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Age of War

The Legends of the First Empire, Book 3
Written by: Michael J. Sullivan
Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
Series: Legends of the First Empire, Book 3
Length: 16 hrs and 47 mins
5 out of 5 stars (236 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Rich in magic and adventure, Michael J. Sullivan’s soaring fantasy novels are masterworks of heroism, love, and sacrifice. Now, in the New York Times best-selling 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? 

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

What listeners say about Age of War

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amazing

I love this series of book cant wait to read the next one and the one after that

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Deeply Satisfying (subtle spoilers)

Did not expect this story, considering the title. This story that was rife with emotion. It was about relationships and love. And damn the PC issues of the word "cripple," Gifford's was my favorite moment. There was so much vulnerability and the "strong" characters seemed ineffective. Reminded me of how I used to see the world as a kid; that vulnerability was a virtue. And actually made me feel like seeing it that way again. And Persephone's last words... what a turn.

Tim Gerard Reynolds. What. A. Performance. Thanks for the tears!

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Fantastic

love the book cant wait to grab the next one ends with a great cliffhanger

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I enjoyed it.

it was a good story, that could have been an amazing story. narrator was great, although when I first heard his voice I was skeptical... that said he was great!

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I love these books

I can't say enough good things about this author and the narration. The books have kept me engaged and in love with all the characters and great plots. I look forward to hearing the next book in the series.

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Depressing, Irriating and Grim.

Certainly struggled to finish. I bought this and the last book with the faith of the well honed skills of this author from Chronicles and Revelations and there is some glaring thoughts. Without Malcom and Arian, as well as Nefron when he is not being a aristocratic sociopath I would have put the book back on the shelf and forgotten this prequel existed.

The entire book has a grim and dark theme with a few bright spots. Royce at least tempered this with a certain humoured cycnicism that is almost absent here. Another is feeling like this author has this incessant need to make arbitrary decisions about dialogue; characters stumble over their tongues and suddenly can't talk when they under similar circumstances stood up to and above the issue. Hadrian had this issue a lot and it seems to have been spread out here amongst the fellowship.

By book 3, the hammering again and again (which is ironic) for the inventor and her background and how tragic it was gets grinding on the ears. We get it, it was terrible; the sympathy found in book 1 and 2 dries up into irritation when it keeps cropping up. Gifford at least changed what bad things had occured, expanding on the notions. He also improved on his situation and grows: she simply pulls inventions out of a hat with mere hit and miss practice and goes onward to still be about as brittle as glass.

Rey is defeatist at every possible turn but one. This has continued on from the previous book. This was not pragmaticism, this turned into nihilistic pessimism with a strange wrapping of naive romanticism. I disliked any scene he entered into.

Surrie finally becomes a rounded character if at the cost of her foil. I will not delve further into this, but she transforms into something that feels like a person rather then a wildgirl gimmick.

Overall, I will stop here. It was interesting seeing both sides and the interal meddling and sabotage of the merelith, but certain secrets and potential truths are just not worth the headache.

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I can't stop listening!

I have been listening to this series non-stop because I love it so much. I recommend it to all my friends who enjoy fantasy. I will be listening to the whole series again once I finish it because I love it so much.

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thoroughly enjoyed

this was an excellent book, I wish the next in the series was out already.

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Clumsy finale

Age of War is poorly written, with little thought given to providing a well formed conclusion to the previous books in the series.

Age of War reads as if the author was out of ideas, & on a tight timeline. New plot lines and twists are clumsily written in making an unbelievable, in satisfying conclusion. Waste of time.

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Age of War

Yet another outstanding performance by Tim Gerard Reynolds narrating the masterful writings of Michael J. Sullivan! I can't wait for the next in the series.... such a long wait!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-02-20

long

What can I say about this audio book? The narration by Tim Reynolds was great, but the book was a long drawn-out suicide.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Glorianna
  • 2018-12-05

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.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Jason
  • 2018-10-12

Meh. First 2/3 of the book is painfully slow.

Really struggled to get through this book (a first for me with a MJS book). I can't recommend it as a good read and will probably quit the series here. The first two thirds of the book was painfully slow and I kept hoping it would get better. It didn't, not until the very end (which was on par with the other MJS books). At the end of the day, many of the characters aren't very likable, making their sections of the book slow plodding.

5 people found this helpful

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  • L. Jay
  • 2019-08-02

I'm Done With Sullivan

I really wanted to like this series. It starts out great, crashes on the second installment, the third never gets back off the ground and at that point, like the sharks, “I'm out!”

Riyria was so great. I eagerly read every book. I listened to the audiobooks. I reread along with the audio. Overall some really great books. Royce and Hadrian, and the supporting characters were real and fleshed out. The other characters, intriguing! Arista, Gwen, Myron and Esrahaddon. Thrace. Hilfred. Some of the best characters in modern fantasy fiction. With Riyria, Sullivan has put together some of the best, strongest, most admirable female characters I have ever read; and he didn't have to reduce the male characters to sniveling, knuckle-dragging, idiots to do so.

Unfortunately, Sullivan forgot how to do that in Legends.

With Legends, I started out with great anticipation. I purchased the ebooks, the audiobooks, and the Graphic Audio Editions of Both “Age of Myth” and “Age of Swords,” while eagerly anticipating “Age of War” which I scooped up in ebook and audiobook as a preorder when it became available.

“Age of Myth.” Okay, good book. Another good job of world building by Sullivan. I read it through, listened to Tim Gerard Reynolds’ excellent (as always) narration, and then the fabulous GA edition. So far, so good; with one caveat. Shades of “Hollow World” (Sullivan’s faux pas) poked in as Sullivan tosses a cookie to the LGBTXYZs with Arion’s rather exasperated proclamations that her partner had been another female. Okay, no biggy. Not my particular taste, but fine – if it drives the plot. Does it? Nope! It has absolutely nothing to do with anything. It’s just a badge she wears, “Hey! I’m a lesbian, elf! Deal with it!” Okay, that alone didn’t sink the series for me, in fact, I give “Age of Myth” a strong 4-stars. But it was a shadow of things to come.

“Age of Swords” Had I read this before purchasing the next installment in preorder, I’d have never spent the money. “Age of Swords” is a train wreck. Sullivan goes completely, 100% WOKE. He destroys EVERY male character in the series; they are ALL either inept, cowardly, stupid, or evil and maniacal. No, I’m not exaggerating. Every Single One. Sullivan even destroys a character that he had previously exalted, the now deceased clan leader and Persephone’s husband, Reglan. In book one he was a strong leader and husband. In book two however, he posthumously becomes a cretin and an adulterer and an attempted murderer of infants. Why? Was this change plot driven? Nope! Just another chance to demean patriarchy. And not to be outdone by the demeaning of men, Sullivan also exalts ALL of the women to ridiculous extremes. Every Single One of the women is altruistic, smart, inventive, strong and courageous. And when it appears that one of the gals is doing something untoward, her motive turns out to be of the afore mentioned list of accolades. This world collapses under ludicrous presumption. The girls invent everything imaginable from the wheel to the bow, to written language. Give me a break! And it is the girls who go on a desperate mission to save the world, and do, destroying the patriarchic domain of the Dwarfs in the process; Girl Power, Dude! And then it is of course the girls who have to return from the mission just in time to save all of the men from destroying each other in useless battle. The pathetic nature of this book is just a shame. It could have been so good if Sullivan hadn’t had to demean his own entire gender to falsely elevate the other.

Nevertheless, I persevered and read, listened to the audiobook, and even suffered through the GA edition too. Eh, what the hey, I’d already bought it. Which leads us to:

“Age of War” in ebook and audiobook which I’d also already purchased in preorder. (I did and will skip the GA). More of the same.
Girl = good!
Male = bad!
With the exception of the cripple, with questionable mental health, EVERY male in the series is of dubious character, EVERY female stalwart, brave and intelligent. Even when Raithe sacrifices himself, it is for a selfish reason. Poor fella just can’t live without Persephone on his arm.

Anyway, at this point, I’m done, Mike! I’ll pass on the rest. No more Sullivan books, ebooks, audiobooks, or GA audios. This has even left a bad taste for any future Royce and Hadrian books. I’m just not gonna chance it.

If you are a female looking for a series to encourage you, skip this one. The false narrative of female superhuman ability is counterproductive and unreal.
If you are a young man looking for a character driven series to encourage you – well you won’t find it here.

To have to relegate the men to knuckle-dragging nit-wits in order to make the women look strong, is an affront to females everywhere. Demeaning one group in order to falsely exalt another is the real problem. The only really strong female character is the one who can take her place among strong male characters. These are the ones who will persevere, these the ones who are truly strong. You won’t find that here in Sullivan’s WOKE trope.

16 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 2018-07-24

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.

26 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel
  • 2018-08-03

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.

31 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Dale
  • 2018-07-28

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!

27 people found this helpful

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  • McKell
  • 2018-07-05

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.

31 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kevin
  • 2018-10-22

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.

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael Van Glahn
  • 2018-12-11

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.

12 people found this helpful