The Three Worlds Cycle

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Sci-fi/fantasy series (2 quartets, 1 trilogy and one series to come) by Australian author Ian Irvine dealing with the "Three Worlds" Santhenar(setting of most the series), Aachan and Tallallame and the four humanoid plus one races living there. Quite gritty and realistic; characters range from flawed to plainly insane. The series is also noted for its seemingly random mix of magic and science, and also large span of events.

Tropes used in The Three Worlds Cycle include:
  • A God Am I
  • Action Survivor: With the possible exception of supporting characters like Mendark or Xervish Flydd, most of the characters in the series are scribes or engineers, who tend to Indy Ploy their way through most situations.
  • And Man Grew Proud: Over and over again.
  • Anyone Can Die: Ian Irvine appears to take sadistic glee from killing off main characters.
  • Anti-Hero: Oh so many...
  • Black and Gray Morality: Even the most upright characters tend to be morally ambiguous anti-heroes.
  • Character Development: Characters do improve over the course of their series. Nish, particularly, goes from being a slimy little git to something of a Badass.
  • Cooking Duel: A story-telling duel with the Big Bad. Then again, this the only thing Llian does well...
  • Cool Old Guy: Xervish Flydd. Scrutator, Mage, Manipulative Bastard, and pushing 60.
  • Dark Action Girl
  • Deadly Artifact: The Amplimet
  • Death Seeker
  • Downer Ending: The first series had this mildly, the second was horribly depressing. The third series is somewhat nicer but still horribly grim.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Oh look! It's Tuesday. Time for Armageddon.
  • Fatal Flaw: Aachim and Faellem pride. It is noted by many characters that even the most unbiased and open Aachim Malien is not free of overwhelming arrogance.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Blendings have the blood of two races, triunes have 3 and quartines ortetrarchs have 4. Liable to be riddled with mental and physical problems.
  • Knight Templar
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Maigraith becomes obsessed with creating a new "race" by mating her (hybrid) child with Karan's as a monument to her dead lover
  • Mad Scientist: Well, Mad Mathematician but its close enough.
  • The Napoleon: Cryl-Nish, especially painful as his nickname means pipsqueak.
  • Not Quite Dead: Jal-Nish
  • Our Elves Are Better: They're called "Aachim" here, but boy are they pricks.
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: All the other races, although Yggur(old human) gets this as well.
  • Schizo-Tech: Everywhere in the second series. Mainly because having been at war for more than a hundred years, all scientific efforts are focused on making better weapons and nothing else.
  • Squick: Ian Irvine seems to take sadistic glee in being sadistic towards his characters. Look at everything he does to Flydd. And Jal-Nish. And Karan. And... well, you get it. Sadist.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In the time between The View from the Mirror and Song of the Tears, Maigraith apparently decided to stop faffing about and put her considerable mind and talent to sinister use. Not good news.
  • Wangst: Minis, Tiaan and Nish especially. Nish improves a fair bit over the course of the series though.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Old humans, who are also the weakest race with the least magical talent (most of the time).
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Used liberally in the second series. It turns out that the lyrinx are actually old humans.