Review of Paths of Alir by Melissa McPhail

Paths of Alir is the third book in Melissa McPhail’s A Pattern of Shadow and Light Series. This series has really become one of my favorite fantasies so far. I read and reviewed book one, Cephrael’s Hand, last year and also posted about book two, The Dagger of Adendigaeth, just the other day as part of the massive blog tour that’s running through November 9th.

Read on for my thoughts on Paths of Alir and then check out the blog tour details to see what you can win during the tour!

Melissa McPhail Paths of AlirAbout Paths of Alir, Book 4 of A Pattern of Shadow & Light

In books 1 and 2 of A Pattern of Shadow & Light, we are introduced to the realm of Alorin and a magical Adept race facing extinction. The race’s tragic decline is the result of Malorin’athgul, powerful beings from the fringes of Chaos, whose presence in Alorin has caused a shift in the cosmic Balance. Fate bends to their will, and their goal is Alorin’s destruction. Alone in understanding the threat, 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, A Pattern of Shadow & Light Book 3, Björn’s Players have taken the field:

Along the lush Caladrian coast…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 even his mother’s magical lessons might not be enough to keep the lad alive.

In the dungeons of Tal’Shira…held prisoner by theAdept Inquisitor Taliah hal’Jaitar, Prince Trell val Lorian is facing a life of vicious 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 and 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 to a torturous end, and his honor along with them. Either decision will test Ean’s newfound skills with elae 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.

Get Paths of Alir on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

My thoughts on Paths of Alir by Melissa McPhail

So, finally we get to book three in the series. Cephrael’s Hand and The Dagger of Adendigaeth blew me away and I fully expected Paths of Alir to do the same. It did not disappoint though the beauty in the third book is a little different, darker and sometimes uncomfortable.

Book three is definitely darker than the second book, which was darker than the first. I’m not sure if it’s going to be a trend in this series – meaning, it gets darker with each book – but I can understand that since things are definitely building up to something big. The ‘bad guys’ in the story are showing the darkness of their being and they are as evil as they come. Our characters have grown and continue to grow. There’s a whole lot of ‘rollercoaster of emotions’ going on. But as dark as this book is, it’s also about hope and that’s what makes me want to read more.

I can’t say anything else about the book except that it’s a pretty good follow up to the second. I love how everything flows and connects together in this series. I really can’t wait to read the next books. ;)

I received a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Read my review of book one, Cephrael’s Hand, here.

Read my review of book two, The Dagger of Adendigaeth, here.

Visit the blog tour page and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card or an autographed copy of The Dagger of Adendigaeth.

About the author

Melissa McPhail is a classically trained pianist, violinist and composer, a Vinyasa yoga instructor, and an avid Fantasy reader. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, their twin daughters and two very large cats.
Connect with Melissa on her website, Facebook, Twitter,or GoodReads.

Check out the books in the A Pattern of Shadow and Light Series

Melissa McPhail Cephrael's Hand

Book 1, Cephrael’s Hand

Winner of Best SF/F – Written Arts Awards, ForeWord Book of the Year Finalist

“All things are formed of patterns…” And within the pattern of the realm of Alorin, three strands must cross:

In Alorin…three hundred years after the genocidal Adept Wars, the realm is dying, and the blessed Adept race dies with it. One man holds the secret to reverting this decline: Bjorn van Gelderan, a dangerous and enigmatic man whose shocking betrayal three centuries past earned him a traitor’s brand. It is the Adept Vestal Raine D’Lacourte’s mission to learn what Bjorn knows in the hope of salvaging his race. But first he’ll have to find him…

In the kingdom of Dannym…the young Prince Ean val Lorian faces a tenuous future as the last living heir to the coveted Eagle Throne. When his blood-brother is slain during a failed assassination, Ean embarks on a desperate hunt for the man responsible. Yet his advisors have their own agendas, and his quest for vengeance leads him ever deeper into a sinuous plot masterminded by a mysterious and powerful man, the one they call First Lord…

In the Nadori desert…tormented by the missing pieces of his life, a soldier named Trell heads off to uncover the truth of his shadowed past. But when disaster places him in the debt of Wildlings sworn to the First Lord, Trell begins to suspect a deadlier, darker secret motivating them.

The strands of all three men are intricately connected, spun through the vast pattern constructed by the First Lord in a deadly game three centuries in the making, a game where there are pieces and there are players. Pieces don’t know a game exists, and only players have a chance of surviving it. Each man must face his own fears and claim a role in the First Lord’s game, but even if they do, they aren’t the only players, and all of Alorin is the prize.

Melissa-McPhail-The-Dagger-of-Adendigaeth-h-197x300Book 2, The Dagger of Adendigaeth

ForeWord Book of the Year Bronze Winner for Fantasy

The zanthyr leveled Ean an ominous stare. “Players make their moves at will, reassured only by their own resolve, facing dire consequences, protected by no one, and shielded by nothing but the force of their conviction.”

Ean held the zanthyr’s gaze. “How can I be a player if I don’t know the game being played?”

“How can you be a pawn,” Phaedor challenged in return, “when you know a game exists?”

The Game

At long last, the reason for the blessed Adept race’s decline has been discovered: powerful beings known as Malorin’athgul are unworking the realm from within, disrupting the Balance and preventing Alorin’s Adepts from awakening to their gifts. Who are they? Where are they? And how can they be stopped when they wield a power meant to unwork the cosmos itself?

The Players

Prince Ean val Lorian has forsaken his companions in blood and battle to join the traitorous Fifth Vestal in T’khendar in the hopes of gaining some understanding, some insight, into the tragedies that plagued his return. Now he must confront the man he thought was his enemy and discover the role he is meant to play in the First Lord’s darkly magnificent game.

The Vestal Raine D’Lacourte has followed his traitorous oath-brother Björn through six kingdoms and into the distant realm of T’khendar seeking explanation and atonement. But the condemned realm harbors shocking secrets, and Raine soon realizes he’s facing his greatest enemy yet—not in Björn, but in the truth.

The soldier Trell struggles to reconcile his growing feelings for the girl he rescued from the river with the guilt of his unknown past. The young truthreader, Tanis, faces a new villain in the fiery-eyed man he followed from the café in Rethynnea, and in Tambarré, another truthreader named Kjieran van Stone treads the incense-filled hallways of the Prophet Bethamin’s temple in a race against time, hoping to uncover a plot of treachery and betrayal before the Prophet’s lust claims his soul.

From the Wyndlass desert of T’khendar to the icebound mountains of Doane, Raine, Ean, Trell, Tanis and Kjieran must each continue on their chosen paths, becoming Players in the First Lord’s century-spanning game. Each will learn the role they are meant to play, all will be tested, but only time will tell how many of them can survive the dagger of Adendigaeth.

Melissa McPhail Paths of AlirBook 3, Paths of Alir (coming October 2014)

In books 1 and 2 of A Pattern of Shadow & Light, we are introduced to the realm of Alorin and a magical Adept race facing extinction. The race’s tragic decline is the result of Malorin’athgul, powerful beings from the fringes of Chaos, whose presence in Alorin has caused a shift in the cosmic Balance. Fate bends to their will, and their goal is Alorin’s destruction. Alone in understanding the threat, 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, A Pattern of Shadow & Light Book 3, Björn’s Players have taken the field:

Along the lush Caladrian coast…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 even his mother’s magical lessons might not be enough to keep the lad alive.

In the dungeons of Tal’Shira…held prisoner by theAdept Inquisitor Taliah hal’Jaitar, Prince Trell val Lorian is facing a life of vicious 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 and 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 to a torturous end, and his honor along with them. Either decision will test Ean’s newfound skills with elae 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.

 

7 Replies to “Review of Paths of Alir by Melissa McPhail”

  1. I can’t wait for more books either! I’m so glad you enjoyed the series – and I love that you linked to the other reviews. (Your post is really well formatted :) ).

    Thanks so much for being part of the tour, and don’t forget to cross post to amazon/goodreads so we can enter you for the extra prize at the end. (Just send me the links, and I”ll make sure you’re entered).

    Naomi

  2. This sounds like a really good story. I haven’t read anything written by this author but I will be in the near future. Thanks for the giveaway and good luck to everyone. The email I’m using to enter the giveaway is below. I can’t leave comments with that email so I have to sign in using my secondary email.
    Angela
    angie1977t@gmail.com

  3. Thank you for reviewing Paths of Alir, Leah, and for your strong support of my series. Don’t worry – your instincts are guiding you true. This series is about redemption and the rewards of living a life with honor. Paths took us through the darkest valley, only so we can rise to the peaks in book 4, Kingdom Blades, and beyond.
    Melissa McPhail recently posted…On Isabel and Pelas in Paths of AlirMy Profile

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