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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fantasy (2020)

After obtaining the secret to creating dragons, the leader of the Fhrey has turned the tide of war once more—but gaining the advantage has come at a terrible price. While Imaly plots to overthrow the fane for transgressions against his people, a mystic and a Keeper are the only hope for the Rhunes. Time is short, and the future of both races hangs in the balance. In this exciting conclusion to the Legends of the First Empire series, the Great War finally comes to a climactic end, and with it dawns a new era—The Age of Empyre.

From Michael J. Sullivan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author comes the concluding installment of his six-book epic fantasy. This series chronicles a pivotal point in Elan’s history when humans and those they once saw as gods warred until a new world order was born. Set three thousand years before the Riyria tales, Legends is a stand-alone fantasy series that is independent of the Riyria novels. But for those who do follow both series, Legends will unmask lies and reveal the truth about Elan’s history and the men and women who shaped what the world became.

395 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 5, 2020

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About the author

Michael J. Sullivan

99 books92.5k followers
My latest book, Farilane is now available for ebook and audiobook formats - the printed copies came off the press on 7/25 and set sail for the US on 8/06. We expect to have them in 3 - 4 weeks. Also, it hit #1 on Amazon's Bestselling Epic Fantasy list!

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.

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Profile Image for Michael.
Author 99 books92.5k followers
Want to read
November 12, 2020
As you probably already know, I use the "review" space of Goodreads for status updates. So here goes...

Update 11/12/20 - I'm pleased to report that Age of Empyre was added to round 2 of the Goodreads Choice Awards. Robin and I wish to thank all the people who did the write-in to make this happen. That makes 9 nominations in 11 years. I'm so honored.

Update 6/23/20 - Well, today is the day! The hardcover for Age of Empyre is finally releasing through the retail chains. It was supposed to release in May with the ebook and audio version but COVID-19 severely hit the printers, shippers, warehouse, and other areas of the distribution chain. I did a pre-order of the book for myself (to test the distribution waters) and it is showing delivery by Thursday. I'm hoping some others who pre-ordered are going to get it today.

Update 5/31/20 - Books have arrived! I signed 1,512 books on Friday and will finish up the 1,176 on Monday. If you ordered your hardcover through us (either at the Kickstarter or our online store they should start shipping on Monday, but be patient we have 2,011 backorders with 3,325 books (there are many orders that contain Age of Empyre and other books). As for the retail chain, books are in the Ingram warehouse and should start shipping TO retail warehouses during next week.

Update 4/24/20 - Well the recording is finished, the presses are rolling, the ebooks are posted, and all the pre-order pages are up and sales are going well, More than 4,000 people have already accessed the ebook due to the early Kickstarter backers - thanks for that support! There was no delay in the release date for the audio and the ebook. Printing in a pandemic is a bit trickier and while I think the books will be off the presses in early May, it may take some time to ship them around to the various warehouses so we did move the hardcover ship date to May 26. If you made a pre-order it should still be in effect. Early reviews are very positive with people appreciating how all the little threads of the series tie up. It's getting exciting!

Update 2/19/20 - We are down to the final stretch of the Kickstarter. We have just a bit over 26 hours to go and it's doing amazingly well. Here are some of the accomplishments so far: Fully-funded in 48 minutes | currently 3rd most-backed and 4th most-funded Fiction Kickstarter of all time | 3 stretch goals met | more than 3,400 backers | coming up on $130,000 raised. If you want to join the fun you'll have to do so before 7:00 PM (EDT) tomorrow!

Update 12/30/19 - We are in the final stretches! I'm hoping to have all the changes to the book done by the middle of January. Beta readers will work their magic from mid-January to mid-February. Copyeditors are scheduled for mid-February to mid-March. Keep on the lookout for the Kickstarter which is tentatively launching on January 21st. Oh, and the book's description has been updated.

Update 09/27/19 - You may have already noticed, but we had a cover reveal! You can learn a bit about it and the book at Fantasy Faction.

Update 06/02/18 - Robin has now finished her review of this book, and while she does have "a few minor tweaks" (her words not mine) I can now say with confidence that the major issues raised in her first read of the series have been resolved. I can't begin to express what a milestone this is. Until I have Robin's "sign off" a book (or in this case the last half of a series), I consider the work to be on the operating table and whether it'll survive the surgery is up in the air. Now I can say the patient will not only pull through, but thrive. I'm expelling a huge sigh of relief and getting ready to incorporate her list of changes and get the book into the hands of the beta readers.

Update 04/17/18 - after several years of sitting idle (while I worked on the first three books of the series. I finally got around to finishing up the series. Book #4 went through some major rework and that necessitated a number of changes in this book. I've now incorporated them and the book is back in Robin's hands for a re-read and if she has additional changes, I suspect they will be small. Next step...getting the contract signed so this (and the other remaining two books of the series) can get "out there"!

Update 11/21/15 - If all goes well I plan on doing my second-pass edit on this starting February 2016. Of course it'll still need to go through beta and have my editor look at it, but for the most part I don't generally have significant changes through that process.
Profile Image for Petrik.
664 reviews41.2k followers
December 30, 2022
Age of Empyre provided a relatively satisfying ending to the series, but the series never reached the height of The Riyria books.

“That’s what stories are for, Brin realized. They are magic that aid people in times like this. They provide hope, a light to see by when all others are snuffed out.”

With Age of Empyre read, it is official that I have finished reading Legends of the First Empire. That's right; out of Michael J. Sullivan's bibliography, I have only The Rise and Fall trilogy left to read, and I shall do that in 2023. But for now, let me say that Age of Empyre had a lot of high expectations to live up to. I approached this with the mindset that the ending of this series would be as unforgettable as Percepliquis, the final volume inThe Riyria Revelations. That's probably too high of a pedestal to reach, so some faults definitely lie with me. But at the very least, I was hoping for Age of Empyre to be as good as Age of War, the third installment in Legends of the First Empire that concluded the first half of the series. But although I, overall, had a great time reading this sixth and final volume of the series, I'm admittedly both satisfied and quite disappointed with some storytelling decisions that happened.

“Although the youthful benefited from drive, ambition, and an unwavering faith in their ideals, having those tools wasn’t enough. Experience was an essential missing ingredient. The young hadn’t seen enough to understand how the world worked. They took everything at face value because that was the entirety of their reality, and that limitation locked the door to alternative possibilities.”

Let's start with the good parts first, shall we? There weren't any dull moments in Age of Empyre. Unlike Age of Death, the narrative in Age of Empyre proceeded at an engaging pace, and I never felt like there were any filler moments. The themes of trust, forgiveness, and redemption shine brilliantly once more, and as I said before, this shouldn't come as a surprise to those who've read and loved The Riyria Revelations already. And personally speaking, I found the themes written magnificently. They may not be as satisfying or explosive as The Riyria Revelations, but many scenes in this book moved me emotionally. I felt attached and invested with the characters, and seeing them suffer or try their best in everything tugged at my heartstrings. However, I can certainly understand how these themes can feel overdone by this volume due to the frequency of their discussions in the last three books of the series. Although I did not mind them, these topics and themes have been heavily hammered into the reader's mind for the past three books, especially in Age of Death and Age of Empyre where the plot progression was directly influenced by them.

“Because I hope that no one is beyond redemption, and anyone can correct the misdeeds of their past… I believe this to be true. I have to.”

The criticism is understandable. But I think these themes have always been one of the things I loved most about Sullivan's books. Whether it's for The Riyria books or The Legends of the First Empire, these books dealing with classic fantasy world-building written in a modern voice are always a good refresher when you need a break from reading grimdark fantasy novels. I always say this as a grimdark fantasy enthusiast myself, grim or gritty content isn't the only sure way to keep the narrative engaging. Far from it, really. The entirety of Age of Empyre can be described as a race against time. Without going into spoiler-territory, everything relies on multiple characters in different locations around the world arriving and executing the correct action at their destination at the right time. The pacing and action in Age of Empyre were handled with finesse, and there were many other elements Sullivan implemented that worked with me. I can't discuss them in detail here. But just an example, seeing the scene depicted in the gorgeous cover art of this novel felt so satisfying and iconic. This and many moments in the series are something you have to read for yourself.

Picture: Age of Empyre by Marc Simonetti

Before we get to discussing the things in Age of Empyre that did not work for me, I would like to talk about one more crucial strength of this book and series that enhanced my experience of the entire series. I talked about this before, multiple times, but I can't emphasize just how important it is to read The Riyria Revelations first. Look here, when an author says something like "this series is completely separate from that other series and you can start from here," as Sullivan did with this and The Riyria books, it's always advisable to take this advice with a grain of salt. This is not an attack against the author or anyone. I totally get that they're selling their books, and it is true this series can be enjoyed without reading The Riyria books first, and I'm sure many readers did enjoy this series without doing it. But for me, and from my experience with other series in the same boat, I tend to find if there are two or more series in the same universe, it's always best to read them in publication order. And as proven, I can't imagine I would enjoy reading series and novels as much without doing that first. Plus, some of the events here actually heavily spoiled the identity of a character in The Riyria books, just like how reading The Riyria books first spoiled the identity of this particular character here. But that's the thing, they're not separated from each other. There was an immensely satisfying (and obvious) nod to one of the duo of Riyria at the ending of Age of Empyre, and that part and many more would lose their impact without reading The Riyria books first. So long story short, my advice: read The Riyria books first to fully enjoy this book and series. At the very least, read The Riyria Revelations first.

“The worst thing people can do to one another is also the best—provide challenges. How we respond becomes our lives. How we live our lives becomes the best and the worst parts of our afterlives.— THE BOOK OF BRIN”

There was a myriad of scenes that Sullivan did right. Unfortunately, plenty of storytelling decisions stopped me from rating this book higher. Before I got to the ending of Age of Empyre, I was confident it would become my favorite installment in the series. Alas, it did not happen. And I cannot believe I am saying this for a concluding volume by Sullivan. Even though the overall reading experience of Age of Empyre proved to be satisfying, many of the characters here felt like they did not receive a proper closure. Intentionally, too. There I said it. I can voice many examples of this, but I will mention only one: Brin. Brin is one of the main characters, maybe even the true main character of the series. Her characterizations and the role she played in the last three books were some of the key driving forces of the narrative. But after everything that happened, it is just unbelievable to me that the supposed final chapter between her and Tesh was taken out of the book simply because we readers would know what would happen already.

“I discovered that age isn’t measured in years, but rather by the roads we travel. Steep paths build muscles, know-how, and empathy, an easy one, only indifference.”

At the acknowledgment, Robin mentioned there was no point for Brin to have a final closing scene after her penned final chapter here, and well, I intensely disagree with this decision. It is not about treading old ground, but it's about READING the scene that will give us satisfaction and closure. Following the logic used, if it's true because we know what would happen instantly mean we do not need to see/read the scene anymore, then why even bother reading other hundreds, probably thousands, fantasy books in the market now. Once readers are well-versed in the genre, it is not difficult to predict key points and world-building in many books of the same genre. The fact that many readers pointed this issue out during the beta-reading process should say enough already. And I have to give my resounding opinion. This is only ONE example. I have no idea whether Sullivan has prepared the explanation of what happened next in The Rise and Fall trilogy. However, right now, Malcolm's satisfying final chapters aside, all the other characters felt like they were missing one or two chapters for a truly satisfying ending. It's just such a shame to me. All the underworld sections felt too long for the series' own good, and we did not even get more exposure on scenes that would have mattered more. Sullivan packed so many, maybe too many, ideas into these last three books, and the series does not feel as well-organized and cohesive as his story usually did. Parts that should have been shorter were being drawn out longer, and other scenes that needed more exposition (one of the examples being the one I stated in the above paragraph) were purposefully removed or shortened.

“Life is full of risk, Nolyn, but you should never let that hold you back. You can’t let fear stop you from living. Just make certain the chances you take are worth the risk.”

It is worth mentioning, despite my issues with Age of Death and Age of Empyre, I never felt disengaged from reading the series. My disappointments stemmed from how much I loved The Riyria books. The Riyria Revelations is exemplary in how to write a powerful and satisfying ending that ties every element and foreshadowing established in each previous book. Age of Empyre did deliver a relatively satisfying concluding volume, but as I said, it is far from reaching the height of The Riyria books. I am still excited to read The Rise and Fall trilogy, though. I've heard The Rise and Fall trilogy will return to Sullivan's standard storytelling structure. Meaning it will be a series of standalone books just like what he did in The Riyria Chronicles and, in a way, The Riyria Revelations as well, excepting the last omnibus. I found Sullivan a much better writer and storyteller when he crafted a series of connecting standalone/self-contained books. Better than having them continue non-stop from one cliffhanger to the next installment as he did in the last three books in the Legends of the First Empire. Anyway, overall, this is still a good fantasy series about unlikely and ordinary heroes doing the best they can. I look forward to reading Nolyn, Farilane, and Esrahaddon in 2023!

“The stories I write might be fantasy, but the depiction of the feelings people share for each other is real. The unlikely heroes, some who we never see or hear about, are as well. They are out among us right now, risking their lives and those of their loved ones. They are sacrificing all they have to help save the world. If you take anything away from this story beyond distracting entertainment, consider remembering this Book of Brin quote: I had always worshiped heroes in stories. I had no idea I was surrounded by them.”

Series Review:

Age of Myth: 4/5 stars
Age of Swords: 4/5 stars
Age of War: 4.5/5 stars
Age of Legend: 4.5/5 stars
Age of Death: 4/5 stars
Age of Empyre: 4/5 stars

Legends of the First Empire: 25/30 stars

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, Annabeth, Barbara, Brad, Casey, Diana, Dylan, Edward, Elias, Ellen, Ellis, Gary, Hamad, Helen, Jesse, Jimmy Nutts, Joie, Kristina, Lana, Luis, Lufi, Melinda, Meryl, Michael, Miracle, Nanette, Neeraja, Nicholas, Radiah, Reno, Samuel, Sarah, Sarah, Scott, Shawn, Wendy, Wick, Xero, Yuri, Zoe.
Profile Image for TS Chan.
694 reviews860 followers
March 9, 2023
Age of Empyre proves once again that Michael J. Sullivan is a masterful storyteller that really knows how to captivate and conclude a well-crafted tale.  As I turned the final page, I couldn't help feeling that I'm going to miss all the wonderful characters that I've grown to love.

Sullivan became one of my favourite authors with his first series, Riyria Revelations. Its finale, Heir of Novron, comprising the last two books of the series that was initially self-published but subsequently got published by Orbit as an omnibus titles, was one of the best conclusions to a series that I've ever read.  As I loved all five books leading up to the finale, I was naturally quite anxious coming to the last book of The Legends of the First Empire, a prequel series intended to tell the real story that happened three thousand years before the timeline in Riyria.
"All too often, that which we are most certain of is that which we are most wrong about; and that which we are wrong about can change everything."

Much to my delight, Sullivan delivered another fantastic and emotionally satisfying conclusion that enriched my already immense love for his earlier books. I even had a very strong urge to reread Riyria after I've finished Age of Empyre, as well as feeling really excited for the new trilogy, The Rise and The Fall, which will be set between these two timelines. The Legends of the First Empire answered as many of the key questions as possible without dragging out the story, but there are still gaps to be addressed before we reach the world as we know it.  It is also my firm belief that it would be more rewarding to have read Riyria before reading this prequel series.
"Wars don't end by deaths but because someone stops killing."

The one thing that could work against a prequel is that one already knows the outcome. What made it work so well in Legends was twofold. Firstly is that there's a compelling story behind the myths and legends that begged to be told. It was the revelations of what and how it really all happened that made it so engaging.  At the beginning of this series, meeting the people behind these myths and legends was delightful.  But what was even more thrilling was having all my preconceived notions or prior knowledge blown out of the water.  Secondly, and most crucially, are the characters that carry the story. I believe that I've said this many times before - Sullivan excels at writing amazing empathetic characters. This extends to all of them, the good and the bad, those in between, and even the ones you want to hate. When one's internal struggles, thoughts and motivations are all laid bare before you, it becomes hard to judge and not sympathise. The fact that I actually teared up a bit for a person which I've disliked in the earlier books was testament of Sullivan's ability to write the most compelling characters.
""Faith is trust pushed to the limits of what is considered sane, but the question most people ignore is: How do you know where the boundary of sanity lies?"

The story of redemption remains a central theme to all of Sullivan's works in the world of Elan. In Age of Empyre, we got to truly understand the reason why it has such an important role in the overarching narrative across Legends and Riyria. There is also an added emphasis on forgiveness here - not just about others, but also having the courage to forgive oneself. What made it all even more captivating was that it's a tale of unlikely heroes. Seemingly ordinary people, or even those who may have some form of deformities, could be heroes in their selflessness and ability to rise to the need of others. I didn't immediately realise how relevant this concept of unlikely heroes was given this current time we're living in until I've read the author's afterword, and this quote from the in-world Book of Brin:
"I had always worshipped heroes in stories. I had no idea I was surrounded by them."

What do we live for in such times, if not for stories that could give us hope. Notwithstanding, these stories are not all butterflies and rainbows. Sacrifices have to be made when the stakes are world-changing, and with that brings heartbreak, loss and grief.

Before I end my review, I felt that I must share the dedication passage of this book.
This book is dedicated to everyone who has sacrificed their freedom, employment, businesses, and loved ones during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. I have few words to offer when faced with such monumental impacts, so I'll turn to one of my heroes.

"I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
- J.R.R. Tolkien

Stay home, offer thanks to those on the frontlines, and remember that this, too, shall pass.

Sullivan's stories have never failed to make me feel through its characters, and The Legends of the First Empire was no exception. I've said many times how important this is for me when I read, for a book is only as unforgettable as its characters are.  I highly recommend this series, especially for fans of classic fantasy in general, and fans of the Riyria books specifically.

I received an early copy of the ebook as one of the Kickstarter backers.

Official release date: 5th May 2020

You can pre-order a copy from: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Book Depository (Free shipping worldwide) | Bookshop.Org

You can find this and my other reviews at Novel Notions.
Profile Image for Claudia.
947 reviews524 followers
April 18, 2020
That’s what stories are for[…]. They are magic that aid people in times like this. They provide hope, a light to see by when all others are snuffed out.

I eagerly awaited the conclusion to this series, but I must say I’m a bit disappointed.

It was too long on most parts, and the ones that really mattered were rushed, especially in the end.

Having read Riyria Revelations, I knew the main outcome, but I expected each of the main characters to have a proper conclusion to their stories. Well, they didn’t.

There are other threads unfinished or not properly explained but I’ll refrain myself to comment on those too because maybe they weren’t so important to the story; perhaps it’s just my logical thinking that suffered here.

The good part is that, even so, I enjoyed the story because I grew attached to our heroes and their adventures. It's just that I expected something epic, like it was with Heir of Novron, the final book in RR, which was the best, and I didn’t get that here.

Anyway, it was a lovely journey and I’m glad I spent my time in its company.

If you plan to start reading this author, my advice is to start with Riyria Revelations, then Riyria Chronicles and then this series. Otherwise it will spoil a lot of crucial events in RR and it would be a pity, because it’s the best of all.
Profile Image for Terence.
1,107 reviews347 followers
April 15, 2020
The Fhrey have their own dragons and intend to set them against Nyphron and his forces. Imaly's plot is in place and Malcolm's plan seems to be unraveling. It's a race against time to see if Rhunes will survive.

Age of Empyre was a really strong conclusion to The Legends of the First Empire. Michael J. Sullivan does a masterful job at displaying the history of his world in a thought provoking and at times heartbreaking way. I wasn't expecting happy ever after, but I'm devastated at the outcomes I didn't see coming.

The character development was really excellent throughout this series. This book just makes it so much more meaningful. Suri, Brin, and Malcolm were the three characters who I found most compelling. Seeing Suri become everything that Arion wanted was magnificent. I was so happy to see her that way. Brin was so much stronger than I ever imagined. I absolutely loved what the author did with Malcolm. He answered so many questions, clarified so many things from Riyria Revelations, and yet left readers with a much larger question that I certainly didn't see coming.

I truly enjoyed Age of Empyre and The Legends of the First Empire series. I'm also really glad to know that the author is not done telling stories in this world yet.

4.5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Choko.
1,178 reviews2,570 followers
July 29, 2020
*** 4.75 ***

"...“Life is full of risk, Nolyn, but you should never let that hold you back. You can’t let fear stop you from living. Just make certain the chances you take are worth the risk.”..."

I believe the last two books in this series would have an impact on everyone in different ways, depending on the place they are in their emotional development and self discovery. The series is a classic Fantasy with adventure elements, and the first four books follow a pretty familiar, but still singular way of unraveling the story in front of the reader. There is something for everyone to enjoy - relationships, banter, tales and battles, love and betrayal, magicians and dragons. I read few of the reviews of some of my friends, and I noticed that the slowing of the pace and the more sedate tone of the last two tomes was often perceived as a let-down or too much "philosophizing"... Thus often the higher ratings were explained as given despite of that. I was prepared to find similar drop-off in interest during those quieter parts and discovered that for me personally, those were the parts that, although a bit heavy-handed, made the books for me. Yes, it was a metaphor for life, for what really matters in the end, how different people carry different stones around their necks, and between the state of the soul after death or while we try our utmost to stay afloat in real life, the things that hold us back are the same, although still specifically individual... I can see how for those who have come to those truths by now, it might seem as if MJS was beating us over the head with a hammer, and how for those who have far yet to go in order to reach the place where they need to start searching for those truths, those passages might be nothing but a loss of action time and plot advancement. But for those who are now in the process of turning inward and looking for meaning and healing within, instead of the easier and less helpful outside causation and blame, this is a beacon, a place to stop and think, and contemplate where they are and where they would like to be in the future... It is just a Fantasy Fiction, but as the author said :

"...“That’s what stories are for, Brin realized. They are magic that aid people in times like this. They provide hope, a light to see by when all others are snuffed out”..."

So, I would heartily recommend this series to young adults and newer readers of the genre, because the author tells a story in a simple way, but full of meaning, a story with a deep core of morality without judgment or prejudice, told through a group of characters who manage to steal your heart and make you laugh and cry with them. No, it is not a light story, but it is true in its sincerity and brims with possibilities and chances of redemption. For the more experienced readers of the genre, I would say to give it a try and see. I am a life-long reader and the story blossomed in my heart and will establish a permanent place on my "good things" compartment of my soul. But I cried, yep, many times... 💔

"...“Dying is easy. Anyone can do that,” Suri said. “Living—going on after you’ve lost those you love, having to face each new day under the weight of their absence—is what’s hard. You have to witness a sun that is never again as bright and hear music that is no longer cheerful. Eating food will never fully satisfy, and you wake each morning to a shattered world that can never again be whole. Despite all this, you have to find a reason to breathe, to move.”..."

I have to thank the author and his wife for delivering these last two books to us in such a difficult time in out country and the world, and in such short period of time. It has been not a bed of roses for any of us, but at least with the stay at home orders, a lot of us had the time to read them and have the opportunity to stop and savor every word and every emotion. You guys are a great team and I personally always look forward to the creations coming out of your corner. Please don't stop, unless you need to replenish the well of creativity, of course:) We are always going to be here!

"..."I had always worshiped heroes in stories. I had no idea I was surrounded by them.”..."

Now I wish you all Happy Reading and may you always find what you Need in the pages of a Good Book!!!🧡
Profile Image for Maja Ingrid.
446 reviews125 followers
April 29, 2020
Writing this review and trying to verbalise my thoughts, I actually don’t know what I want to say. Since it is the last book in the series there’s really not much that I can say without giving away spoilers.

All in all a very satisfying conclusion. A lot of it was pretty obvious, since this is a prequel series of sorts. One of the best things reading this series has been seeing and making all the easter eggs and connections with the “Riyria era” series. And, of course meeting many amazing characters.

And no, you don’t need to have read the Riyria Chronicles or Revelations before reading this one. This series could be a good starter point, since it is set before the other two series and therefor contain no spoilers and, since it’s set so long before the Riyria, it doesn’t really spoil much either. (Though my personal preferred starting point would be Riyria Chronicles. The books there aren't that long and each book contain a complete story and can be read as stand-alones, which is great if you just want to dip your toes and flavour Michael J Sullivan's books but isn't up to the commitment of a whole series). This series is also slower going that Revelations.

While I admit having enjoyed all six books to different degrees, in hindsight this series could have been just a little shorter. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the series, but in the second half it did feel a bit draggy at parts. Michael should have kept his plan of splitting the fourth (it was at first planned to be a four book series, not six books) book into two books and not the three books we got.

I miss my boys Royce and Hadrian. I’m forbidding Sullivan to release his new series before we get a new Royce and Hadrian adventure. I don’t care about the how, but he better make it happen.
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,588 reviews1,467 followers
June 18, 2020
This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart

4.5 hearts
That’s what stories are for, Brin realized. They are magic that aid people in times like this. They provide hope, a light to see by when all others are snuffed out”.

As most endings to series, Age of Empyre left me with bittersweet feelings.   The final book in the Legends of the First Empire series is one of the better series completions I have read, tying up most of the threads in the storylines and enlightening the reader to the true history of the war between the Elves and Humans that plays part in the Riyria Revelations series. It isn’t perfect, most endings aren’t but it was very satisfying. I’ve grown so fond of these characters; I will miss them all.

The Fhrey now have Dragons and are at the boundaries of the human war camps. Malcolm, as always, is in the middle of it all gently pushing here and pulling there, so when the time comes for all the threads to meet up he might push the coarse of the world in the direction he’d like it to go.
“With the world as his mother, the sky his father, and immortality granted from Alurya’s gift, he might be the only true god. Unfortunately, he’s the god of evil.”

The reader gets to travel through the underworld with our group of intrepid heroes, see the politics and machinations of the Fhrey (not as united as one might first think), and see the wonder of the some mythos as it is unfolded right before our eyes.

I loved the journey this series took me on and I’m so glad that Michael J Sullivan (MJS), with a bit of help from his wife Robin, understood the series couldn’t be wrapped up well in four books and so expanded the last book to be able to give the story the ending it deserved. In a hat tip to Dante’s Inferno some characters traveled the realm of death, some to return and others to be lost.  Most of the story was focused on the underworld with other PoVs to let us know what was happening the Fhrey city and Nyphron’s camp. It was a well-told story that had some surprises in the end.
"All too often, that which we are most certain of is that which we are most wrong about; and that which we are wrong about can change everything."

I read all of the Riyria books and so I should have guessed a few things since I know how the true history didn’t survive and many of the facts have been twisted three thousand years later. Still it did come as somewhat of a surprise, which I credit MJS with being a skilled writer to make that so. One of my favorite parts of the story will be the origin of Kyle and the Feathers, I liked seeing how that started and learning the true tale.

So much has happened since the day Wraith accidentally killed a Fhrey to the ending. Suri still remains a favorite character of mine and I love where her story went, even if I didn’t agree with everything in it. Roan and Gifford are one of my favorite couples of all time, that remains even through this book. Moya and Tekchin also a romance for the ages. And Brin…well Brin was probably my biggest surprise of all.

If you are in the market for some solid Fantasy writing I recommend everything currently written by MJS. I personally would start with The Riyria Revelations before reading this series, but it isn’t necessary. It was just fun to see how twisted all of the history became over time. After finishing all I wanted to do was jump into Riyria Revelations and see what new Easter eggs were there for me.


Tim Gerard Reynolds did a great job as always.  He has narrated this entire series and all the others set in this world and does it well.  He even, in light of the current global situation, did all of it from his home studio and much of the editing to get it out on time.  I want to thank him for all the extra work he did to make the production just as great as all the other books in the series.

Listen to a clip: https://soundcloud.com/audiolibrary-a...
Profile Image for Wick Welker.
Author 5 books321 followers
November 16, 2020
A predictable if not satisfying conclusion to a fantastic 6 book fantasy series.

When I first read the first installment in this series, Age of Myth, I’d never heard of Michael Sullivan or his previous series. I was honestly attracted to the cover art and the decent reviews. I was pretty blown away. Sullivan had managed to take very derivative fantasy elements and make them feel fresh. He presents a mostly female cast of flawed and easily loved characters. Sullivan unabashedly takes the familiarity of worn tropes and mixes it with a sense of mystery, hope, friendship and sadness. Through the series, you are guided through a grand adventure of underdogs while discovering occult lore and ancient history both arcane and vital to the present protagonists. I have nothing but tender feelings for this series and the unforgettable characters who struggle through earth shattering tribulations and who usher in a new age of this fabled world.

Age of Empyre was a satisfying conclusion. All of the things that you expect to happen, happen. This was both good and bad for me. There is a deep sense of eternal time and fate sewn into the lore of this story. A lot of the narration given to the reader is through a character that knows the past and the future. While this character serves as a plot device to guide the characters through the story, he also serves as a pretty major spoiler alert for the reader. I knew how this story would end and I knew how it would end in the previous book, Age of Death. For this reason, I wasn’t on the edge of my seat at the conclusion of a 6 book installment. I wasn’t shocked or thrilled. It just kind of ended. I was hoping for a plot twist that never came.

The lore was slightly problematic for me. Throughout the six books, Sullivan slowly lays down the history of the gods and different planes of reality and afterlife ect. These are quite downplayed in the beginning of the series and then become very important to understand character motivations by book six. Major plot points rested on auxiliary characters and gods that I had no vested interest in. I had no emotional attachment to any of these other characters because they are always tangential to the story. This also made the ending less meaningful for me. Maybe it was me, but Sullivan spent way too much time in the afterlife. I just didn’t care about this world as much as I did what was happening in the original world that first hooked me into the story.

This series may have more of an affect on those that have read Sullivan’s other series. I can appreciate that this is an origin story and it seems to be very effective in telling how a world was shaped. Otherwise, this was not a nail-biting conclusion.

On a side note, it has been a delight to fund the Kickstarter to the last two books in this series. As an author myself, I’ve learned a lot about how transparent Sullivan and his wife have been about the making of this series. They are a treasure in the world of fantasy writing.

Overall, I loved this series. It should be on every fantasy reader’s must-read list. The last installment got the job done but I was honestly ready to move on, hence the 4 star review.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
1,329 reviews29 followers
May 11, 2022
This book has some cool sections but too much time is spent in the underworld — Rel, Nifrel, The Abyss, and Alysin. Too much guilt, regret, meditations on sin, redemption, and forgiveness. To escape the Abyss, the characters had to forgive, which meant they had some soul-searching to do about the things that weighed them down. Ugh. Got to feel a bit preachy. And sooo melodramatic.

Brin is suddenly cast as the savior, the angel, the radiant one, bright and thistledown light. Melodrama. Brin learns lots (too much, in my opinion) about the old ones, the gods. Their backstory. Old history. Old hatred. Malcolm. Turin. Rex Uberlin. Trilos. Muriel, etc. They all felt surreal. Boring.

The best scenes involve the mystic Suri. Lol! Hapless Jerydd at the tower.

Glad to see a beloved character again. But she came out of nowhere. More of a mystery there. An ancient mystery.

The challenge fight between Nyphron and Mawyndulë was good, but it was overcast by the sequentially parallel action involving Brin.

Minimal happy wrap up scenes. No Teshlor and Cenzlyor guildhouse or council. Only a brief glimpse of the city of Percepliquis under construction. All this lead up, and we get only a vague glimpse of any empire.

And sadly, several main goals and main characters are left dangling and damaged. Especially Persephone, Mawyndulë, and Nyphron.
Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
673 reviews596 followers
December 28, 2021
“Hope is a fragile thing, despair a hammer. ”

Age of Empyre is the last and sixth book in the Legends of the First Empire series. Michael Sullivan is such a great author, he tied all loose ends, his characters are not only lovable but realistic, especially the female characters.

There are lots of things that I love about this book, some of which are the great characters, friendship, world building, amazing fight scenes and well depicted magic system.

“Faith is trust pushed to the limit of what is considered sane, but the question most people ignore is: How do you know where the boundary of sanity lies? ”

There are also lots of revelations in this, I finally know what is fiction and what is made up. I wish I read this before Riyria Revelations, but I’m glad I still have Riyria Chronicles to read. All what happened between the humans, Fhrey and Drome was revealed here. Even the underworld/afterlife. I love all the parts about the gods and their fights that was revealed here, I didn’t see that coming.

The events in this book picked up just where the last book left off with Brin and co in Rel, Suria in the hands of Fhrey and Persephone and the army on the other side of the river.

I love the world building and writing, the world is so well depicted and the book is written in multiple POV. It’s easy to understand and fast paced.

The characters are awesome, I’m glad I finally finished this series but sad to say goodbye to them. I love all the characters, even Mawyndule and Nyphron. My favorites are of course the female characters, they are Brin, Moya, Siri, Persephone and Roan. I also like Gifford and Teft.
Profile Image for Audrey.
1,014 reviews158 followers
April 12, 2020
4.5 stars

Gamma read:

I did not notice any changes. A few things were clearer, and I am not sure if that is because I was reading a second time or if a few things were indeed changed a little.

Beta read:

Okay, I had my review of the book all typed up weeks ago but somehow failed to post it:

As the sixth and final book of Legends of the First Empire, this book is an avalanche of conclusions: We wrap up the stories of Persephone and Nyphron; Suri and Makareta and Mawyndule and Imaly and Lothian; Brin and Tesh and Tressa and Gifford and Roan and Moya and Tekchin; even Malcolm and Trilos and Rain.

It’s a race against time to end the war. There are some twists and some sadness. The ending is bittersweet. It’s all good. The book really shines in characterization and theme, showing the tragic consequences of holding onto hate and regret and fear versus the joy of letting go of these burdens. If the characters were not any good, the book would have failed.

I don’t expect many changes to the final version except for some possible small additions to the ending the other beta readers and I are hoping for.

Profile Image for Donna.
3,879 reviews7 followers
May 20, 2020
If you loved the last three books in this series by Michael J Sullivan....I am truly, truly envious. It started off so strong. Book 1 was 5 stars. Books 2 & 3 were 4 stars. Books 4 & 5 were 3 stars....but barely. And now this one...gets 2. I struggled to get through this one. I had the same issues with this one that I have had with the last two. Overall, it felt slow, excessively wordy, and a little more telling than I like in a book. I even bumped up the speed on the audio around the halfway point because I just wanted it to be over.

I admire Michael J Sullivan, both as a person and as a writer. I love his attention to detail in world building. I also love love love the cracks and crevices he manages to insert into his characters. So I'm going to hold on to that thought, when his next book comes out.
121 reviews57 followers
July 26, 2020
Excellent round out for this series! Got me going again after the last one let me down a bit.

Will post full review soon.
Profile Image for CJ.
191 reviews10 followers
April 6, 2020
Kickstarted Gamma Read, E-Book edition:

I'm not disappointed. I'm not.
But this also wasn't... quite what I expected?

Like, this book as a standalone? 3.75-4 stars. This book as a part of a series? I'm not quite sure. There's a tonal jump between the 2nd and 4th books. Looking back now, I'm not convinced the 3rd was enough to gap it, the same way I'm not sure this was enough to cap it.

We got the lore I was looking forward to, for sure. Secrets of the gods and all that. World structure, sure. At some points, we were talking to/handling entities so large that this whole thing felt like a creation myth, instead of the epic war story we originally began. Not a bad thing at all; just a very different story than you might have expected from the structure of the first 1-3 books. Part of that is simply time -- we spent more time with So we had more connection to the metaphysical, the unnatural, the strange, the unexpected, and less to the recognizable material world.

While the people in the former group most certainly face the most difficult (and maybe interesting?) challenge, it's the folks in the latter that are remembered through the rest of the series. For example, But across the scope of the series? As a whole? I can't help but wonder if We-The-Reader were focused on the wrong characters -- the wrong historical view points. Also, a little grumpy about

With my complaints out of the way: I think folks who START with this series rather than another Sullivan may find it more enjoyable as a series -- I' m working off Revelations history, right? Trying to fit all that was revealed into What Royce KnowsTM. But that's just not how it works. THIS is the history. I kinda wish I could plow through it all chronologically now, rather than publication-order like I did. I'd be interested in hearing how it reads differently.

TLDR: this book in-and-of-itself is a solid read. I'm just not sure if I like how it fits into the wider mythology of the world. Too bad, so sad, I'll get over it and read the next series, you know?

Maybe I'll give it a year, re-read All Of The Things, in order.

Profile Image for Max Dosser.
12 reviews2 followers
July 26, 2020
Agency? You'll Find None Here

This review is for both Age of Empyre and the entire Legends of the First Empire series, which has the opposite arc of MJS's other fantasy sextet, Riyria Revelations. Riyria Revelations began with a fairly generic fantasy story, one steeped in tropes. With the exception of a single misstep (The Emerald Storm), each volume deepened the story and improved in every aspect. The conclusion was an emotionally engaging, highly satisfying end that made you want more of Royce, Hadrian, and the world of Elan. Legends of the First Empire, on the other hand, peaked with book 2, Age of Swords, then fell off a cliff. The first two books in the second series are likely the best MJS has ever written, but in book 3, Age of War, he makes the choice to sideline Persephone, the most interesting and driven character (more on this soon), and have Malcolm reveal he is a god who can see the future. As long as the characters listen to Malcolm and do x, y, and z, everything will work out fine. This decision A) removed any tension, making the conclusion both predictable and flat, and B) broke the series. From then on, apart from minor characters, none of the characters act unless they are given instructions or a prophecy from Malcolm or Beatrice. All sense of agency gone. This is always terrible, but for a prequel series, where the end is known? It makes me wonder why I even bothered to read anything other than the scenes with prophecies.

MJS generally crafts compelling, complicated characters--such as Royce, Hadrian, and Persephone--but in Age of Empyre (and, really, the second half of the sextet), he chose to cast each of his most interesting characters to the side to elevate Brin to prominence. Persephone, who drove the story for the first two novels, is reduced to scenes where she either A) complains about her husband, B) mourns her lost love, or C) worries about her son. Note how I don't include her actually raising her son, as we are only told she worries and mothers him, but we rarely see her interact with her child. She mostly just mopes, and my fiancée's repeated refrain has been "Michael did Persephone dirty." Based on where she started the series and where she ended, I completely concur. And he did many other characters dirty as well, showing growth in the middle books only to undo it by the conclusion.

Telling-versus-showing is a major problem for Age of Empyre in particular. When MJS decided that he needed to elevate Brin to be the "true protagonist," as he called her, he decided he finally needed to do something to make her special. But there isn't anything. She does nothing to show herself to be special. Instead, MJS repeatedly tells us that she is by having every character hammer us over the head with melodramatic dialogue about her importance. He also imbues her with particular traits that have never been explored before, but are now vital to her character. (She is incapable of lying? That seems like something that could have been mentioned in the previous 550,000 words of this series.) She's basically given the chosen one story trope, but that isn't revealed until MJS has basically rendered all the other characters narratively inert. MJS does a lot of telling in this one, but it impacts Brin's arc the most. Her story ends with a shrug because A) she was never truly interesting enough to carry the novel, and B) her decision at the end makes little sense--she's told to do two things, she only accomplishes one, and she says her job is done. What?

And, oh, the melodramatic dialogue in this one. In his afterword, MJS says that he tried to write the second half of the sextet as one book, then as two, then he realized it had to be three. I don't understand why. The books feel stretched incredibly thin. Moments are dragged out so long that all emotional impact is lessened, if not entirely removed. Moments when I knew MJS wanted me to experience grief or joy or something in between didn't land, because they went on and on and on. The crisp dialogue seen in the banter and emotional highs and lows of Riyria Revelations is a thing of the past.

All that said, MJS's prose remains pleasant with a few phrases that have lingered in my mind as particularly delightful. Just as in his sci-fi book, Hollow World, he gets very preachy in this one, but like Hollow World his message is a good one, even if I don't completely buy his characters learning it or needing to learn it. But, at the end of the day, the few phrases and positive messages (which, again, I was beat over the head with until I felt like skipping full chapters due to the melodramatic delivery) weren't enough to salvage this book. This is likely the end of the road for me and MJS's novels. MJS claims that the second half of this series largely came from a joke he had one of the characters make. He decided to turn that offhanded jest into three additional novels. I wish that it had stayed a joke.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Anna [Bran. San. Stan].
245 reviews69 followers
September 14, 2021
"Problems were like crowds of people. If a few gathered, several more would surely come."

This sixth installment marks the brilliant culmination of this journey of "truly unlikely heroes, the sort that had no hope of being great and no chance of changing the world" (cf. afterword by the author). This is part of the appeal this series has for me. Because, spoiler alert, they end up doing just that: changing the world.

As Brin, one of those unlikely heroines herself notes, "I had always worshiped heroes in stories. I had no idea I was surrounded by them."

Our heroes thus are unlikely e.g. because of physical restrictions (like Gifford, the cripple) or because of societal restrictions - like Roan, the ex-slave girl or Persephone, an intelligent, clever woman and an eventual leader whose role history will surely forget.

And speaking of people history will forget: This notion is another aspect I found intriguing as this Legend of the First Empire series was also inspired by "individuals who improved the world, but due to the prevalent culture or minority status, have nearly been lost to our collective memory". I am very curious to find out what will (not) be remembered about our protagonists in the future (i.e. in the Riyria Revelations/Chronicles)! I am guessing especially our unlikely (s)heroes will be minimized...

I also can't wait to see what Sullivan will do with Hadrian and Royce (Riyria), another type of "unlikely hero": "strong men who weren't particularly virtuous" and " unlikely to do good deeds". Bring it on!! I am officially a fan of Michael J. Sullivan's writing.

"Dying is easy. Anyone can do that . . . Living - going on after you've lost those you love, having to face each new day under the weight of their absence - is what's hard. You have to witness a sun that is never again as bright and hear music that is no longer cheerful. Eating food will never fully satisfy, and you wake up each morning to a shattered world that can never again be whole. Despite all this, you have to find a reason to breathe, to move."
Profile Image for Andreas.
199 reviews
April 11, 2020
But... but I don't want it to end. I want more of this wonderful world and it's amazing stories. Which I know we'll get summer next year but do you know how long it's till then?! Maybe not as long as eternity, but still. I feel like Brin deserves a shoutout. She's too pure and precious for this world and I will miss her the most. I won't miss all the constant heartbreak tho. Well not constant but bad enough to last a lifetime (still not an eternity, thankfully).

It's quite late now and I'm having issues focusing on this review, plus I'm still shock/awe/despair from finishing the book literally minutes ago. If you're gonna take one thing with you from this review it's this: I'm a huge fan of Michael J. Sullivans world. So much that I've backed his last two books in order to get my hands on them a bit earlier than I would've otherwise. And the thing is, I don't even like ebooks that much to be honest. But I just couldn't wait. I'll never be able to just wait for a Michael J. Sullivan book.

Incoherent rant over now, I promise.

I can't really decide what to rate this. At some points it felt like 3 stars and other times like a gazillion stars. I guess 4.49 stars will do for now.
Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,548 reviews2,934 followers
April 1, 2021
I really enjoyed the conclusion to this series, the wrap up of all the warfare, the mystery of the underworld, the coming together of characters who've long been away from one another. Loads of great moments of resolution for our main PoVs and I'm happy that the stakes remained high the whole way through.

I think I still love Hadrian and Royce a little more, as the two-character format is easier to get behind than a large pool of characters, but I equally loves Persephone, Suri, Bryn, Moira, Tesh, Rowan, Gifford and so many more. Malcolm was always an enigma until this volume, and seeing the way their stories and legacies play out is great.

I enjoyed the backstory to the gods and the world and its origins, even though one of the middle books was a bit slower, it helps to build on the world as a whole and really explain how things happened. The ideas of words and reading and books and myths all play a huge role in this series, and I liked that immensely.

In the end, another great series and a solid prequel to the Riyria books which I recommend if you have read them. Well worth diving back into the past and seeking the truth, and the author's and Robyn's afterwords I always thoroughly enjoy. 4*s from me :)
Profile Image for Skylar Phelps.
237 reviews30 followers
May 14, 2020
The beauty of these books is in the big picture. Sure, the storytelling is fun and very engaging but when I step back and look at everything as a whole, it fills me with wonder. That’s real magic.
Profile Image for Wulf Krueger.
327 reviews80 followers
April 28, 2020
The stories I write might be fantasy, but the depiction of the feelings people share for each other is real.

I’m cheating. The above quote is not from the actual content but from Michael’s afterword. I chose it for the simple fact that, to me at least, this is what makes Michael’s books “work” for me. But we’ll come to that yet…

First, I have to admit that I was actually afraid of reading this book. “Age of Death”, this book’s predecessor, was not exactly my favourite. It felt long, uninspired, weighed down by metaphysical mumbo-jumbo.

The creative playfulness, the lightness, was mostly missing and those were important reasons I really liked the books before it. Would “Age of Empyre” “fix” this and as easily achieve what the first four books did?

Not quite…

Brin felt altogether miserable. The written language was her one thing, her life’s achievement. She’d spent years creating, refining, and polishing the system. It was the accomplishment she was proudest of, at least until a moment ago.

… where early on the wheel was invented and Michael actually managed to make me believe it could have happened the way he envisioned it, this feels a bit more heavy-handed as you can see.
And, yet, we do get a glimpse of the wonders that made the earlier books so good here as well.

Metaphysics are back as well but they feel less forced and actually intrinsically make sense - especially the idea of both literally and metaphorically becoming “light”(er) by freeing oneself from whatever bogs us down appeals to me.

Once more, Michael gets almost everything right - every loose end is wrapped up and seemingly disconnected events unavoidably lead to the brilliant conclusion not only of this book but the entire series.

Overall, all the choices Michael makes for his characters (and there are some I didn’t entirely like) are great. His way of telling his story is above reproach and I stick to what I wrote early about the series being his magnum opus.

Why is that? Because Michael.

The feelings he tells us are real, feel real. I don’t know Michael personally but after having read thousands of pages he wrote, I’ve come to see him as a bright beacon of hope, empathy and love.

In his protagonists’ darkest hours, there’s hope…

That’s what stories are for, Brin realized. They are magic that aid people in times like this. They provide hope, a light to see by when all others are snuffed out.

… and love of all kinds…

A mouse trapped in a corner by a bear will still fight for survival. Love, he came to realize, was like that. No matter the odds, love refused to give up.

… as well as empathy and forgiveness. That, basically, is what the tremendous and epic story Michael has told us is about.

The human warmth Michael’s books practically exude (combined with his good-natured humour) shine through in many places (major spoiler ahead so think hard before you reveal it!):

The afterwords of both Michael and his wife Robin shed light on some decisions and opinions and greatly helped to get “the big picture”.

Michael, Robin, should you read this: Thank you for doing this and allowing me to help via Kickstarter. It was a wonderful, amazing, brilliant ride and please, please, please keep on writing - whatever it is, I’m going to read it.

You two are the real Legends - and you didn't even have to die! ;-)

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Profile Image for Scott  Hitchcock.
779 reviews221 followers
May 8, 2020

Probably a lot to ask but I was hoping for the last book of Riyria Revelations type of epic ending. This was a good series but I never fell for the characters and story like I did with that series. Still worth the read.
Profile Image for Zoe Artemis Spencer Reid.
485 reviews103 followers
November 15, 2020
"Extended trips are the most frightening to begin, sheer cliffs the most difficult to climb, long falls the most painful to endure, but it is invisible chains that are the hardest to break."

A tale of redemption, of transformation and strength of characters. The Legends of the First Empire was a splendid and endearing series. It was an emotionally impactful journey with the deeply compelling and inspiring characters ever crafted. The underdogs, the outcasts, my beloved unlikely heroes. The best of the best. That was truly the strength of this series, his characters. Personally, I found it the same for all his other works. In the end, inevitable indeed, an asshole sit on the throne. Not a truly bad character, but an asshole still. I found that to be very realistic and sad. Overall, it ended with a satisfying and neatly wrapped conclusion.

"All too often, that which we are most certain of is that which we are the most wrong about; and that which we are wrong about can change everything."
Profile Image for Thom KP.
6 reviews1 follower
November 14, 2020
What a beautiful story. I loved how much Michael developed the different realms of Phyre. It felt so real! And, after the dullness of Rel and the despair of Nifrel, seeing a favorite character and a figure out of Legend in blessed Alysin was amazing!

I think every character received a satisfactory ending to his/her character arc. I was awesome to see Suri get to finally go back home! And her display of sheer power at Avempartha?!? Nice touch, Michael!

There was, of course, some sadness involved . . . one character in particular (and not who you're thinking of!). But, all great myths have that mixture of tragedy and happiness.

One of my favorite scenes was the confrontation between Nyphron and the Gilarabrywn. Epic!

Finally . . . we have Malcolm. Before I read this book, I would've said that my favorite characters were Raithe and Suri. But now . . . it had to be Malcolm. Such pathos in this character! One of the more relatable characters in fantasy. Everyone has made terrible mistakes at some point in their lives, and we almost always seek redemption for those mistakes. I hope we see "Malcolm" again in the new Rise and Fall series.

Buy this book. Read this book. HIGHLY recommended!
Profile Image for Michael.
2 reviews
May 18, 2020
Age of Empyre and Age of Death (books 6 and 5 in this series) are prime examples of how rounding a story up to the nearest trilogy will inevitably lead to filler tangents and/or shark jumping. These two books have plenty of both.

-Age of Legend was like when the soap bottle is nearly empty and so you use less soap to wash your hands
-Age of Death was like when you add water to make it “stretch”
-Age of Empyre is like you’ve added so much water that theres barely a faint hue of substance left
Profile Image for Rachael.
443 reviews21 followers
May 4, 2020
What can I say?? Couldn’t have asked for a better conclusion. ❤️
Profile Image for Narilka.
577 reviews39 followers
August 2, 2020
All too often, that which we are most certain of is that which we are most wrong about; and that which we are wrong about can change everything.
-The Book of Brin

It has been a long journey. What was started in Age of Legend comes to a conclusion in Age of Empyre, the final book in Michael J. Sullivan's Legends of the First Empire series. I can't say the story comes to an end as history has no end. As far as this series goes this is a satisfying, if melancholy, conclusion. I've grown fond of some of these characters and the Book of Brin quotes. I will miss them.

The story picks up immediately where the cliffhanger of the previous book leaves off. As I suspected, is not the end of our intrepid heroes. The Greek myth style continues as the story follows those traveling through the underworld and the events happening in the war between Rhunes and Fhrey. Things have not been going well for the Fhrey and there is a lot of political maneuvering.

I enjoyed the journey Sullivan took me on. The pacing issues and feeling of "filler" of the previous two novels are gone and I was fully engaged with the story. The reveals start to come fast and furious, there are some great reunions and not all the characters get a happy ending. It ends with hope which is really all you can ask for. And there's always Malcolm. I don't doubt there is more for him to do.

With this stage of the story done I need to bump Riyria Revelations up in my reading priority for next year. I want to see how this history is (mis)remembered in Elan's future.
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