"The Great Way is an epic fantasy trilogy about a supernatural invasion that destroys an empire.
This is an adventure fantasy written for adults, full of chases, cliffhangers, fight scenes, weird magic, and the threat of human extinction. At the same time, it's a story I would not hesitate to hand to my own pre-teen son." - Harry Conolly
The Great Way is sold as three books:
The Way Into Chaos
The Way Into Magic
The Way into Darkness
This is one story sold in three volumes. It is not a trilogy. There are no completed story arcs after volume one or volume two.
Main protagonists are Tyr Tejohn Treygar, an experienced warrior, and Cazia Freewell, a young magician. These two protagonists travel, trick and fight most of the time on different paths - the chapters usually alternate between these two and are told from their viewpoint.
Our magician as well takes other weapons if necessary. In whole chapters she and two other courageous very young female protagonists fight and defeat their enemies on their own.
The male warrior - even if he is (of course) a mighty fighter - knows other solutions than sword and force, often uses subterfuge and mental judo. I do like the strong, great characters, female and male. There are also women soldiers and male magicians. Also most minor characters - of both sexes - are credible and likable (even if they often are bitten by the monsters or die).
Original monsters. Original non-monster intelligent beings. Original magic. A bit to much portals for my taste, but originally used.
The destroyed empire has not been perfect, and in retrospective the protagonists realize that it was worse than they thought. But the following chaos is worse, much worse (even without the abysmal invading monsters).
Why don't I give five stars?
Magicians might do too much magic and "get empty" - and then they will do very evil things. That part what they do and how that effect works feels for me a bit unmotivated.
The story starts very spectacular, unluckily it can't keep the tension that good in the middle, it builds up some tension in volume 3 again but is unfortunately a bit weak in the end. Rhythm of the story:
1) Bang Bang Bang Bang ( * * * * * )
2) Well, we carry on ( * * * )
3) we carry on, Bang Bang, Hmm well ... ( * * * * )
Sadly, for my liking there are some story threads dangling a bit too open even after part three (e.g. that's with that underground servant organization? What's with the prince? Why are hollowed out wizards that evil? But Cazia isn't? (Depressed, "I don't give a hang" is not evil)).
The last part of the solution to "why did all of this happen" felt a bit too mystic for my taste (the "in the ways" scene). Both, originator of the catastrophe and even more the 'curios not intervening mighty bystanders' felt a bit flat.
Bechdel-Test: Gracefully won
I did like this book(s), my rating: four of five stars.
You can read five-and-a-half chapters on the authors page:
The Way into Chaos (Chapter 1) (ending with a real cliffhanger).
"In modern publishing, there is no force more powerful than word of mouth. If you liked this book, please tell your friends. Write a blog post, post a review somewhere, tweet about it, even mention it during a face-to-face conversation, if people still have those.Yeah, that's why I do this blog :-) And thank you for some hours fun and entertainment.
And I don't just mean my work; tell the world about all the things you enjoy. Make yourself heard. Readers who share their enthusiasm are more powerful than any Hollywood marketing campaign.
Thank you." -- Harry Connolly
I've bought all three volumes as epub (of course without DRM) at Smashwords, this and other buying options are linked on the authors page.