The Sixth Strand

A Pattern of Shadow and Light, Book 5
Narrated by: Nick Podehl
Length: 36 hrs and 34 mins
5 out of 5 stars (734 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"The strands are as interwoven as the visible spectrum, yet upon closer inspection, one may be found to bind the rest." (Isabel van Gelderan, Epiphany's Prophet) 

The First Lord's game has reached a critical apex. For the first time in millennia, the teams are equally matched. The field itself holds a kind of equilibrium. It is the task of Björn's Players to unbalance the field in their own favor in their great game to restore Balance to the Realms of Light. But with Malorin'athgul and now Warlocks returned to the realms, the game - and the stakes involved - has elevated to an entirely new order of magnitude, requiring Björn's Players to do the same. 

In Illume Belliel…after millennia of exile, the Demon Lord has regained a foothold in the Realms of Light, thanks to his ally, Shailabhanáchtran. Shail is expecting Baelfeir to stay in the cityworld, but the Lord of all Warlocks doesn't need Shail's help to reclaim the realm of Alorin - or his permission. 

In T'khendar…the last bastion between Chaos and the Realms of Light is being unmade. The Malorin'athgul Rinokh has been voraciously deconstructing the realm's fabric, and without the drachwyr to counter his efforts, the world is coming undone. Björn and Isabel val Gelderan and their allies are doing all they can, but will their efforts be enough to withstand the onslaught until the Balance can shift? 

In Shadow…Ean val Lorian has finally recovered his memories from his life as Arion Tavestra, but what may prove even more lifechanging is his new binding to Darshanvenkhátraman. If Ean can learn to wield deyjiin through Darshan's binding - an ability Arion never even envisioned - might it shift the entire balance of the game? 

In M'Nador…Trell val Lorian succeeded in rescuing his father's soldiers from the fortress of Khor Taran, but he also learned at last what the Goddess Naiadithine requires of him in return for her many graces: ending the war between M'Nador and the Akkad. But what chance has he of ending a feud that's been raging for decades when he can't even convince his own commanders to get along? 

From the dimension of Shadow to the realm of T'khendar, from the Empire of Agasan to the fire deserts of Avatar, Ean, Tanis, Trell, Sebastian and the rest of Bjorn's Players will be holding their positions against immortal enemies in a game where mortal consequences hang in the balance of every choice. 

Melissa McPhail's epic fantasy series A Pattern of Shadow & Light has won a collective nine awards for outstanding fantasy and (even more importantly to the author) the devotion of thousands of listeners and readers.

©2019 Melissa McPhail (P)2019 Podium Publishing

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Had to stop 10h in.

Had to stop about 10 hours in. It's a shame because there's so many story lines that I absolutely adore but I feel she's expanded the story to a point she can't control. I'm just not invested in the characters anymore. The other books were a 5 star to me and maybe this will be too if I come back to it some day, so I'll leave it at three.

7 people found this helpful

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Geeeeez.....

I just wish the hurting would stop......
light on world building. Descent character development but much to flowery language for my neanderthal brain ... my main complaint is the excessive use of unnecessary multiple view points .... the author even alluded to this at the beginning of this book before the story began. I don't know.... I don't like to complain really but I've used up my exchanges and now have to listen to it all the way through.

3 people found this helpful

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Story is beginning to feel dragged out

I love the series, but I’m beginning to feel like the story is being dragged out with too many view points. The story didn’t really pick up until the last 6 hours, which was a long road to get to that point.

2 people found this helpful

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Whiplash

There is just so much bloat when it comes to view points that I never got involved in anyone's individual story this time around. The author even included a warning in the begin of the book, one that is around 17 minutes long, talking about "sprawl", there are 25 or more viewpoint characters in the book, and it feels like she wants to include more, heck I don't even remember the names of quite a few of them because until this book, they were background characters, or didn't even exist... One of the "players" entire roll seems to be to get captured and tortured so that we can see the abilities of new characters, ones that personally I don't care about. In other regards, characters that seemed important at the start of the series are completely absent, or only briefly mentioned, by another view point character. There are characters that have completely changed since the last book, some make sense, some are awesome character arcs, and others feel like they are so deus ex machina that it takes away from the over all story, and the sad part is, its not even the work of any of plethora of "Gods", Sun Dragons, Void Eating Monsters, Immortal Demon warlocks, or any other of the 2 dozen or so "unstoppable" undying creatures that are supposed to bring back balance to galaxy. Though said beings seem to have a way of trying to get involved, and then getting hoodwinked by each other, and all the little humans running around. I loved the other 4 books, but this one has grown so bloated, that I just didn't enjoy it as much. I am hoping that the sixth book is closer to those ones than this one.
I feel as though there is so much going on, with dozens of different "threads" that this book has become more of a tangled knot, rather than a "tapestry". I wish the author would focus on the "golden threads".
I am not an author, nor am I much of a story teller, however I can see the love that has gone into this world, and into the characters. I love the complexity of Alorin, however with that complexity came so many extra characters, that could have done what they did in the background, and the story would be in the same place, with fewer viewpoints, and confusion.

Nick Podehl did a great job as always.

1 person found this helpful

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Well worth the anticipation

Brilliant and leaves me wanting the next one... Well thought out and more than worth the wait...

1 person found this helpful

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omg

I am so glad I randomly started this series!!! the character depth is.just AMAZING!!! I highly recommend it if your looking for a epic fantasy

1 person found this helpful

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I love this series and the narrator is amazing

I am a sucker for a good series and anything Nick Podehl narrated. Its a bit long and some unnecessary flash backs but a great listen

1 person found this helpful

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Top 3 fantasy series you'll ever read

what happens when you put one of the most talented narrators reading one of the most talented fantasy authors? you get this series. definitely top 3 series ever. up there with Brandon Sanderson Stormlight Archive and Rober Jordan's wheel of time.

1 person found this helpful

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Well Written Story, Masterfully Performed

I have ALL the books in this series, and ALL the Audible recordings too! The story is engrossing and you just don't want to put it down - so the Audible enables you to continue wherever you are, whatever you are doing. Nick Podehl does a masterful job reading this: there are so many voices that he needs to keep track of, yet he makes them all so unique. He does credible female voices as well. The names and locations are so difficult to pronounce and while reading it's tough to get your mind to remember them. But Nick's recording helps with that. When I read the series now, I hear it in Nick's voice, even if I'm reading :)

1 person found this helpful

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GREAT

I love it all 5 books I was so locked into it can wait for the next book

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  • Susan
  • 03-12-20

FANTASTIC SERIES

brilliant as expected. the whole series is fantastic from book 1 to book 5. I loved wheel of time but this series of books out shines this. Must be listened too.

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  • Tauren
  • 02-26-20

smulchy melodrama

be wary this series is melodramatic the the nines and definitely wasn't for me


characters constantly do illogical things for the sake of destiny or fate.

the writing is absurdly melodramatic everyone is always over awed by their emotions everything is inconceivable or unthinkable or they fell overcome with. gratitude so as not to be able to even think!

noone can just feel anything at a normal level

an Isabel vangelderan is the most annoying Mary Sue who can't do anything wrong ever! and who all the male characters are in love with ect

the same themes within the characters are played out over and over again

the world building is good and the performance by nick podelh is as always excellent






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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-23-20

The best yet, I can’t wait for book 6

With the growth of the characters abilities whilst their personalities tug at the heartstrings as we find them maturing into young men of outstanding ability and integrity. The book grows with every new chapter making one wonder just how far it can go in making the reader want more. This is not a book for children with some of its dark and sexual tones being quite confronting.