Age of Legend by Michael J. Sullivan – Review

cover- age of legend

Published: July 9, 2019

Publisher: Grim Oak Press

Series: Legends of the First Empire #4

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 432 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 3.5/5.0

 

Synopsis:

Each culture has its own myths and legends, but only one is shared, and it is feared by all. 
With Age of MythAge of Swords, and Age of War, fantasy master Michael J. Sullivan riveted readers with a tale of unlikely heroes locked in a desperate battle to save mankind. After years of warfare, humanity has gained the upper hand and has pushed the Fhrey to the edge of their homeland, but no farther. Now comes the pivotal moment. Persephone’s plan to use the stalemate to seek peace is destroyed by an unexpected betrayal that threatens to hand victory to the Fhrey and leaves a dear friend in peril. Humanity’s only hope lies in the legend of a witch, a forgotten song, and a simple garden door.


First of all, I backed the Kickstarter Michael ran for this book and thus got a copy of the eBook as soon as it was ready back in April. The hardcover and other finalized versions won’t be out until July 9, 2019 for general public purchasing.

So… this wasn’t my favorite book in the series for a couple reasons. First of all, I felt like not much happened in the book. Now, obviously there were some plot developments and such but they were few and far between. My second problem was the ending. It was quite sudden and I swear the book should have carried on for 50-100 more pages (which I expected it to since the ebook version showed that I had a decent percentage left to read). Turns out those extra pages were bonus content and not further plot continuation! The ending was quite the cliffhanger and the whole book felt like a lengthy set up for the next couple books.

Age of Legend was split into two time segments. The first part is shortly after the events of Age of War and the second part is approximately five years later. This allowed for us to skip what seemed to be fairly hum-drum events like more skirmishes with the Fhrey, the work on a bridge over the Nidwalden, and the baby/toddler years of Persephone’s child. Like I said, pretty everyday events that I didn’t mind missing out on. The second half of the book did get more interesting, though I won’t go into great detail to prevent spoilers. Let’s just say a group of our characters are setting out on an unexpected journey that will definitely put them in peril.

I have to say, this book wasn’t quite what I had anticipated and it definitely felt like the filler/set up book. I’m going to hazard a guess that this will all be worth it in the long run despite my current feelings towards the book. If you’re a fan of the series and plan on reading to the end, this is a necessary installment. While not the action packed read that the previous book were, it has plot details that you just can’t miss. I will also say that I was in kind of a reading slump (just wasn’t really in to anything I was reading) and that could be part of the reason for my lackluster feelings towards Age of Legend.

Currently Reading: 4/15/19

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Age of Legend by Michael J. Sullivan

I’m pushing back some other books in my TBR so I can read this RIGHT NOW! Where will this book take us after the shocking events in Age of War? I don’t know (well, I have a vague idea) but I can’t wait to find out.

 

 

 

Cover- City of Lies

City of Lies by Sam Hawke

This has been such an excellent audiobook! I’m about half way through and it’s made commutes to my field work locations feel so much shorter. This book has really kept me on my toes throughout and I’m already planning on reading the sequel whenever it comes out!

Waiting on Wednesday: Age of Legend by Michael J. Sullivan

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme originally hosted on Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. This is a great way to share upcoming released you’re excited about!


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Michael J. Sullivan is, as always, timely in the release of his books and Age of Legend is scheduled to release in July 2019. Interestingly enough, I only see release information for Grim Oak Press, and not the usual publisher, Del Rey Books. Perhaps I’m just a little ahead of things? Anyhow, it’ll be interesting to see how things play out after the dramatic events of the previous book. I love the cover – it reminds me of Middle Earth so much!

Age of War by Michael J. Sullivan – Review

Cover- Age of War

Published: July 3, 2018

Publisher: Del Rey Books

Series: The Legends of the First Empire #3

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 420 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

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?


I read Age of War about a month ago and just realized that I completely forgot to do a review for it! It was such a fantastic book and I feel kind of bad for neglecting to review it in a timely manner (aka when I could remember most of what I read). As a result of my forgetfulness, I’ll keep this fairly short and to the point.

MJS always writes a good story and Age of War is consistent with the quality of all his other books. I would have expected no less than that, so he’s really just par for the course in that respect. Age of War is the third book in his Legends of the First Empire series and this one is just as good as the Age of Swords though it seems to me that the action (or at least battle scenes) is picking up in frequency and scale. Hostilities between the humans and Fhrey (elves) are escalating quickly and this book was full of so much intensity!!! There were several INCREDIBLE battle scenes and MJS totally crushed my feels again. Like, this book was a real nail biter and a tear jerker. Good grief!

I love the characters so much and that feeling has only grown stronger as the series has progressed. I feel like certain characters are getting more (well deserved) page time and I like that not all the focus is on Persephone. Persephone is dealing with so many things, from the safety and continued existence of her people, to the difficult decision on whether or not to marry Nyphron for political gain or follow her heart and be with Raithe. I’d like to point out that this difficult relationship decision was in no way like those horrid love triangles you usually find but felt like a legitimate decision. Bryn and Tesh also had a bit more page time in Age of War and young love was in the air. Tesh is also becoming a talented swordsman who can keep up with the best of Instarya warrriors. I was really pleased that Gifford got play a bigger part in this book than he has previously – it’s about time that guy had something good come his way.

Age of War is a phenomenal third installment and this series has only gotten stronger with each progression. The story is getting incredibly intense and there are these fantastic little nuggets that those who’ve read the Riyria books will really love. You get to see the origins of certain words, places, events, etc. and then see how time twists them between this series and the Riyria books. Right now Age of Legends seems to be on track for an April 2019 release (but that could change) and I am super excited for it! I also feel quite ashamed that I managed to miss reviewing this in a timely manner (sorry!!!).

Stacking the Shelves: 6/9/18

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and it’s all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. You can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


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Age of War by Michael J. Sullivan

Can it just be stated that I was rather surprised when my request for this was granted? Such an excellent surprise! If you’re a regular here, you already know my feelings on MJS’s books, so no need to repeat again. Thanks uber-much Del Rey!

The Empire of Ashes by Anthony Ryan

The grand conclusion folks! I still haven’t decided if I’m rooting for the humans, the dragons, or the lizard people… The cover indicates some epic dragon battles and I couldn’t be more thrilled to find out how this wraps up. Thanks to Ace for the finished copy, which will looks absolutely dashing on my shelves.

Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio

I so hope this book is as amazing as I hope it will be. It features gladiatorial combat and whenever a book has the arena style thing going on I turn into a blood-thirsty Roman patrician screaming from the seats of the Colosseum. Bonus points for it being space-gladiators in this one. Thanks to DAW for the finished copy.

Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine

I loved the first three books in this series so I’m hoping that the extension on this series will pan out well. I’m sure things are going to get wild in this book and I can’t wait to see if the Great Library of Alexandria will end up burning to ash at last. Thanks to Berkley for the finished copy.

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Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire

I’ll be honest… I don’t remember if I requested this book or not. Either way, it sounds pretty interesting and I’ve never read a Seanan McGuire book (though I’ve read books under her pen names). It’s the story of a hitch-hiker ghost which seems cool. Thanks to DAW for this one.

Redemptions Blade: After the War by Adrian Tchaikovsky

I’ve read (well, listened to) two of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s books this year and enjoyed both. I had the opportunity to get my hands on a copy from Solaris and jumped on it! Thanks for posting this all the way from the UK, Solaris!

The Mermaid by Christina Henry

This is another author I’ve heard praised pretty frequently, so I decided this was a good book to start with. I devoured this book in a couple days and will post a review eventuallY! Thanks to Berkley for the lovely finished copy!

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After spending some time browsing around Books-A-Million I picked up Tower of Dawn and One Blood Ruby from their discount section. I had to keep my SJMaas collection up to date, especially since this installment is one of the best in the series. The other book has fairies, so yeah. I bought it and intend to read this series when there’s a slower book release month.

I also picked up this awesome new National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Trees of North America. It has good quality pictures of bark, leaves, flowers, etc and it’s a decent size to haul around in a hiking bag.

I also picked up a few new audiobooks. Children of Time and Jane Steele were great and I”ll be posting reviews at some point in the future (been kind of slow lately). Warlock Holmes is weird and funny and a nice tribute to the Sherlock Holmes legacy.

Lastly, I have sort of an honorable mention. The pre-order for Golden Son cam up on Subterranean Press AT LONG LAST and you better believe I pre-ordered that sucker. It’s even more beautiful than the first one and it’s not sold out yet if you’re interested!

The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter by Michael J. Sullivan – Review

Cover- The Disappearance of Winters Daughter

Published: December 5, 2017

Publisher: Riyria Enterprises, LLC

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Riyria Chronicles #4

Pages: 453 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Synopsis:

A daughter vanishes. Two rogues are paid a fortune to find her. It isn’t enough.

When Gabriel Winter’s daughter mysteriously disappears and is presumed dead, the wealthy whiskey baron seeks revenge. Having lived in Colnora during the infamous Year of Fear, he hires the one man he knows can deliver a bloody retribution – the notorious Duster.

Ride with Royce and Hadrian as the cynical ex-assassin and idealistic ex-mercenary travel to a mysterious old-world city filled with nobles claiming descent from imperial aristocracy. Riyria’s job appears easy: discover what happened to the missing duchess and, if she lives, bring her home . . . if not, punish those responsible. But nothing is simple in the crowded, narrow, mist-filled streets of Rochelle, where more than one ancient legend lurks.


The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter both was and was not what I expected. As with all MJS books, I was thoroughly entertained from beginning to end and laughed out loud on many occasions and held back laughter on many more. The storytelling style and the character chemistry is superb once again, further justifying my love for all things Riyria. I’ve found the audiobook experience for each of these books, including this one, utterly engaging and Tim Gerard Reynolds is one of my very favorite narrators.

I think I’ve covered what I expected (and got), but what I didn’t expect is more related to the actual story. From the outset, I expected the titular Winter’s daughter to be a young, fair, newlywed noble lady… what I got was a lady in early middle years, who can throw a cask of whiskey, cut a sharp trade deal, who is also still a damsel in distress. Ginny Winter certainly didn’t sit idle while she was kidnapped (for that’s how she disappeared, obviously) but rather learned of her captors, and worked on her escape plan. As the synopsis so wonderfully covers, Royce and Hadrian are hired by her father, Gabriel Winter, to either find her or make the city of Rochelle know fear like to that felt by Colnorans during the Year of Fear.

I also didn’t quite expect this book to be the historical info-dump that it was. There was a great deal of additional information on the history of Elan, the city of Rochelle, the fall of the Novronian empire, dwarves, Myr, local myths. SO MUCH STUFF. It was inserted into the story in a way that didn’t feel like tripping over a rock and falling into a bottomless pit of infodump, but there was so much that it was still obvious. That’s really my only negative opinion about the book overall, and why I knocked off half a star but it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the story because it was a wild ride from beginning to end!

One of the central plot points in this book (other than the kidnapping) was the social and economic oppression of the dwarves, myr, and Calaians particularly in the city of Rochelle. These make up the destitute, downtrodden of the city and they’re tired of being forbidden to live, so the three groups form a loose coalition to push for change. This is quite understandable, but every revolutionary group has at least one bad egg that ruins everything. In this case, one person doesn’t want reform, but rather war and usurpation of the current ruling class. Throw in a bit of ancient tech/magic and a gathering of nobles and you’ve got a recipe for a classic fantasy disaster.

The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter was a fantastically entertaining read and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who will listen! You’re bound to love Royce and Hadrian just as I and so many other readers do. This book is currently not available from a traditional publisher, but is available on Audible and as a physical copy on the author’s website. I like these so much that I have both the audiobook and print copies!!

Currently Reading: 3/12/18

Cover- A Veil of Spears

A Veil of Spears by Bradley P. Beaulieu

Already it is time for the third installment in The Shattered Sands series and oh how excited I am! These are probably my favorite desert setting books and the plots are thick, the characters fascinating, and the pages many. This one clocks in at 672 pages, so it’s going to take awhile to get through, but I have no doubt it will be awesome.

 

 

Cover- The Disappearance of Winters Daughter

The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter by Michael J. Sullivan

Since I’m basically hopeless at reading physical books I purchase, I decided to go ahead and get the audio version. It will certainly be enjoyable and I may actually prefer the audiobook since Tim Gerard Reynolds is such a fantastic narrator. He will always be the voices of Royce and Hadrian!

 

Stacking the Shelves: 2/3/18

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and it’s all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. You can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


Once again, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted one of these, which is a shame, since they’re one of my favorite blog posts to both share and read!

Received for Review:

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A Time of Dread by John Gwynne

At long last, it’s arriving in the US! I’m looking forward to seeing how Gwynne’s newest series will take shape and how things have changed in the century since The Faithful and the Fallen series occurred. Thanks to Orbit for the finished copy.

The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco

Eek!! I’m really looking forward to this one, just to see what Tea does with her powers. She seems to be looking for revenge and it just might be awesome. I actually ended up with two copies of this book so there may be a giveaway for one in the near future! Thanks to Sourcebooks for the ARC!

Verdict on Crimson Fields by M.C. Planck

This was a surprise arrival from Pyr – I didn’t even know this series was on book 4 already! Sadly, I’m a couple books behind, so I don’t think I’ll be reading this one for awhile but the synopsis is pretty awesome.

Into the Green Unknown by Patrick Rogers

This was one of those rare books that I accept a copy from directly from the author AND it’s totally outside my usual genre. I’m really glad I got this one from Patrick Rogers because it was such a cool intro to a region of India I was wholly unfamiliar with! I’ll have a review up for this soon, so stay tuned.

The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French

Another SPFBO book is going big-time! I dearly hope they don’t change the cover for this because the original is on point. Can’t wait to dig into this one! Thanks to NetGalley and Crown for the eGalley.

The Fairies of Sadieville by Alex Bledsoe

I’ll be honest, I read the synopsis and hit the Request button. Fairies in Appalachia. Count me in, since ya know, I’m from that region and all. I hope it’s magical and strange and worthy of the Rothfuss blurb on the front. And I hope it can be read as a standalone because I goofed and didn’t realize it’s part of a series. Thanks to Tor and NetGalley for the eGalley.

Purchased Books:

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The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

I picked up the hardcover of this one because it’s BEAUTIFUL and less than $8.00 right now on Amazon.

The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter by Michael J. Sullivan

I snagged a copy of this in early December but it took until early January to finally show up on my doorstep so here it is! I love MJS’s books and I hope this will be no different. Definitely can’t wait to see what adventures are in store for Royce and Hadrian. Also, it’s signed which is cool.

And last but certainly not least, my monthly audiobook haul. I love Audible. It affords me so much opportunity to check out books I otherwise wouldn’t have the time to sit down and read a physical copy. This month I picked up Blackwing which I’ve already reviewed as well as Iron Gold and The Cruel Prince which will have reviews forthcoming!

Top 5 Reviews of 2017

Now that 2017 has essentially come to a close for much of the world, I figured I’d go ahead and share the 5 reviews that received the most views on my blog this year.

5. The Holver Alley Crew by Marshall Ryan Maresca – 87 views

4. Free the Darkness by Kel Kade – 91 views

3. Red Sister by Mark Lawrence – 96 views

2. Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan – 112 views

1.  Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan – 358 views