The last book ended with a large amount of chaos and now Ayrion finds himself trying to care for those that have been banished by the street rat tribes. These kids have no place else to go and no one to look out for them, so naturally Ayrion attempts to fill the void. But first things first, Ayrion must deal with those who betrayed him and that means the head of the Hurricane tribe needs to go. As a trained assassin, Ayrion has the skills to make someone disappear, even someone as well guarded as a tribe leader. Of course that will only make life harder for everyone as the balance of power amongst the five tribes relies on the fact that an odd number of votes in Guild meetings never results in a tie, but a missing leader means no vote for that tribe and gridlock. When matters can't be decided in the Guild meetings then tribes are essentially free to do as they will and Ayrion's outcasts are going to suffer even more. So once again the responsibility falls on Ayrion to find a solution.
Tim Gerard Reynolds
After quite the series of adventures in the first book Ayrion finally arrives in Aramoor and it isn't long before he questions the wisdom of coming. He arrives quite confident about his prospects here, even though he has never been in such a large city with so many people, and he is looking forward to seeing all the wonders it has to offer. The advantages of his training as an Opakan warrior have allowed him to survive some pretty tight spots already but even his skills are no match for an overwhelming number of enemies. Not long after arriving in the city he receives a lesson in the strength of numbers after which he finds himself left for dead and robbed of all his possessions. Not only did he lose all of his money and clothes to a gang of street kids but he also lost his father's warrior ring which is something that can never be replaced. Welcome to Aramoor!
The Opakan are a race of contract killers with white eyes that live underground in the ruins of a forgotten city. They train from birth to be unrivaled warriors and it is whispered that if you ever do see the white eyes of an Opakan then that is likely the last thing you will ever see. Ayrion is a young Opakan who was born with a gift for magic as well as being a repeater, which means that he need only be taught something once for him to be able to flawlessly repeat the action. This makes him an incredible fighter and his skills should allow him to become the youngest Opakan ever to pass the warrior test, which is his goal. However, his astonishing skills also make him a target for the other young Opakans who resent his abilities and there are those with power who want to see him fail. This is a coming of age story that could easily been considered a YA book but it never insults your intelligence and it is easy to get wrapped up in discovering Ayrion's world from his limited perspective.
After the last book ended with the second cliffhanger in a row the time has finally come for resolution. The war has been in the background while Tressa and company have been on their mission to rescue Suri, but the time has come to bring the mission, and the war, to a conclusion. Speaking of Suri, will she be able to escape her Elven captors? Even if she does escape, did she already doom everyone in her efforts to bring about peace? Will Brin get her hands on the Horn of Gylindora and bring it back to Nyphron in time for him to challenge for the throne? Does Malcolm's plan finally come together or does it all fall apart due to the unpredictable nature of people? This book has all the answers to these questions and more as Michael J. Sullivan wraps the series up with a tidy bow and leaves very little unresolved. So if you have enjoyed the series enough to reach this finale then know that you won't be left hanging for an outcome any longer.
Age of Death picks up right where the last book ended, which is good since that one had a major cliffhanger ending. However, don't get your hopes up for resolution as Sullivan serves up another such ending this time as well. The characters are now front and center instead of the war and yet the stakes have never been higher. Tressa's group is well on their way through the "hidden passage" to the Elven capitol, where they hope to rescue Suri, but they need arrive before the Elves manage to get the secret of dragon summoning from her. It may already be too late though as Suri has some new Elven allies who have convinced her that teaching their leader to summon dragons is the best way to bring about peace. It isn't clear which choice for Suri will lead to the best outcome but there are plenty of interesting revelations that happen along the way.
When the second half of the series begins a number of years have passed in the war between the humans and the elves. The humans have pushed the elves back to the Nidwalden river but the tower of Avempartha has prevented them from advancing any further and it has been this way for years. Out on the open plains, the humans rule with their superior numbers and their dragon ally, but within the forest near Avempartha the elves always come out on top in any skirmish. All attempts by the humans to cross the Nidwalden river have resulted in disaster as the magic wielders within Avempartha can easily stop all crossings from afar. It is within this period of frustration that Persephone decides to seek peace with the Elven leader and he agrees to talk, but only on his terms. He will only speak with Suri, the human mystic who summoned the dragon, and he requires her to come alone to the Elven capital. Is this the best hope for a peaceful resolution or is it just a trap that could turn the war against the humans?
As the newly chosen leader, Persephone must find a way to do the impossible and prepare the Rhunes (humans) for war against the Fhrey (elves) and their vastly superior weapons and magic. Not long ago the humans considered the Fhrey to be gods so going to war with them was unthinkable. That all changed when Raithe, now known as "the god killer," proved that the former gods could be slain. With the rebel elf, Nyphron, advising her on one hand, and Raithe offering different advice on the other, Persephone struggles to make the right choices with so much at stake. Ultimately siding against Raithe she decides to go with Nyphron's plan to attempt to take control of Alon Rhist, the elven stronghold on their border. Nyphron believes that this can be done without bloodshed due to his personal standing with the inhabitants, but if he is wrong the war could be over before it even starts. Nyphron seems to be offering good advice to Persephone but he is not without his own agenda. Since Nyphron and the other rebel elves still refuse to kill their kin, when the bloodshed starts it will be up to the humans to determine their own fate.
After giving us some insight into the cultures of the humans and elves in book one, this time around we learn a lot more about the dwarves. War is coming for the Rhunes (humans) and they are ill prepared to fight the elves for many reasons. Already 3 dahls (settlements) have been destroyed, including Dahl Rhen, and new chieftain Persephone finds herself leading her refugees toward Dahl Tirre. It is there that she hopes to summon all the clan chieftains together in order to elect a single ruler, known as a Keenig, to start fighting back. It is this process that exposes the many problems facing the humans, first and foremost of which is that they have very inferior weapons to the elves. This is where the dwarves come in, but unfortunately for Persephone and the other Rhunes the dwarves don't like them and gaining their help is not going to be easy.
The Age of Myth kicks off a new series from Michael J. Sullivan and it takes place thousands of years before the excellent Riyria Chronicles. The Fhrey are a race of elves with a 3 thousand year long lifespan, although their numbers are rather limited, and the humans have worshipped them as gods for as long as anyone can remember. The humans, known as Rhunes, are rather backwards when compared with the Fhrey, but they do multiply at a much higher rate. This is why the Fhrey ensure that the Rhune numbers are kept in check by keeping the various clans constantly at war with other. All of it adds up to a that life is full of hardship for the various human clans, including limited food. A lack of local game causes Herkimer and his son Raithe to risk venturing into Fhrey territory and there they encounter one of their gods, a Fhrey named Shegon. This meeting does not go well for them since they should not be where they are and it is the spark that sets into motion events that make war between the Rhunes and the Fhrey an almost certain outcome.
The war has spread and it now consumes the entire solar system. Blood and violence are pervasive as the fledgling Republic tries to hang against those who oppose it. Many want to return to the old color based society while others view this conflict as an opportunity to rise to power, so there is no shortage of combatants available. Like the last book, Iron Gold, this story is told from the perspectives of the same PoV characters (plus Mustang this time) and each of them experiences this conflict from a different location within the solar system. With such a complicated set of battles it will take you some time to get your bearings, especially if it has been a while since you read the last book, but once you get everything sorted out this is another wild ride in a series that remains surprisingly compelling.