Powerful beings from the fringes of Chaos have come to the realm of Alorin. Fate bends to their will, and their will is set upon Alorin's destruction. Alone in understanding the threat they pose, Alorin's Fifth Vestal, Björn val Gelderan, has launched a desperate plan to stop them: a "great game" played upon the tapestry of mortal life. Now, in Paths of Alir, Björn's Players have taken the field.
Along the lush Caladrian coast of Agasan, the truthreader Tanis d'Giverny returns to the place of his birth and finds mysterious and wonderful workings waiting for him. But the zanthyr Phaedor warns Tanis that ominous events lie ahead, and the lad soon wonders if even his mother's magical lessons will be enough to keep him alive.
In the dungeons of Tal'Shira, held prisoner by the Adept Inquisitor Taliah hal'Jaitar, Prince Trell val Lorian is facing a life of enslavement. Only two paths lie open before him: one means an eternity of torture fighting Taliah's attempts to break him; the other requires surrendering to her will. But can he really sacrifice everything he is to walk Taliah's path of twisted magic known as mor'alir?
In the snow-bound Castle of Tyr'kharta, Prince Ean val Lorian must choose to save his brother Sebastian or his loyal men. But to choose his men means leaving Sebastian to an eternity of enslavement; while rescuing Sebastian means abandoning his friends, and his honor along with them. Either decision will test Ean's newfound skills, as well as his conviction, for as the prince soon learns, once a man becomes a Player in the First Lord's game, not even death can give reprieve.
©2014 Melissa McPhail (P)2016 Podium Publishing
Paths of Alir has become one of my favourite audiobooks. The series "A pattern of shadow and light" lures you in with Cephrael's hand, and once you are familiar with the characters it becomes addictive to find out how each character's path interacts with others.
The imagination that Melissa conveys is magnificent. The descriptions are full and vivid but easy to envisage. For me this was the best of the series so far, primarily because the adepts explore their powers a little more.
I can't write a review that gives this book and Melissa's world enough credit.
Nick Podehl's performance was yet again flawless. Can't wait for the next one to be released in February!
Loved this book and find that the series is really gathering pace. Can't wait to find out what happens next.
If you love the Wheel of Time books you'll probably love this series too.
I was a skeptic of audible books, but I've been won over! I listen to my books everywhere, even while cooking. Audible is a perfect escape!
Firstly this series is fantastic and mesmerising- you'll want to see it through not only because you'll have invested so many hours reading it, but also and mainly because the story just keeps building up with intrigue, mystery and complexity, leaving you desperate to see the culmination of the plans and plots and, especially what seems will be the most epic battle in the history of sci-fi!! It's like Game of Thrones but thankfully and hopefully, unlike GOT, we will be rewarded with an end!
This, Book 3, unfortunately contains very graphic details of rape and torture (something for which I'd liked to have been forewarned). It'd would have been nice if the voluntary acts of lovemaking were given equal and more erotic description but alas, the author obviously has a greater appreciation of the perverse.
Also, this Book, though containing a lot of action, is really that part of the series where we really get to know the key players in the game, their history and see their key moments of character development. It therefore becomes very obvious from the start as you oscillate between boredom and ordinary interest, that this is not the final book, and that given the pace and building complexity of the story, neither will the next book bring forth the end that we so anxiously seek.
Another disappointing aspect of this particular book is that at many points the story becomes predictable.
But I've been too harsh in my analysis, compelled by the much better quality of story in the previous books 1 and 2. I have no doubt that Book 3 is integral to the understanding of the story as a whole; this book forms that necessary interlude one needs to gain understanding and preparation for rest of the story as it builds towards its conclusion.
It's been a while since I enjoyed a series of books like these. I cannot recommend them enough absolutely fantastic on all counts. I challenge any fantasy fan to disagree Mellissa Mcphail is one hell of a writer. Thank you so much for your work Melissa.
I disagree with some of the character progression but overall I still liked it.
I thought the very last bit of the epilogue really felt like a step back for the character involved and I expected a more adult response instead of a baby response.
I am still very much hooked so that's definitely a good sign.
3 books in and story is still compelling. The delivery and timing flawless. I highly recommend this reading as I eagerly await the next installment.
I love these books having ready them previously and Nick Podehl brings the characters to life with incredible voice talent.
Really excited for the next book!
beautifully written amazing characters a world you can truly loose yourself in. am so excited for book4 to come to audible asap :)
"Just getting better"
This series (with the exception of the crazy love scenes in book 2) has been amazing. The magic system and world building is tremendous!
"This series is incredible!"
I've listened to a lot of the major fantasy series available on audible, and very few rival this one. McPhail has crafted a living and breathing world, one filled with the depth and emotive expanse of humanity itself. Fantastic characters, a tight pacing, and gripping poise combine in a work that has left me yearning for more. Nick Podehl's male character voices are fantastic, and although the range of female voices he uses is limited it's still pretty well done. The combination of the two has made for a sublime experience. I can't wait for the next book
"More Exciting with Each Book!"
Each book in this story not only extends the story line & adventure, but also each character expands exponentially. As McPhail's universe becomes larger it also becomes more real. Her storytelling is magnificent & amazingly detailed and immersive, but not so much that it blocks the reader from adding from their own imagination.
Each book only gets better!
"A complex universe with incredible characters"
The development of the characters and how they interact with the universe of the book is incredible.
Universe/World Building: 5*
First, let me get this out of the way. I absolutely loved this book and I love this series. I only wish I had realized that only three of the five books were published when I started. I am going to hate waiting for this in the same way that I hate waiting for the Patrick Rothfuss or Michael J. Sullivan.
Think of this author as a cross between George RR Martin and Michael J Sullivan. Very high praise coming from me. The characters have the sense of joy and wit about them that you get from reading Michael J Sullivan as well as the depth of the world development common to both of those authors. However, the world and antagonists also have the darkness in them that you find in the The Game of Thrones. I'm not kidding. Do NOT read this series if you get too queasy about torture of all sorts.
The characters are complex and the develop throughout the book. They are not infallible. They do not spring into being fully made. They grow. They develop. They are good. They are evil. They are complex. The characters continue to develop consistently throughout the series. They develop depth. They learn. They grow.
This world is fabulous. It directly impacts the story in so many ways. Ways that I do not yet see. That is my only nitpick. I want to absorb every piece of this universe. Now. I want to know the behind the scenes. I want to understand how it really works.
I love the plot of this story. It unfolds slowly and in directions you do not anticipate. It is extremely complex, but yet straightforward in how it unfolds. The author must have flowcharts covering the entire wall of her writing room to keep this straight. Plots start out separately, then come together, then branch out. They weave together seamlessly into a tapestry of a story.
Overall? 5*. I can't wait to keep reading.
"True Greatness in Fantasy"
I truly believe that this series will(if it hasn't already) earned a spot with the all time greats of fantasy fiction. Listing it with the Wheel of Time, Sword of Truth, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones; I feel it would not be out of place in the slightest. Also a wonderful job by Nick Podehl, I've listened to hundreds of audio books and he is one of my favorites.
"Starting to drag... starting to get repetitive..."
Doubtful... while there were some quite good parts to the book, where it should have been a 'penultimate' it was instead a 'middle book'. Why can't authors just stick to Trilogies... they all seem to be able to keep things tight that long but middle books tend to fall apart when they decide to go for more.
If you're reading the series then yes... but I'd wait for book four (which hopefully will be the last).
Nick is great... nuff said.
Great in spots but suffering from middle book malaise. And whats the deal with men getting raped and borderline pedophilia against boys... I suspect the author was afraid to include that sort of violence against women - but it's OK if its a man or boy?
"I really Love these books=)!"
Splendid and simply amazing work by Melissa. She is a truly an artist when it comes to writing and I am so glad she brought these books to us all.
This series is a treasure to me, truly one in a million and I would have liked to give it thousands of stars, but alas, 5 will have to do=)
The world is original and a really wondrous place to "travel"as a reader. All her characters, and I really mean all are each unique and have such depth and show such progress and growth throughout the story as it unfolds.
I love all of them but the ones closest to my heart , that made the greatest impact is Tanis and Pelas and the wonderful bond that grows between them.
I can barely wait for Kingdom Blades to be released upon audio book. I was thinking about buying the hardcover version being released today , my fingers are really itching to do so but in the end I will wait and hope we will soon be able to hear Nick Podehl's magical narration once more for the fourth installment.
He makes the characters and the whole world come to life in my mind and he has such fantastic variation between characters so you can actually tell them all apart and that is music to my ears!
"awesome all around"
Love Nick Podehl. Love this series, the characters, and the vocabulary. Dont pass it up or wait til later. Book four will be released in one week.
Excellent series! i cannot wait for the next. it is right up there with the wheel of time! !
"Overwhelming sacrafice to unbelievable betrayal"
The entire tortuous, convoluted inter-workings of Taliah hal’Jaitar mind and her final.......no need to spoil it. The strength of Trell's fortitude is above reproach, and tested to the limits. The entire chain of events throughout his ordeal is mesmerizing!
Nick easily slips into and out of each character without hesitation. Every character performance is consistent and believable in every book, his performance creates an ineffaceable correlation between the character and the listeners' minds eye.
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