Review: Paths of Alir by Melissa McPhail

In Melissa McPhail’s award-winning epic fantasy series, A Pattern of Shadow & Light, she introduces her readers 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 this 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, A Pattern of Shadow & Light Book 3, Björn’s Players have taken the field:
Along the lush Caladrian coast…the truthreader Tanis returns to the place of his birth and finds mysterious and wonderful workings waiting for him. But the zanthyr 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 between saving 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 along with his honor. 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.

I was thrilled with the opportunity to review Paths of Alir, Book 3 in A Pattern of Shadow and Light, as part of the Dagger of Adendigaeth blog tour through Novel Publicity. I pounced right away because I’d already read the first book, Cephrael’s Hand, and reviewed it and immediately went out and bought the second book, The Dagger of Adendigaeth. As soon as I was done with the second in the series, I watched and waited for news of when the third would be released. To say I was excited would be an extreme understatement.

Before I started reading Paths of Alir, I went back and reread the first two books. A long enough time had passed since reading the first two that I didn’t want to start the third cold and end up jarred from not knowing what was going on. It turns out I didn’t need to though. The author dedicated a small bit at the beginning of Paths of Alir to remind readers what had happened thus far and where all the characters were left in their journey.

The story centers on Alorin, a world where magic, known as elae, is failing and the Adept (magical) race is dying. Balance between shadow and light is tilting in the wrong direction and it’s killing the world of Alorin. The reason Balance has changed in this world? Immortal beings who thrive on destruction and chaos and who’s own magic, called deyjiin, is poisonous to elae.

This book starts off where the second left off in the characters’ stories. I was sucked in from the start and read this book in just two days. For such an epic story with so much to cover, yeah… I’m exhausted from the lack of sleep I’ve gotten. The story is enticing, thrilling, and I may have cried once or twice (or a dozen times).

I give it five stars. I highly recommend it=)

Now, since this is part of a series, you should most definitely read the first two books. And, since this review is part of a blog tour, you have a chance to win a signed copy of the second book, The Dagger of Adendigeath as well as other possible prizes.


About the Book – About the Author – Prizes!!!

About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards or an autographed copy of The Dagger of Adendigaeth! Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win the first gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found HERE. The other two prizes will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Dagger of Adendigaeth tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

About the book: “A Pattern of Shadow & Light Book 2

At long last, the reason for the blessed Adept race’s decline has been discovered: powerful beings known as Malorin’athgul are 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 unmake the universe itself?

In T’khendar…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 insight into the tragedies that plagued his Return. Now he must confront the man he’s long thought of as 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.

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

The time has come for each player to claim his role in the First Lord’s masterful game. All will be tested, but only time will tell how many can survive the dagger of Adendigaeth.

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