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
Such a great ending, but goodness gracious... McPhail sure can be sedistic in the way she treats the characters you grow to love. It was gut wrenching, and, at times, very hard for me to push through the story, because of the vile things enacted against certain protagonists -coupled with the consistent sense of foreboding and dread that said individuals might actually experience even MORE gruesome and tragic circomstances. But what an ending! My heart is still recovering from the traumatizing ups and downs of this book, but here I sit, excitedly awaiting the next instalment in the series; and, also, intrigued to see where exactly the author plans to lead us next on her Pattern of Shadow and Light.
As a side note... Way too much sex. I mean, seriously. There was a point, it was crossed, then crossed again (and again) for what seemed like merely good measure -especially in regard to all the rape. But I digress..
I love to eat, sleep, and read. I'm simple and sometimes weird, accept it. Luke Daniels and Nick Podehl are favorites of mine.
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.
Great story line with characters that are richly interesting and it comes together at a pace that keeps you reading. I have listened to it multiple times and keep discovering more to the story.
Narrarator was great as usual. The book makes me think of an author doing well in his or her first book, and so a publishing company gives him or her more freedom to write the way they want to. I have no clue if that is how it goes in the industry but I get that vibe atleast. I am a firm believer that Melissa wants to write softcore porn novels. I thought her first two books were great, her writing style echoed Robert Jordan strongly, but in this book.. I can't say anything other than the series is now riding on shock value to keep it afloat. One part in particular, *SPOILERS*, Prince Ian's blindfolded wife (essentially) sleeps with Pelos (I hope that's how you spell it) ruining what seems a milennia long relationship not even mentioning that they have a son. That was shocking, to me at least. They have all these wonderful patterns at their disposal, Pelos already vaguely trusts her to a degree, yet Melissa spends paragraphs trying to justify why this had to happen, like adding rules to a game to make sure it comes out how you want it. The whole thing felt forced to me, it felt like a woman's fantasy of being able to cheat on her partner and justify it, and that brings the softcore porn themes out even more. What's even worse, the solution was simple to fix. But she has like another 6 sentences after that trying to justify that thought too. After that part, the series was ruined for me. I will not be reading the rest in the series, the first 2 books were great--
The story arc is wonderful and her writing is among the best I have ever read. Ms. McPhail is up there with Jordan, Sanderson, Martin, and Rothfuss in my opinion and does an awesome job of switching viewpoints and keeping the story going for each group of characters. The characters are dynamic and sub plots fit well within the over-arching story. The books keep getting better and I cant wait for Kingdom Blades to release on Audible.
All of them. I love this performer and his representation of the characters.
Although I always go on about Melissa & her genius writing this novel, I have to say since I only have time to read audiobooks. That Narraters are the life of death if a audiobook & Nick Podehl is fantastic!! He own this series he brings every character to life & opens the lands & peoples & creatures & mythology for our imagination to clearly see. As usual this book was phenomenal & im pining I won't have time to read kingdom blades on my kindle as it's not on audio yet. But I'm already worrying for book 5 so I'm a smitten fan all around
I think Melissa McPhail is a very talented writer. Her first book was amazing and the way she wrote was compelling and her words painted a picture. Her second book began putting more sex into the story...and if it was just a mentioning of the act I can get the picture and understand the story. In this, her third book in the series, she gave vivid details of the acts, so much so that I began skipping chapters with certain characters. I will not be reading or listening to any of her other books which is a disappointment. She created a wonderful world and I wish I could have seen where she took it.
This book had a lot come together and there was a lot of action. A lot of loose ends are tied up and I was able to follow the storyline and all the characters. Great job by Nick Odelle and Felix was annoying.
"love these books"
beautifully written amazing characters a world you can truly loose yourself in. am so excited for book4 to come to audible asap :)
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.
"Awsom loved every minute"
I love this series never a a dull moment if you love fantasy you'll love these books the narrator is superb
"Serves as a Long but Necessary Interlude"
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.
"This series is a masterpiece"
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.
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