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Cephrael's Hand: A Pattern of Shadow & Light Book One Paperback – September 22, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 230 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A well thought-out story with many layers...the characters are all interconnected...and the underlying mysteries that tie everything together are well hidden and thoroughly disguised. --Reviewed by Marty Shaw for Reader Views (11/10)

A fantasic read...well written and descriptive... Melissa McPhail is an extremely talented writer. --Reviewed by Charline Ratcliff for RebeccasReads (12/10)

This is a richly imagined piece of work...the characters are engaging, and McPhail manages to do some very original things, which is often difficult in fantasy, given that so much work in the genre relies on Tolkienian stereotypes....some strong work here.  --Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards

From the Author

This 2014 edition of the award-winning Cephrael's Hand has an updated map, glossary, cast of characters and the new cover from the rebranded series. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 654 pages
  • Publisher: Outskirts Press (September 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1432759671
  • ISBN-13: 978-1432759674
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #971,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have my favorite writers -- but I think I just found my next new (Sorry J.C. -- there's a new girl in town!) I found myself so vested in the characters and the story, I shunned spouse and children, snuggled up under a fluffy blanket in front of the fire without benefit of the depressing Washington rain -- just to finish the book! Every chapter just keeps you wanting to read on to find out what happens next. This story is so well done. Pleasantly, nothing is as you expected...except for the good vs. evil part. Or is it? Hm...well you'll just have to read to find out. If I have to wait for years for the next book in this series, things could get ugly for all parties involved.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book brings a few fresh ideas to the table and paces itself well, but it always manages to aggravate. Whether it's the over-reliance on the glossary to decipher the first quarter of the book, the mediocre editing that let grammatical errors slip through, the ridiculous (and inconsistent) written French accents, the comically awful attempts at French ("Nous établir les garcon"), or the dependence of all her story arcs on the limitless power of their own Deus Ex Machinas, there's just too much to simply overlook.

The raw material is there, but the polish is not. I cannot help but feel that with a critical editor, the book could have quite easily been good.
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Format: Paperback
Fans of Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson will love this new series by Melissa McPhail. Her first novel was ambitious, well written, loaded with intrigue, rich characters, and intertwining plots. The story is compelled by strong characters who motives are not immediately clear. I can say the the end of the first book was nothing that I could predicted. A sign of a truly epic, great story is not being able to predict the overall direction.

Now that I have finished I left wondering when the next book will be coming out. I know that as an author myself that there is no higher compliment I can give. I could find no reason to give this less than the five stars it rightly deserves. If you are looking for the next great fantasy series, here it is!
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Format: Kindle Edition
I usually like to start my review with a short summation of what the novel I am reviewing is about. However, Cephrael's Hand had so much going on in it, that even after finishing it, I find it difficult to sum the book up in a few sentences to give potential readers a good synopsis of the story. I will tell you that this novel takes us on a journey through many different lands in this world where we meet many different creatures from sundragons to shadows to pirates and even]]]] shapeshifters. We follow the journey of a prince and a man who cannot remember his own history.

This was a complex novel full of detail and description. Quite a longish book it sometimes seemed like it was two books contained in one, yet the two were definitely intertwined. Both mystery and adventure, there is no lack of action and intrigue in this novel. Someone is trying to kill the prince, but who, and why?

I found parts of the book to be very engaging, holding my interest very nicely and making me want to keep reading, yet there were also sections where the story seemed to lag somewhat and lost my attention. There were a lot of characters to keep track of as well. The author did a fair job of developing the characters of the main ones so that I could keep track of them.

It was very obvious that a great deal of time and thought was put into the writing of this novel. The influence of other great fantasy writers shine through. I gave Cephrael's Hand 3 stars out of 5.

Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.

This review was published on my blog Shelf Full of Books http://kathrynsshelffullofbooks.blogspot.com/2014/08/cephraels-hand-blog-tour-and-giveaway.html
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First things first: I intend to keep this review spoiler-free.

I originally bought "Cephrael's Hand" for my Kindle because it was advertised as "for fans of Brandon Sanderson", and I looooove Brandon Sanderson. I was somewhat disappointed. This book is comparable in length to one of Brandon's "Mistborn" books, that is, close to 600 pages. However, by the time I finished reading, I didn't really feel that the length was justified, because the plot seemed to drag at times. The story starts explosively enough and has a thrilling climax, but in the middle is a slow buildup of tension--too slow for my tastes.

That said, there are a lot of plot threads woven together into the story. This book is filled with mysteries, some of which are explained by the end, and some of which are not. I enjoyed getting just enough hints about upcoming plot twists to figure them out for myself before they were officially revealed. I also enjoyed how many of the characters who had been leading separate lives through most of the book converged on one location for the climax (that is one of my favorite plot devices).

One thing that put me off a little was the *very* large cast of characters. I wish I had known about the character index in the back before I'd finished the book, because I would have referred to it frequently.

Speaking of the large cast of characters, I have a few favorites: Ean, Trell, and Phaedor. Ean because he accepted that character who reappeared in his life unexpectedly (and whose name I won't mention because SPOILERS), despite how he'd changed. Trell because he always does the honorable thing, regardless of the consequences. Phaedor because he's apparently a good guy, but totally mysterious about it.
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