because I felt the pacing was off, and some of the character interactions felt a little more forced than usual.Apart from that, the overall writing was top-notch as usual, and for once I was more captivated by the the side story than the main “Dante-like” one. I strongly suspect that the conclusion of this epic will satisfy.
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  • Gil Estel
    January 1, 1970
    "Age of death" starts from where "Age of Legend" ended. It is indeed a middle book in a trilogy within a six books series. The journey is dangerous, but also brings knowledge, wisdom, courage and shred more light on the lore of Elan, which is really cool and personally one of my favourite parts in this book. There's not much action on the front of the war above, as the main action is below. I also really enjoyed Suri's activities - thought that thing at the end is a total cliffhanger, just put "Age of death" starts from where "Age of Legend" ended. It is indeed a middle book in a trilogy within a six books series. The journey is dangerous, but also brings knowledge, wisdom, courage and shred more light on the lore of Elan, which is really cool and personally one of my favourite parts in this book. There's not much action on the front of the war above, as the main action is below. I also really enjoyed Suri's activities - thought that thing at the end is a total cliffhanger, just put there to test mine (and I think other fans) patience, while waiting for the next book. Hope the Kickstarter campaign starts soon, so we indeed get hold of the last book...
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  • Irarit
    January 1, 1970
    With both hands on my heart I can say that this is my favourite book from Legend of the first empire. The book didn't slow the piece even for a bit, all the time I was on my toes anticipating what will happen next.
  • Syd the Kid
    January 1, 1970
    this cover have me goosebumps...
  • Andy Bowden
    January 1, 1970
    Awesome. Simply brilliant the books get better and better. Cannot wait to read Age of Empyre.
  • Troy Osgood
    January 1, 1970
    Another excellent book in the series. Sullivan, already amazing, just gets better and better.It's great seeing the history we learned in Revelations and how far from the truth it really is.
  • Nicholas Hart
    January 1, 1970
    No!!! Cliffhanger?!?! Need Age of Empyre now!!!Seriously, though, another great entry into the Age of the First Empire series.
  • Caitlin Young
    January 1, 1970
    To clarify, this is a four star Michael J Sullivan book, which probably still counts as a five star book by another author. I read the Kickstarter ebook version which was a very different experience from the previous books that Tim Reynolds kindly read to me in his delightful voices. Once I adjusted to the spellings of all the names I'd never seen, I got into it. This series is highly addictive and I re-read all the previous books while waiting the two month gap between finishing the last book To clarify, this is a four star Michael J Sullivan book, which probably still counts as a five star book by another author. I read the Kickstarter ebook version which was a very different experience from the previous books that Tim Reynolds kindly read to me in his delightful voices. Once I adjusted to the spellings of all the names I'd never seen, I got into it. This series is highly addictive and I re-read all the previous books while waiting the two month gap between finishing the last book and this one. I accidentally finished this book last night when I stayed up two chapters past my "just to the end of this chapter" self-imposed stopping point. I say accidentally because I tapped the page and found out very suddenly it was the end. I think this book will provide a better read in combination with the next (and the author is transparent that the books were broken apart for size reasons). To complain that there is no ending is to overlook the fact that there wasn't actually a beginning either -- yes, the Seven start off on their quest, but the other characters are all kind of just chilling doing their thing, and pretty much stay that way the whole time. You probably don't need filler in a book this size, but more plot around Suri's time in Erivan would have made the book feel more balance to me. The activities of the Seven are the only ones that move the plot forward...you could pretty much cut the activities of all other characters from the overall story and not miss much. The other thing I missed was that the chemistry between the characters didn't seem as rich and resonant as in other books -- no Suri/Minna, no Raith/Malcolm, etc. to really create an emotional anchor. This might also be an effect of reading vs audiobook and I look forward to relistening to the tale.It's easier to complain than to praise, and for anyone who has read Sullivan's other books it's superfluous -- you already know he's an excellent author! If you haven't ready his other books, well...go read them because you can't start with this one you'll be totally lost. The witty voice, the well-rounded mythology with complex back story, the surprising twists and turns and characters that are complex and surprising, all that is still there. I was totally lost when I hit the end of Age of Legend and while Age of Death didn't feel immensely satisfying, it does help assuage the void in me until Age of Empyre comes out.
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  • Timo Multamäki
    January 1, 1970
    short, but rather important "middle piece" of the story. Now the next book should really come sooner rather than later.
  • Wulf Krueger
    January 1, 1970
    It pains me to write this but I didn’t really like “Age of Death”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad book per se. It’s just that it feels flat and - ironically - lifeless. That's probably why it took me almost a month to finish it. “Age of Death” starts where Age of Legend, the previous book, left off with a huge cliffhanger. Now our heroes move on into, uh, a sort of different realm... No, this won’t do: If you haven’t read the previous book yet, stop reading this review here - afterwards It pains me to write this but I didn’t really like “Age of Death”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad book per se. It’s just that it feels flat and - ironically - lifeless. That's probably why it took me almost a month to finish it. “Age of Death” starts where Age of Legend, the previous book, left off with a huge cliffhanger. Now our heroes move on into, uh, a sort of different realm... No, this won’t do: If you haven’t read the previous book yet, stop reading this review here - afterwards spoilers for the series as a whole might lurk!So, without further ado: Our heroes waded into the pool and died. They now enter the “afterlife” and meander through the different realms of it. This is my first issue: I’m an antitheist. Even if I suspend my disbelief and my opposition to anything related to faith, I’m simply not interested in any such ideas. Michael J. Sullivan is one of my favourite authors but even his ideas on afterlife are irrelevant to me even though I found myself at one time wishing he was right: “In that world beyond the veil of death, we found that those we had thought to be lost forever had only been misplaced.” The blurb tells me: “In the tradition of Virgil’s Aeneid, Dante’s Divine Comedy, and Milton’s Paradise Lost, the most epic of tales transcend the world of the living. It’s time to see what lies in Elan’s Age of Death.” I haven’t read either Virgil, Dante or Milton and I don’t intend to. You might consider me a barbarian or uncultured - whatever: I think the “classics” have mostly outlived themselves and belong to the past from which they originated. Amusingly, it was one of those classic authors who expressed a similar thought in a way that has imprinted itself on me at least 30 years ago and has stayed with me ever since: “There are truths which are not for all men, nor for all times.”Voltaire, in a letter to Cardinal de Bernis (23 April 1761) Keep your truths, Dante, and explore your hell but I’m not interested in it. Similarly, I found the ideas Michael expresses somewhat alluring but not really interesting - Brin, Roan, Gifford and the others move through Rel and Nifrel and, yes, have to overcome a lot of obstacles but everything feels slightly off: The pacing is very uneven - there are long passages during which hardly anything happens and then there are huge battles but even those feel somehow anticlimactic - they’re all dead already so what danger is there?Yes, there is the danger of losing oneself by not believing enough in oneself being but instead of exploring that idea, it’s simply presented and - seemingly - forgotten about. And before I knew it, just before our friends reach their destination, the book ends with yet another cliffhanger. Ok, I half-expected that but in the previous book’s “Author’s Note” Michael explicitly warned us about it but didn’t do so this time so I was hoping… Apart from the issues I’ve already mentioned there’s the fact that a lot of characters, e. g. Persephone, hardly make an entrance. Yes, we see Persephone “in passing”, so to speak, but she isn’t really around. Nor are many others, like Suri who might have featured very prominently but only did so shortly early on.It was disappointing for me. And yet… Michael is an amazing author: Whatever he writes about, his storytelling is believable, full of warmth and, well, comforting.If Michael ever did a mystery kickstarter, I'd chime in. Even if I knew nothing and there was no information whatsoever. Because I love how and what Michael writes. “You want to create?” Nyphron said. Malcolm ignored him. “Just consider what could be done if wars were a thing of the past and everyone worked together.”Yes, “Age of Death” was a disappointment but I can’t help myself so let me go ahead and say it out loud: Hi, my name’s Wulf and I’m a “Sullifan”. ;-) Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
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  • Brittney Tyler
    January 1, 1970
    Star Rating: 5 StarsNote: This is the 5th book in the Legends of the 1st Empire series so this will not be an in-depth review. Reviewer’s Note: I received an e-copy of this book because of the Kickstarter, and it will be released for the main market in February. If you have seen the note above, you know that I was extremely lucky to receive an e-copy of Age of Death because of the Kickstarter (I know that not everyone was this lucky and I hope that this review can help get more people excited Star Rating: 5 StarsNote: This is the 5th book in the Legends of the 1st Empire series so this will not be an in-depth review. Reviewer’s Note: I received an e-copy of this book because of the Kickstarter, and it will be released for the main market in February. If you have seen the note above, you know that I was extremely lucky to receive an e-copy of Age of Death because of the Kickstarter (I know that not everyone was this lucky and I hope that this review can help get more people excited for this book February main market release. ). Age of Death continues the story of the humans (Rhunes) of Elan and their various allies as they struggle against the elves (Fhrey) who control their world with an iron fist and crippling regulations. The thing I enjoyed most about this book was the direction in which he took the story as it was unique and amazing. This book chronicles a very dramatic event in the history of Elan when many different cultures, civilizations, and societies come into contact for the first time. This leads to many new ideas and inventions but also leads to questions and conflicts. Sullivan uses this to explore a concept that most authors wouldn’t even think of taking on and uses it to show that our warring people may not be as diverse and their reasons for the war may be more transparent than they think. I especially liked this direction because it mirrors a lot of our world today as we are constantly going to arms against people and ideas different to ours. However, if we were to have the courage or insight to explore the other person’s ideas, then we may learn that they aren’t so much different than ours (Sullivan brings this idea to life by sending his characters on their epic journey.). Because of story direction that Sullivan takes, he is able to bring in many complex and extended allusions, which I greatly enjoy trying to identify. There are many ancient and modern classics that explores the tradition of mythos and Sullivan uses a lot of them to craft the world that he sends his characters into and the things that they experience, most importantly, Theogony by Hesiod. If you are a student of classics, then you will really enjoy exploring and trying to identify these allusions.All in all, this was a great addition to the series, and I am so glad that I got the chance to read it early. 5 stars!!!!!
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  • Mikel
    January 1, 1970
    Specific Warning: There are lots of questions and speculations at the end of this review. It contains several spoilers for this and previous books. First, I really enjoyed both the beginning and the end of this book. The middle felt flat to me. I haven't exactly put my finger on why. Perhaps it just felt like filler material, I will be giving this a lot of thought in the next few days.Second, I loved the thought provoking texture that came with the multi level afterlife. Primarily the question Specific Warning: There are lots of questions and speculations at the end of this review. It contains several spoilers for this and previous books. First, I really enjoyed both the beginning and the end of this book. The middle felt flat to me. I haven't exactly put my finger on why. Perhaps it just felt like filler material, I will be giving this a lot of thought in the next few days.Second, I loved the thought provoking texture that came with the multi level afterlife. Primarily the question of what if we aren't with those we love after we die? Side note: My heart was so relieved when I realized that this means Persephone and Raithe will probably spend eternity together ♡ (I will be bitterly disappointed if we don't at least get a glimpse of that). This was a great additional element to the world of Elon. Third, the ending is FAST! Like: "I just got hit in the face", "what just happened", "where's the rest of the book", fast. This leaves me worried that we won't get all the answers to all the questions we (I) need in the last book. What questions/answers you ask?-The mural from the church in 'Disappearance of Winter's Daughter' depicts what appears to be an arrangement/agreement between Nyphron and Mawyndule. I need to know more about this!-Again from 'Disappearance of Winter's Daughter' who is the first disciple of Brin? -Where is the famous Bran from 'Brin and Bran'? Is he the first disciple?-How is it that Mawyndule will escape alive? And Makareta will die? (Which we know from 'Death of Dulgath). And how does he convince Nyphron to let him live in this new empire and even lead 'the church'? (Probably goes back to that maddening mural). - How/when does Nyphron die? (I'm actually looking forward to this)- How do they decide where to build the Capitol? (I'm assuming Malcolm's request will be for Nyphron to not cross the Nidwalden and seize the forest throne.) But why build a Capitol in the middle of a continent? - The Great Rain? Will this storyline feed into the Drumindor prequel? Please say 'yes'!- Malcolm is Turin, is Kyle, and is Uberlin? I can't even start down this rabbit hole right now because it would add 20 more questions. Do these questions keep me up at night? You bet! I've had hours long debates with friends and family about these books. That's what makes them so great!!!! I even love that I don't know all these things but can look forward to finding them out.
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  • Rachael
    January 1, 1970
    It feels bad to give a Sullivan book less than 4 stars, but in this case I have to be honest and say Age of Death did not really do it for me.I think there are a lot of positive reviews right now, and I agree with a lot of their points, however, I thought I would focus more on some of the negative aspects (for me) since nobody seems to be mentioning these things. Before I dive in, I would like to say that I don't want to discourage people from reading the series. I am interested in how Michael It feels bad to give a Sullivan book less than 4 stars, but in this case I have to be honest and say Age of Death did not really do it for me.I think there are a lot of positive reviews right now, and I agree with a lot of their points, however, I thought I would focus more on some of the negative aspects (for me) since nobody seems to be mentioning these things. Before I dive in, I would like to say that I don't want to discourage people from reading the series. I am interested in how Michael wraps this series up and I have a great amount of trust in him and his endings based on his previous work. I am posting this more as a discussion point. So without further ado, things that bothered me about Age of Death:-For being a book about death and dying, it's a lighthearted book. The fact that our characters die and then literally go to meet all of their dead relatives who are there waiting for them excited to see them was a bit much for me. Maybe I am just too cynical but this just made me say - really? It was a bit too much of the cheesiest sides of religion for me personally. I would also expect a book about death to be a bit heavier, and maybe this is just not Michael's forte, because the entire book felt like a lighthearted adventure in tone (which works in his favor, usually). This caused the emotional moments to fall a bit flat for me, because it felt a bit like Michael did not want to go too dark, which caused him to pull some of his punches.-This is actually something that has bothered me for all of this series--the Rhunes are highlighted as being primitive in their levels of technology and culture. However, they use turns of phrase that do not match the technology they have. For example at one point someone said 'ring the dinner bell' which to me is a more modern turn of phrase. These people just invented bows and arrows and writing, I'm pretty sure they haven't yet cast metal into bell shapes, and if they have, are they ringing them for dinner and has that culturally propagated into their language yet? I'm probably nitpicking. But this really pulled me out of the novel. Modern language in a primitive time is just..a bit odd to me. Especially considering how archaic Esrahaddon's language was who apparently lived after this book happened?-Cliffhanger. I'm okay with the first one, but doing it in back to back books is a bit irritating. I know, I know, the author's note. And again I trust Michael.Things I liked: I really enjoyed Suri's development. Also, the entire storyline with the elves was super compelling. If we spent more time with them and Persephone, this probably would be a 4 star book for me. But since we spend so much time in Rel/Nifrel, 3 stars for me. Looking forward to the closeout of the series!
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  • Jun Ham
    January 1, 1970
    It's almost unfair to be reviewing this book now, as it's clearly a middle piece of what amounts to a really long novel, and the author has admitted to as much in the book itself. And what this book is, and whatever things I liked or disliked about this book is completely dependent on how the third book pans out. But with that in mind, the cardinal sin of this book is not the cliffhanger ending but the fact that there is no ending at all - it seems to have been building to a climax of a big It's almost unfair to be reviewing this book now, as it's clearly a middle piece of what amounts to a really long novel, and the author has admitted to as much in the book itself. And what this book is, and whatever things I liked or disliked about this book is completely dependent on how the third book pans out. But with that in mind, the cardinal sin of this book is not the cliffhanger ending but the fact that there is no ending at all - it seems to have been building to a climax of a big battle, then just ends. At least in the first book, there was an endpoint, even if it's blatantly setting up to be continued. But in this book, the story seems to end just randomly (at this point, at least). A second issue I had is with the flow of the plot, although I would think that any problems I had will be resolved with the last book. This book feels especially unsatisfying for me since although there is plenty of plot progression, there is no actual development for the plot or even the characters. There's a lot of things going on in the book, sure, but there's nothing that seems of any consequence in this book - just a lot of forward movement for the sake of forward movement. And when it ends, it gave me more of a "you mean that's it?" feeling rather than leaving wanting more.BUT with all that said, the book is still highly entertaining read and superbly well written and crafted. The pages flow really well, there's never a dull moment, and even the petulant elf boy character who was a constant dullard to read about for 4 books seemed to be more readable this time around (perhaps because he was featured so sparingly in this book). There are a few long series I read where the middle books seem just like a wall of exposition and the author seeming to write it only to please himself and/or milk more money out of the book series. This is certainly not those kinds of books. Aside from the ending, it's a good book in and of itself. Just that I wouldn't recommend this book for new readers until the series has completed.
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  • Hali
    January 1, 1970
    All too often, that which we are most certain of is that which we are the most wrong about; and that which we are wrong about can change everything. Age of Death hits the ground running, picking up immediately on the cliffhanger which Age of Legend left off, as though simply turning a page and continuing.The situation with the Fhrey continues to quietly deteriorate, as Gilarabrywns become more relevant than ever, and the political machinations begin to intensify. Meanwhile, we learn about the All too often, that which we are most certain of is that which we are the most wrong about; and that which we are wrong about can change everything. Age of Death hits the ground running, picking up immediately on the cliffhanger which Age of Legend left off, as though simply turning a page and continuing.The situation with the Fhrey continues to quietly deteriorate, as Gilarabrywns become more relevant than ever, and the political machinations begin to intensify. Meanwhile, we learn about the more supernatural workings of this world, and thus, large sections of this book are much more abstract than anything previously seen from this series.The more that is revealed about the gods, the more you realize just how badly history is twisted by Royce and Hadrian's time. Pretty much everything I thought I knew was shifted off balance by this book, and it was incredible. Even things I thought I knew based on the other books in this series are not as concrete as I once believed. It's fascinating and sometimes slightly confusing, but mostly it's amazing to discover the truth about things you may never even have thought to question. This book is technically just the middle of one large, complete story, and thus, of the books in the second trilogy of this series, feels the most like a true middle slice. As you open to the first page, you'll likely receive a bit of whiplash if you haven't recently read Age of Legend. I don't say this to disparage Age of Death at all. Michael J. Sullivan gives you fair warning about the style of this story going in, and I definitely agree that knowing why it reads the way it does is important to totally enjoying this lovely book. I feel it's important to keep that in mind in particular because, as I said, this book opens on a cliffhanger, and then it also ends with one. The revelations had me absolutely astounded. I can't wait to see how all of these threads manage to come together to wrap things up in the end.
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  • William
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 out of 5.0.I received a copy of this book as an e-Book backing the kickstart campaign. I primarily read the first three books in the series on audible, so I will update my review following getting to listen to Tim Gerald Reynold's narration in 2020. I enjoyed the story in Age of Death, but it is challenging to review because if this were a Brandon Sanderson series and printed like "Oathbringer," then the last book in the series would be one giant tome instead of a trilogy. I was mad at the 4.5 out of 5.0.I received a copy of this book as an e-Book backing the kickstart campaign. I primarily read the first three books in the series on audible, so I will update my review following getting to listen to Tim Gerald Reynold's narration in 2020. I enjoyed the story in Age of Death, but it is challenging to review because if this were a Brandon Sanderson series and printed like "Oathbringer," then the last book in the series would be one giant tome instead of a trilogy. I was mad at the end of Age of Legend when it ended abruptly, and I am even madder at the end of Age of Death because I thought there was going to be another chapter when I turned the page, and instead, it was the Kickstarter names.I enjoyed the fact that as a fan of the Riyria series, there are multiple storylines, that we are now exploring, that I was interested in and had questions about even when that series ended. I also love the character of Gifford more than any other Charter Michael J. Sullivan has ever written (except possibly Myron). I think that Gifford got to do some great things in this latest installment, and enjoyed every page he appeared on.The one thing that took me out of the book was how the author shifted alternated storylines between the different chapters. I know this a technique that he frequently uses and helps maintain the cohesion of time within the story. This is a different narrative method than what Tolkien did in The Two Towers when he told the story of Frodo and Sam in one book and that of the remaining fellowship in the other book within the split within that story. I get the symmetry in alternating viewpoints as it builds towards the climax in each narrative arc that is occurring in the story. However, when you are the in middle of a big narrative point, and shift away to another environment, and flip back to it, I want to skip that chapter in the middle and keep reading one narrative section. I wonder if this method will work better when I listen to it as an audiobook.Overall, I enjoyed the story and can't wait for Age of Empyre.
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  • Etel
    January 1, 1970
    As always when reading anything written by Michael J. Sullivan, I am totally lost for words and it usually takes me couple of days to recover, in every sense of the word. We are now in the middle of this incredible journey through Elan's history. 'Age of Death' is the second novel in the second part of The Legends of the First Empire. Yes, it might sound confusing, however, for anyone reading along knows what I'm talking about. The clear separation between two stages of the narrative is evident As always when reading anything written by Michael J. Sullivan, I am totally lost for words and it usually takes me couple of days to recover, in every sense of the word. We are now in the middle of this incredible journey through Elan's history. 'Age of Death' is the second novel in the second part of The Legends of the First Empire. Yes, it might sound confusing, however, for anyone reading along knows what I'm talking about. The clear separation between two stages of the narrative is evident in the beginning of the previous novel, 'Age of Legend'. Now, it picks up exactly where it left off, promising a wondrous and very fast paced race through all the pages.One of the aspects of Michael's writing I truly appreciate is fluidity. Chapters flow from one to the other; even shifting POVs within a chapter seem to glide even when we are somewhere rather sinister, and everyone and everything is trying to well, eat or kill us. And those situations were, without giving away any parts of the plot, many. As were moments where I cried.Yes, I've mentioned this in my previous reviews - Michael J. Sullivan is one of the rare authors who are capable of reducing me to a sobbing mess with one sentence. Considering I received an early copy of the book through the Kickstarter campaign, it would be unfair not only to other readers but to the author as well to accidentally give away any spoilers. Ergo, I will have to come back and edit this review once the book is published.Till then, be prepared for a heart-stopping race, quite a few laughs and several moments of utter despair, followed by... no, can't tell you. Sorry. Not really. All in all, Michael J. Sullivan has done it again. Congratulations!
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  • Rachael
    January 1, 1970
    Don’t let the rating fool you...I love this series and I love this author, this is just my least favorite of this trilogy. It reads exactly like it is: the middle part of a very long novel. I wish it had more of a self contained story on its own, it just leaves you annoyed and wishing you had the next one. Thankfully we don’t have long to wait but had I known I probably would have just waited to read them until they were all released. Personal preference.Anyway, this really was the Don’t let the rating fool you...I love this series and I love this author, this is just my least favorite of this trilogy. It reads exactly like it is: the middle part of a very long novel. I wish it had more of a self contained story on its own, it just leaves you annoyed and wishing you had the next one. Thankfully we don’t have long to wait but had I known I probably would have just waited to read them until they were all released. Personal preference.Anyway, this really was the quintessential middle novel where all the shit has to hit the fan before you get to the good stuff. I also thought the dialogue was weaker in this one, and every scene with Persephone and even Nyphron could have been cut from the book without any detriment to the story or experience. I love reading both those characters but in this story we just followed them around while they moped in their private thoughts. Boring. This book really lacked the kind of engaging interpersonal aspects that the other books had which was another reason it wasn’t my favorite.I did love how much history we got, I’m a sucker for good world building and am having a marvelous time exploring the afterlife with our heroes. I also enjoyed every scene that took place with the Fhrey and Suri in Estramadon. In conclusion, I really really hope the next one delivers a good ending to the series!!
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  • Tanith
    January 1, 1970
    The ending of this book really pissed me off.That might be a confusing first sentence if you also look at the rating. But the story is excellent and it does deserve such a rating.My problem (which has been growing steadily stronger) is that this is clearly a *part* of the story. In much the same way that all of the books have been in this series. They all end in some sort of a cliff hanger and all are clearly part of a larger narrative.This is just a complaint on my part as I prefer finished The ending of this book really pissed me off.That might be a confusing first sentence if you also look at the rating. But the story is excellent and it does deserve such a rating.My problem (which has been growing steadily stronger) is that this is clearly a *part* of the story. In much the same way that all of the books have been in this series. They all end in some sort of a cliff hanger and all are clearly part of a larger narrative.This is just a complaint on my part as I prefer finished stories, I don't mind if its part of a longer ongoing series, but I prefer my books to have satisfying conclusions. Not endings where (and I'm not kidding) I literally scream in frustration when I turn a page and see that the book is over.So I think in the future I will just wait until he has put out the whole series before I read it.Now on the less bitchy/complainy part. I love all the world-building/lore drops in this book. Like seriously i'm a glutton for that stuff. I like learning more about how this universe came to be. I can't wait to finish the series then go back and read all of Riyria Revelations and compare what I know to what they state as fact. It will be fun.
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  • Lee Tatum
    January 1, 1970
    I was a Kickstarter backer, and just finished Age of Death (read my copy using E-pub). I loved it! If you’re wondering if you want to wait till February, no, you don’t. I took advantage of this Thanksgiving holiday to read & savor, and Age of Death is a wonderful follow-up to Age of Legend. Since I love tales of underworlds (Isis & Osiris; Gilgamesh; Elysian Fields, Hades & Persephone) this novel was lots of dark fun. As a super MJS fan, I’ve never been disappointed, and AoD gave me I was a Kickstarter backer, and just finished Age of Death (read my copy using E-pub). I loved it! If you’re wondering if you want to wait till February, no, you don’t. I took advantage of this Thanksgiving holiday to read & savor, and Age of Death is a wonderful follow-up to Age of Legend. Since I love tales of underworlds (Isis & Osiris; Gilgamesh; Elysian Fields, Hades & Persephone) this novel was lots of dark fun. As a super MJS fan, I’ve never been disappointed, and AoD gave me lots of Suri, Brin, and Gifford, my favorite characters, and gave me lots of character development, too, something you might not expect in the Underworld.For those who dislike cliffhanger endings, you might want to wait till Sullivan has published the whole series, because Age of Death, like Age of Legend, ends with bang that is definitely a cliffhanger. But hey, it’s a SERIES—I don’t expect closure until the last book! If you’re also a fan, and don’t need neat tidy endings wrapped in a bow, take advantage of early purchase and read Age of Death before the Christmas holidays.
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