Sullivan does it again! Age of War is the third book in the “Legends of the First Empire” series, which I understand is now going to consist of two linked trilogies instead of the five books the author initially planned. The first two books, Age of Myth and Age of Swords.
The Legends of the First Empire series is set in a time thousands of years before the events of the author's Riyria Revelations. It is based around conflicts between the three races of civilization in the word of Elan (Fhrey or elves, Dergs or dwarves, Rhunes or humans) as societies clash and develop in the equivalent to our Bronze Age. Since Fhrey can basically live for thousands of years, there are characters in this series that survive and greatly impact the future we have already been exposed to in the original Riyria trilogy.
In spite of (or in some cases, because of) this, the fate of many of the characters in Age of War have heightened suspense for the reader. Ever since the first book, Age of Myth we have been following the story of Persephone, Raithe, Suri, Roan and Brin (who are all humans) and Arion, Nyphron and Mawendule (who are all elves). It is a testament to Sullivan’s craft that he is able to place most of these characters in mortal danger due to a war and kill off more than one(!) while still making the book very satisfying and thrilling.
Some other readers expressed disappointment about the third book in the series and I agree that there are significant differences between Age of War and the others that precede it. For example, there is a noticeable increase in the (heterosexual) romantic pairings in Age of War between a few of the main characters but often also between important secondary characters. Some might find this discomfiting and although I don’t think it’s a net positive aspect of the book I don’t think it significantly detracts from my overall enjoyment of the story. So I would strongly disagree with the notion of any disappointment about the level of quality of Age of War. The central question of how (and whether) humans will survive a war with the much more powerful Fhrey is suspenseful enough to cause Age of War to be as excellent as the other entries in the series. I can't wait to read the rest!
Title: Age of War (Legends of the First Empire, #3).
Author: Michael J. Sullivan.
Paperback: 420 pages.
Publisher: Del Rey Books.
Date Published: July 3, 2018.
Date Read: December 14, 2018.
GOODREADS RATING: ★★★★★ (5.0/5.0).
OVERALL GRADE: A (4.0/4.0).