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A war fueled by the dark powers of forbidden sorcery is about to engulf the Ascendant Empire. Agerastian heretics, armed with black fire and fueled by bitter hatred, seek to sever the ancient portals that unite the empire - and in so doing destroy it.

Asho--a squire with a reviled past--sees his liege, the Lady Kyferin, and her meager forces banished to an infamous ruin. Beset by tragedy and betrayal, demons and an approaching army, the fate of the Kyferins hangs by the slenderest of threads. Asho realizes that their sole hope of survival may lie hidden within the depths of his scarred soul--a secret that could reverse their fortunes and reveal the truth behind the war that wracks their empire.

Unpredictable, fast paced, and packed with unforgettable characters, The Path of Flames is the first installment in a gripping new epic fantasy series.

461 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 11, 2016

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About the author

Phil Tucker

37 books869 followers
Thanks for visiting my page! I'm Phil Tucker, a Brazilian/Brit who currently resides in Asheville, NC, where I resist the siren call of the forests and mountains to sit inside and hammer away on my laptop.

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Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,534 reviews9,935 followers
November 4, 2022
Reread 2022. 4.5 Stars. I hope to own all of these in physical books if I love them all as I do this one

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾


Buddy read with my friend, Michael. 😊

OMG! I loved it!

I have already put the paperback on my Amazon wishlist for when the price goes down because I want this bad boy on my shelf!

I was so pleasantly surprised at how much I love this book!

There is magic, demons, people with powers, gates to who knows where, secrets, evilness, etc and so on.

I loved so many of the characters. I loved Asho and Kethe, Tiron and so many more. These characters all have different strengths in the book.

I don't want to give too much away but there were some important peeps killed in battle and then some jerks come to take over the throne from a woman (of course) Well, said woman has some pretty bad arsed people on her side. Her own daughter turns out to be a force to be reckoned with along with a few others with powers.

I loved the whole story line and it just touched my wittle heart and made it soar! I don't know what it is about the book, but it made my day/night. I think it's great when people can find those special kinds of books. Ones they are never expecting to hit the mark that much. It makes me feel all warm and cozy inside. Lol!

I loved how Asho came into his own. I wasn't sure about him at first but then all of the sudden he was all in it. He just went for it and then I found out some revelations about him that were sad and that have me wondering. The same with Kethe, she's the daughter of a Lord but things are not what they seem with her. She has her own cool revelations.

There are some beast creatures and just stuff people, STUFF. You can buy this book or read it on Kindle Unlimited if you are interested in it. I'm sure glad I gave it a chance. To be honest, the cover is what brought me to the book and I'm loving the covers on the next three books.

I can't wait to see what happens next. I'm hoping to read the rest of them before the year is out and see what all happens with these wonderful people. I just know someone I love is going to die. One almost did but they were brought back! Yes, magic people. I didn't really like how it was done but that's neither here nor there.

If you didn't like the book, good for you, I'm only interested in what I love =)

to be continued . . .

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 72 books51.7k followers
November 27, 2022
Path of Flames came 2nd in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 2016. Three hundred books were entered!


I can see why the blogger who put it forward was enthusiastic about it. It’s an enthusiastic book that gets a lot into its sizeable word count (~250K).

It opens with a battle scene in which we’re treated to monsters, magic, and mass carnage. I had some trouble visualising the scene in places but for the rest of the book Tucker paints a full picture that never left me trying to puzzle things out.

At first sight Path of Flames is not a very sophisticated novel. It has an 80s fantasy feel to it and manages to bring in a great number of the “standard” elements of the genre. However, it does what it does well, and there are moments of both depth and genuine emotion that are also handled well. Lady Iskra, mother and widow, is a well written character who feels real.

Path of Flames is an exciting fantasy romp and it’s very easy to let yourself be swept along by the story and be thoroughly entertained. And for a lot of the time I was.

The chapters move between six (I’m guessing) points of view and for much of the time five of those are in the same place doing the same thing. The sixth, Tharok, is an odd one. Tharok’s story is entertaining too. He’s an orc-thing and his rapid rise through the orc-thing ranks is charted through the book in parallel to the story of the humans. The odd thing is that it really could have been an entirely separate book. The threads never join and there are very few hints that they take place in the same world.

There’s plenty of magic in the story, both in the “casting black flames at you” style and the more passive “teleport gates” and “floating cities” style. While none of it feels particularly new or fresh it does feel comfortable and well handled.

A niggle for those who have read a lot of fantasy may be just how many tropes are called upon. There’s also … I’m not sure what to call it … maybe a YA vibe or something similar. Our three youngest protags turn out to be fearsome warriors variously stuffed to the gills with mysterious and unexpected magic powers, or sporting important magic swords that they essentially found lying about.

The focus for the five human points of view is a tight one, bound for most of the book to two castle locations. Again the castles and the life within them feel familiar, and again, well done. There is a tournament which if you’re in a jaded mood you could roll your eyes at, but I actually really enjoyed. I’m a sucker for goodie knights vs baddie knights and all the arms and armour descriptions. It was exciting and entertaining.

As things progress our young heroes level up swiftly and a magical mystery builds with helpfully discovered secret libraries to fill in the blanks. We get a nice battle to end with, balancing out the opening battle, and our heroes become near super-heroes, cutting swaths through the foe to reach the boss-fights.

The ending is open with plenty to resolve in the following books. I never felt bored!

So, to conclude: don’t concentrate on my fault finding. With an open mind and your inner child(hood fantasy reader) turned up high, this could well be one of your favourite reads.

Read about the SPFBO competition here


See ratings and reviews of all the 2016 finalists here:


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Profile Image for Petrik.
687 reviews45.9k followers
March 20, 2018
Yowzah, that was a great start to a series!

Let's start off with a bit of information for anyone who hasn’t heard of this book or series yet. The Path of Flames is the first book in The Chronicles of the Black Gate series by Phil Tucker that also won the second place in the SPFBO (Self Published Fantasy Blog Off) of 2016 held by Mark Lawrence; that’s second place out of three hundred books which is not an easy feat to do. I hereby agree that it earned its runner-up trophy for many good reasons.

If you’re a fan of epic fantasy with some old-school fantasy elements in it, this will most likely be a hit for you. The main plot of the book focuses on the war that engulfed the Ascendant Empire and it seems like the entire series will revolve around this war. The book immediately started off with a war sequence and one of the main character, Asho, is in the middle of all the chaos. Right from the start, we get to see magic, superior beings, multi-race, and great action sequence; at the same time letting readers know what kind of book they're getting into.

Throughout the entire book—and most likely series, judging from the covers—we follow six different perspectives and all of them are imbued with distinct and unique personalities. They may not be the most original characters out there in the fantasy market but Tucker has a way of giving each one of them a compelling and engaging narrative to read. I also have high praises towards the two main female characters, Kethe and Iskra; both of them are characters that felt realistic and I enjoyed reading their struggle and determination.

“We women have within us a depth, a capacity for striving, that men for all their swords and wars don't comprehend. We can endure where they are brittle, we can persevere where they snap. It is our unique form of grace. And we will endure. We will persevere.”

This of course doesn’t mean that the female characters are the only noteworthy one. I found that out of the six main characters, five of them are truly delightful to read. This is proven by the fact that although the book reached 250k words (bigger than any installment in the Mistborn saga by Brandon Sanderson), I was almost never bored reading their journey with a few minor exceptions.

The minor cons I have on this book are Tharok’s POV and in some cases, a bit too many actions for the first book of a series. Tharok’s storyline wasn’t bad or boring intrinsically, in fact, it was well written. However, his story—with the exception of his last chapter in the book—felt completely disjointed from all the other five characters. This made me feel like I was reading a different book and this caused me to feel impatient during his POV as I kept on looking forward to getting back to all the other five characters perspective. I have a feeling Tucker did this for the sequels so there’s a still chance that this might pay off big in the future.

As for the actions part, this is purely my preferences and there’s nothing really wrong or bad with putting a lot of actions. However, for the first book of a series, I always prefer more characterizations than actions. Tucker did a great job with both his characterizations and action sequences but in my opinion, the book would’ve benefit even more if he sacrificed some action scenes for even more characters development. Putting a lot of action scenes in the first book of a series most of the time failed to engage me completely due to two reasons. One, I haven’t connected with the characters enough to truly care about their fates. Two, unless you’re George R.R. Martin, I highly doubt any of the main characters will die or suffer greatly in the first book of a series. This means that to me, putting a lot of action scenes doesn’t help in giving me the intensity that I’m looking for, even when they’re well written. That said, both of these are just minor cons and they didn’t affect my enjoyment that much.

Other than those two, I really don’t have any more criticisms. The world-building is quite unique and gradually introduced without being info-dumpy and at the same time also leaving plenty of things to look forward to in the sequels. The world of the Ascendant Empire that Phil has created reminds me of RPG such as Dragon Age series or WoW and I love getting this kind of 'familiar' feeling from another medium I've experienced in the book I read. Plus, Phil’s prose was engaging, simple, sometimes wonderfully theological, but most of all, it was a joy to read. There were a few typos and grammatical errors but like I always said, typos almost never bothered me unless it's on every page; for an indie book, The Path of Flames is very well-polished and almost didn't feel like it was self-published.

“The wheel of fortune lifts us up and brings us down. You must free your happiness from its vagaries. Expect nothing, and everything is a gift.”

Overall, The Path of Flames is a wonderful start to a series. It became the runner-up of last year SPFBO for many good reasons that I've already stated above. In my opinion, The Path of Flames is better than the majority of indie books out there and I can’t wait to devour the sequels immediately after this, especially after hearing from my trusted friend that the series only gets better from here on out.

You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest
Profile Image for Lema.
192 reviews84 followers
February 6, 2017

I'd like to open up my review with one question: How come this hasn't been published yet?!
It's definitely now up on my favorites shelf, I loved this first installment to pieces and will soon be diving in the second one because I AM LIVING FOR THESE WONDERFUL CHARACTERS!

Since this is a not very known series, and since I love visuals to accompany my reviews, I used my limited Photoshop skills with photos of the video game Dragon Age to help me along.

So the story is told from 6 points of view, I'll try to give a quick line for each without giving anything because it's better to go into it not knowing anything:
Asho: a former slave come squire to a warlord called Ser Kyferin, and is the one featured on the cover. The poor boy is a Bythian which means he's at the absolute bottom of the food chain, always oppressed, humiliated and treated worse than vermin. So reading about his journey and how he interacts with our other heroes was very enjoyable.


Kethe: Ser Kyferin's 15 year old daughter who aspires to become a knight (and with her own valid reasons, none of the usual teen angst and rebellion). However you can still see the privileged spoiled behavior seeping through the seams, and I thought that gave her a much more realistic personality.
Lady Iskra: THAT WOMAN IS BOSS! She's definitely my favorite character and one of the strongest points of the series. She's Ser Kyferin's wife and Kethe's mother. Her personality is one of the best I've read... like ever read! Mentally, she's so strong and able despite of the tons of lemons life has thrown at her and I just want to give her a bear hug.

“We women have within us a depth, a capacity for striving, that men for all their swords and wars don't comprehend. We can endure where they are brittle, we can persevere where they snap. It is our unique form of grace. And we will endure. We will persevere.”


Sir Tiron: THAT DUDE IS GOLD! yep my second favorite character, since he doesn't get introduced until like 20% in so I feel it'd be a spoiler to say anything about him. Suffice it to say that his character is so complex, tortured and multi-layered that I cheered whenever we got to see the world through his eyes.
Audsley was super fun to read from, albeit a bit slow at the beginning. He's a unique character being a plump Magister with a life goal to just study everything that's been written under the sun. His academic sedentary life takes a 180 turn when he gets thrown into the events of the plot, which made his reactions to all hell breaking loose quite hilarious, especially when he's always accompanied by a faithful firecat with an attitude called Aedelbert.

"What do you think, Aedelbert? Should we press on in pursuit of further glory, or allow discretion to bludgeon valor into submission?"

The last POV character I had a love/hate relationship with...Tharok is a highland kragh (an Orc if you want), his chapters were interesting but not even remotely close to the level of the other characters because his storyline was vastly separate from their. I honestly kept jumping his chapters to just stay with my babies. However at the very end of the book he became one of my most anticipated character to read from! Shocking I know.. so I guess even that turned out ok in the end too.


There are of course many other wonderful non-POV characters that are just a treat to read about such as Maeva the sincaster and Ser Wyland the dashing knight.

When it comes to World Building, I thought it was very extensive and vivid, with a very original hierarchical religious system called the Ascendancy. The magic system (called Sincasting) is very mysterious due to its being labeled as Heresy by the first Ascendant. The plot was honestly action-packed right from the very beginning where it opens up with an epic battle scene. Even though I would have wished there were more twists and turns, it didn't bother me at all that it was a pretty straight-forward plot, like I said, the characters are what made this book a winner for me. So many emotional scenes that tugged at my heart strings, bromance and loyalty displays, and even though there is no romance in this one I was invested 100% in their interactions and will not stop hoping that my ships will sail :')

Now time for some constructive criticism, I had of course some misgivings regarding reading an unpublished unedited indie work, but Phil Tucker has done an amazing job, his work is very polished. I'm predicting that when it gets picked up by a publisher and an editor (and I say when and not if!) it'll be competing with the big fantasy bosses!
Why it needs an editor though? because there are some tiny discrepancies here and there that don't affect the flow of the story but they are like bothersome flies nonetheless, such as changing the spelling of a minor character's name or a place's name (is it Bythos or Abythos?!), and for example mentioning that someone having auburn hair (ie. reddish brown) and later on describing it as golden.
Also, apparently this is a ~250K epic novel, and I was shocked actually because I didn't feel it dragging except in Tharok's parts... so I'm guessing if his parts were turned into a rarer-frequency interludes rather than regular-appearing chapters they would be much more enjoyable and rewarding.

In conclusion, do I recommend this? YES ABSOLUTELY!
Some reviews said that this isn't original or didn't add anything new to the genre? I honestly couldn't care less, as I said I found the world unique and besides the characters make up for everything... and who wouldn't love to read every once in a while about a traditional Sword and Sorcery fantasy.
Profile Image for Jody .
202 reviews141 followers
October 12, 2018
“For wisdom, both absolutely and in relation to what is known, lies in seeking the greatest good at the cost of the least corruption. Thus one who walks the Path of Flames, while dealing with great forces, must learn to pay attention to the subtlest of signs, so as to avert the encroachment of darkness. As corruption gains a foothold, so does our ability to discern the truth become warped, resulting in an inability to diagnose the very malady against which we must guard—”

Phil Tucker's, Chronicles of the Black Gate series is one that has been steadily moving its way up my TBR pile. So, while trying to figure out what I wanted to read next, I decided I would take a look on Amazon and read the first few chapters to get a feel for it. Well, to say I was surprised would be an understatement. I was completely hooked, and bought the kindle version of book 1, The Path of Flames, right then and there. I will admit that I am a sucker for well written battle scenes, and for Mr. Tucker to start the opening chapter with a battle had me hook, line, and sinker. Lucky for me though, there was more than just the 1st chapter on Amazon. Because, after that I was thrilled to see that this story had everything I love in epic fantasy. A medieval type setting, various races, magic system, fantastical elements, and of course a character driven storyline. I flew through this book in just a few days, and that usually doesn't happen for me with a 500+ page book. Now, on to the review!!!

Tharok is a highlander Kragh. An orc like race that lives in the mountains. Tharok's entire tribe has been betrayed and slaughtered by rival tribe, which has him running for his life. While fleeing deep into the mountains that no Kragh has traveled in known memory, he discovers something that will change his future....and possibly the future of his entire race.

Mr. Tucker did a wonderful job building this world of the Ascendant Empire, but what really make the story great is the characters. Lady Iskra Kyferin, wife to Lord Kyferin, is a very strong willed woman. Determined to protect and lead her people in this time of need. Kethe Kyferin, daughter to lord and lady Kyferin, longs to be a knight and is determined to fight for what she wants. The aforementioned Asho, was Lord Kyferin’s squire and a Bythian. They are an oppressed race that that dwell mainly in the city of Bythos. They are fair complected and have elf like features. Also, there is magister Audsley and his firecat Aedelbert. These two managed to add a little humor to this morbid setting. Albeit, in a quirky and nonchalant manor. All of these storylines were enjoyable to read. Mr. Tucker managed to detail each individual’s struggles in a way that shown their growth throughout the book, and helped move the story forward at the same time.

“We shall strive to defeat the forces arrayed against us, to break free of this impossible situation where all others foresee our death. The odds are against us, but we shall not be deterred. We shall fight with everything we have, and risk all in the pursuit of justice.”

An author’s writing style is not something I write about a lot in my reviews. It’s not that I tend to overlook it. It’s more that I really have to be wowed for me to think about mentioning it. Well, I have been wowed. Mr. Tucker’s writing style is very descriptive and engrossing. You can tell he has a large vocabulary, not only by some of the words he uses, but because he hardly ever repeats himself. Some authors tend to use the same descriptions over and over when writing. While this doesn’t always bother me, it can get frustrating at times. I was never frustrated while reading The Path of Flames. I would have to describe it as captivated. If the remainder of the series is as good as this book, then I am in for a treat.

Well, there you have it. I believe I have said my fill, and hopefully convinced you to pick this book up somewhere along the way. If you enjoy fantasy on any level then this book is definitely for you. It has almost everything any fan of fantasy will love. I say almost, because there are no dragons. But this is the first book, so I still have my hopes up.

4.5 stars ****
Profile Image for Michael Britt.
171 reviews1,992 followers
August 15, 2017
Easily a solid 4 star book.

Buddy read with the ever lovely Melissa! Even if she is the fastest reader I've ever read with (I kid, I kid) 😊

I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! I was honestly a bit worried that I wasn't going to like it. No real reason to back up why I might have felt that way.

We follow a group of people who aren't really what they may seem at first glance. This book starts out with Iskra's (aka Lady Kyferin) husband, Lord Kyferin, being struck down and murdered in battle. His squire, Asho, makes it out alive and does something that gets him Knighted by The Grace which is a big deal because he's a bythian which seems to be the lowest of the low in the human world. So we get to see him, someone who started out as Lord Kyferin's slave, really prove himself worthy. Kethe, Lady Kyferin's daughter, is another really awesome POV we get. We get to see her prove herself worthy of becoming a Knight. Which is pretty cool in a world where it's extremely rare for a woman to become a Knight. Ser Tiron's POV is interesting, to me, because of what's going on inside his head. I can't really elaborate on that (spoilers, yuk) so you'll just have to tryst me on that one.

While the beginning was a bit of a rough start for me, I quickly found my feet and started enjoying myself. You're thrown straight into the (forgive my French) shit. Asho is the first POV we're introduced to and Tucker wastes no time. Asho started out iffy for me and quickly became a character I loved. I actually can't think of a character I didn't like, except maybe Tharok (only the first half of the book, though) or Audsley. By then end, I did enjoy both of them, though. I think Ser Tiron ended up being my favorite, if I had to pick.

Tucker's prose had me both enthralled and laughing quite a bit. The humour is a bit on the dry side, I'm my opinion, but that's some of my favorite kind of humour. So I'm not sure if everyone will find it quite as funny as I did.

Do yourself a favor and just pick this one up. I mean, at the time of me writing this, it's up under Kindle Unlimited. There's no reason to not try a book that's free. That's a no brainer. But seriously, it's got an interesting plot, diverse characters, and some really awesome scenes of redemption.
Profile Image for Mogsy.
2,071 reviews2,631 followers
April 3, 2017
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2017/04/03/...

If you’ve been following along with the progress of this year’s SPFBO competition, then I don’t have to tell you, 2016’s crop of finalists all look incredible, and of the top ten books remaining in this second phase, one of the ones I’ve looked forward to reading a lot is Phil Tucker’s The Path of Flames. From its description, I had a feeling this would be a novel right up my alley—epic fantasy with a bit of an old-school feel, featuring a standard secondary world wracked with war and dark sorcery while courageous heroes go head-to-head with dastardly villains. There’s a certain kind of comfort and pleasure I take from reading stories like these, mainly because I know that at the end of the day, I’ll enjoy myself no matter what happens. And sure enough, I had a blast with this book.

In typical fashion though, The Path of Flames opens with a battle scene. Still, what a battle! This first chapter also introduces us to one of our main characters, a young Bythian squire named Asho fighting on the side of Lord Kyferin and his famous Black Wolves. However, the enemy’s unexpected use of foul magic leads to tragedy, and Asho is knighted in a twist of fate, tasked to return home alone to tell his Lady Iskra Kyferin that her husband and all his men have all been slaughtered on the battlefield.

Upon receiving the news, Iskra reacts solemnly but is secretly pleased; her husband had not been a good man in life, having abused Iskra and Asho both. But Lord Kyferin’s daughter Kethe is heartbroken, having idolized her father, even going as far as to train secretly as a knight in order to follow in his footsteps. With Lord Kyferin now dead though, this does spell trouble for everyone. Almost all the Black Wolves have perished, leaving the castle defenseless and Iskra no choice but to shore up her remaining forces and seek out new allies. Unfortunately, news of her husband’s death has spread and the vultures are already circling. Despite Iskra’s efforts to protect her people, a sudden betrayal ends up destroying her carefully laid plans, plunging her and all those loyal to her into danger.

As you can see, the story encompasses many of the traditional elements and conventional tropes found in fantasy, though to leave it at that would also be simplifying things and not giving this book the credit it deserves. While I can see the influence of genre classics and fantasy role-playings games on the author’s writing, Phil Tucker does have a few surprises up his sleeve, putting some fresh spins on familiar ideas.

He’s done a phenomenal job on his characters, for instance, creating fully developed backstories for them. Take Asho, whose Bythian heritage makes him the target of scorn in this society that worships the Ascendancy, a religion that divides humanity into a caste system. Lord Kyferin may have plucked him from his homeland as a child, raising him in his own household and even making him a squire, but everyone can see these acts for the empty gestures that they are and still look upon Asho with distaste for being in the lowest “tier” of the Ascendancy. Then there’s Kethe, a young noblewoman who prefers sword fighting to needlework. Again, this is in no way a new idea in fantasy, but Kethe’s complicated history with her father and another character named Ser Tiron puts her decision to become a knight into a more compelling context. In this way, Tucker weaves characterization together with world-building, so that everything is presented to us as a full package. While information might be revealed in tiny chunks and pieces at first, the reader will soon realize that everything is connected. Even Tharok, the kragh whose storyline confounded me for much of the novel became a puzzle piece that fell into place by the end.

It also helped that I loved the writing. Tucker’s style is very descriptive without being weighed down by wordiness, which I think is why his battle scenes come across so well. A good thing too, because there’s a lot of action in this book, ranging from one-on-one duels to sweeping epic battles—and at one point, there’s even a gladiatorial style tournament thrown into the mix. The book’s plot might be your standard fantasy fare, but the story’s pacing never slows down simply because something interesting is always happening on the page. The author’s excellent prose and the novel’s unflagging momentum meant that I finished this sizeable book in a little more than two days—a clear sign of an addictive read.

All told, The Path of Flames was a great series opener, establishing plenty of potential for the later books. It’s a solid gem of an indie epic fantasy novel, which I would highly recommend if you ever feel the hankering for something fascinating and fun, with that traditional yet timeless feel. I’ve already added the next book to my reading list.
Profile Image for David Estes.
Author 70 books2,422 followers
July 20, 2018
If I had to describe The Path of Flames in a single word, it would be MASTERFUL. Phil Tucker is masterful in his world building, plotting and character development. Each point of view is so well-developed it was as if I was standing next to the characters, or watching a movie. Each chapter is woven into the overall tapestry beautifully. The Path of Flames ranks right up there with epics like George RR Martin's A Game of Thrones and Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings. You don't want to miss this one!
Profile Image for Michael Miller.
Author 11 books603 followers
February 26, 2017
I tend to only jump at reviewing when I feel I have something useful to say about a book (or have been asked to review an ARC as is beginning to happen!). The Path Of Flames is a confidently executed novel and it sets up an epic fantasy saga effortlessly. It's clear why this series has taken off the way it has, so, in the end, what more can I say? Delving into personal niggles isn't really worthwhile either.

Perhaps I can talk about Tucker's style and how it has influenced me. I feel I've grown a lot as an author over the past year with a few key books guiding me towards improving my natural style. Miles Cameron was one of these authors and Phil Tucker is another. The writing is just so damned concrete. Tucker locks himself into a character's head space and keeps us there like few other authors I've read. No abstractions. Little day dreaming. Every thought and action has a purpose to the immediate scene. It's the kind of writing that sucks you in, assuming you're in the right mood to be - I almost missed a stop on the train home to Scotland at Christmas while reading it.

Phil is an awesome writer and an awesome person to have on the indie scene. I think that sums it all up nicely.
Profile Image for Mark.
417 reviews66 followers
April 3, 2017
I judge a book by it's cover. I don't care that it's wrong and stupid. THE PATH OF FLAMES with its brooding elf with a black sword with fiery red runes on it caught my eye and peaked my interest.

Though Asho is supposedly NOT an elf he was still an outsider trying to compete for glory in a world that hates him which is nearly as good. You see Asho's albino complexion marks him as a member of the lowest caste of humans in the Ascendant empire, a world in which where you're born dictates your complexion, your role in life and your closeness to heaven. Asho is a small step from hell so he'd better be damn good.

The world in THE PATH OF FLAMES is interesting and the characters are relatively three dimensional. The plot however seemed to start and stop. Just when it was taking off the story would cool down and linger a bit which made it a bit difficult to lose myself in. It was interesting enough to keep me going.

Asho isn't the sole POV or even the main one for that matter. There is also his newly widowed Lady, her daughter whom wants to be a knight rather than a princess, the newly freed ex-knight fighting for revenge or redemption, a bookish magister and an orc bent on the destruction of mankind. On to book two.

Profile Image for Wol.
113 reviews42 followers
September 21, 2017
Ok, so I'm going to come straight out and admit that initially I totally misjudged this novel. It opens on an extremely action heavy battlefield scene, with all the screaming and crunching and twirling that comes with it. Tons of people love that sort of thing, but it is very decidedly not my cup of tea. That's not really a criticism of the novel (in fact, I intend it as an endorsement if you like that kind of thing), just an aside about my taste as a reader before you continue. So my first impression was, "Oh, this is going to be a plot driven action heavy story with not much in the way of character development" because that's often how these things go.

What a pleasant surprise for me. It is plot driven and action heavy, but it actually manages to pull off the trifecta of some very well developed characters, too. I found Ser Tiron, Kethe and Audsley to be some real standouts. What we have here is a traditional high fantasy in the vein of Robert Jordan, a callback to the style of the 80s and early 90s with some modern twists and turns. I particularly enjoyed the portrayal of religion and the sense of doubt setting in for our plucky crew. Now, some readers do find that they don't enjoy common fantasy tropes and those readers may have a harder time. Tucker touches on many tropes and archetypes, from powerful magical artifacts found lying around to "chosen ones". I personally thought for the most part he was successful and it didn't detract from my enjoyment at all, but I have never minded tropes provided they are done well.

Also of interest is the story of an Orc-like character, which runs parallel to the main story without intersecting with it. Towards the end it becomes clear why we're learning about this character and his race/culture, and how the stories are likely to clash in later installments. I kept expecting the stories to cross over at some point in the novel, but I can see where Tucker is going with this and I rather like it.

From a purely technical standpoint, the prose was straightforward and there were some phrases that popped up a little too frequently ("over and over" springs to mind) but that's minor stuff. The performance of Noah Michael Levine on the audiobook was neither dynamic nor distracting, which worked just fine for me.

Overall, an exciting and well-plotted story that builds to an enjoyable payoff. It ties up nicely and sets up the second book without cliffhangers. A solid 4 stars.
Profile Image for Claudia.
960 reviews553 followers
February 24, 2019
So glad I finally decided to pick this one up! The worldbuilding is simply amazing!

Phil Tucker has a great story to tell and he takes his time in doing so. We have 2 storylines, not connected yet, and 6 PoV, one of Tharok the kragh, the others of humans: Asho, Iskra, Kethe, Tiron and Audsley.

We have a world formed of 7 major cities, with the lowest, Bythos, flanked by the Black Gate – which is the portal to hell – and the highest, Aletheia, from which the next step is through the White Gate, to heavens. Those in between (in ascending order: Agerastos, now withdrawn from the Empire, Zoe, Ennoia, Nous and Sige), are stages one will be reborn into, based on their deeds while alive. One can ascend to a higher city or descend to a lower one. Magical portals, Solar Gates, are the main means to travel between them, and minor Lunar Gates which connect different parts of the same city or elsewhere can open only on the Moon phases.

Asho is a Bythian (Bythians being in the lowest city are all slaves) who has the ‘chance’ to be the squire of Lord Kyferin in Ennoia. In the battle when his master gets killed, Asho saves the life of the Grace (the second powerful man in Empire) and is knighted for his courage. From this point on, everything is about to change, for him and also for Lady Kyferin, her daughter, Kethe, and her liege.

The story has its ups and downs, fighting scenes alternate with characters’ construction and worlbuilding. As I said, the author has a long and intricate story to tell and he takes his time. Mysteries, character’s history and parts of magical system are gradually revealed which is great, because he builds up the tension and curiosity.

I also loved that the magic casting resembles Saidin, the male half of One Power from Wheel of Time series , which is my favorite magic system ever.

Volume 2 is next on my reading list because some of our heroes will face a fiercer battle in no time, while the others must solve another mystery and my curiosity is at its highest peak.
Profile Image for Dyrk Ashton.
Author 11 books655 followers
December 5, 2016
Fast and fun epic fantasy. A princess who wants to be a knight, a slave who wants to be a knight, an imprisoned knight who wants to be a knight again, an ancient keep, moon gates, swords and horses and tournaments and white magic and black magic and horned demons and secrets to be revealed and battles galore. Oh, and ogre/troll tribes with a magic sword and an intelligence crown and wyverns and big goats to ride on. And yes there is a dragon. And did I mention it moves fast? Really fast. Wonderfully written, quick and enjoyable as hell. Epic fantasy that pushes all the buttons and then some. I had a blast, and if you're really into EF, not too light and not too dark but right in the sweet spot, I'm sure will too.
464 reviews401 followers
January 1, 2018
I had read this one a while back, but because it's somewhat complex and also really long I decided I'd revisit it via audiobook to write my review.

This is my favorite Phil Tucker book and I really hope it gets, even more, attention - it was a finalist in last years SPFBO.

There are several POV's and most of their plots are related, but there's one that's set apart from the others.

There are two separate but related stories being told in this book, and those storylines don't cross over in this one - but you can see where it's going for books down the road and it's fun to speculate on what's going to happen. Most of the POV's interact though, it's just one outlier from the main group.

The book opens with a battle scene if you're into action from the start check out this book - it starts out with a bang! There are two sides coming to blows in a valley, the Ascended army, and their rivals. The Ascended army has never lost, they are legendary and to defy them means death. Until this battle. The other side uses sin-casters, not seen for several centuries. They rain down black death from the sky and completely obliterate the Ascended army. Asho, a squire in this battle, watches as all the knights he rode to battle with fall one by one, including the knight/Lord he was squiring for. He manages to escape the battle and even become knighted, which is unheard of for someone of his race, (slave race), and he goes back to his leige Lady to tell her the news. He gets recruited to her side as a knight because all of her men have been killed and they need to be able to defend her lands.

Ketha is the daughter of the Lady Kyferin, and I really like her character. There are legends and stories of women fighting alongside men as knights and she decides this is what she wants to do with her life. She enters a tourney in honor of her father's death and fights decently well. I liked it because it was pretty realistic, she wasn't a badass kicking everyone's ass, she got unhorsed during the jousting, but held her own decently well during the sword fight. She's headstrong but smart, she's not cold but she's not overly warm either. I think what I liked most was seeing her come to terms with who her father really was (violent dick head), and try to find her own way to be a lady knight.

Her mother, Lady Kyferin was also a very interesting character. She's been living under the Lords boot for 20 years, and it's been a violent and painful affair. She didn't really want to marry him, she was just 15, and he was extremely rough with her and had lots of women on the side. She probably would have fallen into a deep depression without her kids, who are the world to her. Now that her husband is gone she's trying to rally the realm around her, gather men to replace those who were lost in the battle, and assert herself as strong as a leader as her husband was. It doesn't go easy for her though, her husband's brothers have set their eyes on her castle and mean to take it for themselves.

Tharric is the character that's sort of off to the side doing his own thing. He's not a human, he's a craw which is an orc like race with thick skin and tusks. They aren't a "stupid" race, but they aren't sophisticated either. They have their own rather fascinating culture that was fun to read about. Tharric discovers a magical crown that allows him to gain insights into the world and grow vastly more intelligent. With that and a legendary sword, World Breaker, his goal is to unite all of the craw clans under one banner.

Final Score: 9/10 

Asho - he's been abused his whole life and he's learned how to take humiliation with his head held high. He wanted revenge against his Lord but was robbed of that when he died in battle instead. He lost his sister a long time ago, largely due to the cruelties from the Lord directed towards her - she chose a life in the slave mines over being held at the castle. Despite being born into a slave race he's rising fairly quickly due to his skills in battle and at the tournament.

Tharric - I loved seeing the way this guy got himself out of some serious trouble, and seeing a new culture of non humans through his POV. He's convinced he's from an ancient bloodline descending from a Craw that united all of the clans a long time ago. He's determined that he can bet the person to do it again.

Ketha - She doesn't want to be a lady in dresses, get married and have kids. For several years she's been training in secret with the blacksmith on how to defend herself. She was attacked 3 years ago by a knight named Tiron, and she almost died. Since then she's felt determined never to be so 'helpless' again, and to be able to defend herself and her castle. She's determined, strong and smart - but not to the point where she reads like a mary sue. She's capable but not ridiculously talented. She had a complicated relationship with her father, and her mother held back how violent and terrible he could be. It was fascinating watching her learn who her father really was, and how that affects how she sees other characters.

Lady Kyferin - This woman has seen some shit, and she's gotten through it rather well. She was more or less continuously abused for 20 years but managed to get through it stronger not a broken and weak person. Watching her learn about her husband's death and how she planned to take power after his passing was interesting. She has a complex relationship with her daughter, and in the end, she agrees to allow Kethe to pursue her dream to be a knight - even if she thinks it's a mistake. Her kids are her life, and we don't get enough mothers in fantasy, really enjoyed her POV.

Tiron - This is the Knight that attacked Kethe years ago, he was thrown into the dungeon and had been rotting there for 3 years. Why did he attack Kethe? Because his wife was raped to death by Lord Kyferin and then the Lord killed his son as well. He's a very interesting POV as he grapples with being left alone in a dungeon for years with nothing but hatred to keep him going. Then he's suddenly set free by the wife of the person he hates most int he world and asked to serve her since she's run out of knights after the battle in the beginning of the book. Will he kill the two women in revenge and loss of sanity - or will he serve them?

Final Score: 8.5/10 

World Building:
Magic casters are supposed to be gone from the world, but they made an appearance for the first time in centuries during the first battle. It's supposed to be considered unclean and dark magic. Black fire was cast at the Ascended army and it was splitting people in two and setting fire to things. About a dozen sin casters were able to take out an entire army that was unprepared.

Reincarnation is a huge part of societies beliefs and social structure. It's beleived that people go through 7 levels of ascension, and in the end they either ascend to the top and go through "The White Gate" and there they finally find peace and their souls stop getting reborn. Or, they ascend downwards due to misdeeds and evil lifestyles and they enter through the Black Gate and get tortured for all eternity. It's believe that you ascend through different races of humans, with Bithians being the lowest of the low, almost at the Black Gate.

Craw have their own culture with Warlords leading men to battle, and the women running the "Womens Circle" who are the advisors/ultimate decision makers of the clan. They go into a breeding season where the loner males find the clans of women and try to impress them into mating. They are intelligent and have their own social structures and culture - but they aren't as "civilized" as humans. They have a blood rage that's similar to what "orcs" have and they kill everything that stands in their way. The clans have their own banners and leaders and sometimes merge or split.

Final Score: 8.5/10 

The pacing was great in this book, it starts out with a lot of action and there's a mix of politics and betrayal and action scenes that keep the story moving fast. It's a longer book but I flew through it the first time I read it, and it captured my attention thorougly during my audiobook re-read (the audiobook was great).

The tone was somewhat adventurous, somewhat thrilling with all the battles, and mysterious as well. There are monsters and magic the further you get along in the book.

It was a well-written book, I've read several of Phil Tuckers books at this point, and this one is my favorite - def a reason it made it as a finalist last year.

Pacing Final Score: 8.5/10 

Writing Final Score: 8.5/10 

A brand new race that has it's own culture, a bunch of unique POV's. A very unique religion and societal structure, I really enjoyed a bunch of fresh ideas in this book.

Final Score: 8/10 

For people who like a lot of action
For people who like a lot of monsters
For people who like non human pov
For people who enjoy multi POV
For people looking for female POV
For people who like knights and battles
Final Score: 51/60 or 8.5/10
Profile Image for Alec Hutson.
Author 18 books583 followers
September 12, 2017
A really fun story that reminded me of the classic fantasy yarns I breathed in like oxygen when I was a teenager. There's a bit more depth here, though, as much of the book deals with how the various viewpoint characters deal with the death of a man who dominated their lives - his abused squire, his wife, and his doting daughter. Mr. Tucker handles this tricky situation very well. I also really enjoyed the perspective of Tharok, the orc-ish creature whose plot thread never intertwined with the other narratives, and I thought he was one of he better representations of non-human races I've seen. I'm interested to see where the story goes from here.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for J.J..
56 reviews
July 13, 2019

I liked it enough to continue the series. Strong characters of each gender. The ending of this book, well, just like any other fantasy series it just doesn't end after one book. Must continue onward to let the whole plot build while characters are growing, vice versa.

Starting book 2, nnnnnow. lol
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,598 reviews2,309 followers
April 2, 2020
The Path of Flames
By: Phil Tucker
Narrated by: Noah Michael Levine
Series: Chronicles of the Black Gate, Book 1
This is a great fantasy with wonderful characters, both good and bad. The world building was fantastic! If you like evil kings, knights, sorcery, magic gates, revenge, and demons then this is just a taste of what is in here!
The narration was spot on with the voices!
Profile Image for Julia Sarene.
1,320 reviews143 followers
December 27, 2022
I'm going with three stars, but it was almost 4...
Overall I enjoyed this book quite a lot!

I liked the characters, though they were a bit too "perfect" at times, and felt a bit unreal or tropey at times. Mostly I enjoyed spending time with them though, and I definitely wanted to know what would happen to them next.

The plot was split into two threads - one following humans who are banished to a castle that can't be held due to some mythical things, no one knows more about. And then there is the POV of a kragh (a race that reminds me of WOWs Quillboar, or Orcs but I've no idea what they might actually be like). While I can't well imagine what/how they are, I definitely enjoyed their culture. I had some gripes with one archery scene, but besides that I was really interested in Tharok and his story.

There is a lot of action scenes and fighting in this book - and while they were decently written, it somehow failed to really hook me in. Some of those scenes had me drifting off and then having to go back and reread them. I can't really put my finger on what didn't work for me, it wasn't some obvious flaw in action scenes, maybe it is just me.

Even if I did have some gripes I did enjoy the story, and plan on picking up the next one (ends with quite a cliffhanger...). It definitely has potential, and could become a great series!
Profile Image for Mia.
291 reviews38 followers
October 10, 2016
MY INTRO TO THE ‘CHRONICLES OF THE BLACK GATE’: Initially, I sought to learn about the story that edged out Josiah Bancroft’s SENLIN ASCENDS in one branch of Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off. However, I admit to feeling some hesitation when I read that THE PATH OF FLAMES is over 600 pages long and the first in a planned pentalogy. Investing in a doorstop series requires quite an investment, not the least of which in patience which I do not possess an abundance of. Then I learned of the sort of short story prequel—ESCAPE FROM BYTHOS—and decided to read it as a compromise, intending to stop there. The story is short in length but long on intrigue—a succulent teaser that dares you to stop there. Obviously, I couldn’t and proceeded to the subject of this review.

MY RATING: Four stars to the novel as a whole. Five stars without the Tharok POV.

Bear with me while I explain the star rating.

THE THAROK POV. This intrigues when first encountered. The kragh—Tharok’s species—promises a score of tales rich, exotic and mysterious. As you continue to encounter Tharok, however, it becomes baffling because you remain none the wiser as to where he fits in the main story arc. The more his POV comes up, it starts feeling like an unwanted interlude delaying progress into the main adventure. You can almost skip the Tharok POV altogether and likely not miss it. For most of this book, only the name of Tharok’s species—an Orc-werewolf-like creature—feels germane, tangentially mentioned. Towards the end, you do get an idea of where Tharok and the kragh might fit in the larger narrative but it doesn’t get much of a foothold in this book.

The odd and curious thing though is that if you read the Tharok POV on its own, it makes for a 4-5 star novella. It delivers on the rich, exotic, mysterious tale it initially signaled. Tharok's attempt to rise from defeat is compelling in itself. But as a POV in this particular book, it never quite feels organically linked, like runners on parallel tracks likely headed towards one finish line but running in separate races.

THE MAIN STORY. Phil Tucker knows how to make an entrance with an adrenaline-fueled opening salvo. The epic battle is a skillful introduction. The knights of the warrior class, the religious leader and the sorcerers of the faith, the opposing empire and its dark sorcerers, the Orc-like soldiers on the frontlines—the lines are drawn, all are on display like chess pieces on a board. And then there’s Asho—squire to a cruel knight who unexpectedly shows valor on the battlefield and rises to great heights.

The Ascendant Empire is a caste society, hierarchically structured, symbiotically linking religious fortune to social status. The blessed are born to noble or warrior classes with all the attending temporal benefits. The lower classes, through sacrifice, seek to be reborn higher up the class and race ladder. Eventual exit from the mortal plane is the ultimate objective of all.

In contrast to Enderl Kyferin’s Bythian squire Asho stands Kethe, Enderl’s daughter born into privilege but secretly desiring to be a knight. Kethe desperately seeks the approval of the father she deemed larger than life. Discovering that Enderl had sharp edges she was completely unaware of will cause her internal turmoil.

Following Enderl’s death, Kyferin Castle becomes vulnerable and a coup of a sort occurs, displacing Enderl’s widow, Iskra, and all those loyal to her. Asho and Kethe are unexpectedly thrown together in exile in an abandoned hold with a long-forgotten origin. In exploring their place of exile, Iskra and her retinue will be forced to revisit the history of their people, the foundation of their society and the genesis of their faith.

I won’t deny there is room for streamlining and trimming of the fat in this long tale but it possibly boils down to personal preference. What I may personally deem superfluous may be essential or particularly entertaining to others. Also, there are a few predictable turns but I admit they are no less engaging when they finally occur as signaled and satisfying besides.

THE SUPPORTING CAST. While Asho and Kethe may be deemed the anointed leads of this story, it is in the support cast where it truly shines and becomes compelling. The eyes of the ordinary, flawed, cowardly, broken, ill-equipped men and women surrounding Asho and Kethe are the best windows into every nook and cranny of this narrative. Audsley the timid and indulgent academic, Iskra the tortured wife thrust as heir to the kingdom, and Tiron the former knight turned long-suffering prisoner hovering between a haunting past and an unanticipated future.

THE ENDING: As Phil Tucker knew how to make an entrance, he likewise knows how to make an exit. He ends with a spectacular conflict and the promise of more and even greater ones.

THE PATH OF FLAMES is an ambitious endeavor, certainly epic in scale with a gigantic cast of characters. The story has so many moving parts requiring a deft hand to tame into cohesion. Phil Tucker is no amateur storyteller. Rather, he is fearless and aggressive in marshaling his characters, fashioning his world, and corralling his story. This is Fantasy with a capital “F” and Epic with a capital “E”.

READ IT—in all capital letters.
Profile Image for Kristen.
587 reviews111 followers
December 15, 2016
Loved it!

Asho and Kethe are great characters and easy to root for. They're both very much underdogs, overcoming their race/gender to prove their worth, and I really wanted both of them to just become badass and make everyone in their world feel bad for underestimating them (despite, you know, in Asho's case, it being a theological teaching that he is just not as good as everyone else ). The antagonist is super easy to hate (because he's a dick). So, there's an extra reason to root for the heroes, lol. The entire world and their idea of Ascension is really interesting and well thought out. The magic system was neat, in the end. I'm not sure where Tharok and the kragh fit in quite yet... but I'm sure to find out soon!

Overall, very difficult to put down.
Profile Image for Calvin Park.
183 reviews44 followers
October 26, 2018
If you’re looking for an epic fantasy with a fascinating and unique cosmology, The Path of Flames by Phil Tucker is the book for you. This is a novel with traditional set pieces (knights, castles, witches) set in a truly unique world. The first novel in a series, The Path of Flames sets the stage very well for what is certain to be a gripping story.

For me, the single greatest standout aspect of this book is the worldbuilding, specifically the cosmology. In this world, there are various planes of existence that are connected via solar gates. Each plane is named after the major city on that plane. Travel is possible through these gates, and the religious system is tied strongly into the belief that one “ascends” from the lower planes upward toward the highest planes and eventually through the White Gate. Conversely, the Black Gate waits below the lowest plane to claim the souls of those deemed particularly unworthy; presumably this gate opens into the equivalent of hell. This is so unique. While some of the planes touch upon one another and can be traveled to without gates, most require moving through a gate. I really enjoyed this unique way of organizing the cosmology of the world. Tucker has come up with something quite unique, and the belief in reincarnation and the way that it plays into the relationships between people from different planes is really fascinating. The novel is worth reading just for this worldbuilding, but there are also characters that are well fleshed out. I particularly enjoyed Kethe’s growth, though several of the other viewpoint characters have worthy—if unfinished—arcs in this first book.

Not everything worked for me, unfortunately. There were some typos throughout the manuscript that could probably be eliminated with another proof read. These weren’t egregious, but there were enough that I felt it worth mentioning. More importantly, two characters receive a power up near the end of the novel. One of them I felt was foreshadowed and explained well. The other character’s power up sort of came out of left field for me. I still don’t understand the “why” behind that character’s power up. While I’m sure more will be explained in subsequent books, it was a bit jarring in this book. There is also a little bit of sudden, unexpected attraction between two characters near the end of the novel that is similarly not well foreshadowed or explained. I think this can be summed up by saying that I felt the character development felt a little jarring, especially in the final third of the book.

The Path of Flames isn’t a perfect novel, but it is a lot of fun. If you’re looking for epic fantasy where empires hang in the balance, this series is for you. Flames makes some great promises and sets the board well. I look forward to getting the second book in the series to the top of my TBR. 4/5 stars.

5 – I loved this, couldn’t put it down, move it to the top of your TBR pile
4 – I really enjoyed this, add it to the TBR pile
3 – I liked it, depending on your preferences it may be worth your time
2 – I didn’t like this book, it has significant flaws and I can’t recommend it
1 – I loathe this book with a most loathsome loathing
Profile Image for Fares.
246 reviews313 followers
January 7, 2020
3.25 stars

I liked the characters and their development but the magic system was underwhelming, and so was the plot tbh even tho I'm being a bit harsh cuz I kept being interested till the end. To put it plainly there's nothing to set this book apart from any of other fantasy you might pick.

I keep looking and reading fantasy books without knowing anything about them, I do this because I want to be surprised, shocked and dumbfounded by the book in case it's that good. Granted that doesn't happen too often but there's just an indescribable feeling about finding a book by happenstance. Well, this was a semi one if that makes sense. It was a good book and I read it at the most perfect of times, in fact maybe the timing was too perfect and I actually would've loved to spend it on a 5 star book but oh well.

I just had my fair share of fantasy books and really want something original. I can't say that this fell into used tropes cuz it didn't but at the same time there are things that just make me shut my mind off. Thinks like soft magic systems, the word "Mage" and even dragons, I can't help it but they all make me think this has been written in the eighties or something. Not that it's a bad thing but not what I'm looking for and this falls into that same category.
Profile Image for Ryan Mueller.
Author 9 books80 followers
July 25, 2016
This is one of the best books I've read in a long time, and I'm not just referring to self-published books. I'm referring to all books. This one opened up with a great action scene. Then it proceeded to make me care deeply about the characters. There was only one POV that I didn't connect with completely, and that was Tharok, who is separate from the rest of the characters.

I loved reading in Audsley's POV. It's so much fun to see the scholar type of character getting involved in things so far outside his comfort zone. Tiron was also a great character. His internal conflict was depicted brilliantly.

Early on, it took me a bit to adjust to the author's writing style. He is fond of longer sentences than you see in most fantasy these days. But once I adjusted to it, it didn't bother me at all. Books like this show that you can find brilliant books that have been self-published.

Rating: 9.5/10
Profile Image for Marius.
65 reviews14 followers
July 28, 2017
Though it has a strong ending, the characters still haven’t managed to really impress me.
The writing is good, but not my favourite style.
The world however is the best part, very interesting, and because of this I will most likely continue the series.
All-in-all, a very good read.
Profile Image for Jenny Baker.
1,285 reviews194 followers
January 5, 2023
**Part of my 2023 reading challenge to catch up on my Audible backlog**

I enjoyed the audiobook narration and the writing is solid, but I wasn’t enthralled with the story. There’s nothing specific that I disliked about it. It’s me, all me. My reading tastes have changed over the past few years. I’ve had this book on my Goodreads shelf for five years, and at the time I was obsessed with fantasy. Now, not so much. To be fair, my reading experience is my fault, because I was listening to this while I was doing other things, so my attention was divided. I think that if I had loved the story more, I would have stopped what I was doing. Many people loved The Path of Flames, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.
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