The blurb reads,
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.
So I’d written a very nice and a long review for this. But wordpress and my internet decided to act like a bitch and delete my review which is why I must type this again!
This was definitely the pinnacle of the books in this series. I still remember. I had requested for a physical copy for Cephrael’s Hand, the first book in this series. I somehow managed to completely to completely forget about the book and missed the blog tour and made it up reading it for the second tour for Book 2. I remember being completely wowed by Melissa’s work.
This series, for some reason, I thought, ended with Book 3. And I was impatient. Everything felt all over the place after The Dagger of Adendigaeth. I wondered how everything could come together in Book 3. I could feel Bjorn slowly taking control of the game as the book progressed and I knew the story from the blurb didn’t look like it was coming together. I was so delighted when I realised this was just one book in the series. Melissa (the author) hadn’t even planned the number of books she intended to write. I asked her on Twitter.
So with my mind at rest, that one of my favourite series wasn’t ending, I started reading this one.
And I was completely enraptured. My life stood still because I just had to read this book ALL the time. And I kid you not. I HAD to read it ALL the time. I just couldn’t resist finding out what role Tanis had to play and how he would manage to sway Pelas, the Malorin’athgul who threatened to destroy Alorin.
I could feel for Ean you know. Haven’t we all had those times when we’ve been burdened by expectations? And not just everyone else’s expectations. Our own expectations have hurt a lot, often hindering us and pulling down our self esteem. He bore the burden of remembering all the journeys and learnings of his past lives so he could save the realm now. And indeed, you could see how far he had progressed, from being the hot-headed prince he was in Book 1 to the level headed and thinking prince he was now. You could see the impact of all the lessons that everyone had given him and the slow release of memories his subsconscience had permitted him.
I somehow was attracted to Trell. My special someone is exactly like him. Trell exemplifies all those qualities I find extremely desirable. He is devoted, he is strong and he carries honour like an armour. And my special someone is exactly like that.
Anyway, back to the story. Alyneri was someone who reminded me of myself in a way. The part when she met Trell made me cry. I bawled. I literally did.
The point I am trying to make is that this book surpassed all of my expectations. It switched focus completely away from what the first two books focused on and in that sense, gave me a new angle to look at Alorin from. This made me aware of more details about Alorin which I am sure will be useful to me as I read the next few books.
Pelas and Tanis and their dance around each other took center piece in this book and I did not mind because their discussions and their talks especially centered around one issue which made me ponder deeply about my life. We often go through life playing the victim card and Tanis, in his uncharacteristic wisdom, believes that “We Always Have A Choice”. Deep words to live life by. Indeed, they shift the momentum of the book.
The end of the book was something I did not expect at all. I was completely stumped. My mind immediately went over everything in the book and the previous 2, making new connections and feeling absolutely awed about how Bjorn and indeed how Melissa had played it all. It was sheer brilliance.
I am miffed about the fact that the next book comes out only next year. I absolutely cannot wait for it. From my vantage point here, 2016 seems like decades away. But I suppose perfection cannot be rushed.
I CANT RECOMMEND THIS BOOK ENOUGH. I’VE DROPPED MY JAW ENOUGH! JUST PICK IT UP AND READ IT ALREADY!