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Age of War

The Legends of the First Empire, Book 3
Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
Series: Legends of the First Empire, Book 3
Length: 16 hrs and 47 mins
5 out of 5 stars (7,292 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The epic battle between humankind and their godlike rulers finally ignites in the masterful follow-up to Age of Myth and Age of Swords.

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?

©2018 Michael J. Sullivan (P)2018 Recorded Books

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Raithe the ruined

I just finished the book, and I can't help but feel a bit angry at how Raithe was handled in this book. It wasn't even the major plot points in which he was involved. He is just a chump in this book. Thanks for treating my favorite character in this series like bear scat.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Weakest in the series

Not a lot of story here, in the first half of the book almost nothing happens. The speed with which the protagonists progress beyond the bronze age would put a game of Age of Empires to shame. Notably, how Roan decides to name steel made me want to throw something. Gifford's storyline is just comical. This book was another continuation of the decline in quality started by book two after a promising start to the series.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Story Lost Me

Second book started to loose me when the author decided to make Wraith a non-character and Malcom all powerful. This just finished the process. The rest of the characters do things but many of the ones that I grew to like stood still.

Conflict was good. Narrator is excellent. Just bummed at the authors decision making. I likely won't listen to the next books in this series.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

The Title should be "Raithe, thrown under the Bus"

Very disappointed int he way this story developed and played out. Just a total waste of a potentially great character and the plot that you could seriously root and cheer for. Nope, the author tried to get fancy and should have just gone with what made the other book great. No idea how this has an average of 4.8. I have loved his other books........

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

The series continues, but the best of it has been left in book one

I want to love this series. I greatly enjoyed the first book and the other books Sullivan has written. This installment has taken my favorite parts and aspects of book one and shattered them without ceremony.

Too much of the villains and drama felt like a copy from book two. This book felt a lot less creative and more geared at gutting the fan base. I can’t say if I’ll continue with the series (which I thought was an unshakeable dedication) or not at this juncture. I know it’s a prequel story that isn’t meant to be roses and rainbows, but I wasn’t looking for a tragedy and that is what this book felt like to me.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful

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Unrealized potential

I have loved everything done by the author prior to the "Age" series. I did enjoy the connections to the more modern age. Too much self-loathing and undeserved guilt and nonsense daddy issues. Adolescent love amongst teens, totally fitting, but between adults is ridiculous. Author sound like he has an SJW Patriarchy disorder while writing a world dependent upon swords and armies. (Not that I won't read all that follows). I can't wait to hear more about Gifford.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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The series started out so good...

I thought with the Age of War title this would be the most exciting book in the series but it is getting progressively worse each book. Sullivan is really good with friend relationships, but it’s a chore to get through the love interests. The first book was awesome and now I realize a large part of that is because he hadn’t developed the love relationships. There was very little war in this book and really very little of anything happens until the very end.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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I wanted to like this series

Before I give the review, I want to say that Michael J Sullivan is one of my favorite writers, and I loved the Riyria series, the characters, and the feel of the stories. Tim Gerard Reynolds is always in top form and I was so looking forward to this new series. I tried, but I don't like the Legends of the First Empire. I listened to the first book in the series, but when the second book was released, I was surprised to find that I could barely remember any of the characters of the first book or much of the story. So, I listened to the first book again, then the second book, but I found myself still not caring about the characters or the story. Well, here we are with the third book and well into the story I didn't care about an important story line, or any of the story lines or any of the characters. I wanted this to be great and I'd settle for good or even OK, but I stopped and can't make myself pick it back up. I can't even point to any specific thing that didn't work for me. A lot of people love this series and I don't want to discourage anyone from trying it. In Riyria, the stories just pulled me into another world, and the characters felt like spending time with friends. For me, all of that is missing from the new series - the magic, the fun, the wonder. I will certainly try more Riyria books or a different series, but I am not going to continue with the Legends of the First Empire series.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A disappointing offering that does not capitalize on one of the author's key strengths

I would like to preface this review by saying I truly enjoy Michael J. Sullivan's works. The Ryira series is the first contemporary series in years that I have read (listened to) multiple times. I find his insights into his craft entertaining and enlightening (and I confess I share his wife's affinity for Hadrian :) ). Sullivan's strengths are his wonderfully indelible characters, his mastery of combat scenes that place you right in the midst of the action, and his engrossing way of weaving you from each mini-adventure to the next. His books hearken back to the swashbuckling films of Errol Flynn. Really my only criticisms of his works are the character's names, which seem to be borrowed from a peculiar variety of inexplicable sources ("Moya" from Farscape, "Arista" from a record label, "Royce" from a car, "Persephone" from Greek Mythology, Suri from Katie Holmes' daughter, etc), and the gratuitous use of "smirking". EVERYBODY smirks. They don't leer, they don't sneer, they don't grimace, they don't grin. It's like the "chuckling" that pervaded the ridiculous "Twilight" series. Please: find (and use) a thesaurus!

(Spoiler Alerts)
It is because of my admiration for Sullivan that it is difficult for me to say I was quite disappointed in "Age of War". In fact, I find the series is diminishing rapidly in appeal with each book, to the point where I questioned if I would continue with it. After devouring "Age of Myth", I (like many) waited on tenterhooks for its follow-on. But when "Age of Swords" arrived, it took me weeks to get through it. It had the characters endeared to us in the
first book behaving in ways that, at best, went against the grain, or, at worst, were wholly unbelievable. The elimination of one of my favorite characters also did not sit well; I accepted that it might have needed to be done to satisfy the storyline, but the way in which it was done was so clumsily prolonged it was excruciating, and, as noted earlier, was simply not believable (especially on repeat).

Now comes "Age of War". Here, Sullivan pulls a Rowling and disperses with yet another beloved character in a horrid deja vu from AoS. And if that wasn't enough, throughout the book, almost all the characters engage in lengthy internal dialogues of incessant vacillation which undermined the depth of characterization and quickly became wearisome. Having these formerly strong characters churn repeatedly in emotional indecision ("Does Persephone love me or is
she shagging Nyphron?" "Do I still love Reglan, or do I love Raithe, or ???" "Will Tesh notice me? He's so wonderful and I am nothing!" "Ivar said I'm useless so it must be true, mustn't it?") was painful. I think these thought-spews are meant to help us empathize with the characters, but for me they had the opposite effect. In fact, I grew to hate Persephone--who was such a powerful female force in the first book, overcoming both terrible sorrow and adversity with aplomb--so much that I confess I was cheering for the Raow when he was dispatched to eat off her face! And don't even get me started on that self-serving slimeball Nyphron! Those two deserve each other!

Of course, there was more smirking, though less perhaps in this book than the others. (One of the characters actually did sneer!) I also got pretty tired of all the "Tetlin" epithets. Even the cute "Sure?...Pretty sure." exchanges were repeated enough in AoW that they were in danger of becoming cloying. Like Royce flipping up his hood...funny the first dozen times...then, not so much.

AoW was not completely without its bright spots. I thought the chapter where Raithe took a walk with Suri was a real coup for Sullivan, and one of the most beautiful and touching pieces of writing I have experienced in a while. I was also captivated by Tesh. This boy is going places! And he is intriguing enough that I'm already imagining how his tale will spin out and blend with that of Hadrian and his father and the Pickerings--which is
the main reason why I will probably continue with the series. And yes, as others have noted, there was climactic scene that moved me (against my will) almost to tears. (I was saved only by the fact that it wedged an old Barry Manilow song into my head for a bit: Even Now. Darn you Mr. Sullivan!)

I suppose one might argue that a work that stirs such a diversity of emotion is powerful indeed. And perhaps they would be right. Maybe it's just that I am overfond of happy endings.

As for the narration, Tim Gerard Reynolds is as superb as ever; I believe I would pay to hear him read a cookery book!

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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History re-written

Michael J. Sullivan is one of my favorite Fantasy writers out there, alongside Justin Cronin, George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan. He is the bestselling author of the Riyria Revelations series, Riyria Chronicles series and his latest release is the third volume in the Legends of the First Empire series, called Age of Swords.

Before I get into the review thing, I want to tell you that I listened to all of Mr. Sullivan‘s books and that I enjoyed each and everyone of them tremendously. There are 6 in the Riyria Revelations collection with them packed 2 by 2 on Audible, so you get 2 audiobooks for the price of one. After that, we have 4 prequels in the Riyria Chronicles series and 6 more in the Legends of the First Empire, of witch 3 are already out now. If you want to fall in love with Michael J. Sullivan‘s work, read or listen to the books in the way I mentioned above, although you could start every series at its beginning. There are two Free short stories which I suggest that you grab to see how good this team of author and narrator really is.

Age of War continues the epic adventure started in Age of Myth and Age of Swordsin which a group of humans fight for their lives as they try to survive an all out war between them and the Fhrey, the almost immortal beings that we know as Elves. To find out how and why this conflict began you have to read the first two books because I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but let me assure you that it this third book is excellent as well. 

Our heroes have to find a way to fight and defeat a more powerful enemy, equipped with better weapons and commanding The Art (magic). Luckily, heroes will rise, they will fight an epic battle in a legendary city, but the are outnumbered and they need help and weapons.

This new adventure is filled with deadly perils at every step. Will they survive? Do they have a chance to succeed in their endeavors and win an unwinnable war?

As always when it comes to books written by Michael J. Sullivan, the story is great, very well written and delivered with such vividness that you can imagine everything in your minds eye. The characters feel alive and I deeply cared for them, the threat is terrible, the enemy is merciless and the fate of the human race is in the balance once again.

I found myself instantly immersed into this new spellbinding story set in the world of Elan and that’s in part because of the fantastic performance delivered by Tim Gerard Reynolds and part thanks to the riveting storytelling abilities shown once again by Michael J. Sullivan. The fact that all the other audiobooks by Mr. Sullivan are narrated by Tim has to be mentioned in this review, as you may know that we, the audiobooks fans love the same narrator on all books set in a certain universe.

The amazing narrator, voice over artist and actor Tim Gerard Reynolds brings every character to life with passion and professionalism. He uses different voices, accents and subtile changes in tone and cadence to help the listener easily differentiate who is talking at a specific time. He can be in once scene a worried Elf, a frightened child, a ruthless warrior and a treacherous dwarf, switching between them with ease and style.

I want to say once again a big Thank You to both Michael and Tim for the respect with witch they treat the audiobooks community and for the amazing time spent in to this magical world they created and brought to life, with love and passion, for us!.

For me, Age oF War is another epic adventure in the world of Elan, and this perfect team of author and narrator is amazing as always I already pre-ore-ordered book 4 and can't wait to wrap it around my ears when it comes out this Summer.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Tony
  • 10-11-18

Can’t put this down

Great continuation left wanting more as always
Only let down as for once I thought it was cramped it should have been a little longer ended up getting board waiting for cliff hanger endings and not enough intrigue but that’s me being over the top it’s a very good book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-08-18

A good book, but painful.

So sad.....

It's a good book.... it's just sad....

I like Sullivan. Reynolds does a great job.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • norman hobson
  • 07-08-18

Always leaves you wanting more..

I loved this book, its stuffed full with great characters who you cant help but care for. For me Michael J is one of the best around when it comes to writing dialogue , always interesting and engaging . From the first word to the last i was hooked and couldn’t stop listening.
Having TGR deliver the words makes the experience all the more rewarding . In my opinion he’s one of the best narrators around.
This third book in the series was my favourite so far and i cant wait for the next, and thankfully with that book already written the wait wont be too painful..

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Virtual Stu
  • 06-23-19

Captivating, enjoyed every second.

Couldn't Wait to start this book as the story developed and didn't want it to end. Deep and colourful, passionate and lovingly crafted, such a roller coaster of emotions :) ;) :') using my next credit to pre-order #4 can't wait.

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  • Poppey
  • 04-09-19

This Does Not End Well!

Nyphron, a Fhrey, has persuaded his people to surrender the great fortress of his people to the humans, led by Persephone, who is now leader of all the clans.

War is coming and Fane, Lothian, accompanied by his son, Prince Mawyndulë will lead the battle himself. This book will see:

Nyphron show just how devious he is.
Malcolm reveal himself to be more than just a Fhrey slave.
Suri start to come into her own as the clans' mystic.
Gifford show that he is much more than his disability and heroes come in all shapes and sizes.
Persephone ... well, she, in my opinion, proves to be a great disappointment.

This is a book of struggle, of Fhrey, Dwarfs, Elves and a Dragon and an ending no-one will want.

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  • AmazonCustomer
  • 02-27-19

Ooooh wow

After listening to books one and two that are throughly enjoyable I can safely say I’m hooked and pleased to say that Michael j Sullivan is an author I’m going to keep an eye on.

Thankfully the narrator (Tim G Reynolds) has a voice that’s easy to listen to (which is vital for me I dislike it when a good book that’s a truly enjoyable read is turned into a badly narrated dialogue that makes me want to shout out in frustration at their monotonous sounds )

All the characters along with their situations are made to fire the imagination and have me engaged even more so when theses likeable characters meet new challenges that make me say
What!! ....
Why ?? .....
Ohhhhhh (thumbs up) as the storyline unfolds.

My only dilemma is what to listen to while waiting for the next book in this series.

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  • Teitur Ásgeirsson
  • 01-26-19

GOOD BOOK

I have over 300 audible titles and I have to say that the narration and performance of this book is one of the best I've heard. It's a compelling universe with a great story and awesome characters. I can't wait for a sequel.

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  • Dermot
  • 01-14-19

Superb

I have been reading and listening to fantasy books for close to half a century, the genre seems to be going from strength to strength, there are so many talented story tellers weaving entertaining, engaging and skillfully written tales it's a great time to love fantasy. Michael J Sullivan is in my opinion up there with the best of them, I adored the Riyria trilogies, so naturally was looking forward to the Legends of the First Empire. It would have been safer, I suppose, for MJS to give us another set of tales featuring Hadrian and Royce rather than to recount the genesis of the world of Riyria. I'm glad he took the risk these novels brought me back the days when I first fell in love with the genre in a way that very few books that I've read in the intervening years have. They are entertaining, heartbreaking, exciting, fresh and oh so beautifully crafted - in short an absolute joy.

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  • JPA
  • 11-14-18

I'm enjoying this series more and more...

Fantastic. Story progression and revelations, coupled with new questions and possibilities.

Exciting and harrowing both. Read/listen to it!

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  • Jacob
  • 11-07-18

Great follow-up

I’m quite fond of these Age Of .... books! They have in common they start a little slow, but it always pays of in the end!
Charecters are great and the world is really interesting!
But make sure to hear the two other books first!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-11-19

Well done but so grim

This was a good audiobook. Performance was great as always. The world building continues to grow and become more fascinating. I thought this was stronger than the previous installment and I want to give it 4 or 5 stars. It probably deserves at least 4 stars.

The thing is, it gets grim in places. It isn't uniformly depressing but just be prepared that it gets very sad. The heaviness doesn't really work for me, maybe because I've just finished a couple of other fairly heavy/downbeat novels. But for those who don't mind that, I would recommend.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-27-18

this enchanting tale continues

with magic and Dragons humans and elves dwarves and giants Michael J Sullivan continues to weave his spell of storytelling in a most captivating way

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  • Lara
  • 09-13-18

Best yet

The best one yet! This adventure kept me listening late into the night, even when I knew I needed to stop and sleep. Loved it!