Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Age of Legend by Michael J. Sullivan
Series: Legends of the First Empire #4
on July 9, 2019
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble
Each culture has its own myths and legends, but only one is shared, and it is feared by all.
With Age of Myth, Age 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.
Michael J. Sullivan (MJS) is one of my favorite epic fantasy writers. He is dependable, great at tying threads together and always gives his reader something a little unexpected. Age of Legend is the fourth book in the the Legends of the First Empire series. This is technically a prequel set thousands of years before the Riyria Revelations series and shows just how much history gets wrong after a few millennia goes buy if you have read both series. This is the true accounting of the war between the Rhunes (man) and the Fhrey (Elves) that changed everything about the world.
All of MJS’s other books have a clear beginning and ending to that story but the final three books of this series will not follow that format. There will be good stopping points but it is better to think of books 4-6 as one really large book instead of three separate ones.
My heart was left a little broken at the end of Age of War, and with the title I guess that is fitting; war should break your heart. Age of Legend first gives us a glimpse of the repercussions right after Age of War, then jumps forward about a year to give a bit more insight and then another five years. I’m really happy of this since Man is at was with the Fhrey the entire time and I think that tracking all of that time could have gotten tedious. This way the story flows fantastically and you still feel connected to all of the characters and their relationships to each other.
This is another great tale of courage in the face of uncertainty, devotion to the people you love and fighting for what you believe in. I really liked how the connections between people aren’t always easy to see. How one person tied to another, and that person tied to someone else can snowball into the most unlikely group of people working together. Every book delves a little more into the mysteries of Elan. I totally adore how this one opens up the lore of the gods to us a little more and for those of you dying to figure out who/what Malcolm is, well you are in luck because her story is expanded quite a bit.
Persephone, the Rhune leader was always destined to marry Nyphron, leader of the Fhrey warriors. Her story breaks my heart as Nyphron is not a Fhrey in love with woman like all of the legends from the Riyria books have claimed. It is completely political and so sad in a way. Persephone played more of a role in prior books but for this one she will take a bit of a back seat.
There are so many other characters that are just fantastic in this series. Suri is always a favorite of mine, she has been through so much already and I feel so sad for the caterpillar turned butterfly. It looks like her journey is not done yet and that she will have an even bigger role to play in the upcoming story. I’m really just hoping my summer heart can take it.
Gifford and Roan are absolutely, hands down, my favorite couple. I absolutely love that MJS has taken two people so broken in different ways and put them together. They are adorable and I think it is wonderful to see that not every marriage moves at the same pace or looks the same. But the reader knows every moment what these two feel for each other.
Tesh, his story is another that has brilliant moments of love with devastating moments of hate. Bent of revenge and doing very well at it I might add, Tesh will have some big choices to make. Become the monster he hates or give up his revenge for the girl he loves. It is hard to know where that will fall, he definitely loves Brin but I’m not sure that he loves her more than he hates Fhrey.
There are so many wonderful characters and plot lines happening that I’m not sure how to tell you how great this series is. MJS writes strong women, some are brilliant, some are wise, others are strong and one is magical but all are three dimensional, brave and fierce in their own ways and I love that about his books. You don’t need to have read the Riyria series at all to read Legends of the First Empire, both are fantastic all on their own, but I love knowing how the tale shifted over the centuries and seeing what it truly looked like. The contrast is amazing.
“That’s my father for you. He drops an acorn, and three hundred years later, the oak that grew from it falls over and conveniently kills someone he needs dead.”
Suri had few illusions about her future, except that the path before her was necessary. She’d always known that becoming a butterfly would come at a cost, but she’d never dreamed there would be so many payments.
“And that will fix everything, will it?”
With a bitter fold of his lips, Tesh nodded. “It will fix a lot. It will rid the world of a monster.”
Brin shook her head. “No, it won’t. You’ll only be trading one for another.” Tesh’s eyes narrowed.
“What are you talking about?” “Revenge. That’s what you want, Tesh. And revenge is contagious— evil given for evil received.”