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Cephrael's Hand (A Pattern of Shadow & Light #1)

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  280 ratings  ·  84 reviews
"All things are composed of patterns..." And within the pattern of the realm of Alorin, three strands must cross: In Alorin three hundred years after the genocidal Adept Wars, the realm is dying, and the blessed Adept race dies with it. One man holds the secret to reverting this decline: Bjorn van Gelderan, a dangerous and enigmatic man whose shocking betrayal three centur ...more
Paperback, 654 pages
Published September 22nd 2010 by Outskirts Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,611)
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Raina {The LUV'NV}

Find the full review on The LUV'NV blog, here.

I am inspired and yet don't know where to start. Rarely do I come across a book that fills me with such zeal and I'm convinced the whole world needs to read it. I can count four. After reading Cephrael's Hand—no, after reading Cephrael's Hand and The Dagger of Adendigaeth , the first two books of A Pattern of Shadow & Light series, I can count six. Shocking, since I'm rather picky about Epic Fantasy.

Melissa McPhail created a world unlike any oth
(Reviewer's Note: I received a paperback copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is an incredibly detailed tapestry of characters and events, laid out in a book of truly epic proportions. The various plots are like strands of elae, McPhail's name for the magical energy underlying the universe in her novel, and a totally unique concept in the fantasy genre.

Like a wielder of this energy, McPhail weaves these plots together to create a multi-faceted, yet unifi
Good world building and story telling, but I never really cared about the main characters. Too much detail about too many minor characters. Also too many modern American cliches--knocks the reader out of the classical mood of the story. Not to mention the many arched eye brows and bit lower lips.

map in ebook edition useless.
This book was good! No, it was better than good. As a matter of fact it was SUPERB! .... I cannot wait to start reading book 2 .... I am positive it will certainly not disappoint me.
Rosemarie Herbert
This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon . Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me, which appear on a timely schedule.

I was upset that I was reading a ebook copy, as although I dutifully read the table at the beginning that detailed all of the characters and the various terms, I couldn't keep them all straight in my head when I started reading. Had this been a hard copy, I could have easily flicked back and forth. Nevertheless, the novel was very enjoyable - alt
Lukas Ott
Favorite book I've read. Hands down-no questions asked. The story is intricately woven and yet never boring, it is exciting and fast-paced and keeps you glued to the pages as. This book is written for anyone who loves a good read but if you find that you enjoy a carefully, intelligently written story this is a book for you!:)
This was a great fantasy book! Can't wait for the next book to come out!
Wow. That's all I can say.
Posted originally at: Once Upon A Book

Note: I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Hello all, and welcome to my review of Cephrael’s Hand by Melissa McPhail. This has to be a close first for me, as this book has most certainly earned 5 stars. Absolutely, without question it has to be one of the best fantasy books I have read.

McPhail’s work can be likened to the classic works of Tolkien, or Jordan an epic universe with fantastic detail and obvious thought
Katie Doyle
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 r
Brandon Lindsay
I read quite a bit and normally I read several books at once. When I started reading Cephrael's Hand, however, I had to put everything else aside until I found out how it all wrapped up.

Cephrael's Hand is a big book that takes place in big world, but it isn't overwhelming like certain other fantasy doorstoppers. Each character is likable and interesting, and each plot thread is connected to all the others--and thus actually matters. There are no wasted words or filler scenes. Even though it is a
Melissa Haggerty
I enjoy reading so many kinds of books. Epic Fantasies usually only make up a small part of my reading. I don't venture into that genre often. Still I was very interested to read Cephrael's Hand when I was asked. I like to branch out, and the synopsis of this book is intriguing. I was not disappointed at all.

Melissa McPhail has a gorgeous writing style that flows easily. She easily told this story from many points of view without it becoming confusing to the reader. She did an amazing job of tyi
S.M. Blooding
There were a lot of really GREAT things going on in this book! Seriously!

The setting, for me who absolutely LOVES setting, was spectacular!! I literally felt as though I’d been transported to this other world. There’s just so much political intrigue was in depth and fascinating. I love, love, loooooved the fact that it wasn’t written for easy reading. You really had to pay attention to what was going on in order to keep up with the happenings! There was so much lovely, lovely potential in this b
Linda Fast
I received Cephrael's Hand for free through Goodreads First Reads and when the book arrived I was overwhelmed by the size of it. As I started to read, I thought to myself how am I ever going to get through this. I went back to the beginning of the book and reread the glossery of terms and the list of explanation of the people and where they fit in. I then continued to read and I still had my doubts and then the book seem to take a magical hold on my mind and I had to force myself to stop reading ...more
Charline Ratcliff
I always enjoy reading a good fantasy and even though my “free” time is limited and this book is a whopping six hundred and thirty-four pages I decided to read it. Just to let you know, “Cephrael’s Hand” is the first in the “A Pattern of Shadow & Light” series. In other words don’t expect this book and its tale to finish together and don’t expect to read it in one sitting…

So, there are three major parts interwoven throughout “Cephrael’s Hand.” First is the realm of Alorin. Alorin, and its Ad
Teressa Morris
Cephrael's Hand is an epic fantasy of the highest order. I can't even imagine how long it took for Melissa McPhail to invent a language, a world and multiple races of people. She does it all masterfully, with description so vivid I could imagine myself in the opulent tents of the sun-drenched desert, or having high tea with the royal women at Calgaryn Palace.

The story lines of the three main characters interweave seamlessly as the story turns from kidnapping to dark magic to amnesia, betrayal an
"May we meet again in the Returning"

This is one of the best books I've read in a while and I can't wait for the sequel! The characters are engaging and you find yourself rooting for them. The author does a fantastic job of character development as well. Her descriptions are vibrant and thankfully she doesn't take 5 pages to describe a tree or a flowing river (SO ANNOYING). This book kept me up at night, and that's a good thing. I'm anxious to find out what awaits Trell, Ean, and Tanis. Read this
Donna Parker
When I won this from The Goodreads First Read program and saw the size of it I admit, I was daunted. Then I started reading and was taken away to a fantastical land full of many interesting characters, places, and events. The journey is sweeping and not dumbed down, but don't let that intimidate you, it is worth learning all the names, places, etc. This does what great epic tomes do, take you away and make you like it. I can't wait for book two, I'm ready to go back.
C.p. Bialois
Cephrael’s Hand is one of those fantasy novels you feel lucky to find. The world is rich and filled with life, making me feel like I was walking along side the characters during their journey’s and the food caused my stomach to grumble on more than one occasion.

Being a large epic, the cast of characters is huge and diverse with a veritable scoundrel as the royal cousin, a pair of brothers both different and the same, and creatures each serving a side but not truly evil. At first it’s hard to ge
Cristi Marashi
Cephrael's Hand is the first novel in McPhail's A Pattern and Shadow of Light series and this story starts the series off with a bang. This is a huge novel (I'm talking more than 600 pages) filled with a wide cast of characters in different realms of existence. At the beginning of the book there is a map and a huge dictionary full of new words and blurbs about many characters you will need to know to follow along in the book. Cephrael's Hand is a dream novel for Fantasy fans, it's a long, well ...more
My husband gave this book a glowing review. He loved it, and he normally just says 'OK', even for Patrick Rothfuss, Peter V Brett and George RR Martin (who are ALL better than 'OK'). I loved the 'epic-ness' of this book. Even after finishing the first book (700 pages), we are still at the beginning of this journey.

There is a lot of attempted misdirection about who is the 'big' bad guy. I know this was an attempt to show both sides of a conflict and more of a real view of conflict, where no side
I am reviewing the free copy of Cephrael's Hand I was provided as part of the Novel Publicity Blog Tour in which I am taking part.

The copy I was given starts with a multiple page glossary explaining the world of Cephrael's Hand and its inhabitants. The fantasy geek within me started clapping her hands with glee at this; such a glossary usually means extensive and detailed world building, such as that of the Wheel of Time of A Song of Ice and Fire, and Cephrael's Hand didn't disappoint.

What I li
Masquerade Crew



Cephrael's Hand is the name of a constellation. Some people worry about it when it appears. Prince Ean almost gets killed when he gets back to his father's land. His brothers died under these stars. A Shade, and later a Zanthyr, save Ean. While in another country a man known as Trell of the Tides sets off on a journey to discover the past he's forgotten.

As the glossary explains, a Zanthyr is "an elusive adept of the fifth strand of elae", and a Shade is "a formida
Emlyn Chand
Cephrael's Hand is a fantastical journey in which the familiar story of good versus evil is so refreshing convuluted that you may have trouble figuring out who's who. From tales of lost pasts and political intrigue to piracy and magical discovery, Melissa McPhail weaves strands of character journeys into a rich tapestry of wonder.

Trell--a man of noble heart with a missing memory--ventures to rediscover his origins. Prince Ean survives a gruesome assault and must uncover the shadowy plot to destr
Fantasy reads are an interesting genre to review: so many elements are integral to a fantasy that “works” versus one that is just good. Tolkien and Martin both are masters of the genre, creating worlds that are different yet similar, with language and characters who share motivations with humans: love, greed, anger, self-preservation. What separates those masters from this author is their attention to detail throughout the entire work. After a rather slow and muddled start, Melissa McPhail found ...more
Anna Tan
When I first started reading this, I was reminded strongly of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, minus the annoying women and plus faster pacing overall, which was a win for me.

Trell of the Tides embarks on a journey to discover his heritage.
Prince Ean val Lorian is being hunted by persons unknown.
The Adept race is dying, and Cephrael's Hand, an unlucky configuration of stars, hangs in the sky for all to see.

McPhail weaves these stories through the tome leaving you wondering: Who is good?
Oh where to start with this review... When approached to review for this tour I was a bit apprehensive. 654 pages is definitely an epic size! But, after a few arm twists, I was convinced that it was worth my time. And boy was it! The first few chapters were a little rough, as to be expected in the first book from any author. After the author worked through her intense descriptions, the book took off like a rocket. I really enjoyed the flashbacks, although they were a bit hard to distinguish at t ...more
Steven Burke
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
Wow, not since reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy has a series captured my attention and imagination so absolutely! For fans of epic fantasy, this is a must read.
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Melissa McPhail is a classically trained pianist, violinist and composer, a Vinyasa yoga instructor, an avid Fantasy reader, and the author of the award-winning epic fantasy series A Pattern of Shadow & Light.

A long-time student of philosophy, she is passionate about the Fantasy genre because of its inherent philosophical explorations.

An Atlanta, Georgia native, Ms. McPhail now lives in the
More about Melissa McPhail...
The Dagger of Adendigaeth Paths of Alir

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“Fear was the worst evil ever to plague a man, for with it came hesitation and with that, inaction, failure, death.” 6 likes
“In every waking moment, it is our next choice that makes us who we are.” 4 likes
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