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Book Review: Age of War (The Legends of the First Empire, #3) by Michael J. Sullivan

Book Review: Age of War (The Legends of the First Empire, #3) by Michael J. Sullivan

Cover art illustrated by Marc Simonetti

Age of War by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Legends of the First Empire (Book #3 of 6)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Epic fantasy

Pages: 464 pages (Mass Market Paperback)

Published: 3rd July 2018 by Del Rey


Age of War is the best of the series so far. And it is also among Sullivan’s list of best novels.

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Book Review: Age of Swords (Legends of the First Empire, #2) by Michael J. Sullivan

Book Review: Age of Swords (Legends of the First Empire, #2) by Michael J. Sullivan

Cover art illustrated by Marc Simonetti

Age of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Legends of the First Empire (Book #2 of 6)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 528 pages (Mass Market Paperback)

Published: 25th July 2017 by Del Rey


Age of Swords is another win (with one issue) from Michael J. Sullivan.

“There always seemed to be a better way, except when it came to people. Once broken, people couldn’t be repaired.”

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Book Review: Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire, #1) by Michael J. Sullivan

Book Review: Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire, #1) by Michael J. Sullivan

Cover art illustrated by Marc Simonetti

Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Legends of the First Empire (Book #1 of 6)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 432 pages (Mass Market Paperback)

Published: 28th June 2016 by Del Rey


It’s always a great feeling when you start a new series from an author whose work you loved and find out their storytelling skill in their first installment of a series has improved. Well done, Michael J. Sullivan.

On my first read of Age of Myth, I gave it a 3.5/5 stars rating. Five years later, today, I finished my reread of the book. Similar to my experience of rereading The Riyria Revelations, I loved Age of Myth more on my second read. Let me enlighten you a bit on why this reread worked so well. And to do this, I will have to compare my experience of reading Age of Myth and The Crown Conspiracy, the first book in The Riyria Revelations series, and also my reread experience of them both.

“If given a choice between a potentially great hardship and doing nothing, people gravitated toward what was most familiar and comfortable. That was why leadership was needed. To do what was necessary rather than what was easy.”

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TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : May 2022

TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : May 2022

Hello all!  Welcome back to my monthly wrap-up.

Amazingly, I found my Book of the Month for May right at the very beginning of the month, but that’s not to say that the books that came after that were not good.  Most of them were great reads (in fact, only one book disappointed me), and I’m happy to say that the series conclusion that I was looking forward to delivered very satisfactorily.   I did start to feel a slight burn-out from reading almost non-stop fantasy (albeit mostly Middle Grade) and ended the month with two crime/mystery thrillers.

NB. Books are rated within its genre.  For avoidance of doubt, rereads are not considered for Book of the Month.

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TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : March 2022

TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : March 2022

Hi everyone!  Wow, Middle Grade March was a very full month of reading for me.  Aside from the fact that that MG books tend to be easy and fast to read, most of the ones that we’ve chosen to buddy read for the month of March were very enjoyable as well.  In total, I’ve managed to complete 11 novels this month, which was quite a record.

I didn’t only read Middle Grade this month, as I was working towards finishing two adult series – The Winternight Trilogy and The Riyria Revelations, as well as continuing with some classic (horror) short stories from Edgar Allan Poe and Ray Bradbury.  I also couldn’t resist picking up a self-published stand-alone fantasy novel which everyone was raving about on social media, and I’m so glad that I’ve done so because it was definitely one of my Books of the Month.  Yups, I couldn’t pick between two novels for BotM.

So let’s get the show on the road shall we?

NB. Books are rated within its genre.

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Book Review: Rise of Empire (The Riyria Revelations, #3-4) by Michael J. Sullivan

Book Review: Rise of Empire (The Riyria Revelations, #3-4) by Michael J. Sullivan

Cover art is done by: Larry Rostant

Rise of Empire by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

Series: The Riyria Revelations (Book #3-4 of 6)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 802 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 8th April 2010 by Orbit


It’s safe to say now that with each installment, each book in the The Riyria Revelations series consistently gets better and better in quality. The second omnibus in The Riyria Revelations titled Rise of Empire consists of the third book, Nyphron Rising, and the fourth book, The Emerald Storm, of the series. Whether on the first or second read, Rise of Empire is overall a superior collection of novels compared to the previous omnibus: Theft of Swords. Similar to my Theft of Swords review, I’ll start my review by showing you another beautiful cover art of the series done right by Marc Simonetti, and also a beautiful fanart of a scene in The Emerald Storm.

“Power rises to the top like cream and dominates the weak with cruelty disguised as — and often even believed to be — benevolence.”

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TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : February 2022

TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : February 2022

Hi everyone, I’m back with my monthly wrap-up for February.

With the shorter month and the Chinese festivities of the Lunar New Year (which means more time spent with family and friends instead of my nose in my books), I only managed to complete 5 novels, a couple of Sherlock Holmes novellas and a handful of short stories.

I’ll start with the novel which was the book of the month for me.

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TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : January 2022

TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : January 2022

Hi everyone!

I’m trying something new this year as my review mojo (whatever there was left of it) seemed to have finally vanished into oblivion.  Instead of writing individual book reviews, I’ll be posting a monthly wrap-up post on what I’ve read for the month.  I still do write short reviews and thoughts on my Goodreads profile, so this post will be sort of an summary and reflection upon the month that was.

I’ve read 6 books and several short stories in the month of January, most of them are buddy reads with my co-bloggers.

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Book Review: Theft of Swords (The Riyria Revelations, #1-2) by Michael J. Sullivan

Book Review: Theft of Swords (The Riyria Revelations, #1-2) by Michael J. Sullivan

Cover art is done by: Larry Rostant

Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Riyria Revelations (Book #1-2 of 6)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 694 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 23rd November 2011 by Orbit


It’s been five years (January 2017) since I first read through The Riyria Revelations, and I honestly didn’t expect I would ever read through this series again. That changed after last year. Last year, out of nowhere, I suddenly missed Royce, Hadrian, and the characters of The Riyria Revelations. And I ended up reading through The Riyria Chronicles, the prequel series to The Riyria Revelations, which I enjoyed immensely. After I finished the first two books in The Riyria Chronicles, I immediately knew I MUST read The Riyria Revelations again because I knew that my experience of it will be improved significantly. And just from reading Theft of Swords, the first omnibus in The Riyria Revelations, I can already confirm the accuracy of my prediction. This review will be different and longer than usual. I will keep my thoughts on my first read intact for newcomers to the series, and I will also elaborate on why things worked so much better on reread.

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TS’s Best Reads of 2021

TS’s Best Reads of 2021

This is my journey in books for 2021!

Hi everyone, TS here!  Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge that I’ve been inconsistent in my blogging/reviewing on Novel Notions this year.   I couldn’t find the energy or will or brain-power as I found myself in a new expanded role at work that has a challenging learning curve, and discovered that I enjoy cooking and baking (even embarked on sourdough) so much that I started spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

I did manage to meet my reading challenge of 100 books this year regardless, and it’s probably the most diverse year of reading that I’ve had in my entire life.   While fantasy remains my favourite genre for its sense of wonder, I found myself gravitating a lot towards mysteries this year, and also reading a lot more non-fiction.

I’ve decided to organise my best reads of 2021 a bit differently from prior years, somewhat thematically instead of the usual parameters and rankings.

And we’ll start with….

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