A Door Opens An Army Of Dragons Advance And The Fate Of The Living Rests With The DeadAfter Obtaining The Secret To Creating Dragons, The Leader Of The Fhrey Has Turned The Tide Of War Once 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 In The Age Of EmpyreFrom The New York Times And USA Today Bestselling Author Michael J Sullivan 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 Standalone Fantasy Series That Is Independent Of The Riyria Novels But For Those Who Do Read 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 As you probably already know, I use the review space of Goodreads for status updates So here goesUpdate 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 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 stepgetting 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. 4.5 starsGamma 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. 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 view spoiler My girl Brin didn t deserve that ending It sounded like Tesh and Tressa was too gone in the Abyss so no saving there, and also Tesh would never forgive her for coming back so soon Also she deserved to live to see her work spread and the world grow Also I never really cared much for Tesh and my girl deserves the world and beyond hide spoiler 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 view spoiler Especially Brin I mean, the whole plot and outcome of the story stood on her shoulders And to discard her like this hide spoiler 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 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 But but I don t want it to end I want 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. 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 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 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 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 US UK Book Depository Free shipping worldwide Bookshop.Org You can find this and my other reviews at Novel Notions. This is a review of the beta version of the book So close to 5 stars I was on the edge of my seat for the entire book but kept hanging there in the end It would have been a solid 5 stars except for some things I felt missing This could change toward the final version so I m keeping my hopes high to change this review Overall this is a great book, the build up from the previous books really pays off The characters really shine out questions are answered.For a global series review this book would come in second, just after Age of War As a series, this one stands tall and is already going far While it s not my top series, I would still recommend it for every fantasy reader. 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 time with view spoiler the group in the underworld than we did with Persephone, Suri, the elves, or the rest of humanity hide spoiler What a beautiful book from start to finish This easily solidifies this series as one of my all time favorites.