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4.4 out of 5 stars
Cephrael's Hand: A Pattern of Shadow & Light Book One
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified 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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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
For those fantasy fans out there, read this book. Gripping, gripping, gripping. The book kept moving without seeming redundant and is laced with humor and wit. I highly recommend it.

Wheel of Time fans, this is a MUST.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2012
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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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I never write reviews but what an amazing read! The author has such a penchant for combining fantasy and explorations of morality. Her take on sacrifice and leadership was wholly original. The book is a philosophical argument substituting narrative for bland logic and perhaps real philosophers should take note of how to actually make a point. Even if you're not interested in the fresh philosophical perspectives, the book is an absolute page turner, the plot is never too slow, the characters delicious (even the annoying ones). Please get this book!
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Melissa McPhail weaves a story filled with magic, adventure, love, seduction, chaos and complexity right from the start. I was captivated from the first page and left wanting more at the last word.

It amazed me that she was able to seemingly easily weave each character's story to a beautiful intersection. Each revelation, each twist had me on the edge of my seat and wanting to read on to find out where it would ultimately lead the characters.

I am not-so-patiently awaiting the next installment in this series...
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I don't know how Melissa McPhail did it, but as I read, I saw the action as vividly as in a video! You don't have to be a fan of Fantasy, because I found enough human interest to CARE about the characters, LOL reparte', plot twists and damn-good mysteries, bloody-fierce battles, impassioned love, and back-room intrigue to be sucked into every chapter. If you refuse to give in to Destiny, you may just find incredible truth, as well. Wisdom has no genre and Melissa McPhail has much to share. In case you are wondering (as I was), "Cephrael's Hand" is the ominous constellation ruling at the time of the story, and on the cover. I couldn't put the book down; buy it. It will be one you keep, not resell.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Originally, I was going to do this review as an interview with one of the characters, but life got in the way and there is no way I have time to do so. Which leaves the basic type of review. It's just as fun though, especially when talking about this book!

First, a warning. It's long. It's about 654 pages long. BUT - and this is key - you don't know it. Here's a scenario:

You're sitting in your favorite spot, warm and cozy with your pajamas on and a book in your hand. You read. And you read. And read. And read. And you're so into the book, you turn the page wanting to know what happens next and...

The book is finished.

You didn't even realize you'd reached the end! That's how good this book is. You want to keep reading right away because "WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN NEXT????" Syndrome takes full effect.

Wanna know why this book is so good? I'll tell you.

The world is vast and colorful and full of vibrant people. It's far more than just background used to tell a story. The world, Alorin, is a key part of the story. Alorin is dying. The magic of the world, elea, is dying. And there's a reason why. (No, I'm not going to tell you! You have to read it yourself!)

The characters have everything you want them to have. They are diverse and flawed and you feel as if you could reach out and touch them. Their trials and tribulations will make you laugh, cry, and jump up and down in victory right along with them.

If you do one thing this winter, I suggest you read Cephreal's Hand.

I give it four stars!

*Cross Posted from my blog, Writing, Reading, and Life.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Well-written, well-paced medieval fantasy novel that was a great read! Ms. McPhail writes intelligently of her multiple characters (the story is told from multiple POV's), and has interwoven their storylines together wonderfully, with the perfect moments of action, humor and sobriety. Loved this book, and absolutely cannot wait for the next (and the next...)!
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
What a story! I thoroughly enjoyed this novel by Melissa McPhail, it had everything you would want or expect from an epic fantasy novel. Be warned though, it's long- massive in fact (which of course you don't notice when you're getting it on kindle). So make sure you're ready to commit to the long haul if you're planning to get this book.

I was given a copy of Cephrael's hand as a member of a review site and I'm glad I did!

There are a huge variety of characters and I felt connected to all of them. I also have to congratulate Melissa on her ability to weave mystery into a fantasy novel. I'm still not quite sure which characters to trust and am looking forward to book two.

The editing was thorough and the book well written so big ticks on all fronts for Cephrael's Hand.

I'll admit it took me a little while to really get into this book and I probably feel more connected with the darker characters than the main heroes (although perhaps that says more about me than the book!). The book maybe could have been split into two smaller novels, but that's just my own personal preference.

If you're looking for a book to really sink your teeth into, Cephrael's Hand is just what you need.
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