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The Sixth Strand

A Pattern of Shadow and Light, Book 5
Written by: Melissa McPhail
Narrated by: Nick Podehl
Length: 36 hrs and 34 mins
5 out of 5 stars (36 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

What members say

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

OK book hope it leads to a better ending

Kind of a weak book compare to the previous ones. Too many characters split across too many chapter. It can take over 45 minutes until you get back to one specifics character. It get worst after the second part since a lot of the chapters end in a cliffhanger. Some characters are literally useless in this book, they simply add nothing to the story(looking at you queen what's your name) .

Still recommend it, the story and characters are still interesting even with the previous flaw. Nick podelh is once again incredible.

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  • Alex
  • 2020-01-21

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.

8 people found this helpful

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  • George
  • 2020-02-02

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.

4 people found this helpful

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  • happy
  • 2020-02-21

seriously? Never skipped through a book this much

convoluted, aimlessly jumping around, the same storyline again and again. Oh no! They bad guys have him, it's a horrible fate! His will is about to break, oh good, he has been saved again. He's the most powerful annddd now his isn't. Useless internal diatribes that don't advance the story. Mindless repetition.

Terrible, I skipped through almost every chapter.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Alex
  • 2020-01-21

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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  • jimmy mcwilliams
  • 2020-03-16

Lost it's way

Just haven't been able to finish. This book has lost it way. I wanted this book to take me along for the adventure. Instead I need to take notes to keep up. I also feel like author wanted to write a romance novel but was under pressure to write this. It has been 3 months still not able to go back to this one. The only reason I have not returned so far is the other books were so great it breaks my heart to return it with out finishing it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sharon
  • 2020-03-07

Disappointed

I’ve read the other books if this series and was looking forward to continuing with this book. Maybe it’s been too long since I listened, but am 3 hours in and can not get engaged and don’t want to continue. I’ll be returning this book. Nick Podehl as a narrator is wonderful as always.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kyle
  • 2020-02-12

it's a long road, but...

Nick is incredible!!! Melissa's world building and story telling are masterful!!!

what a great, emotionally charged, satisfying ending! there is so much lore and story leading up to this book,

I feel like the only way to truly enjoy it, is to reread\relisten to all the previous books first. AND even if you do refresh your memory, an encyclopedia of places, events, and mechanics layered by book; would be enourmously helpful and entertaining.

1 person found this helpful

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  • That One Guy
  • 2020-02-05

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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  • Alex Cornwall
  • 2020-01-29

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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  • symphany
  • 2020-01-29

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