Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire, #2)
In Age of Myth, fantasy master Michael J. Sullivan launched readers on an epic journey of magic and adventure, heroism and betrayal, love and loss. Now the thrilling saga continues as the human uprising is threatened by powerful enemies from without—and bitter rivalries within.Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhune make it all but impossible to unite against a common foe. And even if the clans can join forces, how will they defeat an enemy whose magical prowess makes the Fhrey indistinguishable from gods?The answer lies across the sea in a faraway land populated by a reclusive and dour race who feels nothing but disdain for both Fhrey and mankind. With time running out, Persephone leads the gifted young seer Suri, the Fhrey sorceress Arion, and a small band of misfits in a desperate search for aid—a quest that will take them into the darkest depths of Elan. There, an ancient adversary waits—an enemy as surprising as it is deadly.

Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire, #2) Details

TitleAge of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire, #2)
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 25th, 2017
PublisherDel Rey Books
ISBN1101965363
ISBN-139781101965368
Number of pages512 pages
Rating
GenreFantasy, Epic Fantasy, Fiction

Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire, #2) Review

  • Michael
    February 13, 2015
    Those who are familiar with me know I don't review my own books, but I do use this space as of a kind of a placeholder to let people keep up to date on it's status.07/25/2017 Update:It's Release Day! Thanks everyone for the amazing pre-ordering support!07/23/2017 Update:It's just 2 days until the big release. And I'm oh so excited. Nothing left to do now but wait, and I'm glad to see the early ARC reviews coming in so positively. Publisher's Weekly concluded their review thusly: "The unusual tec Those who are familiar with me know I don't review my own books, but I do use this space as of a kind of a placeholder to let people keep up to date on it's status.07/25/2017 Update:It's Release Day! Thanks everyone for the amazing pre-ordering support!07/23/2017 Update:It's just 2 days until the big release. And I'm oh so excited. Nothing left to do now but wait, and I'm glad to see the early ARC reviews coming in so positively. Publisher's Weekly concluded their review thusly: "The unusual technological level and prevalence of thoughtful women as leading characters set this apart from other fantasies." I hope this is a sign of good things to come. The real proof will come when readers who don't have access to ARC's start weighing in...won't be long now.05/26/2017 Update:I've been listening through the entire audio book as part of the proofing process. Found only a few minor things, which will be easy for Tim to re-record. But all in all it's a great production, and as always Tim has done a phenomenal job.05/14/2017 Update:The book is now off to the printer! The proofer made some great catches and now the book is completely and utterly "locked down." Wont' be long now before we get "real" copies of the books as opposed to the ARC's. Exciting times!02/14/2017 Update: Forgot to mention a pretty important update. The book is now FINISHED and in production for layout! This is a major milestone for any book and that means I can take my attention off of it as the story is "locked down" and really can't have any more changes. Yes, there will be a final review of the proof, which might adjust a comma or two, but other than really glaring errors, it's "in the can" as they say in the movie business. Very excited!!02/12/2017 Update: The audiobook for Age of Swords is up for preorder!. I want to thank my publisher, Recorded Books for getting this posted sooner than they normally would. I keep getting so many questions about "When will the audio be released -- I think because people are concerned that it won't be available at the same time as the hardcover/ebook -- that this helps to offset those questions. I'm so glad people are excited for it.01/28/2017 Update:We are in the final stretch. I have the copy edits back from Laura at Del Rey so the book will be "locked" as soon as I go through them. It's getting close now folks!!01/26/2017 Update: Production on the book is moving at a nice pace. I already have copy edits from one of the copy editors and expect the second set from editor #2 later today. Also, we have the full-cover design in. Click on the image to see a higher resolution version 12/15/2016 UpdateThe book is officially submitted to the production side of the house at Del Rey, which means it's in the hands of the copy editors. I actually am using two different copy editors for this book - Linda Branam, who worked on The Death of Duglath and Age of Myth, and Laura Jorstad who worked on the same books as Linda but also Hollow World. Both are remarkably talented and will definitely make the book so much better than if I were left on my own.The cover is now official and has been released to the public at large. Here's a slightly larger version than Goodreads has attached to the book.Pre-order pages are up at all of the major sites such as Amazon | Barnes & Noble.9/9/2016 UpdateThe book has been (a) sent to the publisher (b) my agent (c) a group of beta testers. So it's moving through the process. I've seen some rough sketches of the cover (once again the amazing Marc Simonetti will be doing it) and they are looking really good. The on sale date is tentatively set for 6/20/17 - assuming we can get a final book ready for copy editors in December, and I think that is doable.6/3/2016 UpdateWe are at Phoenix Comic Con and Robin has started her official copy editing in preparation for running the beta read of this book in early July. If you would like to sign up to be a beta reader, you can at this link.4/22/2016 UpdateTook some time out of editing book #5 to come up with a bit of a description for book #2. You can read it in the description above. Beta should be starting "soonish" to sign up here is a link 2/21/2016 UpdateThe book has been written, alpha read by Robin, and edited based on her changes. Robin is going to be going through it one more time and doing some line/copy editing and then it will be ready for beta reading. At that time it will also be sent to my publisher for "official submission" so they'll provide their structural (content) editing comments so that I can incorporate both the publisher's and the beta reader's comments at the same time.If you are interested in being involved in the beta read you can sign up here. Since this the second book in the series, some beta readers will receive the first book and some will be reading it without (so we can get feedback from both kinds of readers).
    more
  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    June 5, 2017
    FREAKING YES! NETGALLEY, YOU CAME THROUGH FOR ME AGAIN! Although, I already know I'm going to buy the hardback when the price lowers a little like I did the first book =)Michael J. Sullivan is an amazing author. I love his books and I still have some of his books to finish. I'm really loving this series, but I did cry because I didn't like one thing that happened. =( Although, who knows what might happen next that will make me happy =)I love pretty much every one in this book. The gang. There ar FREAKING YES! NETGALLEY, YOU CAME THROUGH FOR ME AGAIN! Although, I already know I'm going to buy the hardback when the price lowers a little like I did the first book =)Michael J. Sullivan is an amazing author. I love his books and I still have some of his books to finish. I'm really loving this series, but I did cry because I didn't like one thing that happened. =( Although, who knows what might happen next that will make me happy =)I love pretty much every one in this book. The gang. There are so many of them. And this book starts out with a bang. It wastes no time in getting right down to business, which is an attack. I will keep said attack to myself but it's really sad and bad. I mentioned how much I love these characters and there is a new little boy named Tesh that I love so much. He's going to be trained by Raithe and I can't wait to read more about him. We were the same age, but I do not recall seeing him in Tirre. I have been told that he was little more than an animal then, an abandoned boy surviving the aftermath in the shadows and tall grass. No one could have guessed what he would become. I know I did not. --THE BOOK OF BRIN Yes, Brin still has writings at the beginning of the chapters. The group is on the move to stay somewhere else and try and get some things resolved. The women and a couple of the boys have a big quest on their own. Those women and girls are so strong and I don't mean they are bad to the bone. I mean they can fight as much as they can, they take care of one another, they figure things out. They are just amazing. I love that there are so many in the book. Anyway, I'm very happy with this second book in the series. It's pretty much amazeballs! I have always worshipped heroes in stories. I had no idea I was surrounded by them. --THE BOOK OF BRIN *Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for a digital copy of this book.*MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
    more
  • Melanie
    June 15, 2016
    ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.1.) Age of Myth ★★★★★ “Every life is a journey filled with crossroads. And then there are the bridges, those truly frightening choices that span what always was, from what will forever be. Finding the courage, or stupidity, to cross such bridges changes everything.” It hurts my heart, but I didn't love this one as much as I loved Age of Myth! It was still a really solid addition to an epic fantasy series that I know i ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.1.) Age of Myth ★★★★★ “Every life is a journey filled with crossroads. And then there are the bridges, those truly frightening choices that span what always was, from what will forever be. Finding the courage, or stupidity, to cross such bridges changes everything.” It hurts my heart, but I didn't love this one as much as I loved Age of Myth! It was still a really solid addition to an epic fantasy series that I know is going to continue to be one of my favorites. And this book still follows some of my favorite characters of all time, while also introducing us to some new faces and even new races! Be still, my dwarf loving heart. This series is set 3,000 years before Michael J. Sullivan's Riyria Revelations, but this series is meant to be read separately and there will be no spoilers if you haven't completed it or even started it. I'm guessing it will only add to the reading experience, but you won't be hindered going in blind, like me. Age of Myth is the book that starts this epic tale, where we get to see many different characters, with their own perspectives and paths, be woven together because of a war that shouldn't be happening in the first place. We have a recently dead Chieftain's wife of one of the Rhunes (humans) clans, who is now forced into the role, even though other men want to constantly fight her for it, yet she is without a doubt the best person to lead. We get to see a young girl and her sidekick pet wolf, who have grown up in the magical forests in this world and has more power than she even knows. We learn about the Fhrey (elf) clans, who believe themselves Gods, and we get to see their inner turmoil and we also get to focus in on one unbelievably strong woman who is forced to make tough choice after tough choice. Lastly, we get to follow a poor Rhune man, who hasn't had the easiest of lives, forced into choosing between running forever or saving the very people who have stripped him of his faith in humanity all his life. “Losing leaves a bitter taste that lingers long after the sweetness of victory has been forgotten.” Yet, in Age of Swords we get to see these characters develop more, while also seeing a few side characters shine just as brightly. As I said above, we learn about Dwarves, or Dhergs, or Belgriclungreians, who are nothing short of amazing. We get to see disabled representation, and the way that uncivilized human clans, and some of the world leaders we have today, treat those individuals. We also have representation of a surviving girl, coping with her pain and grief, unable to be touched by others, becoming one of the most important Rhunes in existence with her craft. We get to see the primal beauty of a girl learning to craft a written language so her, her clan, and her family's stories are never forgotten. We get to see a woman who was only valued for her beauty, become the warrior she has always wanted to be. And lastly, we get to see a young Fhrey boy coming to terms with the power he holds, while also being given the choice of what kind of leader he wants to be. Oh, and we get giants and demons and dragons and old gods, too! Have I sold you yet? Because Michael J. Sullivan truly crafts some completely unforgettable characters. The magical girl with the wolf sidekick, Suri, is one of my favorite characters in all of literature. She is written expertly and impossible not to love. This series is worth a try just for the privilege of meeting her alone. I don't mean to gush about Suri, but she is so important to me and it's downright impossible to not gush about her! And in general, Michael J. Sullivan writes some amazing and strong female representation that is sometimes hard to find in high fantasy. But besides Suri, this book is about winning smaller battles to eventually try to win a much larger war that seems pretty impossible to win. This book is about how we segregate people who are different than us. This book is about hope, and having faith in the darkest of times. This book is about found families and how you should surround yourself with people who will love you unconditionally and without question or reward. This book is about love and the reckless and desperate things we will do to find or keep it. “Funny how things that shouldn’t matter actually meant so much and how things as permanent as homes moved.” I feel like I can't say too much without giving away spoilers, but my favorite scenes in Age of Swords were, hands down, the ones with the quest inside the mountain. They were so amazing, and I felt like I was right there and a part of the adventure. I also felt so many Hobbit feels and I was completely living for this entire journey. I also love the message about how the Fhrey and Rhune clans are divided. See, the Rhunes are split up into seven clans because they live in different regions, but the Fhrey are split into seven clans completely based on power and privilege. The Fhrey honestly have a working class at the bottom and a class that believes themselves Gods at the top. There is a huge discussion in this book about how the highest clan wants to keep the lower clans down, and it is a really important message that I think many people could see parallels in to our actual world today. I really appreciated it, and I loved reading about it. “The gathering that changed the course of human history was nothing more than a circle of chairs filled mainly with stupid, vain men.” Speaking of the Fhrey people, Michael J. Sullivan is going to torment me until book six about the mysterious door, isn't he? This world is huge in this book, which means there is a lot of world building, and I completely understand the necessity of making this story cohesive, but I just felt myself not as invested in some of the other storylines as I would have liked. Again, Suri's storyline is my favorite, and I also really enjoy Persephone's, but the rest just fell a little flat for me.I loved seeing a new language being created. I loved the new characters and races. I loved seeing sacrifice, even though I felt like my heart was being shattered in a million pieces. I loved seeing so many characters faced with moral dilemmas that brought about the constant question of what is the right thing to do. And I loved seeing these characters slowly, but surely, realize that past torment and pain does not make you broken. Yet, even with all of this being said, not that much happened in this book. There were very few exciting moments, but for the most part this book just felt mostly boring to me. I simply couldn't put down Age of Myth, but I mostly made myself pick up Age of Swords. I know this book was setting up important ground work for the rest of the series, which I wholeheartedly appreciate, but it's ultimately the reason I have to give this a lower rating. I still completely recommend this series, and I truly believe with my whole heart that this is going to be a series I carry with me forever. The characters, the messages, the greater picture at hand, all of these things are building up into something unforgettable, and I can't wait to get my hands on Age of War! “Persephone had been so fixated on getting swords that she never considered the perils of where the path might lead, or what she’d need to suffer to travel it.” Blog | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Youtube | TwitchThe quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
    more
  • Emma
    June 18, 2017
    5+stars. LOVED it! I thought this was even better than Age of Myth, but as I've already given that 5 stars, there's nowhere higher to go with the rating.. Michael J Sullivan is the man with a Plan- each book has its own arc within the series arc and it shows. MIchael has said that he writes a whole series before he publishes the first one so that the whole story works well and has no inconsistencies- and it works!This story is rousing and will make you feel good. 'they were just an insignificant 5+stars. LOVED it! I thought this was even better than Age of Myth, but as I've already given that 5 stars, there's nowhere higher to go with the rating.. Michael J Sullivan is the man with a Plan- each book has its own arc within the series arc and it shows. MIchael has said that he writes a whole series before he publishes the first one so that the whole story works well and has no inconsistencies- and it works!This story is rousing and will make you feel good. 'they were just an insignificant band of misfits: an inexperienced chieftain, a teenage Keeper, an insecure ex-slave, a troublesome beauty, a crazy mystic, and an outcast Fhrey'It is about the underdog, about not giving up even when there seems to be no chance of success, of love, loyalty, courage, coming of age, on the one hand and betrayal and deception on the other. Dragons, demons, elves and dwarves.There are funny touches (many inventions and discoveries) and sad moments; this book is written by someone who understands both the human heart and psyche.Fans of Michael J Sullivan could not and will not be disappointed. Recommended.Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book. All opinions are my own.
    more
  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    June 6, 2017
    4 solid stars! The Fhrey (aka elves) send magic + giants to attack the Rhune (humans), who are forced to pull up their roots and gather together. The Dherg, aka Belgriclungreians (nevermind, dwarves) get involved as well(view spoiler)[, in a supreme mix of awfulness and (mostly unintended) helpfulness (hide spoiler)]. It was great to see several characters rise to the occasion when trouble came, though I have to say that I thought Roan's level of inventive genius was over the top, not to mention 4 solid stars! The Fhrey (aka elves) send magic + giants to attack the Rhune (humans), who are forced to pull up their roots and gather together. The Dherg, aka Belgriclungreians (nevermind, dwarves) get involved as well(view spoiler)[, in a supreme mix of awfulness and (mostly unintended) helpfulness (hide spoiler)]. It was great to see several characters rise to the occasion when trouble came, though I have to say that I thought Roan's level of inventive genius was over the top, not to mention mighty convenient. She was very busy in this book; her inventions included (view spoiler)[ the wheel, bow and arrow, pockets and more (hide spoiler)].The story dragged just a bit at times, but ended very strongly, with a few unexpected twists and turns that really increased the reading fun. Full review to come!Initial comments: I was approved for this on NetGalley! - YAY!I haven't read the first book yet. - Oops.I had to go buy a copy of the first book. - BAD Tadiana!! Go stand in the corner and think about what you've done.
    more
  • Robin (Bridge Four)
    July 3, 2017
    ★✩A solid 4 ‘call me Fhreyhyndia’ stars✩★I loved Age of Myth. It was on my top 5 fantasy reads of 2016 (I read over 150 fantasy books so that is an accomplishment.). This is a really good story and I enjoyed most of it, even the parts that broke my heart a little or a lot, but I didn’t love it quite as much as the first book of the series. That isn’t to say it wasn’t still a fantastic follow up to Age of Myth. It would have been really difficult to top that book for me. ஓ Every life is a journe ★✩A solid 4 ‘call me Fhreyhyndia’ stars✩★I loved Age of Myth. It was on my top 5 fantasy reads of 2016 (I read over 150 fantasy books so that is an accomplishment.). This is a really good story and I enjoyed most of it, even the parts that broke my heart a little or a lot, but I didn’t love it quite as much as the first book of the series. That isn’t to say it wasn’t still a fantastic follow up to Age of Myth. It would have been really difficult to top that book for me. ஓ Every life is a journey filled with crossroads. And then there are the bridges, those truly frightening choices that span what always was, from what will forever be. Finding the courage, or stupidity, to cross such bridges changes everything. ஓ Heroes can come from unexpected places and Age of Swords was full of them. The best part for me is that most end up being women. I love the MJS has a cast full of strong female characters that all heroic in their own ways:ஐ - Persephone always trying to everything possible to save her people no matter the cost to herself. ஐ - Moya proving to everyone that she is braver in the face of danger than any man. I love her so much. She is fearless and pushes the boundaries of everything. She flirts with the Elves, fights with tradition and proves that just because you are beautiful and could have any man you don’t necessarily need one to save you.ஐ - Brin who loses so much in this book but in the face of it all looks for how she can best keep the history of a people alive for eternity. She will walk into any danger to be able to chronicle these moments for the future.ஐ -Roan who is brilliant but broken. I think I might love her the most just because she needs it more than any other character in the book. She survived beatings and slavery and thrived into becoming a mechanical genius. I ship her and Gifford so hard and they better get a little happiness eventually since each completely deserves it.ஐ - Then there is Suri…well she sacrificed more than I wanted her to and showed us what the cost was to change from a caterpillar into a butterfly. There’s always a cost. And I can’t imagine those pretty wings come cheap. Nothing has so far.” Age of Myth was an introduction into this world and Age of Swords shows how the Rhunic people are evolving, Once they were roaming families that later settled and became clans. Now they need to become even more if they are going to go to war with the Fhrey and that means that all of them must come together as a people if they are going to stand a chance.I always love the story arcs with the women and even Raithe’s arc was really good. This time the Fane’s young son Mawyndulë had a PoV which was the readers inside as to what was happening within the Fhrey. That was the hardest PoV to read as he is really more like a petulant child. He is incredibly young for an Elf and has been sheltered most of his life so his sense of entitlement and superiority were a bit too much at times that I just ended up being angry at him. Still the machinations in the heart of the Fhrey lands are great and maybe even a little more twisted than I originally thought. These were really the only parts of the book that read slow for me.I did like getting to visit the Dwarven lands and meeting a few decent dwarves. The Dherg were not quite what I was expecting but I think Nyphron was closer than I thought he’d be. “The Dherg are notoriously untrustworthy. Deceit is their first language and selfishness their creed, so they expect the same from others. They launched a war with my people because they thought we concealed a fruit that granted eternal life. When we told them no such fruit existed, they thought we were lying because it’s what they would have done. They’ll do anything to get what they want. Personally, I’d never broker a deal with them, but this is a good gamble. The world and the cultures become even richer with every chapter in this series. I like that things are laid out for us slowly so that even those who read MJS’s other series have new peoples and places introduced all the time.For those of you who have read The RIyera books I think that there are lots of little Easter eggs (view spoiler)[like how a Gilarabrywn is made and we meet Tesh. But is he the first Teshlore knight???? (hide spoiler)] in here for you as well. For me I think learning that what they believe 3000 years from now has been much skewed from the events that actually took place. I really like how well MJS is playing with this idea. The only author who I think did it just as well or better is Brandon Sanderson when he took the Mistborn world of books 1-3 and then skipped ahead 300+ years with Mistborn 4-6 and you could see how history was remembered.Nyphron, well I’m not quite sure what I think of that guy. I definitely get his motivations and since I’ve read the other series I know a little of the lore behind him. I honestly can’t wait to learn the truth behind the story that became Nyphron and Persephone. Especially since I’m shipping her with someone that isn’t Nyphron.This is currently one of my favorite fantasy series and even though Age of Myth was a bit stronger for me I like the direction of the story and LOVED the twists at the end. I was actually pretty surprised in those last chapters and so into everything that was happening and then it was over….and now we wait.Thank you to Netgalley and Del Rey publishing for the ARC
    more
  • Nicole
    June 27, 2017
    Welcome to the fastest evolution ever. From the discovery of pockets and wheels to writing (that’s not even half of it but I lost track eventually), these few weeks changed the course of history. Sometimes you see a painting that is too polished, too perfect, to the point that it loses its essence. Have you ever read a book that felt this way? I know I’ve never had read such book before Age of Swords. It was too refined and I think that’s because Sullivan had already written the whole series. I Welcome to the fastest evolution ever. From the discovery of pockets and wheels to writing (that’s not even half of it but I lost track eventually), these few weeks changed the course of history. Sometimes you see a painting that is too polished, too perfect, to the point that it loses its essence. Have you ever read a book that felt this way? I know I’ve never had read such book before Age of Swords. It was too refined and I think that’s because Sullivan had already written the whole series. It felt flat. However, if I had to describe the book in one word, I’d simply say it’s boring. I haven’t read the Ryria series so I’m pretty sure this affected my reading experience a bit although Michael mentioned that it shouldn’t in the first book.I have so many problems with this book to the extent that it’s hard to determine where to start from. I read Age of Myth last year. Even though the book kept me interested enough to finish it in a short time –something this book terribly failed at- many things kept my expectations at bay for the next book. The world wasn’t original, I’ve seen it all. Aside from a minor twist or two (mainly at the end and it wasn’t even handled in AoS until the last chapter “inserting another twist”) it was predictable and fun, but not impressive though. None of the characters were memorable, the whole book wasn’t. It just fell under the shelf of meh. Entertaining but lacking.Age of Swords picks up right after the last events of Age of Myth. After Raithe killed that strong Fhrey, Gryndal (whose name I’ve forgotten and had to recheck because it's not easy to memorize and I didn't care about him), they sent giants to kill them all in Rhen. After almost massacring everyone, they were defeated. However, the dahl wasn’t safe anymore and mostly damaged. They were forced to go to another Clan to try to gather all the Rhunes leaders to start a war.I need to say this: please authors, using complicated names DOESN'T make your book more of a fantasy. It turns the readers’ attention away because they have no idea how to pronounce them, especially if ä, ë, or any other letter from outside the English language that most readers don't how to pronounce it, is used. I mean sure, foreign names are coolI but sometimes, I just read the first few letters and skip the whole name. The Dherg's words are the worst... One would expect with all these long names, Michael would’ve chosen another name for Fhrey. I mean come on, it’s too close to fey. So original. It's just doesn't make sense when we have short words like Suri and Brin.Back to AoS, it took me ages to finish it. I was bored 99% of the time. I considered dropping it a lot but forced myself to finish it. Was it worth? Not really. However, this is an arc and I needed to review it. Plus, with all the 5 stars ratings, I thought there might be something more at the end. A mind-blowing twist or an important revelation but no, nothing. This book was so predictable. It offered no surprises at all. It’s also too long. 350 pages only, would’ve been much better. We had so little action. MJS said that he needed to develop his characters in this book. I think that’s the job of the first book but whatever. Trying to develop his characters turned into a very long description and recycled thinking about the world and their destinies. Anyway, my favorite books are always more character driven than anything else. Thus, I don’t mind slow books, not at all. However, this wasn’t just slow, it was painfully boring and tedious. Nothing was happening most of the time. Too many inner monologues and contemplations. I just skipped paragraphs to reach the dialogues which weren’t anything special. They were mostly awkward especially when it came to Raithe’s chapters. Not even the last chapters were exciting.I was watching a video yesterday about what makes good villains. One word can summarize everything: nuance. It made me pay more attention to Mawyndulë’s, whom I’ll call from now on Mawy, actions. Saying I hated this brat is an understatement. He’s plain stupid and the twist that happened towards the end was so obvious and long foreseen that I wasn’t sure if we can call it a twist. He’s arrogant, shallow, and easily manipulated. Okay… so we have these people in real life. The video also mentioned that the little things that the villain cares about that are unrelated to his evilness makes us appreciate him. So when I saw Mawy contemplating the leaves and trying to be philosophical, I was delighted. Until I read that he felt better about himself, specifically wiser and more profound than most people because “he alone appreciated the value of a leaf drifting on a stream”. This ruined his character for me forever. His chapters were too long and too many. Useless and dull, I still tried to see why MJS wrote them. I know they serve the story but they could be summarized in few paragraphs (and I can do it in few words). I couldn’t find a thing to like about Raithe. Oh, we’re Dureyans and we suck. Oh, I can’t do anything so stop talking to me. Oh, Persephone marry me. Oh, I'm so weak. Oh, I’m so depressed and the world is hard. Oh, wait. He’s a Dureyan. The world is hard. PLEASE STOP THE MELODRAMA. He was like a teenage girl nagging for God’s sake. Also, he was the typical character in most fantasy books who refused to embrace his role but will come around eventually.First thing I mentioned in my review was the new inventions. I had no idea the Rhunes were so primitive in Age of Swords. If they live within the same world of a 2 advanced species, do you want me to believe that they didn’t learn anything from them? Not even fuckin bottoms? Or fuckin WHEELS? They traded all the time!!! But it’s fine. This didn’t annoy me as much as the whole new stuff were invented by the same person. WHITING FEW WEEKS ONLY. Roan invented x and y but never before someone invented these very primitive stuff. Not that only, she was able to do it all at once. Then Brin created writing within few days. SERIOUSLY? !(view spoiler)[And of course, because she was super smart, she was able to decipher foreign symbols/writing in an hour or even less. THIS IS BEYOND SURREAL. Even specialized people from the 21st century wouldn’t be able to do it so fast. (hide spoiler)]What surprised me the most is people who have never seen a bow use words like “sorta” and “kinda” and sentences like “where are you off to”. This speech indicates a very developed civilization. I’m sure they’ll stay the same in the final copy because they were also present in age of myth and while I didn’t know that they were so behind, I didn’t like this style of high fantasy. Especially when used by a tough Durayen warrior. It makes things even worse.All of this will make you wonder, why 2 stars and not 1? You see, with all the bad boring stuff, I applaud for MJS for making decent female characters and giving them such importance and a big role in making history. Many male authors, even females, fail at creating likable women, especially in high fantasy. Even though I didn’t fall in love with them and that’s mainly the book’s fault (aka boredom and slow pacing) and not their character, Moya and Suri were my favorites. So yeah, that was the only redeeming quality in this book. I might drop my rating later, though. Who knows?Briefly said, this book bored me to tears. It was dull and too long. The characters weren’t memorable and sometimes annoying but I appreciate the strong female characters. I don’t know if I’ll continue with this series. I dont think you need a book to just develop your characters while little else is going on. I've read enough books to know it doesn't work like this. MJS said in the author’s note (that was way too long in which the author congratulated himself that his books reached GR nominees, didn’t even win lol. This is always a bad sign) that this book is his favorite in this series. If that’s the case, I have no idea if I still want to continue with The Legends of the First Empire. Since everybody says that the Ryria Revelations is better, I’m going to give this author another chance. Hopefully, I’ll read the first book later this year but AoS wasn’t encouraging at all. arc provided via NetGalley
    more
  • Choko
    July 29, 2017
    *** 4.65 ***A buddy read with my Fantasy Friends @ BB&B! Because we love awesome Fantasy:):):)The thing about this series is that once you read the first book, you know you have entered a magical world and you don't want to leave it! No, it is not that everyone there lives happily ever after, or that all is rainbows and chocolate ice-cream with strawberries. Quite the opposite. The world is beautiful, but harsh and the lives of the Humans, called Rhunes. is primitive and full of sorrows. It *** 4.65 ***A buddy read with my Fantasy Friends @ BB&B! Because we love awesome Fantasy:):):)The thing about this series is that once you read the first book, you know you have entered a magical world and you don't want to leave it! No, it is not that everyone there lives happily ever after, or that all is rainbows and chocolate ice-cream with strawberries. Quite the opposite. The world is beautiful, but harsh and the lives of the Humans, called Rhunes. is primitive and full of sorrows. It doesn't help that the Fhrey (or Elves) of this world have done everything possible to make them feel like unworthy less-than-people, constantly encouraging wars between the Clans in order to "cull their flocks", controlling the population by strife and constant mortal conflict. These long term grudges also help the Fhrey to control the Rhunes by not letting them ever achieve their full potential and if ever there is peace or possibility of uniting the clans, agents of the Fhrey build up the fires of hatred among them once again. "..."There are many lies spoken during a war, even more before one. That is how they start."..." In the first book of the series, Age of Myth, Raithe, a young Rhune, killed one of the Fhrey, which apparently had never happened before, and was dubbed The G-d Killer! Rhunes think of Fhrey as G-ds mostly because they are so very long lived, about 3 000 years each, and in the eyes of the humans this seems as if they are immortal. They also have weapons and many of them can whiled the Art, which is this world's Magic. Having no other frame of reference, they call the Fhrey G-ds, and unfortunately, the Fhrey believe themselves to be such, while thinking of the Humans as pack animals... However, having one of them killed by a human angers the Fhrey and they take action to impose their power once again, showing who is the boss. The Fhrey are also divided in Clans and the warriors from the Border Guard under the leadership of Nyphron are also at odds with the ruling class. Raithe and the people he settles down with, a small clan lead by Persephone, decide that they are not going to take all of this retribution laying down and together with Nyphrons' warriors call all the Rhune Clans to meet and talk about uniting and choosing a King in order to stand against the Elves... Persephone thinks Raithe would make a great leader, but neither him nor the other leaders seem agreeable. Nothing goes as planned and nothing comes easy... "..."I know nothing about war. But let me tell you what I believe. I think running from responsibility breeds self-loathing and despair. I think people can, and do, rise to the occasion, and even a single person can make an incredible difference. What they need are leaders who believe in them, a belief that gives birth to hope. With hope, people can do remarkable things, amazing things.”..." Raithe, the God Killer, refuses to lead anyway, stating they do not have the appropriate weapons to enter into a war. So, the ever brave and decisive, not necessarily smart, gang of ladies, headed by Persephone as a chieftain, Moya as her sassy shield, Brin as the wide-eyed historian, Roan as the solver of logistical problems, and the group of the Mystic Suri, her Fhrey tutor and her best friend, Minna, the wisest Wolf Ever, go with three Dherg (the Dwarves) to their lands. They have been promised weapons in return for the Mystics killing a Giant who is tormenting their lands. Once again, nothing goes as planned, much of it having to do with the innate treachery of the Dherg... "...“The Dherg are notoriously untrustworthy. Deceit is their first language and selfishness their creed, so they expect the same from others.”..." I love this gang of ladies!!! To me they make the whole book and I am addicted to their personal stories. I can't get enough. They are strong, each in their own way, but they are all also wounded in various manner and their vulnerabilities make them even stronger for having to overcome them every day!!! Not one of the ladies is the same as the other and in my personal opinion, in the creation of them as a group is where MJS's genius lies. As I said earlier, the life of the humans is very primitive, kept so on purpose, and both the Fhrey and the Dwarves are far ahead of them in technology, culture and everyday comforts. The place where many of my GR friends seem to have an issue is with couple of ladies from that group, in matter on months, "discover" the wheel, the pocket, the bow and arrows, writing and are able to decipher old languages, as well as understand them. Those readers find it very implausible for that to happen and it does not sit well with them, for some reason. I have no idea why!!! This is Fantasy, and in all of our Fantasy or Urban Fantasy, we have all come to take it for granted that there is magic, there is shape-shifting, there are Dragons, there are Witches and Wizards, Elemental Assassins, men who can fight with heavy swards and shields for days with no break, G-ds who talk to people, different races of beings and so much more.... None of this seems to faze us, since we have taken all of those things as staples for our Fantasy worlds. And here come two smart, inquisitive young women, two wonderful characters, and we all have difficult time accepting that they can be smart enough to discover some human truths and Arkhanic human experiences, just because they do it seemingly so easily and fast? Or do we have such a hard time accepting, even in our Fantasy, that women can be that smart?? We can accept strength of character, decisiveness, even imagine that a woman warrior can match physical prowess with her male counterparts, but we feel discomforted by Fantastical smart women??? This really shows how far we all still are from breaking the stereotypes so deeply installed in our society by the patriarchal traditions, that even in a world we should let our imagination go, we cannot let it go as far as accepting that women can be as smart or smarter than some men... If the crippled potter had come up with all of those discoveries, I bet none of the readers would feel as uncomfortable with the "unreality" of either the time nor the plausibility of them... MJS, I do love you!!! "...“It's easier to believe the most outlandish lie that confirms what you suspect than the most obvious truth that denies it.”..." The pacing of the book is a bit slower, but it does feel like a set-up book for the developments to follow. The Clans are trying to organize, the Fhrey are having some internal issues, the Dwarves civilization is introduced, and many of the characters are going through some internal conflicts, deciding what they are going to do and who they are going to try to be... So yes, it is slower, but if you love character development and the political set-up for the overall arc as much as I do, you would enjoy it! The way MJS is able to present some of the hardest and most difficult episodes of the plot with gravity, debt and understanding, as well as with a shade of humor always present, is what makes his writing so easy to read without finding ourselves overwhelmed by depression or grief. Not once did I think, this is to much for me to continue... When emotions were to much, they were tempered by the overall picture, by the easy banter, by the natural storytelling the author is gifted with... There is a moment in the book when we lost a beloved character and my heart was broken, but it was essential for the growth of other characters and none of it felt as gratuitous cruelty... My only thought was " I need to know more! I can't waste time sleeping, I need to read on!!!"... So I did, and finished at 4:20 am today... I had a rough time getting up for work, I tell you that, but it was totally worth it:) Now, if only we could magically get the rest of the series right away:):):)! "...“A lot can be determined by the choices we make, even if the action is initiated by self-preservation. Many ... no, most ... of our choices are driven by fear: fear of death, fear of humiliation, fear of loneliness. But it's how we respond to fear that matters. It's what defines us. What makes us who we are. So maybe in your mind you acted selfishly, but I'm alive because of the choice you made. So I'll remember it as an act of kindness and yes, even bravery.”..." Now I wish you all Happy Reading and may you Always Find what you Need in the pages of a Good Book!!!
    more
  • Esmerelda Weatherwax
    May 16, 2017
    If you liked Riyria Chronicles/Revelations, if youve read and enjoyed Age of Myth you absolutely have to get Age of Swords. This book wont be available until July 25th, but the lovely and generous u/michaeljsullivan sent me the ebook in advance! This book starts off with a bang, right away in the first few pages shit is going down. This is not a "slow start" or "slow burn" kind of book, so if youre looking for a book to catch you from the first chapter this is it.The author is getting better and If you liked Riyria Chronicles/Revelations, if youve read and enjoyed Age of Myth you absolutely have to get Age of Swords. This book wont be available until July 25th, but the lovely and generous u/michaeljsullivan sent me the ebook in advance! This book starts off with a bang, right away in the first few pages shit is going down. This is not a "slow start" or "slow burn" kind of book, so if youre looking for a book to catch you from the first chapter this is it.The author is getting better and better at his craft, and this book is just amazing. Many people think that Riyria Revelations is good at the start, and great by the end. This series started off great with Age of Myth, and is turning into one of my top favorite series Ive read. Hes in the Sanderson/GRRM teir at this point for me - I can not wait to see where this story is going.We meet the DHERG! WHATS UP DWARVES? We got hints of them in Age of Myth but never met them, now we get a trio of dwarves and we even get to see their city which is a huge stone city carved into the face of a cliff on the seaside. We get some background on their ancestry and legends, and go way down into their cave system.Other new places include Tirre, a neighboring Dahl (town). Theres a call for unification of the tribes to help with the war the Fhrey (Elves) are waging against the Rhunes (humans). We meet new cheiftans and new characters and insights into how the different cultures and gods of the different clans and its all fascinating. We also get to see giants!Theres also an inner rebellion amongst the elves, with one faction considering themselves a race above the others because of their ability to use the Art (magic). We get to watch as the smug and totally unlikeable (but interesting POV) join a secret order of Artists planning to overpower the other factions. This book like the last one is multi POV, and I love all of the POVs, Im never disappointed by a switch.Suri is still reigning as my favorite character, she reminds me in some ways of Auri from King Killer Chronicles - who is my favorite character from that series. Shes mysterious and sweet, young but not naive. She also talks to things and loves things the way Auri does - but instead of inanimate objects that talk to her, its nature. Shes talks to the trees, and animals and has relationships with them - the forest is alive amd she brings it alive for you. I cant say Ive ever grown attached to a tree in a book before, but you become attached to them through her relationshionships with them. I was taken by surprise by my own attachment to a tree. She also is taking a larger role in this book as she developes her abilities to use the Art, and its so much fun.Two equally fascinating characters named Brin and Roan are inventing things and making remarkable strides forward for the human race that will be crucial in the war against the Fhrey, and for civilization in general. They are creating things we all consider mundane, but we wouldnt be who we are without them. I cant go much into that without giving things away, but suffice it to say that watching them invent things has been one of the highlights of the book.This book has amazingly well written female characters, if thats a thing you look for in books, this book is full of them. Roan, Persephone, Brin, Arion and Suri are all brilliantly written and all unique adding their own perspectives to the world youre reading about. Whats best about them is they feel real, and not forced to be "strongly written female characters", it feels completely natural. I started and finished this book within the same day, and only took breaks to eat. I literally could not stop reading this book, impossible to put down. The pacing in the book leaves you needing to keep reading, there are no slogs or slow parts to the book, from beginning to end I was floored by the amount of stuff that was going on and how fast paced it was.The tone is also remains lighter than many books revolving around an impending war. Its not exactly "cheery", but its not doom and gloom and despair. Ill read grim dark books and enjoy them, shit I just got done with IT which is a messed up and twisted book - but I think I prefer reading things that dont leave me saying "wtf". Although there are serious parts of the book, and very sad moments, the overall tone isnt dark.
    more
  • Michael Britt
    July 28, 2017
    EDIT: Find this review and more like it here.Wow! I really, really enjoyed this book. But part of that had to do, I think, with knowing exactly what to expect. So even though this is a 5 star book to me, I will be addressing some things that I felt were valid complaints. Despite these "complaints", I thoroughly enjoyed it.Well, there's not really much I can say about the plot without spoilers, so I'll say this: this is basically a book where everything gets invented, in a very short time, and wh EDIT: Find this review and more like it here.Wow! I really, really enjoyed this book. But part of that had to do, I think, with knowing exactly what to expect. So even though this is a 5 star book to me, I will be addressing some things that I felt were valid complaints. Despite these "complaints", I thoroughly enjoyed it.Well, there's not really much I can say about the plot without spoilers, so I'll say this: this is basically a book where everything gets invented, in a very short time, and where they go on a quest to get, you guessed it, swords. Firstly, I want to address some things that I've seen others say that took away from their enjoyment. Because they're actually very valid points that they brought up. I just happened to not be bothered much by these things. So i think everyone will be different. The humans in this book went from their greatest inventions being fire and stone tipped spears, to inventing the wheel, pockets, bows and arrows, learning to write and many other things. All being invented by pretty much one person. While it did feel a tad rushed, I didn't mind so much. Also, this is a very character development heavy book. It focuses less on events and more on developing characters and introducing inventions. Those are pretty much the most common negative comments I've seen. I feel like seeing these things addressed actually helped me enjoy the book more, so I felt it important to include them. I included them first because I wanted to end on a happy note. So, let's get into it. Shall we?I couldn't have been more happy with this book. Sure, it was slow, but I just loved getting to see some of our minor characters develop and show their strengths. Characters like Roan, Gifford, Moya, and Brin really got to shine. Gifford and Moya might just be my most favorite characters in all of Sullivan's works. I would state why, but too many spoilers. And all of our big characters from Age of Myth are back. Suri and Minna constantly being awesome as well. I love that duo! But I think this is what makes Sullivan's books so awesome; his characters are always so much fun! I also loved how huge of a part the women played, as this is such a rare thing to find in the genre. Or it is in my experience, at least. Maybe I'm just not as well read as I thought, who knows? The plot really didn't have all that much going on, but as I said above, I didn't really mind this since I had such a fun time going and growing with the characters. If you're familiar with Sullivan's books, then you're familiar with his prose; the easy to read, non-flowery, surprisingly vivid prose. This is another thing that's made me love reading books by MJS. I know that I won't be bogged down by 2 pages of flowery descriptions of a single room. He's able to set a scene so vivid and with no more words than are necessary. While not much happens to further the plot (something big does happen, so don't fear that it's a slog), this sets up what truly feels like is going to be a series that's going to top Riyria Revelations. The ending has seen to that. There's something about knowing how the history was written that is making me excited to see what has actually happened. I think that that's where a lot of the appeal comes from, for me. I mean, history is written by the victor, right?
    more
  • TS Chan
    July 30, 2017
    4.5 stars. If this was a one-sentence review, all I would say is that I am so glad that I don't have to wait another 12-13 months for the next book. Age of Swords was a great sequel in developing the characters that I've grown to love from Age of Myth. I can see why MJS named this as his favourite book of the series even at this early stage. I believe every author should be fond of the characters that they have created and writing that one book that highlighted their development most of all had 4.5 stars. If this was a one-sentence review, all I would say is that I am so glad that I don't have to wait another 12-13 months for the next book. Age of Swords was a great sequel in developing the characters that I've grown to love from Age of Myth. I can see why MJS named this as his favourite book of the series even at this early stage. I believe every author should be fond of the characters that they have created and writing that one book that highlighted their development most of all had to be the most fulfilling. After setting the scene in the first book regarding the differences between the Rhunes and the Fhrey, Age of Swords proceeded to demonstrate what occurs when the bonds of subjugation of the perceived inferior race start to fray. Similar to the progression of our human civilisation stemming from the ability to travel, whether through curiosity or conquest, and to communicate with other humans in different parts of the world, the co-mingling of the out-cast Fhrey amongst the Rhunes and a chance meeting of Dhergs or dwarves, enabled the same. The discovery of the reclusive and covetous Dherg, and their know-how played a significant role in this novel. I have to say that some of these "advancements" did occur almost all too expediently or conveniently. It didn't really bother me though as I find it fitting well into the character development. I think we've just witnessed the world shift, and I doubt it'll ever be the same again. As before in Age of Myth, there isn't a tremendous amount of plot progression in this book. The material sought to give the reader better appreciation of the key characters and why these characters are so important. As such, there are instances where the pacing slows down and lots of conversations take place. As far as I am concerned, this matters to me. For the main reason being that The Legends of the First Empire is a prequel series for me in its truest sense as I have read all of Riyria Revelations and Chronicles. As such, one can I say I already have knowledge of the final outcome or destination. Hence, the journey becomes important to me; i.e. how MJS tells the story of what was actual vs what was "retold" in Revelations. And speaking of which, there is just so much fun and delight in discovering the linkages and references to the Riyria series. Whenever something makes me go "Oh my gosh, is it..." or "Is that...", my heart does a little dance. One thing for sure, if one ever feels disillusioned or displeased with how badly written female characters are in quite a significant number of fantasy books, no look further than Michael J Sullivan to break that funk. Although men were strong like rocks, any stone could crack. Women were more like water. They nurtured life and could shape the hardest granite through unrelenting determination. The female characters in this series are astounding. They are smart, courageous, resilient, compassionate and strong without once compromising what makes them women. Persephone, Moya, Roan, Brin and Suri - their stories truly shine. There is no better word to describe the character development of this stellar cast, which a lot of time was spent on.This is in stark contrast to the men, who seemed to be stubbornly irritating. Well, except for one outright star which I will come to later. I was especially annoyed with Raithe and Mawyndule. Raithe's arc seemed to take a step backwards in here with his reluctance to act and pessimism leading to an almost cowardly course of action. I definitely wished to see more of Malcolm to temper his insufferable whining. Mawyndule's POV was completely dislikeable as it served to drive the point of how the Miralyth believed themselves to be above all others and deserved to be within the pantheon of the gods itself. It was, unfortunately, a necessary evil to shape the narrative of the larger story at hand. The saving grace amongst the men was no other than Gifford. I was delighted that he actually received a fair bit of page-time in here. Damaged as he was, his strength of will, determination and courage was extraordinary. His relationship with Roan was especially heart-wrenchingly wonderful and sad at the same time. An outwardly crippled man who does not view himself as such, and a brilliant woman who is broken inside. Most people pitied Gifford and a few even despised him. He never understood either. Another favourite aspect of this book is, finally, the explanation of the Art. Oh my gosh, it was so beautiful and I truly understand now why it is called the Art. The power of creation that exists in almost everything in the world; the threads and the chords and how it can be altered, manipulated by an Artist. Arising out of this particular narrative was an emotionally powerful sequence of scenes, definitely the most memorable for me from this book. As much as I loved a whole lot of Age of Swords, it pained me that there are parts which I did not enjoy, namely Mawyndule's and the Miralyth arc. As necessary as it was, it was a bit longer than I would like it to be. All in all, though, this is another really solid instalment into The Legend of the First Empire. Hopefully, with most of the key characters being established and judging from the ending of Age of Swords, we will finally be getting more action in the subsequent books.
    more
  • Benjamin Thomas
    April 8, 2017
    Wow! And I thought Book One was good. I just turned the last page on this second book of the “Legends of the First Empire” series and feel blown away! It’s the best feeling I’ve had when finishing an epic fantasy novel in quite some time. Of course, this series is a prequel series to the much-loved Riyria books (Revelations and Chronicles), set 3000 years before those. To quote the author’s blog about book one, ”Age of Myth is a small story that will launch an epic tale that will lay the foundat Wow! And I thought Book One was good. I just turned the last page on this second book of the “Legends of the First Empire” series and feel blown away! It’s the best feeling I’ve had when finishing an epic fantasy novel in quite some time. Of course, this series is a prequel series to the much-loved Riyria books (Revelations and Chronicles), set 3000 years before those. To quote the author’s blog about book one, ”Age of Myth is a small story that will launch an epic tale that will lay the foundations for a world where in three thousand years two thieves will uncover much of what was lost, but so many more revelations remain to be discovered.” Age of Swords most definitely launches that epic tale in full force.I will resist spewing out a plot summary because I would never do it justice and it would come out sounding like many other fantasy books written over the past 30 years or so. However, I will say that it picks up shortly after the events of “Age of Myth” with the same major characters and revolves around the need for the human clans to become more practical in order to deal with the very real threat from the long-lived and magic-wielding Fhrey (elves). Along the way, other major characters are introduced as well as the dwarven race (properly called “Belgriclungreians), whose impact on events cannot be overstated.The author’s world building is once again in evidence but now is solidifying more. I have a much greater understanding of the political situation, especially the Fhrey due to several very engrossing chapters about what is happening concurrently in their part of the world. What seemed vast in the first book now seems more concrete, with each of the clans displaying unique personalities, much like the characters themselves. Normally I tend to shy away from books with lots of characters; they seem to blend together so often and I lose track of who is doing what to whom. But here, the author really shows his writing chops. Every character, even the minor ones, are distinctive and personalized, all of which led to my own sinking completely in to the story. I also enjoyed watching our main characters learn from the other races, achieving great advancements quickly such as learning about the wheel, developing carts, wagons, baskets, barrels, and discovering writing as well as the bow and arrow. And of course, since this is the “Age of Swords” they advance from simple copper weapons to bronze, iron, and what appears to be steel. Perhaps the most satisfying parts of the story are how they use their brains to leverage this information and techniques to achieve what was previously thought impossible, making heroes out of some and chumps out of others. I would be remiss to not also show some love for Suri and her remarkable transformation in the use of magic (the "Art"). I foresee great things coming from her.This is, indeed, a complex world but Mr. Sullivan has a way of making it all completely understandable and relatable. He balances the earthiness and texture of the human clans with the political intrigue and royal factions of the advanced race of Fhrey and tosses in the engineering skills and comic relief of the dwarves. The ending of this book was emotional and extremely satisfying and certainly sets a high mark for the following novels in the series still to come.Highest recommendation! Note: I recieved an ARC of this book through the Amazon Vine Program in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Haïfoun
    July 9, 2017
    Actual rating : 3.5 starsARC provided by the publisher (via Netgalley) in exchange for an honest review.Note 1: The quotes in this review are taken from the ARC edition and may change in the published edition.Note 2: I'm definitely on the unpopular opinion side here. So if you don't agree with me, you can drop a comment and we can discuss it :) Note 3: I just realized that the title was PERFECT ! It couldn't have been more appropriate :') “Losing leaves a bitter taste that lingers long after th Actual rating : 3.5 starsARC provided by the publisher (via Netgalley) in exchange for an honest review.Note 1: The quotes in this review are taken from the ARC edition and may change in the published edition.Note 2: I'm definitely on the unpopular opinion side here. So if you don't agree with me, you can drop a comment and we can discuss it :) Note 3: I just realized that the title was PERFECT ! It couldn't have been more appropriate :') “Losing leaves a bitter taste that lingers long after the sweetness of victory has been forgotten.” Damn, this is a very hard book to review for me!Mostly because Michael J Sullivan is one of my favorite authors. I love his writing! I love his characters, his humor and the way he tells his stories. Unfortunately, that is also precisely why this book didn't work as much as I hoped, for me. I found his storytelling in AoS different from what I’m used to. It's more forced and somehow, deliberate, with little room for unexpected turns of events. Michael knew exactly where his story was going (the 6 books are written already, with different editing stages), so he dropped a lot of the necessary cornerstones for his characters and the bigger picture’s further development. To the point where this book felt like a huge introduction! If this was the first book of the series, it would have been understandable but this is the second installment and I was bored during half of the book :'(AoS is rather character-driven. The plot doesn't move much (most of the interesting actions for me took place in the last 15% of the book) and you can see most of them coming from far away. Often because of the excerpts from the book of Brin, at the beginning of each chapter.I have nothing against character-driven stories, believe me ! One of my favorite series of all time is the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson and It’s certainly not fast-paced. But it is full of twists and revelations and amazing battle sequences. I didn't get much of neither in AoS. Don't get me wrong, there were beautiful, touching and heart-wrenching moments but they were scarce imo. MJS explained in his Author’s Note how all his characters were very important for the future turns of events (there were a few hints throughout the narrative too), and that it was necessary to give each of them enough space to grow into their full potential. Retrospectively, he was successful. What seemed like idle conversations and very long introspection parts, were justified at the end of the book. However, those parts often felt unnecessary, lengthy or boring to read. Another element that slowed the pace and wasn't very realistic, was the contrast between how primitive and backward humans were in this series and how ONE particularly gifted character invented devices on a daily basis, to suit every situation (the axe and the pottery table in AoM were only the beginning). So Michael kinda packed millennia of humanity's early technological progress in a few days. It was unsettling and despite the edge these inventions gave to our characters, there were too much of them to be believable. “I think we’ve just witnessed the world shift, and I doubt it’ll ever be the same again.” Please don't let these points talk you out of trying this book (and the series). They are a matter of personal preference and there is a lot to love in the story Michael is telling in The Legends of the First Empire :1. Michael has a gift for writing amazing female characters! Ordinary women and girls who refuse to sit idly and settle for the modest roles men assigned to them. They are both strong and fragile and most of them are touching in different ways. Most importantly, all of them are determined to write a piece of History! My favorites are definitely Suri and Moya! Both were hilarious, endearing, loyal and brave in their own way <3 Male characters on the other hand didn’t shine much in AoS ! XD Seriously, I wanted to strangle them in more than a dozen occasions! 2. The expansion of the world building! The story extended far beyond Dahl Rhen and Erivan’s capital to new villages and « foreign » lands. One place in particular had a distinct Fellowship of the Ring feel to it and I kept expecting a Balrog to emerge from the depths of the city and attack the party! 3. The references to the Riyria series were priceless!! OMG, it was extremely fun and rewarding to make connections to “future” events and legendary characters, creatures and places! 4. The Art is finally explained! After 8 books in the world of Elan, I’m glad Michael provided details about its requirements and it’s connection to the elements, to nature and to Life itself. And damn, it’s pretty complex ! XD There are a lot of (definitely necessary) details and subtleties, so be prepared ! ;)5. Michael’s prose has a simple beauty! It’s very accessible and suited for every reader. His writing is generous, funny, touching, punctuated by beautiful metaphors, hilarious dialogues sometimes and touching and heroic moments. You can always be certain to find unbreakable friendships, loyalty and sacrifices, and a lot of beautiful characters who’ll eventually blossom out into unexpected heroes in your read! There are many lies spoken during a war, even more before one. That is how they start. ConclusionI was so sad I enjoyed this book much less than I anticipated. Despite a very exciting beginning, the story was extremely simple (once again) and I definitely expected more. It took me a while to write these few thoughts because while I was bored during a major part of the book, there was a tremendous characters' growth and many pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall in place. I'm definitely intrigued to see where this story is going!!You can find this review and more at Booksprens.
    more
  • Chris
    October 6, 2016
    My review and rating are based on the beta version of this book; the final published edition will likely be changed a bit.But that said, it doesn't really need a lot of changes. I'm looking forward to reading and comparing the final version, but this is pretty awesome right now on its own. Fans of Age of Myth have a treat coming out next summer. This book delivers more of what made the first one great, and moves it up a notch.Favorite characters are further explored and developed. New characters My review and rating are based on the beta version of this book; the final published edition will likely be changed a bit.But that said, it doesn't really need a lot of changes. I'm looking forward to reading and comparing the final version, but this is pretty awesome right now on its own. Fans of Age of Myth have a treat coming out next summer. This book delivers more of what made the first one great, and moves it up a notch.Favorite characters are further explored and developed. New characters are very intriguing, and supporting characters from the first book are promoted to the main cast. These books have a great developing plot and plenty of good action (and magic!) but to me their strength is character development. If you like a good fantasy story with great worldbuilding and an interesting magic system that adds flavor to a character driven plot, this is the series for you. There are also other surprises in store, but I won't spoil the fun of discovery :)
    more
  • Tammie
    July 7, 2017
    Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhune make it all but impossible to unite against a common foe. And even if the clans can join forces, how will they defeat an enemy whose magical prowess makes the Fhrey indistinguishable from gods?The answer lies across the sea in a faraway land populated by a reclusive and dour race who feels nothing but disdain for both Fhrey and mankind. In Age of Myth the story revolved aroun Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhune make it all but impossible to unite against a common foe. And even if the clans can join forces, how will they defeat an enemy whose magical prowess makes the Fhrey indistinguishable from gods?The answer lies across the sea in a faraway land populated by a reclusive and dour race who feels nothing but disdain for both Fhrey and mankind. In Age of Myth the story revolved around Raithe the god killer but in Age of Swords the men, although still present, take a bit of a back seat. But I'm sure they will be back more fully in future books. It's Persephone's turn to shine here, along with most of the women in the book. I love that Persephone is the one that sets out to solve the problem of how to win a war against the Fhrey. This time around we meet the Dherg when Persephone, Moya, Brin, Roan, and Arian travel to their homeland, and they find out the Dherg are a tricky bunch; pretty despicable actually. That was the point where I felt like the book got really good. There were so many brilliant ideas and solutions in this book that Persephone, Roan, Brin, and Moya come up with. Once again Michael J. Sullivan does a lovely job of portraying the women in the story. They are always so believable as well. Except for the bit of magic that is used they are not doing superhuman things. They are doing things that any real woman could do, and that makes them so very relatable.There were several passages in this book that I loved, some of which I found quite amusing. One of my favorite chapters in the book was the one that included the exchanges between Padera and Gifford when he is on the mend from the attack on him. Not only did these make me chuckle, but they are also a good example of how the characters really jump off the page in this book. I love the way they are described. I also love that the many supporting characters still very much contribute to the story. There are a lot of them, but most of them were given a good amount of attention. I love these characters so much! My heart is really aching for a choice one of the characters had to make, and for one of the losses. Not only do we revisit the Rhune and discover the Dherg in this book, but we also get chapters from the Fhrey as well, namely Mawyndule. I have to say that I did not love him, but I'm hoping that he is starting to mature after what took place among the Fhrey. I'm very curious to find out what he will end up doing. Other things that I'm very impatient to find out about are, how things end up between Persephone and Raithe and this whole thing with Nyphron that's thrown in there, and how things will end up with the healing that Suri is trying to do at the end of the book. This book has adventure, heartache, self discovery, and loss. All things that make a story great and I can't wait to read Age of War!Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for giving me an advance copy of this book.Review also posted at Writings of a Reader
    more
  • Zoeytron
    July 27, 2017
    Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.Screaming trees, murderous lightning, fearsome giants and giant killers. Metal-clad dwarfs. Terrifying face-eating raows. A vast cavern across the sea plays host to monsters and secrets. The dirty unkempt individual who stares fixedly at The Door - is it true wisdom he imparts or merely inane prattle? Vows versus promises. Who can be trusted and who will betray?There is no character, good or bad, major or minor, who isn't drawn with care and Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.Screaming trees, murderous lightning, fearsome giants and giant killers. Metal-clad dwarfs. Terrifying face-eating raows. A vast cavern across the sea plays host to monsters and secrets. The dirty unkempt individual who stares fixedly at The Door - is it true wisdom he imparts or merely inane prattle? Vows versus promises. Who can be trusted and who will betray?There is no character, good or bad, major or minor, who isn't drawn with care and attention. This is the second book in the series and I'm all in. Ready for the third. The sooner, the better.
    more
  • BAM The Bibliomaniac
    June 15, 2017
    Many thanks to Michael J. Sullivan, Del Rey Publishing, and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. Sullivan continues the saga, opening Swords with a BANG. The Rhunes, as always, are survivors, but this time, with the help of the Dherges (or dwarves), their society develops in leaps and bounds. On the other side of things the Fhreye continue to look down their noses at the Rhune civilization and plan to snuff them out. It's all-out war, but not before they h Many thanks to Michael J. Sullivan, Del Rey Publishing, and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. Sullivan continues the saga, opening Swords with a BANG. The Rhunes, as always, are survivors, but this time, with the help of the Dherges (or dwarves), their society develops in leaps and bounds. On the other side of things the Fhreye continue to look down their noses at the Rhune civilization and plan to snuff them out. It's all-out war, but not before they have to forstall a bit of an insurgence of their own. Speaking of which, the Grey Cloaks were a great political distraction that I could easily guess at their motives. But I was so let down when it didn't come to fruition and was subverted to feed the Rhunic hatred. I greatly desired to see some internal Frheye unrest. But all of this drama in Tirre doesn't stop our fearless troop from escaping the settlement for some heavy diversions, while back at base camp Raithe continues to be the most petulant, stubborn man ever. Sullivan does an excellent job of aggravating me with this character. I just want to smack him upside his head. I happen to be reading some Tolkien at the same time as Swords, and I don't think it's a big stretch to say Sullivan was inspired by the icon of fantasy: dwarves, elves, and humans; treasure and evil deep in the mountain. But it's what he does with these seminal characters that make them his own. What's most impressive is his coterie of brave, take-charge women. Never have I read this genre with such forceful female characters who are so greatly esteemed by the males of their tribes. It just doesn't seem to occur to most authors that this can be believable. And THEN the book ends! And I'm not at all ready. And I'm physically sad. And now I have to wait......so here I am...waiting...please Mr. Sullivan approve me for book three or i don't think I will live much longer. Summer Fantasy Fest read #19
    more
  • Terence
    June 22, 2017
    After the destruction of Dahl Rhen by the Fhrey, Persephone sets out to call a council of all Rhune Chieftains in order to appoint a keenig to lead them in the inevitable war with the Fhrey. When the council attempts to make Raithe the keenig he refuses. He believes the fight is unwinnable because of the Rhunes pitiful weapons. Persephone makes a pact with three Dwarves that's she's met to help them rid their home of a giant in exchange for Dherg swords and shields. Persephone and her party of w After the destruction of Dahl Rhen by the Fhrey, Persephone sets out to call a council of all Rhune Chieftains in order to appoint a keenig to lead them in the inevitable war with the Fhrey. When the council attempts to make Raithe the keenig he refuses. He believes the fight is unwinnable because of the Rhunes pitiful weapons. Persephone makes a pact with three Dwarves that's she's met to help them rid their home of a giant in exchange for Dherg swords and shields. Persephone and her party of women don't know the danger they've volunteered to defeat until they have no choice but to fight.Age of Swords is the second book in The Legends of the First Empire series. If any fans of Riyria were worried they wouldn't like it, I'd have to say there is no reason for concern. Michael J. Sullivan tells a fresh tale about the heroes of that age while having many subtle tie-ins to the original series. The strength of storytelling along with the excellent characters make this story quite strong. Age of Swords is also much more of an ensemble cast lead by Persephone and Raithe while the original series revolved around Royce, Hadrian, and Arista. The book also utilizes a number of point of views characters.The story is massive with multiple storylines going on with an overarching goal of trying to defeat the Fhrey in war. The task seems immense, but Persephone would die before she gives up. Persephone really takes charge and felt like the central character in Age of Swords. Her determination is truly remarkable.There is so much I'd like to say about Age of Swords, but unfortunately there isn't much I can reveal with spoiling the story for others. Suffice to say Age of Swords is a strong sequel to Age of Myth.4 out of 5 starsI received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Audrey Hammer
    May 31, 2017
    I won an early copy of this book, post arc-status.This is a really solid continuation of the story begun in Age of Myth. So if you enjoyed the first one, you'll easily enjoy this one. If you did not like the first one, then you may not care for this, either.The book starts with a bang, which leaves the humans recognizing the need to unite in a fight against the elves. These are very primitive people who have been living in small tribes. They are going to select a "keenig" (Old English for "king" I won an early copy of this book, post arc-status.This is a really solid continuation of the story begun in Age of Myth. So if you enjoyed the first one, you'll easily enjoy this one. If you did not like the first one, then you may not care for this, either.The book starts with a bang, which leaves the humans recognizing the need to unite in a fight against the elves. These are very primitive people who have been living in small tribes. They are going to select a "keenig" (Old English for "king" if I'm remembering right) to rule all of them. It was fun watching the humans discover and invent new things even if a bit quaint.They meet some dwarfs and strike a you-help-us-we-help-you kind of deal with the humans. They're just not very clear on what their problem is. The story switches viewpoints between these two major groups. There is also a third, less major viewpoint that shows the elvish prince and what's going on with the elves. He is such a total git, but it's fun to watch him squirm.A rather large ensemble cast was introduced in the first one, and now each characters gets more time and more depth added to them. There are a lot of "strong women" here, but I don't get the sense that the author one day said, "Hey, I'm going to write a bunch of strong women because that's cool now." They're just strong people who happen to be women.It's a pleasant, easy read -- not too light, not too heavy; it reminds you why you like reading in the first place. You've probably seen elves and dwarves and giants and monsters and dudes with swords before, but it doesn't make the story any less interesting.
    more
  • C.P. Cabaniss
    June 30, 2017
    *I received a copy of this novel through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.* "I have always worshiped heroes in stories. I had no idea I was surrounded by them." This was a solid follow-up from Age of Myth. While all of our favorites from the previous book are still here (and still important), this novel delves more deeply into some of the peripheral characters from book one. And I was really glad to get to see more of them. Roan is probably my favorite of these characters, but Gifford, *I received a copy of this novel through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.* "I have always worshiped heroes in stories. I had no idea I was surrounded by them." This was a solid follow-up from Age of Myth. While all of our favorites from the previous book are still here (and still important), this novel delves more deeply into some of the peripheral characters from book one. And I was really glad to get to see more of them. Roan is probably my favorite of these characters, but Gifford, Brin, and Moya are pretty fantastic as well. I'm still pretty upset about that one event that happened near the end, but I won't delve too deeply into that aspect of the story. It was powerful and also heartbreaking. I still don't know how to feel about any of that. There wasn't as much of Raithe or Malcolm as I had hoped for. These two together are pretty great. Though of course there is always that question in the back of my mind. I'm still waiting for answers about what, exactly, he is up to. But more of these two in the future would be much appreciated. I will write a more thorough review about my thoughts on this novel closer to release day (July 25th, 2017). All you need know for now is that this is excellent. If you enjoyed Age of Myth even a fraction as much as I did, you should give this novel a try.
    more
  • Claudia
    May 14, 2017
    Another great ride by now my favorite storyteller. :)This second part, like the first one in the series, is a coming of age story and consists mostly of world building. Rhunes, now facing the war with the Fhrey, start to evolve from being primitive to a somewhat more developed race. We get to know more of how the world is constructed and more of Elan’s inhabitants are being introduced to the story – Dhergs, Grenmorians and Raow. We also learn a lot of things which in Riyria were taking for grant Another great ride by now my favorite storyteller. :)This second part, like the first one in the series, is a coming of age story and consists mostly of world building. Rhunes, now facing the war with the Fhrey, start to evolve from being primitive to a somewhat more developed race. We get to know more of how the world is constructed and more of Elan’s inhabitants are being introduced to the story – Dhergs, Grenmorians and Raow. We also learn a lot of things which in Riyria were taking for granted but nobody knew their exact history - bits and pieces from Riyria Revelations ancient times here come to life – (view spoiler)[where does Teshlor name came from, Gilarabrywn, Tek’chin and a few others. (hide spoiler)]The story picks up exactly from where Age of Myth left us and it also ends abruptly, having no closure of its own. But the journey is great as MJS provides great entertainment through his tale. Also, it opens up a lot of paths in the future and now begins the waiting for the third part; not much, just almost a year…I still have a problem with characters behavior and their rudimentary ways which does not suit the almost modern language and knowledge in other areas, but that did not prevent me to enjoy it immensely. Somehow, (view spoiler)[(re)inventing the wheel (hide spoiler)] and others like that provided some of funniest moments in the book. And as a change from others in its genre, the real heroes so far are women. We do not have great warriors and alpha males, instead we have a bunch of smart and bold women. Also, I can’t say there is a main character; there are many of them and each brings its contribution to further development of the world and action.So, if you’re familiar with MJS style and writing, you’ll love this series too. But unlike Riyria, the volumes in this series do not stand on their own. Each one is a direct sequel to the previous one, therefore they must be read in order.And even if Riyria Revelations remains my favorite, Heir of Novron in particular - it blows my mind even now when I think about it -, this one comes very close. I had a wonderful time reading it.*Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for accepting my request for this ARC via NetGalley*
    more
  • MsArdychan
    July 23, 2017
    Please Note: I received an advance reader's copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is a sweeping tale of discovery in a mythical time. The characters, story, and Bronze Age setting make this a highly entertaining second installment. Can book three please come out soon?------------------------------------------------------------------------------About a year ago, Please Note: I received an advance reader's copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is a sweeping tale of discovery in a mythical time. The characters, story, and Bronze Age setting make this a highly entertaining second installment. Can book three please come out soon?------------------------------------------------------------------------------About a year ago, I was fortunate enough to be approved for the ARC of Age of Myth, by Michael J. Sullivan. I loved the characters, and epic storytelling. My only frustration was that the story ended and I would need to wait a year to read the next installment!I finally was able to receive the ARC of the next book in the series, Age of Swords, and it was worth the wait! Everything that I loved about the first book is amplified in the next. Plus, the characters journey on an epic adventure worthy of The Lord of the Rings, trilogy.What I Liked:Characters:In a book where all the characters are preparing for war, you might be surprised that the focus of the story is on the many outstanding female characters. Here are just a few of my favorites:Persephone is the widow of the Rhune chieftain, Reglan, who is the obvious choice to succeed him. Even in this patriarchal society, everyone can see Persephone is a strong leader (and was probably advising Reglan). She is fiercely devoted to her clan, and will do whatever it takes to make sure they survive, even leading her people into a war with the Frhey. Arion is one of the Fhrey, an elf-like race of people that were thought (until recently) to be gods. She is powerful in the "Art", which means she can manipulate the elements to do magic. She is the natural enemy of the Rhune (primitive people), but has switched sides and is helping the Rhune to find a way to fight the Fhrey. I enjoyed how she mentored Suri and became almost a big sister to her. I think she embodied the spirit of sisterhood that some women are luck enough to tap for comfort and support.Stunningly beautiful, Moya has been written off as nothing more than a whore. But she longs to be useful and trains for combat so she can be Persephone's "Shield" (bodyguard). I loved her spirit and determination. She knows what others think of her. And, while she is hurt, she pushes past everyone's perceptions of her to forge her own identity.Roan is also a damaged soul. The ex-slave has been through horrible abuse and can't stand to be even casually touched. She is the group's tinkerer and comes to invent many useful devices for her people. Reading about her bursts of inspiration was a delight.Teen-aged Suri is the group's mystic and seems to possess Arion's talent for The Art. She had the toughest journey in the novel, going from carefree child to an adult who must assume responsibility far too soon. Setting:Although this is a fantasy novel, it seems to be set in the Bronze Age. I loved this because of all the amazing technical innovations that the characters made throughout the book. I also enjoyed the mix of historical fiction and fantasy. It almost seems possible that in a time of world-changing discoveries (that must have seemed to be magic) there would be elves, demons, and gods.Story:I love storytelling which focuses on characters finding out who they are meant to be. Discovering these talents is not always joyous. It means sacrificing some desires to make room for the work of becoming your true self. In the book, several of the characters must travel to a faraway land in order to find what they need to defeat the Fhrey. Everyone thinks they are fools to do it. And those who go are tested beyond almost all reason. But they emerge with wisdom, and are transformed. I can't say more without revealing spoilers, but this is a Bronze Age road trip to end all road trip
    more
  • Shay Williams
    July 17, 2017
    First of all, I must disclose that Mr. Sullivan is one of my favorite fantasy authors and I will forever be in love with Royce. I was a bit concerned about reading another series set in the same world with no Royce but I shouldn't have worried. My new heroes are instead the strong women who see what need to be done and go do it while all the men are beating their chests about just who is going to be in charge during this war. Persephone, Roan, Brin and Suri head off to the land of Dherg to see i First of all, I must disclose that Mr. Sullivan is one of my favorite fantasy authors and I will forever be in love with Royce. I was a bit concerned about reading another series set in the same world with no Royce but I shouldn't have worried. My new heroes are instead the strong women who see what need to be done and go do it while all the men are beating their chests about just who is going to be in charge during this war. Persephone, Roan, Brin and Suri head off to the land of Dherg to see if they can find something that will at least give the Rhunes a fighting chance in the upcoming war.Incredible writing with characters that are memorable and a plot that flows like silk, what more could you ask for? I highly recommend this book (and this series) to anyone who enjoys reading fantasy.*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed within are my own.
    more
  • Veronica
    July 25, 2017
    This follow up to last year's Age of Myth finds the central characters inching ever closer to an all out war with the powerful Fhrey. It's an entertaining tale in the model of a lighter and uncomplicated fantasy story but, as such, was fairly predictable.
    more
  • Avery
    July 12, 2017
    See more of my reviews on my blog the Book DeviantI would like to thank the people at Del Rey for allowing me to have an ARC of this book via NetGalley.Going into these books, the first thing to know is that they're written like what they are--an epic fantasy novel series meant to be long, winding, entrancing stories. Age of Swords reminiscent of it's predecessor, in which it took a good quarter of the novel for the story to pick up pace. At first, I was kinda disappointed in this. I had previou See more of my reviews on my blog the Book DeviantI would like to thank the people at Del Rey for allowing me to have an ARC of this book via NetGalley.Going into these books, the first thing to know is that they're written like what they are--an epic fantasy novel series meant to be long, winding, entrancing stories. Age of Swords reminiscent of it's predecessor, in which it took a good quarter of the novel for the story to pick up pace. At first, I was kinda disappointed in this. I had previously adored all of Sullivan's novels, and I didn't want this to be the first one that I disliked. In comparison to Age of Myth, though, AoS is so much more. It's a literal EPIC story, similar to Tolkien's epic, but with less racism, more badass woman, and a unique magic system.I do have to admit, that there were things I didn't enjoy, but they were mainly because of the world around them. This is a fairly female dominated book, but most of the men are very sexist towards them. I loved reading about this group of women, Persephone, Moya, Brin, Roan, Suri, and Arion, prove everyone wrong, though, and overcome the challenges. Not only that, but Persephone is a widow and a mother, Roan is a survivor of abuse, and mostly everyone considered Moya to be useless. Sullivan, despite his privilege as a white man, wrote these diverse and outstanding women, focusing the story on them rather than the men around them. That's how you bring in diversity while still having privilege.Speaking of diversity, I loved how inclusive this book was. Not only was Roan an abuse survivor, but Arion was mentioned to have had a wife in the first book. There were people of color scattered throughout the story, as well. There was also a disabled character, with a warped spine. He often went though verbal attacks because of how he looked, often being called a cr*pple. But Gifford, the disabled character, gets so much character development from the first book, and has the potential to be an amazing protagonist of the next book.See, the thing with Sullivan writing these problematic things is that he challenges them. There's also extreme racism between the races, as well as inter-species classism that's discussed in-depth in multiple chapters. Sullivan is able to include these discussions without ever being overbearing in the subject, having them just nuanced enough that they're seen as negatives within, and not apart of the actual weave of the story. The plot of AoS was also so badass. I can't even think of other words to describe it. The moment they got to the dwarf city, I couldn't stop reading. The whole legend and quest they learn and go through were just amazing. I don't want to give much away, but just power through the beginning. It might be a little slow, but it's so worth it.five stars - Overall?It was slow. But epic. And diverse. And amazing. I just. I cannot recommend Sullivan's novels enough, okay? His first novels, The Riyria Revelations, features two friends, and lots more badass women, like a kickass royal brat and a WOC sex worker.Would I Recommend?Yes. How can I not? I'm so glad I stumbled upon these books, and I cannot wait for Age of War. I just know that one will kill me worse than this one!
    more
  • Suzanne
    July 25, 2017
    I think I enjoyed this even more than book one, perhaps because I've already met many of the characters. In this second book, Persephone attempts to unite the people of Rhune - a difficult task since they have been enemies for centuries. She is a strong character, but I like her friends even more. There are some funny parts, and one part in particular made me cry. We also meet another race, and learn more about the politics of all three races. I definitely recommend this series.
    more
  • Bam
    January 27, 2017
    Book two in The Legends of the First Empire fantasy series continues right where book one left off (Age of Myth) and begins with a deadly attack engineered by the Fhrey to get revenge for the killing of Gryndal, the First Minister to Fane Lothian, the ruler of the Fhrey. Reminiscent of the great works of fantasy, the story is peopled with dwarfs, elves, giants, mages and warring clans of humans. But what sets Michael Sullivan's story apart are the brave, intelligent female characters. "Although Book two in The Legends of the First Empire fantasy series continues right where book one left off (Age of Myth) and begins with a deadly attack engineered by the Fhrey to get revenge for the killing of Gryndal, the First Minister to Fane Lothian, the ruler of the Fhrey. Reminiscent of the great works of fantasy, the story is peopled with dwarfs, elves, giants, mages and warring clans of humans. But what sets Michael Sullivan's story apart are the brave, intelligent female characters. "Although men were strong like rocks, any stone could crack. Women were more like water. They nurtured life and could shape the hardest granite through unrelenting determination. They were the ones who carried on, who picked up the pieces whether the battle had been won or lost."Persephone, the chieftain of the Dahl Rhen, uses her intelligence to find solutions to her people's problems instead of using brute force. She calls for then seven clans of the Rhune people to come together and choose a keenig to lead them. She knows they will need to band together if there's going to be a war but they will also need swords to fight the Fhrey, so she heads off with a group of women to approach the Dhergs (dwarfs) for help. She doesn't take an army--she takes the best minds she knows of. And these five courageous women solve problems, have the ability to learn, think, plan, and adjust. They stand strong in the face of menace and make tough decisions. Bravo, Michael Sullivan! I hope we will see many more such strong female characters. I shouldn't neglect to mention the men. Two of my favorites were the dwarfs, Flood and Frost, twin brothers who were always bickering. They reminded me so much of the Smothers Brothers, lol. And of course, handsome Raithe, the God Killer, who has fallen in love with Persephone. And Gifford, the potter, who supports Roan in anything she attempts to do. There are plenty of villains too, both real and conjured by magic. Buckle up for a great fantasy adventure!Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read an arc of this exciting new book in the series. I hope to be so fortunate with the remaining books as they are published.
    more
  • Ayman Teaman
    October 5, 2016
    **Summary (Beta Copy)** Rating: 5.0A solid sequel that is better in terms of characterization, overall plot, and excitement.It comes with what usual Michael staples: 'easy to read', 'can not help but love all the characters', 'excellent ending'. If you enjoyed the first book, you are in for a treat! Michael elevates many of the characters into a whole new level, that by the time I had to put the book down, I was sad to say a temporary goodbye to them.I cannot wait to buy the final product and **Summary (Beta Copy)** Rating: 5.0A solid sequel that is better in terms of characterization, overall plot, and excitement.It comes with what usual Michael staples: 'easy to read', 'can not help but love all the characters', 'excellent ending'. If you enjoyed the first book, you are in for a treat! Michael elevates many of the characters into a whole new level, that by the time I had to put the book down, I was sad to say a temporary goodbye to them.I cannot wait to buy the final product and read it again.Why did I pick this book?Part of the beta program for this book that is expected to be released summer 2017.Overall reading experienceIt has a gripping start, and takes few chapters before the book takes off, making it difficult to put down.The ending was totally satisfying (very rare in books), and left me wanting the next book.Things I liked:- Character development; the emotional investment, and depth involved are superb. You really get to know them!- Overall plot and how it gently expands without any info-dump that plagues many fantasy books.- Family-friendly book; no profanities or sex.- More magic (finally Michael, about time!) without deterring the focus on the characters or plot.Things I disliked:That I have to wait until next summer to read it again? lol ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ **Personal Rant -- Forward** I loved the beta program and it was a good experience.Robin is super amazing and organised. The documentation was thoughtful and helped provide feedback.I am excited to read it again and discover any 'hidden gems' that Michael usually likes to place here and there.
    more
  • Lucille
    June 9, 2017
    4,75/5 because there are just a few minor things that are keeping me from giving it 5. But O M G this was amazing, I love the characters and I cried twice. I've already started writing my review and will be posting it by the end of the month!
  • Donna
    July 26, 2017
    I have had such anticipation for this book. I even had it pre-ordered on Audible. I love this author and I love his stories. This book was a solid 4 stars for me. It is the second book in the Legends of the First Empire series. I read the first book in January and I dubbed it as the best book I'd read this year. So far that is still true.What a fun day I had reading this one. I liked it....a lot, but I think I liked the first one a little more. One thing about this author that brings out the fan I have had such anticipation for this book. I even had it pre-ordered on Audible. I love this author and I love his stories. This book was a solid 4 stars for me. It is the second book in the Legends of the First Empire series. I read the first book in January and I dubbed it as the best book I'd read this year. So far that is still true.What a fun day I had reading this one. I liked it....a lot, but I think I liked the first one a little more. One thing about this author that brings out the fangirl in me, is that he is a great story teller. The characters, the plot, the setting, the dialogue, and the humor ..... all these things sing harmoniously in his books. I LOVE that.I also love the narrator, Tim Gerard Reynolds. His narration brings me that much more enjoyment.
    more
Write a review