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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great listen

Found this audio book a great continuation from the previous as it brought out more information about the characters and the overall plot. The final chapters tie everything up and set the stage for another enthralling sequel. Nick Podehl does a great job reading. Recommend to anyone who enjoys big scope fantasy novels.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Still ploughing on....

Far too many side stories, and too many characters to remember. Unfortunately, with audio, one cannot go back easily to check who's who again. Also, there are probably maps for reference in the hard copy. This fantasy has heaps of Lands and places.
I like the story tho. About to begin book 4 which is 45 hours. 🤣

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Hang in there

It took a while to get a hold of the story line as there was so much going on and so many interchanging characters but worth sticking it out as once the plot hit a groove it was pretty good. I really enjoy the narration of Nick Podehl his voice for teenage girl characters is spot on.

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  • prettypenny
  • 26-05-2017

Could have been great

the story itself is fantastic. Epic world building, awesome magic concept. I am often annoyed with the authors over use of archaic words ex, if I hear the word troth again I may puke. she goes off on philosophical tangents much much too often. and for Petes sake stop arching eyebrows and biting lips (where are those editors?) I also am not fond of the overly explicit scenes of sexual torture. that's where she lost me as a major fan. while I would still rate Mcphail in my top 10 of great epic fantasy writers, I think this kind of graphic content goes overboard. There is an art called subtle innuendo. Not everyone wants their ears/minds raped over and over.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-01-2018

Gratuitous rape, violence, and betray.

There might be some spoilers here.
So if you think the sex/rape scenes in the previous book were disconcerting, you haven’t seen anything yet. The author basically whores out Isabel, Trell is turned into some weird sex slave, and Ean is turned into a cuck. Chapter 60. Completely ruined the book and the series for me. Nick Podehl’s narration was marvelous, but the writing of the book....I need a series of showers to get the filth off of me.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Isaac
  • 31-10-2017

Definitely took a turn in the series

Rape. Abuse. Situational morality where the end is justified by the horrific means of whoring out. I guess the author thinks self-worth and sex are cheap. Would not recommend starting the series after getting to this book. Definitely not my taste.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Shaun Krogulski
  • 09-02-2017

had higher hopes for this book

I really enjoyed book 1, book 2 was a bit of a let down so this one really had to knock it out of the park. unfortunately it didn't. Many of the concepts and rules established in the previous books were either reverse or just ignored. Many plot points took to long to get to where you knew they were heading. Overall I wasn't happy with most of the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • D. Kuhn
  • 31-10-2016

Starting to drag... starting to get repetitive...

Would you listen to Paths of Alir again? Why?

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.

Would you recommend Paths of Alir to your friends? Why or why not?

If you're reading the series then yes... but I'd wait for book four (which hopefully will be the last).

What about Nick Podehl’s performance did you like?

Nick is great... nuff said.

Any additional comments?

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?

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Margaret
  • 11-11-2016

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!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 30-08-2017

Upsetting Story Plot

I loved the series until this book. The sheer amount of rape in the story made me sick to read. I couldn't finish it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • 02-06-2017

Dropped off in the ending

The story has some forgivable holes in it, but it really drops off toward the end. It becomes very predictable and makes light of talents unimaginable in earlier books. I'll give the next book a shot, but I feel like the strength has left this series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • T. Alaniz
  • 27-05-2017

Decent

Overall not bad. I struggled with some of the artificial guilt that the characters were supposed to be struggling with. Also, some of these characters are supposed to be geniuses and protoges, they shouldn't miss obvious things so often. All in all, a decent book, just not a great one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • CJinMD
  • 11-12-2016

My best audiobook so far! All 5 stars!

This is the perfect union of impeccable narration, expert story crafting and marvelous world development that leaves no loopholes to shatter the developing story. Amazing!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris
  • 03-02-2017

An exceptional book

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!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Elizabeth
  • 31-10-2016

Fab book

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lulu
  • 25-10-2016

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jonathan
  • 21-10-2016

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew
  • 22-05-2018

Loving this series.

A really engaging story that pulls you into its world, the characters and their adventures therein.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 20-02-2018

great but long

great....long winded. bit like wheel of time but not as boring. only 2 more books to go!!!!!!!! just wish sometimes thay did not just think of money

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Taz
  • 03-12-2017

Fantastic Book

Loved it. Great story, characters you care about. Bring on Book 4 cannot wait to start reading it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alma
  • 19-06-2017

Loved it

Amazing story and brilliantly read, makes for an awesome experience. Loved every moment

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sylvia
  • 01-05-2017

Excellence

Melissa McPhail has the most wonderful imagination and great skill in writing, this is highly complemented by the magnificent narration of Nick Podehl. His mastery of voices, accents and characterisation is beyond great, it's brilliant!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • A. Hardy
  • 13-03-2017

Good, if slightly predictable

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.