Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book
Rate this book
Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fantasy (2018)
Rich in magic and adventure, Michael J. Sullivan’s soaring fantasy novels are masterworks of heroism, love, and sacrifice. Now, in Age of War, the epic battle between humankind and the cruel godlike beings who once ruled them finally ignites in all its fury.

The alliance of humans and renegade Fhrey is fragile—and about to be tested as never before. Persephone keeps the human clans from turning on one another through her iron will and a compassionate heart. The arrogant Fhrey are barely held in check by their leader, Nyphron, who seeks to advance his own nefarious agenda through a loveless marriage that will result in the betrayal of the person Persephone loves most: Raithe, the God Killer.

As the Fhrey overlords marshal their army and sorcerers to crush the rebellion, old loyalties will be challenged while fresh conspiracies will threaten to undo all that Persephone has accomplished. In the darkest hour, when hope is all but lost, new heroes will rise . . . but at what terrible cost?

462 pages, ebook

First published July 3, 2018

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Michael J. Sullivan

110 books92.6k followers
Esrahaddon, the last book in the Rise and Fall trilogy, is almost done. Just finished the recording of the audiobook, and the layout. Will pass it by Gamma readers for one last quality check then it's off to the printers!

In other news, Farilane, hit #1 on Amazon's Bestselling Epic Fantasy list! The ebook and audiobook are already released, and the hardcover will release on May 16th.

Thanks for visiting my page! Here are other sites where you can contact me.

I'm a New York Times, USA Today, and Washington Post bestselling author with 9 Goodreads Choice Award Nominations.

I first opened the door to my imagination with typewriter keys while playing hide and seek and finding a black behemoth when I just ten years old. Serious writing started in my twenties, but after more than a decade trying to publish (and getting nowhere), I quit altogether. I returned to writing in 2004, and published my first novel with a small press in 2008. If you had told me that I'd be a New York Times Bestselling author, have 85+ novels translated into 13 languages, and sold more than 2 million copies, I never would have believed you!

But now that we have that out of the way, let me tell you a bit about my books, which can be broken down into two main series.

THE LEGENDS OF THE FIRST EMPIRE: The foundations of Elan are laid by an unlikely band of misfits.

Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between men and those they thought were gods changes forever. Now, only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer. Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom. And Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over; the time of rebellion has begun.

THE RIYRIA REVELATIONS & CHRONICLES: The strongest bonds of friendship are forged in blood.

They killed the king. They pinned it on two men. They chose poorly.
There's no ancient evil to defeat or orphan destined for greatness, just two guys in the wrong place at the wrong time. Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, are enterprising thieves who end up running for their lives when they're framed for the death of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy that goes beyond the overthrow of a tiny kingdom, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery before it's too late.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
8,691 (54%)
4 stars
5,502 (34%)
3 stars
1,364 (8%)
2 stars
196 (1%)
1 star
80 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,203 reviews
Profile Image for Michael.
Author 110 books92.6k followers
November 9, 2018
If you follow me here on Goodreads, you know that I don't rate my books. I do, however, use the review feature to update people on the process of books. So here goes.

Update 11/09/18 - Age of War is my 7th Goodreads Choice Award Nomination! Voting to chose the 10 finalists will end 11/10/18. Here is a complete list of the 20 semi-finalists:

Update 08/23/18 - We made the list! What list you ask? Why the Goodread's Best Fantasy of 2018 (so far list), of course. Here's all the books that are included:

Update 08/20/18 - People are pretty excited for Age of Legend, ,and I'm already getting emails wanting to know (a) when it will be available for pre-ordering and (b) how can they sign up for early notification. Well, the answer to the first question can be found here, and here is a sign-up form for the second.

Update 08/05/18 - One month plus release and things continue to go well, we've sold more than 44,000 books (20% ebooks | 22% hardcovers | 58% audiobooks). It looks like a lot of you are listening to the books. So much, in fact, that Age of War hit the New York Times Bestseller list for the month of July for audiobooks. How are you consuming the book?

Update 07/11/18 - One week plus since release and things are going well. The book topped out at a sales rank of 373 - on Amazon - which I'm very pleased with, and the reviews have been very positive 97% of people on Goodreads "liked it" and it's running at a solid 4.5 overall ranking. Oh, and it's now available for direct purchase for people who want signed copies.

Update 07/02/18 - Age of War releases tomorrow!! And Age of Myth is on sale right now from Audible (just $5.95) so good timing on that. All three books are hitting the Epic Fantasy Bestseller's list so thank you for your continued support.

Update 05/21/18 - Age of War was picked as one of Goodread's Hottest Books of the Summer!

Here are all five selections:

Update 05/01/18 - Another ARC Giveaway has been posted. Here is the link. These are my last two copies fo the ARC, and I'm not sure if Del Rey is running another Giveaway before release date, so this may be the last one. Good luck on the drawing! Oh, and it ends at the end of the month so winners will get the book about a month before release.

Update 03/29/18 - There is a few days left in a Goodreads Giveaway for ARC (Advanced Reading Copies) of Age of War. It's open only to residents of the US, but there is a parallel Giveaway open to people of all countries for members of my Private Goodread's Group, The Dark Room. If you would like to join here is a link.

Update: 02/09/18 - There's some good news and bad news. The printer's proofs for Age of War will be arriving on 2/13/18 just a few more days! That's the good news. The bad news is the book will be delayed a couple of months. The new release date is July 03. Don't blame Del Rey, it's 100% my fault. You see, when Robin and I did my final read through on the copy edits, there were some issues that we felt should be addressed. As such, we were late hitting our copy edit review deadline, and Del Rey had to copyedit the new stuff. All this meant slippage in the release. I could have ignored the issues and hit my release dates, but I opted for quality over speed. I hope you'll be understanding. In the grand scheme of things 75 days is nothing when stacked up against other writers like Rothfuss, Martin, and Lynch. But then again, I guess I shouldn't be putting myself in that same company. Still, I hope you'll be patient with us and understanding ofthe choices we made.

Update: 01/08/18 - Home stretch! Robin and I did our final pass through the copyedits of the book. I deemed it "good to go" - Robin pointed out a few minor tweaks - and they really are minor so I'm implementing them today and iI'm guessing it'll be to Del Rey in the morning - then it's off to the presses!

Update: 10/02/17 - And....DONE! Just finished implementing all the beta feedback. They did a terrific job! Going to give it one last read through then send it off to Del Rey's production team for copy editing, layout, and the other production task. I'm thrilled with how it came out.

Update: 09/28/17- Received the compilation of all the beta feedback from Robin today, and I've started to make changes. Great feedback, and while there is a lot of good stuff for me to "tweak" the book won't be changing dramatically from what went to the beta team. At this point, everything is moving on schedule.

Update: 09/08/17 - Received the "marketing copy for the book" from my editor, may still need some further tweaking and refinement but it's much improved from the fairly lame version I released. If you want to see what they came up with, the description has already been updated here on Goodreads.

Update: 07/07/17 - Got the editorial feedback from my editors at Del Rey. One of them, claims it's her favorite book of the series to date and neither of them had any significant changes called out. I only briefly scanned the file, but I think the book is in good shape and won't need much more from me. Robin is going to do another re-read (I already incorporated her content changes), and then it will be on to beta reading!

Update: 04/03/17 - Had a meeting with Del Rey last week in New York and we've set the official release date for this book to be April 2018. Which means I need to have my submitted for acceptance book to my editor in June 2017 - that should be doable. I'm going to finish up writing The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter: Riyria Chronicle #4 first (it has a release date of December 1). Robin has already provided me with feedback issues she wants addressed and they are minor and easy to incorporate. So I see no problem meeting this deadline.

Update: 01/11/17 - Things are moving along nicely on the third book of the series. Marc Simonetti is working on the cover, Robin is compiling a list of changes for me to implement as part of the alpha reading process, an a beta read should be starting in March. If you want to sign up to be part of the beta, here is a link to do so.
Profile Image for Petrik.
673 reviews42.7k followers
October 23, 2022
4.5/5 stars

Age of War is the best of the series so far. And it is also among Sullivan’s list of best novels.

“If there is one thing I have learned, it is that people will astound you. But the moment they do, or shortly after, you will realize you should not have been surprised. Ultimately, the problem was you, not them.”

Maybe the problem lies in me, indeed, but despite my enjoyment of the previous two books in The Legends of the First Empire, Age of Myth and Age of Swords, I honestly never felt fully in love with the series. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. After I finished Age of War, the third volume and the halfway point of the series, I can undoubtedly say I am immensely invested in the series now. And I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the second half of The Legends of the First Empire will convince me to put the series on my list of favorite series. For now, I will say this, Age of War astounded me on many levels. It has the potential to become the best of the entire series, and it is one of Sullivan's best works. But thinking about it, it shouldn't have surprised me that I would love Age of War. Sullivan has mentioned Age of War works, in a way, as a concluding installment; it concluded the first half of the series. And if you've read The Riyria Revelations, then you will know just how damn good Sullivan is at writing a concluding volume. Even if that "concluding" volume isn't technically the last volume of the series.

“So often I have heard that war is a noble and necessary thing, the answer to many problems. But I have found that when war becomes a reality, peace becomes the noble and necessary thing because there is no problem greater than war.”

Age of War continues from where Age of Swords left off. And as the title implies, even if you haven’t started reading the series yet, I think you will know instantly that this novel, unlike the previous two books, will be a novel that revolves heavily around a war. If you take a look at the gorgeous cover art of Age of War, illustrated by Marc Simonetti, you will also realize that the time of the climactic confrontations between the humans and elves teased since Age of Myth is finally here. And it is not an exaggeration to say that I had a blast reading every page of Age of War. It is emotional, filled with many iconic scenes, and it tackles the themes of leadership, love, responsibilities, sacrifices, and war incredibly well. More importantly, as the third volume of a six books series, the overall quality of Age of War exceeded my expectations in every possible way.

Picture: Age of War by Marc Simonetti

“Death is inescapable. Everyone spends their days, buying unrealized dreams. I gambled mine on hope, not for myself, but for all those who would follow.”

I've mentioned many times that Sullivan is one of the best authors at writing believable women with great characterizations in the fantasy genre. He has proven this in The Riyria Revelations, and he has proven this as well in The Legends of the First Empire so far. But even then, I've also mentioned that one of my issues with Age of Swords was how unbalanced the characterizations for the male and female characters were. To put it simply, before Age of War, almost all the men in the series, especially Raithe, were either unlikeable or forgettable. And I'm not saying that in a good way at all. Other than Gifford, Malcolm, and Tesh, I don't think there were any intriguing male characters in the series. Age of War changed this. It handled the balance of developing ALL the main characters magnificently. Persephone, Suri, Arion, Roan, and many more women in the series have received much focus, and I'm pleased with that. But I'm also delighted to see the men in the series transformed into memorable and well-developed characters in Age of War.

“I truly believe that hardship makes better people. Pain—assuming that it does not break us—provides the strength of knowing that such things can be endured and overcome. And I know of no one who suffered more than Gifford.—THE BOOK OF BRIN”

Among many things to do with the characters, I loved reading about Raithe's and Suri’s friendship in Age of War. Gifford was admirable as a character, and Tesh was insanely likable. I disliked Persephone's treatment of Raithe in this book, but I still understood her reasons. Everything is fruitful to the narrative. Whether I agree or not with the character's actions, there were so many things Sullivan did right with the characters and the spotlight given to them in Age of War, definitely much better than the ones showcased in the previous two books. Remember, I was one of the readers disappointed with Raithe's development in the series. There was nothing special about him, and he was supposed to be one of the main characters! Here, I loved his character's arc. However, if you ask me who are my favorite characters in the series, I will instantly choose Tesh, Malcolm, Suri, and Gifford. I wish I could tell you the details of the events and their actions in Age of War, all the badass moments, and the hardships they endured, but this is something you have to read and find out for yourself. Instead, I will say this. There were two things I loved most about reading Age of War, and one of them can be surmised as every scene involving Tesh, Malcolm, Suri, and Gifford. The other one? The entirety of the second half of Age of War.

“Most of the time people just lack confidence. Doubt kills any chance they might have. People believe magic is impossible, and so it is because they refuse to try, or if they do try it’s only half-hearted because they know—deep down, they know—they can’t. Sometimes all a person of talent needs is a little encouragement and someone—sometimes anyone—believing in them. Avalanches have been caused by the tossing of a pebble, and miracles have come from wishful thinking that just happened to spill out in words.”

I totally did not expect this. I know Sullivan is awesome at plotting, characterizations, and delivering satisfying storylines. However, if there’s one thing about Age of War that completely took me by surprise, and I’ve read every book in The Riyria Revelations twice and The Riyria Chronicles, it was how well-written the action scenes were. Age of War has amazing war scenes and set pieces. The entire second half of Age of War was an all-out war with relatively brief moments of respite, and even though I consider Sullivan one of my favorite authors, I never thought of him as an action-scene writer. But with the devastations, tactics, momentum building, and the rewarding character's arc incorporated into the war sequence in Age of War, I am happy to say I was wrong. In Age of War, Sullivan once again exhibited why he is one of the masters in writing conclusions. I seriously did not expect Sullivan could pull off something like this. Intensity, vivid scenes, fist-pumping and heartbreaking moments were not missing from the big war scenes—with engaging twists and turns—in Age of War. It was impressive and immersive, and it made me excited to read the next three books in the series even more than before.

“The Battle of Grandford is remembered in song and story; a legend of mythic heroes and villains, an allegory of truth and courage; a rallying cry for a people. It is important to know that the Battle of Grandford got its name and reputation months after the fighting ended, bestowed by people who were not there.”

Lastly, this will sound repetitive, but I have to mention once more that my experience of reading this book and series is influenced and enhanced through reading—at least—The Riyria Revelations first. I cannot go into details on this, as it will spoil events from this book and The Riyria Revelations. But there were many Easter Eggs and truths behind some characters' actions that felt more interesting to witness because I've read The Riyria Revelations and The Riyria Chronicles first. For example, I already had a feeling I knew who Malcolm was after I finished reading Age of Swords, but after Age of War, I am 99% convinced of his real identity. And trust me on this, if you've read The Riyria Revelations first, you will LOVE reading Malcolm's story as well. That's all I can say, and I think I've already said more than enough on this. Bottom line, even though The Legends of the First Empire can be read without any knowledge of the Riyria books, I still would recommend you to read The Riyria Revelations first.

“Getting older, Mawyndulë, is like climbing a mountain. The higher you go, the greater the view. From time to time, you look back. At such heights, you can see paths behind you: the trails you took and the ones you foolishly disregarded; the blind alleys you fortunately missed, purely out of chance rather than by some greater wisdom on your part. You also spot others following you, people making the same stupid decisions. From your elevated position, you witness their bad choices, the ones they can’t see because they aren’t standing where you are. You could shout down, attempt to warn them, but they rarely listen. They are too blinded by the indisputable fact that the path you followed got you where you are, to the place they want to be.”

Age of War is easily my favorite installment of the series so far, and I am unsure whether any books in the rest of the series can top it. Age of War tells a compelling story of unlikely heroes participating in a devastating war. The first half can be surmised as the calm before the storm, but the second half of the volume was embedded with action sequences, sacrifices, and battles against overwhelming odds. But as Brin said, heroes are those who refuse to create or become victims. Not exclusively in this book or series, but I think we, in our world, also live among heroes. I loved Age of War, and I look forward to reading Age of Legends soon. I sincerely hope the second half (or the final book) of the series will be able to top Age of War. But if by the end of the series, Age of War became the peak quality of the series for me, I wouldn't be surprised. It was that good.

"When people are happy, they can become deaf. I don't know why that is, but I've noticed it to be true. Misery helps us hear. We notice more when we're in pain. We see beauty more clearly, hear the sufferings of others more loudly. Since you pulled me back, every sunrise is so much brighter, every breeze a delight. I think people who survive tragedy aren't so much scarred as they are cleansed. The wax comes out of their ears and the clouds leave their eyes. The barriers between them and the world are reduced.”

You can order this book from: Blackwells (Free International shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions | I also have a Booktube channel

Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing!

My Patrons: Alfred, Andrew, Andrew W, Amanda, Annabeth, Casey, Diana, Dylan, Edward, Elias, Ellen, Ellis, Gary, Hamad, Helen, Jesse, Jimmy Nutts, Joie, Kristina, Lana, Leigh, Luis, Lufi, Melinda, Meryl, Michael, Miracle, Nanette, Neeraja, Nicholas, Reno, Samuel, Sarah, Sarah, Scott, Shawn, Xero, Wendy, Wick, Zoe.
Profile Image for Helen 2.0.
283 reviews786 followers
May 26, 2018
I have read all kinds of fantasy - urban, epic, YA, romance, you name it - and lots of it. This series has risen through the ranks of my favorites insanely fast. Age of Myth immediately ranked within my top ten. Age of Swords bumped the series up into my top five. Now... well. My top three are starting to fear for their place.

I've never seen a fantasy ensemble cast rendered as beautifully as in this series. Even though each character is given only a small space per book, they all have complex motives and emotions. Characters usually develop with each other and with the progression of the war, which makes the story flow well. At any point during the series, it's easy to understand and connect with each of them.
Take, for example, Persephone and Raithe. While they began the series in Age of Myth as major characters with lots of narrating time, their chapters have dwindled as other characters take on bigger roles. However, Persephone & Raithe's story has lost none of its emotional power. Their relationship is more complicated than ever at the start of AoW, with Raithe determined to spend time with his keenig while Persephone fights her personal feelings to gain political clout. In just a handful of scenes across the book, MJS has created a poignant story surrounding these two idiots characters.

Along the same lines, the fantasy world continues to expand in AoW, with more mysteries springing up with every question answered. While reading I was always wondering about the true nature of the Art, certain characters' questionable motives (looking at you, Malcolm & Nyphron), and what the hell is behind that damn door in Elfland. At no point could I sit back and claim that I knew where the author would take us next.
In this respect Age of War stood out from the preceding two books; I really truly was not expecting the shift in direction the story seemed to take in later chapters. The author has shown that he's not afraid to lead his characters, and his plot, down a darker path.

I have to mention how wonderfully clear it is that MJS planned, wrote, and edited this series in its entirety before beginning to publish book one. As the huge ensemble cast moves closer together and their paths intertwine, every step feels perfectly placed to inch the story closer to its ultimate goal. Reading the series feels like listening to a story whose teller has told it so often that he knows every syllable by heart. It's a fantastic experience.

Here's what is truly impressive: everything I've mentioned above, the author fits into installments less than 500 pages in size. Despite all the complexity of the series, it can still be classified as "light fantasy." That's amazing, given that many fantasy authors take 1,000 pages per novel to build the kind of world that MJS has built. (Absolutely not side-eyeing Branderson when I say this.)

Okay, obviously I love this series and can't say enough good things about it, but I'll leave off here. My dear friends, just go read it when it releases! You won't be sorry.
Profile Image for TS Chan.
699 reviews868 followers
February 13, 2023
Upgraded to full 5-stars on reread. With hindsight, every single character's arc became so much more meaningful.

I received an advanced reading copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Michael J Sullivan, for this opportunity.

4.5 stars.

Age of War marks a fine conclusion to the first act of the series, revealing the true story behind the legends spoken of in Riyria Revelations which was not all fairy tales, rainbows and butterflies.

Before I start, let us take a moment to admire the stunning cover for Age of War by the one and only, Marc Simonetti. In my opinion, this is the best cover he has produced for any of Sullivan's books to date, and it is most fitting that the book dedication is made in his honour

This book is dedicated to the artist Marc Simonetti. People are told not to judge a book by its cover, but so long as Marc is creating them, judge away.

With the two preceding books setting the foundation of the events leading to the war between the Fhreys and the Rhunes, the Age of War can be viewed as the penultimate climax of the series where the first war ever between the Fhreys and the Rhunes finally broke out. Just from the title alone and natural extension of the story, one can reasonably expect some serious action and battle scenes to occur. And I was not disappointed. Moreover, I can also say that Sullivan has managed to hone his action and battle-writing skills as well.

Regardless, the narrative did not go all-out at a breakneck pace as true to Sullivan's approach to storytelling character development always takes precedence. While the preceding volumes, especially Age of Swords, tend to favour the women (which are some of the best female characters in fantasy), we have pretty much equal opportunity for all main characters to shine in this latest instalment. It includes one notable introduction from the previous book, a young man whose name alone caused a whole lot of flailing (on my part at least) because of its implications. Sullivan also has a penchant for unlikely heroes, which makes his stories so compelling. Think of Myron and Emilia from Riyria, and in this series, Gifford and Roan.

To a man with so little, hope is a barrel of ale. It alleviates pain for a time, becomes a crutch. But it also ruins what little good a person might otherwise squeeze out of life.

My favourite part of the whole story so far is the getting the real juice behind the legendary tale of Nyphron and Persephone. In this respect, I always believe that it is fascinating to read the Legend series after Riyria even though one does not truly spoil the other. Now, though the revelations are the main draw for me, I wouldn't be half as engaged in the story if I do not care about the characters. Sullivan's biggest strength as far as I am concerned has always been his characterisation, which I will extend to some with dubious personalities and even that whiny brat, Mawyndule.

The worst thing that can happen while reading is to feel nothing. Stories are ultimately about the people in it and if one does not feel anything, whether it is love or hate, towards the characters then their stories are not likely to stay with you. For all that Sullivan is known for his light-hearted fantasy, he can be downright cruel sometimes. The war exacted an immense cost on our beloved characters and no one who survived can be said to be the same again. At the end of this book, it is this transformation which sticks in my mind; surely a sign of a tale well-told.

There is only one romantic arc within the story which hurt the pacing a bit and did not entirely strike a chord with me, even though I appreciated that it is most relatable under the circumstance and some of the scenes are quite cute. I believe, however, that many other readers will likely differ from my opinion.

In short, another great addition to the series. I am so looking forward to knowing where the story is going next and how Sullivan is going to expand the narrative to bring us to the existence of the fabled city in the Riyria series.

You can order this book from: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Book Depository (Free shipping worldwide)

You can also find this, and my other reviews at Novel Notions.
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,606 reviews1,480 followers
July 14, 2018
This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart

The tears are still in my eyes when I think of this book.  Dang you Michael J. Sullivan, dang you. Age of War encompasses all the emotions one would feel during a war.  Not everyone makes it through battles and some sacrifices are as beautiful as they are heartbreaking.

This is a wonderful continuation to the story. It shows how incredibly invested I am in the characters, that even though I finished this weeks ago, every time I think about it I’m taken back to the emotional moments, good and bad. and feel all the feels all over again.

First, I think the important thing to remember is it is not the end of the Legends of the First Empire series.  There are some very big moments and it is an end to one of the major ARCs for the first battles of the war between the Fey and humans.  But it is not the end of the line for many of the characters that made it to the end.

Suri is by far one of my favorite characters of the series and she has come a long way from the mystic child she was in Age of Myth.  After the sacrifices made in Age of Swords, she is a little bit harder and she has lost some of the innocence she used to carry with her.  But as a character in this series, she is still my favorite. Her journey is a harder one as she will be the one that needs to carry on after friends have been lost to her.
Suri was surrounded by people, yet not a part of them. She was the daisy among the daffodils, the fly in the goat’s milk, the butterfly in the army.

There are a few romantic couplings and none of them have a conventional or easy time of it.  Roan and Gifford is my favorite pairing. They are both broken in some way. Roan is broken on the inside, after years of being a slave and Gifford is broken on the outside, but the most patient and kind man in the story.  I love the friendship and more that is between them even if Roan isn’t sure how to express it at times. I really liked how Gifford played into the prophecy from when he was born. It was very well executed.

Persephone and Raithe.  Well if like me, you have already read the Riyara series, you know who Persephone is supposed to end up with.  I was really hoping for a twist to the story that showed how the legends got it wrong. These two put me through the ringer and while I won’t say how it worked out, I will say  I’m still emotional weeks later while writing this.
Accept that you’re going to get hurt, that you’re going to die; embrace it, and you’ll find the freedom to live. This was one of the many ridiculous things his father had told him that sounded less stupid every day.

Tesh…I love that kid and it seems he has found another to love as well.  Tesh was the biggest surprise for me in this book. Again I know his legend from the Riyara series but to see how the legends got started was amazing.  I also enjoyed the little crush happening between him and a certain scribe.
“What’s it mean? What Sebek called Tesh?”
“Techylor?” Malcolm said. “It means swift of hand, or just swifthand, I suppose.”
“Great. The kid’s going to be impossible to live with now,” Raithe grumbled.
Malcolm nodded. “Probably, but you ought to consider yourself fortunate. Next to Nyphron, you’ve got the best Shield in Alon Rhist.”
Raithe frowned. “Apparently, I’m second best to Nyphron in a number of things.”

As for Malcolm, Nephron and the others, well their stories are all interesting and complex too. I will say I haven’t decided if any of them are good or bad but the twist surrounding Nyphron was huge to me and I’m still trying to get my mind around the implications of it.  I also am still uncertain about that mischievous Malcom. It was interesting delve into his origins and get some of his story but even after that, I still have no idea if he is on team good or team bad or a team I don’t even know about.  

There are at least three more books coming and I’m eager to learn what more the ravages of a war between the humans and the Fey will bring.
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
October 31, 2018
4 stars! Review first posted on Fantasy Literature. (Actually, you should check out this FanLit version of the review because it turned into a back and forth conversation between myself and Marion, another FanLit reviewer. It's worth reading, if I do say so myself!)

All the resentments, cruelties, conspiracies and ambitions that have been simmering since Age of Myth (and even before) boil over and explode in Age of War, the third book in Michael J. Sullivan‘s LEGENDS OF THE FIRST EMPIRE series, a prequel series to both his RIYRIA CHRONICLES and RIYRIA REVELATIONS series. *Some spoilers for the first two books in this series follow* The Rhune (humans), finally unified (more or less) under the leadership of Persephone, and prompted by the designs of a small group of military Fhrey (elves), the Instarya, who have rebelled against their society’s leadership, move to take over the fortress of Alon Rhist, an outpost of the Fhrey in Rhune territory. The Instarya leader, Nyphron, is successful in his plan for a surprisingly bloodless takeover of Alon Rhist, but not everyone in Alon Rhist approves of the change in control.

Lothian, the fane or leader of the Fhrey empire, has finally had enough of these pesky Rhune, not to mention the Instarya renegades, and begins gathering and training his legions to attack and retake Alon Rhist and exterminate the troublesome Rhune. The Fhrey armies move toward what they think will be a quick war and victory; after all, they’ve always had a monopoly on magical power, not to mention the secret of making bronze weapons while humans were still muddling along with stone and ― if they were lucky ― copper. But humans have a vast advantage in numbers over the Fhrey, plus a couple of powerful magical workers of their own.

Moreover, in Age of Swords, humans managed to swipe from the dwarves the secret of making iron weapons, though doing so correctly is still a work in process. Roan, resident Rhune genius inventor, is hard at work trying to figure out the lost secrets of iron-working, including ways to make it even stronger. Age of War doesn’t have quite the insane pace and number of society-transforming inventions that Age of Swords did, but the rapid advance in technology that Roan instigates is still eyebrow-raising, not to mention being the source of a snort-inducing pun.

With this buildup to war and the war itself as the setting, Sullivan delves into the lives of the individuals we’ve been following for the last two books. Nyphron has made a Persephone an offer of marriage to seal their alliance. Persephone sees the advantage of the deal for her people, but knows that Nyphron doesn’t really care about her on a personal level. Knowing that Raithe, a younger Rhune warrior, loves her deeply makes her choice even harder. Suri, the only human versed in the Art of magic, has an even worse choice to make.

Age of War moves the overall story arc of the LEGENDS OF THE FIRST EMPIRE along well. Characters have difficult, even heart-wrenching choices to make. Long-held secrets and plans are revealed. Twists are turned. Monsters menace. And possibly the shallow Mawyndulë gets just slightly smarter? I’m dubious, though, and still wondering why Sullivan chose this maddeningly obtuse youngster to represent the main viewpoint of the Fhrey. I’m not fond of Mawyndulë, especially after three books of his idiocy, but I’ll grant that he does offer a unique and unusual point of view.

After focusing primarily on female characters and viewpoints in the first two books of this series, Mawyndulë being one of the few exceptions, a few additional male point-of-view characters are added. The most significant of these is Tesh, an orphaned teen who is the most driven of all the Rhune in learning the art of sword-fighting. Tesh is so intense that Nyphron and his best fighter, Sebek, begin to be alarmed at what might be motivating his single-minded training. Tesh does take some time off from training to cautiously pursue a relationship with the scribe Brin. But the romance is a small side note to the war-planning and conflicts.

Despite the action, Age of War didn’t engage me quite as much as the prior books in this series did. The pace lags somewhat during the months-long buildup to the war, and Persephone is somewhat hamstrung as a leader by her romantic dilemma, with her heart and brain at odds, and by the difficulties in leading an alliance with elves who uniformly sport a superior attitude. Despite their secrets and quandaries, characters aren’t particularly multi-faceted. Still, Age of War is a solid entry in this epic fantasy series, spinning a complex set of world-shaping events.

I’m invested with these characters now, and anxious to see how they fare in Age of Legend, the next book in the series, slated for publication in July 2019.
Profile Image for Audrey.
1,027 reviews163 followers
July 20, 2019
4.25 stars

I was picked to be one of the “gamma” readers for this book, meaning I searched it for typos after the beta readers were done. I was so thrilled to get to do this. I read it with my proofreader’s brain rather than my reader’s brain. Sometimes I had to go back and start a part over because I accidentally got lost in the story instead of carefully looking at all the letters.

I also swore on pain of death to not give away any spoilers, so this review will remain vague. (Mr. Sullivan knows Royce Melborn, and I don’t want him to show up and slit my throat in the middle of the night.)

I think this is my favorite of the series so far. Like another reviewer mentioned, the first half is like slowly riding to the top of a roller coaster. You don’t even realize that’s what’s happening until all this action starts happening. Besides battle scenes, there are surprises and mysteries and heartbreak and plenty of character development. The second half is so suspenseful and gripping. I think there are some big things in store for the series. The previous book had a quest that left a lot of characters behind, but here they all get fairly equal “screen” time.

Sullivan has a pretty simple writing style. It serves to give you a good story that’s pure fun to read; escapism at its best. I plan to buy a final copy when it’s ready.

P.S. I made it onto the acknowledgments page in the back. I am very proud of me.
Profile Image for Terence.
1,113 reviews345 followers
July 5, 2018
The Fane and the Fhrey loyal to him intend to wipe out Nyphron, his followers, and all of humanity. Nyphron is preparing to use humanity to overthrow the Fane and take over the Fhrey. In order to do that Nyphron needs the keenig Persephone and he proposes marriage to her in order to gain control over humanity through her. Persephone, despite her feelings, seriously considers the proposal to protect her people from the wrath of the Fane. The Age of War is upon them all and sacrifices must be made in order to survive.

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

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

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

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

5 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Chris  Haught.
576 reviews213 followers
November 14, 2017
I was given a beta-version ecopy of this book in exchange for honest, thorough feedback. Note that this is not the final version of the novel and might change significantly before it is published.

But like I said with the beta reads of the first two books in this series, it shouldn't change that much. This baby is awesome as it is and will only need small tweaks and edits to put it in the same ballpark as the other books.

Legends of the First Empire fans will not be disappointed. If you loved Age of Myth & Age of Swords, you will slap this one right up there on your favorites shelf beside them.

Be prepared to be amazed and dragged through an emotional experience. Yes, I'm vague, but I promised not to spoil and you really have to read it to feel it, anyway.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,962 followers
July 23, 2018
Legends of the First Empire, and specifically this book, is a solid epic fantasy fare. The focus is on characters, mostly, with the original two races in headlocks against each other. Pretty standard fare, really. Long-lived elfish versus the ignorant humes, add new technology of war after knocking the scales off the eyes and mix well.

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

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

So how did I like it?

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

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

I'm sure others will gush, however. This is what it means to have fanboys and fangirls. :)
Profile Image for Choko.
1,196 reviews2,583 followers
June 18, 2020
I love the characters in this story and MJS managed to break my heart second book in a row... I love the world, the people, the magic, but I am trying to trust that Michael is going to take care of my soul not getting to hurt to continue... I read these first three books in the six book series in a month, but I think I need a bit of a mental health break, reading silly and fluffy stuff that will let me gather strength for the next go around. As I thought when I started book one, I don't foresee many happily ever afters - the world is not conducive to those. After all, it is the Age of War!

Pure Fantasy with characters to fall in love with and great set-up. I would have probably gone different ways with some plot resolutions, but it is Michael's story and I trust him to guide me through it the best way possible. I recommend everything by this author, particularly if you are a fan of traditional Fantasy written in a very accessible way. The world is difficult today, and most probably it will get even more so before it turns for the better. A good book filled with positive, lovable characters is a blessing at any time, but it seems even more precious today. I am grateful for having these "friends" in my life, even if MJS is determined to lose some of them on the way. Would not miss it for the world!

Now I wish you Happy Reading and may you always find what you Need in the pages of a good Book 😊!
Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
673 reviews602 followers
April 13, 2021
Passion was a wild, selfish thing that didn’t respect boundaries or common sense, but without it life felt pointless.

Age of War is the third book in this series, it was supposed to be the last book but the author realized that it seemed incomplete, I totally agree with him.

This book has some themes that tugs at my heart strings, one of them is friendship and comradeship, the portrayal is amazing, I also like how the romance didn't overshadow the book, the war and fight scenes were also well depicted.

Strange how life often delivers the worst with the best, the highs with the lows, happiness with sorrow, and joy with screams that haunt a person forever, making it impossible to sleep in a room with a window. Then again, that might just be me.

The writing improved greatly so did the world building, the book has additional POV and I like that, it makes it possible for us readers to get other perspectives. The writing is easy to understand. The magic system is more of elemental with telekinesis, blood sacrifice and telepathy thrown into it.

So often I have heard that war is a noble and necessary thing, the answer to many problems. But I have found that when war becomes a reality, peace becomes the noble and necessary thing because there is no problem greater than war.

Just like the title says, this book is about war, the war between the Rhunes and the Fhrey, with the help of Nyphron the humans made it to Alon Rhist, the Insantrya fortress. The humans are now camped them and the Fane is coming with their army of Miryalith.

I can't decide between Brin and Persephone who my favourite is, they are both strong willed women, same goes for Roan, Moya,Suri and Arion. MJS is the one of the few authors that depicts women well in fantasy. Raithe finally got a purpose but I don't like it. Tesh the Durayan boy now has a POV, I like him. Nyphron is more of a monster than I thought.
Malcolm is still a mystery, what is he?
Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,551 reviews2,937 followers
July 19, 2018
Note: I listened to this on audio so spellings may not be correct!

Continuing the theme of really fun books in this series, I have to say I am not surprised that once again Sullivan has written a book I really liked. This is the third in the series, so I would recommend reading my first two reviews to find out more about the world and magic, but the shortened version is that this is the same setting as Hadrian and Royce's Riyria, but thousands of years earlier when the world is just beginning and the people of it are slowly starting to make history.

This story follows many of my favourite characters again: Raithe, Brin, Persephone, Sari and more, but it also brings in some newer ones like Tesh. I really liked Tesh's more prominent focus in this book, and as this book is the start of the real war between two great peoples, I think that the focus made sense too as he is a warrior.

Honestly, there's not too much I can say about this one at this point in the series, besides that it's great and you should read it, but I am really enjoying seeing how the magic of the world is being unlocked through new discoveries about the Art.
I also really like that although this whole book is pretty much focused on a War and getting ready for a War, Sullivan still managed to keep me interested and make me really want to see where things would go. There's also some pretty big twists to the fighting of the War which made it a lot of fun!

Overall, great once again, 4*s from me :)
Profile Image for Claudia.
954 reviews533 followers
July 12, 2018
Perfection. Simply amazing. It’s the best in this series and I enjoyed it to the max. I can say wholeheartedly that for me is on par with Heir of Novron, only with an added incentive: it doesn’t end the series; we still have three more forthcoming and they can’t be here soon enough.

If in the previous parts I had a problem with the characters, it vanished now completely. Their development is complete and they fit into the story perfectly. It’s so marvelous to see, for example, how Suri is transformed. Gifford has an ace down his sleeve – which I truly hope to see it come in to the open in the next instalments. Tesh plays another big card at the end as well as Malcolm

And it was such an emotional rollercoaster in the end; you might want to have a box of tissues close at hand, you’ll need it.

So, I laughed and I cried and I savoured every word; still, it ended way too soon… I can’t wait for the next.

And if you’d like to recall the main events from the previous volumes, check below links on MJS’ site. They are recaps written by Robin:

Age of Myth Recap

Age of Swords Recap
Profile Image for Scott  Hitchcock.
779 reviews224 followers
July 7, 2018
Book 1: 5*
Book 2: 3.5*
Book 3: 4.5*

This one started out really slowly to the point where I thought it was going to be a book 2 repeat. MJS is great at character development but sometimes he gets too fixated on the microscopic details of the characters and forgets there's a story to tell. This being book 3 and given how much character building we saw the first two book coupled with this book's name I was waiting for an explosion not a tea party.

The second half of the book we finally got it and not at the expense of more thorough character building. There were also a lot of long game elements that showed their reveals or possible outcomes into the Riyria generation.

All of the characters are left in a state of somewhere between flux and devastation. I can't wait to see where we go next.
Profile Image for Mili.
386 reviews33 followers
June 5, 2019
Age of War by Michael J Sullivan is the third book in The Legends of the First Empire series. I loved it! 5🌟. It has been a while since I read Age of Myth and Age of Swords. So it took me a while to feel connected with the story and the characters. But when I managed to read chunky bits a time it sparked to life. And I remember how much I love Sullivan his story telling. The easy and cozy writing makes it for a fast and enjoyable read. There are many beautiful characters, well fleshed out and so unique in their own way that they are easy to distinguish. Sullivan is not afraid to kill his characters off or make them feel painnn. But def also happiness. It is a story yeaaars before the Riyria series. Explaining its history. Involving elves, dwarves and humans. Magic fills the story used for power to rule, luckily a few know to use it for the good and to unite. .
Profile Image for Etel.
35 reviews11 followers
July 7, 2018
It took me a day to finish this highly anticipated new installment in a series that became one of my favourites from the first book. Although a fantasy addict, I am also a connoisseur with high demands and standards; world-building, characters, plot-twists, and a plethora of other essential parts making up an excellent book. And, Michael J. Sullivan keeps providing all of it, not shying away from exhibiting one of the most crucial trait of a wonderful writer - playing their readers' emotions like a virtuoso.

I would like to avoid any accidental - or not - revelations and spoilers about the book as it's been only couple of days since it seen the light of day. What I would like is to mention some of the emotions while devouring page after page.

Utter disbelief - because, let us be quite honest, I did NOT see some of what was coming. I mean, really.
Trepidation - what would the next page bring, the next chapter, and gods forbid, was I nearing the end of the book? Would it leave me... shattered and with questions? Well, of course it did.
Snotty nose and red-rimmed eyes - allergies. NOT crying. NO. The last book to make me weep was John Gwynne's 'Wrath'. And I am definitely not a Johnny-come-lately to the world of epic fantasy to believe with the purity and naivité of ignorance that everything ends well. Ergo, my shriveled, black, antagonistic heart is usually incapable of such incongruous things as crying. Alas, Michael J. Sullivan's sustenance is the nectar derived from the tears of his readers.
Incredulity - at the author's skill and lack of fear at having a fluid cast of primary characters. Some, who started out in the limelight of the first book, now found themselves in supporting roles; their stories somehow woven into the background of the story's tapestry, yet the rich, vibrant colours of their arc's still essential in the overall composition of the book.

There was a myriad of other emotions. Some short-lived - like a smile at a witty banter, or a recognition of particularly lyrical description - while others lasted longer, adding to the general exhaustion and hangover after finishing a GOOD book.

That's it, really. I also still might be a tad dazed and such. Probably.

It was - brilliant.
7 reviews
August 7, 2018
What started in the second book continues here: weaker characters with each successive entry.

What happened to the lush landscapes and interesting people of Age of Myth? The plot in this third volume centers around a single event, gone are the multilayered stories with differing viewpoints. The unbelievable pace Roan invents major advancements in Age of Swords is now completely out of control, how are readers supposed to remain immersed in this world when only one person is apparently capable of making things (and the very cute origin of the name arrow is dwarfed by the revelation in Age of War)? If that doesn't shatter immersion, then there is the adolescent girl that, seemingly on her own, devises written language (Don't get me started on what the author has in store for Gifford). These are characters that had interesting motivations and backstories. Now they are little more than one trick ponies.

War, as it is presented here, is little more than a hindrance to the near god-like (or just ridiculously lucky) protagonists. Death is handled in just as confused a manner. Background characters that fall are treated as heroes, martyrs, and essential to group survival. A main character dies? Little fanfare. They're treated and written about as if they were selfish, that they weren't thinking about the others when they passed.

In total, if this is how the series progresses with characters becoming flat representations of what they started as and plotlines reduced to singular (and predictable) cause and effects, I don't have much interest in continuing the journey.
Profile Image for Narilka.
582 reviews39 followers
July 3, 2020
Life had been the same for hundreds of years. Then the war came, and nothing was ever the same again.
-The Book of Brin

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

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

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

The way this first main story arc ended I'm definitely curious to see where the rest of the series goes. I have so many questions! Hopefully some of them are answered in the second half.
Profile Image for Anna [Bran. San. Stan].
260 reviews80 followers
August 15, 2021
This book has crushed me. Age of Myth (#1) thoroughly hooked me, Age of Swords (#2) had me in its grasp despite its somewhat slower pace, occasionally leaving me teary-eyed - but this one? It was a wild ride, a heart-wrenching, breath-taking, fast-paced avalanche that left me more than teary-eyed - it had me weeping.

As you can see from my GR moniker, I consider Brandon Sanderson a literary genius and I didn’t think I’d find another fantasy series that I could love as much as I love Stormlight - but this series has very much the potential of becoming another favorite to be reread.

(And for those who were put off by Stormlight's complexity and length - this series is really easy to get into and averages only around 400 pages!)

What started as something using familiar elements - variations of elves (Fhrey), man (Rhunes), dwarves (Dherg) reminiscent of LotR - succeeded in taking these elements and making something entirely magical and new. In this installment, the inevitable war between Fhrey and Rhunes has come and dominates the entire book - hence the title.

As with Sanderson, I mostly came to love/appreciate the characters, the “true magic” in a magical world:

- Suri, the young Rhune Artist (able to call on the forces of nature to wield magic)

- Raithe, God-Killer and Suri’s friend
"It seems stupid to start being smart now."

- Arion, Fhrey artist, dedicated to helping the Rhunes and her charge, Suri

- Persephone, a capable leader (#girlpower) used to sacrifice her own desires for her people
"Passion was a wild, selfish thing that didn't respect boundaries or common sense, but without it life felt pointless."

- Moya, beautiful and fierce and brave, expert archer, in love with Tekchin, a Fhrey warrior

- Roan, the traumatized ex-slave and creative genius

- Gifford, the gifted potter/cripple in love with Roan

- Brin, teenage Keeper of Rhune history, inventor of writing

- Tesh, who hates the Fhrey (for good reason), who I can’t wait to see reach his full potential of an elite warrior

- Malcolm, ex-"slave"/mystery

- And while I didn’t exactly love Nyphron - which is neither intended nor necessary - he is an intriguing character: a Fhrey warrior with his own motives in helping the Rhunes fight the Fhrey.

And it crushed me that not everyone made it out of this Age of War alive - seldom has a book been named more aptly.

Side note: I did not read the Riyria Chronicles first and I’m already planning a reread of Legends of the First Empire once I’ve finished all the books. I’ll reserve judgement on which order is best after a reread of the series.

But first: on to Age of Legend - the first book in the second Legends of the First Empire trilogy.
Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,493 reviews959 followers
September 5, 2020


The third installment and a closure of sorts for the major story arc of the conflict between men and elves in the First Empire period of the continent of Elan, some three thousand years before events from the original Riyria series. It’s an easy, entertaining summer read, not exactly fast-paced but well written.

Obviously, new readers should start with the first book in the series: “Age of Myth”, or even better, with the original Royce and Hadrian adventures, who are superior in my personal opinion.

I will not bother with a synopsis of events, the book is mostly about the very long preparation for a decisive battle between an underdog Rhune band of heroes and their godlike Fhrey masters, followed by a predictable heroic, emotionally charged, epic confrontation that will usher in a new world order. The plot is helped along by the reader’s familiarity with the main characters, the good worldbuilding done in the previous two episodes and the personal style of the author, a mix a lightweight banter and poignant personal troubles that has more in common with modern soap opera, with a liberal sprinkling of tear-jerking scenes and moral lessons thrown in, than with any Tolkien inspired high fantasy [although the actual worldbuilding borrows heavily from the Middle Earth mythos]. It should be enough to mention that most of the characters that led the proceeding in the first two books are up to their old tricks here : Persephone leading the humans with wisdom and empathy; Raithe kicking his heels until the real action begins and moping over his unrequited love; Malcolm engaging in cloak and dagger stuff behind his easy-going persona; Gifford limping his way through prejudice to eventual preordained glory, maybe; Suri the wilding becoming both used to the way of social people and adept at magic; Roan is still reinventing the industrial revolution al by herself; Mawyndule works on his inept evil overlord persona and so on ... and on ... and on ... until it’s time for the deux-et-machina device to come and save the day from impossible odds.

Another personal touch from the author, loyal to his long-term fans like me, is to scatter a multitude of Easter eggs and teaser trailers in the text, referencing his other books and upcoming events in the world of Elan. Reading the next three books in the series is not a high priority right now, given how much I hesitated between three and four stars on this last one, but I know I will eventually get around to reading them. As I said, I’ve been a fan for long enough to ignore or tone down any less than complimentary remarks I might have had.

Recommended for fans of character driven, clean fantasy who like discussing social issues in detail in between epic battles.
Profile Image for Stefano G..
187 reviews7 followers
August 23, 2020
***4.75/5 Stars***
Best book in the series yet!!! Exciting, eventful, epic and heartbreaking!!! Couldn’t stop reading, read it in one day!!! Michael J. Sullivan’s writing is addictive! What a great book that ends the “first part” of this six-book series! Excellent!! Highly recommended to High Fantasy Fans!!!

The story picks off right after Age of Swords, and it is constant action that never leaves you bored. The finale is marred by unexpected plot twists and heart wrenching moments that make for a beautiful story! Malcolm! Oh my god Suri, she’s so awesome and powerful!!! She’s so epic! Also, loved the minor character story arcs in Roan, Brin, Tesh and Moya are just all fun characters!! Not to forget Gifford!! Incredible! I’m still wondering who Padera is?!

We got a bit less of Raithe and Persephone throughout this book, Raithe’s POVs were better than in previous books, but I really disliked Persephone’s mainly because I hated her behavior, she really pissed me off!!! Why Persephone, why be like that?!!? Real sad!! :’(

Notable mention to the Cover Art of this book, so beautiful!!!

I’m still 100% excited and curious to see what’s in store in the next three books of this series, though since this book was a satisfying conclusion to the first part I wonder what the author has planned next… there are for sure unanswered questions and I’m glad to know it’ll still be with the same characters we have grown to love! On to the next book! 😊
Profile Image for Thomas J. Benedict.
78 reviews28 followers
July 31, 2018
This one was SOOO GOOOOOD! Lots of action, just the stuff I like. Crazy stuff happened.

2 of my favourite characters died. MICHEAL J SULLIVAN IS A MURDERER 😭.

Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Wick Welker.
Author 5 books337 followers
August 14, 2020
Phenomenal third installment to the series. Age of War was a delightful and satisfying fantasy read. It succeeded for many reasons. First, the full cast of characters were developed. Perhaps not every character to the same extent, but the large cast here all got moderate to excellent development which helped the cohesion of the entire plot. I genuinely liked and cared for almost every character in this book which is saying a lot because there are many.

Second, FINALLY a male fantasy author writes women right. There isn't just the token, badass, no-nonsense female protagonist. No, the bulk of the cast is women, but simply having a female cast of characters doesn't mean much if they're poorly written. Sullivan's women characters are all unique, flawed, weird, and incredibly courageous characters. They grow and have romance. They aren't just male characters with female names. They are HEROINES. And just because there are strong female characters, doesn't mean there aren't strong male characters. The men in this story are also beautifully developed.

Third, the story is just plain fun. I was never bored, never wanted to put the book down. The setting, world-building, war scenes are all present. The magic and fantastical creatures were fun (and horrifying, wait till you read about the Roaw). The anticipation with the prots and antagonists was nail-biting. Fourth, the resolution was both incredibly satisfying and totally tragic. I had no idea how it was going to end.

Any fantasy fan should read this series. You will not be disappointed. One of my favorite reads of the year.
Profile Image for Michael.
267 reviews71 followers
November 30, 2019
I give this one 3.5 rounded up to 4-stars.

If you like action then this will be the best of the series so far. I like the action but it was the way that some of the characters have begun relationships that put me off giving this 5-stars; especially the one (or non-one) between Raithe and Persephone.

The story is still good, as you would expect from Mr Sullivan but the ending is rather sudden, which is obviously a trait with ongoing series.

I look forward to the next book but have others to read first.

Thanks for reading.
Profile Image for Andreas.
206 reviews
August 21, 2018
Well this certainly was (mostly) depressing and heartbreaking. And incredibly entertaining. For me this was easily the best book in this series, so far. I'm sort of glad that the next book is months away. In the meantime I'll try to prepare for the, most likely, unavoidable and upcoming heartbreak.

You can be very cruel sometimes, Michael. I love it.
Profile Image for Emily.
214 reviews8 followers
July 4, 2018
Age of War by Michael J. Sullivan

There are just too many feels going on right now for me to properly review this book. So much happened, and yet it felt like the book wasn't long enough. MJS punched me right in the gut, AGAIN! I had tears by page six, that's how you know the author is good!

Age of War had a slow buildup to the action, which starts around Chapter fifteen and just keeps building from there all the way to the end. Characters are MJS's strongest part of any book he writes. It was so glorious and heart wrenching all at the same time to be back with these characters as they fight for their very survival. I absolutely love the Book of Brin quotes at the beginning of each chapter. They're kind of a little hint of what's to come and warn you when the unspeakable is about to happen so you can prepare yourself.

I've docked half a star because MJS did the one thing that really irks me. But only half a star because I still think he's brilliant. Do not click this if you haven't finished the book!

That's all I'm emotionally able to say right now. Possibly will revisit this review later. Final thoughts though, I loved it. MJS is a master story teller.
Profile Image for Suzanne.
1,611 reviews
July 6, 2018
This installment was the most serious of the series so far. Our characters are established (and there aren't lots of new ones this time), and boy do they have some big obstacles to overcome - like how do the primitive humans fight the much more powerful Frey!? I loved the some of the character progression/reveals, and others just tore at my emotions. It is one of those books that now that I'm done, I'll need to pause and think for awhile :)
Profile Image for Logan.
1,295 reviews34 followers
September 27, 2018
So some good things: I enjoyed the epic nature, some of the character interactions.

Some of the major dislikes: when an author starts out with a character like Raithe in the introductory chapter and then in subsequent books relegates him to "love interest" of the new main character, it feels cheap. Some foreshadowing would help. Without the foreshadowing, it felt like the author just made things up as he went and couldn't figure out what to do with certain characters.

Some specifics:

There are some truly engaging moments in the story, and I think the author is a good story-teller, but I wish there had been some more beta readers, or perhaps a continuity editor. Apparently his editor (wife) didn't know how this book was going to go, and I think in a multi-volume story it is really important for the editor to at least know the major outline points.

I'm probably being overly critical and I hope I hurt no one's feelings, but to me this just felt messy. Apologies to all the folks out there who loved it.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,203 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.