Blog Tour & Giveaway: Cephrael’s Hand by Melissa McPhail

I read Cephrael’s Hand last year and really loved it. It’s a pretty long novel and may not appeal to everyone but it was one of the best I read that year and one of my all-time favorite fantasies. Every time I receive an email about blog tours for Melissa’s books, I’m always up for it because <3! :)

Now I was going to post a review of book two, The Dagger of Adendigaeth, today, but, alas, I won’t be able to since I decided to re-read Cephrael’s Hand first to refresh my memory. Hopefully I’ll have my review of book two up before the end of the tour. I bought the Kindle version of the book when it became available, but I fell in a seriouzly serious reading and blogging rut sometime after that so it’s been sitting in my iPad for AGES. This blog tour is just the perfect time for me to get back to this series, especially with book three coming out in October (OMG can’t wait!).

So – after all that babble – today I’ll be revisiting Cephrael’s Hand! Read on for my thoughts on the book and check out all the seriouzly cool stuff happening in this blog tour! There are prizes! The prizes are only two $50 Amazon gift cards and an autographed copy of Cephrael’s Hand after all. No biggie.

Top 3 things I enjoyed about Cephrael’s Hand by Melissa McPhail

First, let me try to give you an idea of the story. It’s not easy with a book like this, but lemme see if I can do it, yeah?

In the land of Alorin, the magical race is dying, or so it seems. Those with the gift are being born but are not being awakened, you know, they know zilch about their awesome powers. One person knows why this is happening – the Fifth Vestal, a very powerful and badass man known to be a traitor to the race – and he’s working a dangerous game though no one really knows the real deal. All they know is he’s supposedly a bad dude out to do some bad things.

Integral to the story are two brothers, princes, who are destined for things that are greater than they ever imagined. One brother, thought to be dead, is a big military hero on a journey to regain his lost memory and find out who he really is. Also, the goddess of water favors him a lot, which is cool because he keeps falling in rivers and such. The younger brother, home after years of being away from the kingdom, finds himself the target of assassination plots because he’s heir to the throne and he draws a funny personal logo – that last one is important because patterns are a big deal (see #3 below). The two brothers are on two different paths and meet several characters and creatures along the way, including Shades (creepy shadowy evil-like things), Wildlings, sundragons, zanthyrs, shapeshifters and more. Other things also happen in parallel and everything is interconnected.

Kingdoms, magic, mystery.. exciting stuff.
Dying races, warring kingdoms, magic everywhere, things shrouded in mystery.. exciting stuff.

#1 – Okay, that’s not really much of a summary, but there are so many stories in this book. That happens to be one of the things I really liked about it – the way the story is being presented to the reader. Each chapter is a different story about different characters, and every time you finish a chapter you start to see where or how they figure in the big picture. It’s like following trickles of water to get to a big rushing river. Of course, you won’t get to the river just yet in this book, but this way of storytelling kept things interesting for me.

#2 – The second thing I enjoyed about this book were the characters. There are really so many, but I was okay with it. It wasn’t always clear who’s “good” and who’s “bad” and I like how they all have a part to play. I mean, it’s like Lord of the Rings or A Song of Ice and Fire, so so so many characters everywhere. It can be overwhelming, but I kinda like it.

Say hello to some of the characters!
Say hello to some of the characters!

#3 – The third thing I enjoyed about the book was the magic system. I like it when there’s an explanation and a sense of logic to how the gifted work their magic. In Cephrael’s Hand, each single thing is made up of a specific pattern and this pattern produces energy, called elae. Essentially everything is made up of elae. You, me, your cat – all made of elae. The magically gifted or the Adept is born with the ability to manipulate one of five categories or strands of elae. For example, a first strand Adept can see and manipulate life patterns, therefore, they become healers since they can “fix” someone’s pattern when they’re injured. A second strand Adept can see the points where patterns conjoin and can use these points to travel from place to place. Shapeshifters are a higher strand – I forget now which strand but it’s all riveting stuff.

Blog Tour Shiznit!! a.k.a. Prizes Galore!!!

cephraelshandAbout the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards or an autographed copy of Cephrael’s Hand! Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win the first gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found HERE. The other two prizes will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Cephrael’s Hand tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!


About the book

Winner of Best SF/F – Written Arts Awards, ForeWord Book of the Year Finalist

“All things are formed 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 centuries past earned him a traitor’s brand. It is the Adept Vestal Raine D’Lacourte’s mission to learn what Bjorn knows in the hope of salvaging his race. But first he’ll have to find him…

In the kingdom of Dannym…the young Prince Ean val Lorian faces a tenuous future as the last living heir to the coveted Eagle Throne. When his blood-brother is slain during a failed assassination, Ean embarks on a desperate hunt for the man responsible. Yet his advisors have their own agendas, and his quest for vengeance leads him ever deeper into a sinuous plot masterminded by a mysterious and powerful man, the one they call First Lord…

In the Nadori desert…tormented by the missing pieces of his life, a soldier named Trell heads off to uncover the truth of his shadowed past. But when disaster places him in the debt of Wildlings sworn to the First Lord, Trell begins to suspect a deadlier, darker secret motivating them.

The strands of all three men are intricately connected, spun through the vast pattern constructed by the First Lord in a deadly game three centuries in the making, a game where there are pieces and there are players. Pieces don’t know a game exists, and only players have a chance of surviving it. Each man must face his own fears and claim a role in the First Lord’s game, but even if they do, they aren’t the only players, and all of Alorin is the prize.

Get Cephrael’s Hand on Amazon, TBD, or Barnes and Noble.

cephraelshand Melissa McPhail

About the author

Melissa McPhail is a classically trained pianist, violinist and composer, a Vinyasa yoga instructor, and an avid Fantasy reader. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, their twin daughters and two very large cats.

Connect with Melissa on her website, Facebook, Twitter,or GoodReads.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other books in A Pattern of Shadow and Light

Melissa-McPhail-The-Dagger-of-Adendigaeth-h-197x300Book 2 The Dagger of Adendigaeth

ForeWord Book of the Year Bronze Winner for Fantasy

The zanthyr leveled Ean an ominous stare. “Players make their moves at will, reassured only by their own resolve, facing dire consequences, protected by no one, and shielded by nothing but the force of their conviction.”

Ean held the zanthyr’s gaze. “How can I be a player if I don’t know the game being played?”

“How can you be a pawn,” Phaedor challenged in return, “when you know a game exists?”

The Game

At long last, the reason for the blessed Adept race’s decline has been discovered: powerful beings known as Malorin’athgul are unworking the realm from within, disrupting the Balance and preventing Alorin’s Adepts from awakening to their gifts. Who are they? Where are they? And how can they be stopped when they wield a power meant to unwork the cosmos itself?

The Players

Prince Ean val Lorian has forsaken his companions in blood and battle to join the traitorous Fifth Vestal in T’khendar in the hopes of gaining some understanding, some insight, into the tragedies that plagued his return. Now he must confront the man he thought was his enemy and discover the role he is meant to play in the First Lord’s darkly magnificent game.

The Vestal Raine D’Lacourte has followed his traitorous oath-brother Björn through six kingdoms and into the distant realm of T’khendar seeking explanation and atonement. But the condemned realm harbors shocking secrets, and Raine soon realizes he’s facing his greatest enemy yet—not in Björn, but in the truth.

The soldier Trell struggles to reconcile his growing feelings for the girl he rescued from the river with the guilt of his unknown past. The young truthreader, Tanis, faces a new villain in the fiery-eyed man he followed from the café in Rethynnea, and in Tambarré, another truthreader named Kjieran van Stone treads the incense-filled hallways of the Prophet Bethamin’s temple in a race against time, hoping to uncover a plot of treachery and betrayal before the Prophet’s lust claims his soul.

From the Wyndlass desert of T’khendar to the icebound mountains of Doane, Raine, Ean, Trell, Tanis and Kjieran must each continue on their chosen paths, becoming Players in the First Lord’s century-spanning game. Each will learn the role they are meant to play, all will be tested, but only time will tell how many of them can survive the dagger of Adendigaeth.

Get The Dagger of Adendigaeth on Amazon, TBD, or Barnes and Noble.

Melissa-McPhail-Paths-of-Alir-i-190x300Book 3 Paths of Alir (coming October 2014)

In books 1 and 2 of A Pattern of Shadow & Light, we are introduced to the realm of Alorin and a magical Adept race facing extinction. The race’s tragic decline is the result of Malorin’athgul, powerful beings from the fringes of Chaos, whose presence in Alorin has caused a shift in the cosmic Balance. Fate bends to their will, and their goal is Alorin’s destruction. Alone in understanding the threat, Alorin’s Fifth Vestal, Björn val Gelderan, has launched a desperate plan to stop them: a “great game” played upon the tapestry of mortal life.

Now, in Paths of Alir, A Pattern of Shadow & Light Book 3, Björn’s Players have taken the field:

Along the lush Caladrian coast…the truthreader Tanis d’Giverny returns to the place of his birth and finds mysterious and wonderful workings waiting for him. But the zanthyr Phaedor warns Tanis that ominous events lie ahead, and even his mother’s magical lessons might not be enough to keep the lad alive.

In the dungeons of Tal’Shira…held prisoner by theAdept Inquisitor Taliah hal’Jaitar, Prince Trell val Lorian is facing a life of vicious enslavement. Only two paths lie open before him: one means an eternity of torture fighting Taliah’s attempts to break him; the other requires surrendering to her will. But can he really sacrifice everything he is and walk Taliah’s path of twisted magic known as mor’alir?

In the snow-bound Castle of Tyr’kharta…Prince Ean val Lorian must choose to save his brother Sebastian or his loyal men. But to choose his men means leaving Sebastian to an eternity of enslavement; while rescuing Sebastian means abandoning his friends to a torturous end, and his honor along with them. Either decision will test Ean’s newfound skills with elae as well as his conviction, for as the prince soon learns: once a man becomes a Player in the First Lord’s game, not even death can give reprieve.

6 thoughts on “Blog Tour & Giveaway: Cephrael’s Hand by Melissa McPhail”

  1. Leah, thank you so much for your wonderfully detailed examination of Cephrael’s Hand. I almost feel like I should read it again myself. ;)

    I’m thrilled that you love the story! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on book two.

  2. Thanks so much for being part of the tour! I’m sure Melissa will forgive you for review Cephrael’s Hand and re-reading first :P

    Your review is AWESOME by the way – I love the extra time you took creating the graphics & explaining the story in your own words. It’s so fun to read reviews like yours!

    (just a reminder as part of my tour duties – if you haven’t cross posted to Amazon/Goodreads, please do so – a) you get entered for an extra prize at the end of the tour and b) Melissa will really appreciate it!

  3. I’ve not read much of the fantasy genre, but I think I’ll have to check this one out. It sounds great.

    Thank you so much for the post and giveaway! Fingers crossed. :-)


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.