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Cephrael's Hand

A Pattern of Shadow and Light, Book 1
Narrated by: Nick Podehl
Length: 32 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (302 ratings)

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Summary

"All things are composed of patterns...." And within the pattern of the realm of Alorin, three strands must cross.

In Alorin...300 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.

©2010 Melissa McPhail (P)2016 Podium Publishing

What listeners say about Cephrael's Hand

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Massive!

At first was so much information and characters to take in and keep track of... But The narrative of Nick and the story are just Mind blowing. I dont know how many days I have been at work looking like a zombie all because i couldnt bring myself to pause :D

8 people found this helpful

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  • El
  • 18-02-20

I just hated it

"i don't understand why!" she said in an echoic of a purr akin to a growl with a raised brow! Believe me when I say this will not be the first time you hear this said, perhaps with an even bigger eyebrow manoeuvre. I was told this book was amazing and I was so disappointed with the repeated kidnap of the main weak female, who just fell in love with every "strong" male lead, the homophobic rapey gay characters, the evil obviously POC characters, the ridiculous stereotype jack sparrow character that it really hurt to hear it making accords with everyone. And then the even more obvious plot points and reveals that were presented as surprises when they were more obvious than the eyebrows on the faces of every character. I feel lesser for having listened to this grossly tropey tripe. I feel angry that I finished it. But most unforgivable of all was the use of the same adjectives and ways of speaking in every chapter. It's like Ms Mcphail wrote a chapter then didn't proofread/edit/check it and wrote the next one and thought "gosh this sounds good I should use it!" not realising she used it in the last chapter....and the one before that....and the one before that until it gets used inevitably in the next one. I know more about the characters eyebrows than I do about their motives, but hey just let them get kidnapped and have evil bad guy exposition rants. That'll progress the story instead of, you know, actual story writing. I spent longer editing this review than clearly this book did and I didn't get kidnapped once! Go me! Let let me save you from this terrible book and say don't read/listen to it. The only thing that got me through it was Nick Podehl. I hated it.

6 people found this helpful

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Worth it

What did you like most about Cephrael's Hand?

It was a decent story with more or less alright writing. The narration was great.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Cephrael's Hand?

Most probably the ones with the pirate. That's all you're getting, no spoilers.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

There were quite a few, yet, some of the fight scenes were pretty neat.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Movie 1 of 10 in an epic saga of family, friendship and clumsy attempts at love.

Any additional comments?

Be warned... For all it's good points, the writing is lacking in a few key aspects. Among other faults is the authors habit of repeating words. There is a limit to how many times in one sentence I want to hear the phrase "tawny eyes". That limit is once. Once per sentence.
Other than that, it's good.

15 people found this helpful

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Alright, but not enthralling.

It was good to keep me entertained purely through having such a long story line, but I wasn't all that impressed. Just rather underwhelming.

2 people found this helpful

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Mixed feelings

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Only after warning them that it had weaknesses, however it's not a bad story and is very well narrated.

Would you recommend Cephrael's Hand to your friends? Why or why not?

I was happy listening to it as I was doing so in the garden or doing jobs - if I'd sat to listen to it, I should have got very irritated by the writing style and given up.

Have you listened to any of Nick Podehl’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No, I don't think so but it was the performance that kept me listening.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No, not really - found bits of the parts with the pirate amusing though.

Any additional comments?

This book really needed a severe editing. Lots of cliches and over-use of adjectives/adverbs, sometimes oddly - weird use of the word 'subtlety' and lots of repetition. An over fondness of elaborate description and names, both of which are pretty unoriginal holds up the narrative. The basic story is quite good but the writing is a bit ponderous. Hence I shan't follow up with the next volume as I don't care enough about the characters to persist with the heavy narration style.

8 people found this helpful

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decent screenplay for TV but a poor book

The problem with this book is that it has the very thinnest of overarching plots and is composed of a series of mini-adventures which do not add to or advance the plot in any meaningful way. It feels like it was written as the screenplay of a tv series and is very much the worse for it. I cannot fault the narration but the dialogue is often mangled by the flowery use of language which again adds nothing. Serious readers of fantasy fiction will tire of this as realisation dawns.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Both fun and yet not!!!

I found listening to this book both rewarding and frustrating at the same time. On one hand, you have an interesting world with basically relatable (if a little overly zealous, pious and unrealistic) male characters, a nice interweaving of plot lines and a fun if a little formulaic narration style. On the other, you have lazy creativity, particularly around names, languages etc which use French and Arabic words amongst others rather than creating unique races and traits. However, I could easily have glossed over these details and just given a positive all round review if it weren’t for the clumsy, adolescent handling of the female characters and anything resembling romance or lustful behaviours. It seems to me that the writer has very limited experience of both romantic encounters with women or strong female influences in his life. As such, the female characters are weak and formulaic - being either simpering idiots, obsessed with the approval and heroic masculinity of the male characters or bitter shrews with a lovely, sweet girl hidden deep...... And the painful, vomit-worthy descriptions of love and lust could come straight from the mind of a frustrated 15 year old who has yet to experience them first hand. Finally, the narration whilst great for the male characters is read by a good reader with a nasal style of speech which makes the already whiny female characters sound unbearably whiny! It’s a real shame, I’m a huge reader and listener of this style of fiction and the bones of what is here has a lot of potential, I just wish his writing wasn’t so stereotyped. That said, it’s fun enough that I’ll certainly continue listening to the series and will just keep the sick bag close at hand.

1 person found this helpful

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Looking forward to more!

I've been looking for a new book series to listen to and this is has real potential. Fantastic start to this series and great narration.

1 person found this helpful

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Enduring

Nearly gave up on this book as I found it very slow to start, the list of characters and information is vast and difficult to get a hold of initially. However, it has turned out to be a gem. World and character building are intense, although I found Alyneri to be really annoying. The realm of Alorin is dying as are the Adept race. Two brothers, Princes of Dannym, Ean and Trell, separated as children through treachery; Sebastian, the eldest brother is thought to be dead, also through treachery. Trell has no recollection of who he is after his ship was wrecked and was adopted by Zafir bin Safwan al’Abdul-Basir, Emir of Akkad, whilst Ean was taken far way by his mother. Both will be drawn onto the game board and pawns will have to become players if they wish to survive and, more importantly, if they wish their race to survive. POSSIBLE SPOILER: I have a sense we have not heard the last of Sebastian (Eshot?). Indeed I feel he may be alive and has been imprisoned, suffering from amnesia and under compulsion by .... to forget who he is! Perhaps in a later book all will become clearer?

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no idea who anyone is

the story throws 35 characters at you and switches between them so often its impossible to know whos perspective you're following

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  • Michael
  • 08-09-16

Great Start to a new series

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, anyone that's a fan of the Stormlight series by Brandon Sanderson, or patrick Rothfuss' Name of the Wind series, this is what you want to read next

Who was your favorite character and why?

Trell. I just enjoyed his parts of the book the most out of the other characters. He wasn't as prevalent in this book but hopefully he has a larger part in the second one.

What does Nick Podehl bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He reads each character so well and distinctly. If you liked his narration of the Name of the Wind than you'll like this.

Any additional comments?

This book is very big. There are a LOT of characters and for some, like Trell, you can go a long time before returning to a character's tale. Just beware of that and pay attention or you'll get a few story-lines mixed up.

63 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • William
  • 09-05-17

Harlequin Lovers Delight - I could not get thru #2

What did you like best about Cephrael's Hand? What did you like least?

Interesting and overwhelming with almost too much depth- I was hoping to catch up with some great detail in book 2 but ended up with a lot of harlequin bs that made me drop this series like a rock. Almost too much detail, but I followed with the story through book 1 - and then jumped into 2 -- then it went too far for me to give a damn about the story. done, done, and done--

Would you ever listen to anything by Melissa McPhail again?

probably not

What does Nick Podehl bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

best thing about the book

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

never

35 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-10-16

A sub-par fantasy.

This is only for the hardcore epic fantasy enthusiast that is 20 series down and can't figure out what to read next. Cephrael's Hand might hit the spot, but the writing suffers heavily from telling and not showing. The story isn't bad, just overly familiar, with far too many ideas I can trace a straight line back to Wheel of Time.

The narrator does a great job with the material he is given.

Full disclosure: I got about 60% through and quit reading, so maybe the ending is worth it? Also, there are great many people that seem to love this book, so maybe it just wasn't my shot of whiskey. (It should have been - I'm nothing if not an epic fantasy enthusiast)

55 people found this helpful

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  • Tony
  • 06-04-17

very promising start to a series.

....and Podehl is one of the very best narrators out there today. He is incredibly entertaining and versatile. He has literally thousand different voices, all of which are convincing period you cannot go wrong listening to a book narrated by Podehl. And, this author shows a great ability to weave story details, character development and complexity into a very entertaining story

10 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-07-17

almost a good book

I'm not sure why I finished this book. It really wasn't worth finishing. this book has many likeable elements, but many more shortcomings. the overall plot isn't bad, but the execution is horrible. many of the characters make out of character decisions, or in character decisions that are stupid but are only there to advance the plot. The tone of the book is off for an epic fantasy book. it reads like a romance novel masquerading as epic fantasy. The author has an ungodly love affair with the word "for" and a few similar conjunctions. ie, for the day was long, for he was true of heart, etc. there are probably well over 1000 instances this in the book. I was frequently wincing at phrasing and word choices while listening to this book. on the flip side, there were several dozen places in the book where I found myself admiring the vocabulary used, but perhaps I was just happy not to here the word "for". The most redeeming part of this book is the narrator who does an amazing job. unfortunately, it's not enough.

24 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Rachael Saad
  • 07-10-16

I'm having a hard time following this book

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I'm an avid audible member and have listen to hundreds of books, but for some reason I can’t seem to follow this one. It seems like the book skips around from character to character so fast that it’s difficult to follow the story-line. I’m all for complex but this seemed convoluted to me. Soo sorry but I had to throw this one back and move on to a different book.

What was most disappointing about Melissa McPhail’s story?

I could not follow the character's - right when I started to understand and follow along the book switched gears to a different character and you had to start all over again to learn the location, the background and what direction the book is heading.

What does Nick Podehl bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I love the way Nick can bring a character to life with all the voices he uses. I'm sure they had to make a list of characters and figure out who went where before they could even begin to develop the characters style or persona. He is wonderful!

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Cephrael's Hand?

Build the story background slower, I felt bombarded by it. Too much to absorb in such a short time with out any reference. Stop hopping between characters, give your reader time to familiarize themselves with the story and who the characters are. I get the idea the author is trying to create mystery, but the way it was presented just added to the confusion. I'm no writer and cant begin to know how difficult it is... Best of luck

44 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dason
  • 30-07-16

This is a great book!!!

If you don't like large fantasy novels expertly written, then this is not the book for you

The start is a bit hard to keep up with, because from page-one you hit the ground running, there is so much going on and it keeps its momentum through out the book.

I had seen an advertisement for this book saying "if you like Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan you will love this book."
I am always skeptical when people say things like that, but in this case it was true.
Robert Jordan is dead, Brandon Sanderson completed the wheel of time based off of his notes, (I am a big fan of Brandon Sanderson.) But Melissa McPhail is the closest I have come to experiencing a story that has the feel of The Wheel of Time.

For many years epic fantasy has been a boys club, ( there have been many woman fantasy writers but none of them had the depth or complexity for me to see them as one of the top fantasy writers)
I am glad to say this is no longer the case, (in the past for years alone I have gone through about 1000 books, and I have found great female Fiction writers, science fiction writers, but until now I had never found a great female Fantasy author.
This series deserves its place in the top 10 if not the top five great epic fantasy series out there.

131 people found this helpful

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  • Michelle Carroll
  • 20-12-16

could not get into the story

struggled to get past chapter 10. I understand the thrill of mystery and trying to figure out characters and there past and purpose but it felt like I was dropped in the middle of a series. I felt like there were books before this I had missed. To many characters thrown at the reader all at once. This book has gotten some good reviews though. As for me It did not hold my attention.

36 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kallaway
  • 19-11-16

Good Performance, good language, ADHD writing

What did you like best about Cephrael's Hand? What did you like least?

Skilled voice actor, with characters that apparently have rich histories within a vast world with nice descriptive language.

What could Melissa McPhail have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

After listening to the book for 5 hours I was unable to immerse myself in the world and was left with the distinct impression that while Melissa McPhail has a rich imagination and has created diverse character, she could not decide on a story or series of events to follow.I feel too much was attempted in this one book, and it would have been more useful to either use other narrative techniques to convey events, or to split this story into separate concurrent narratives or sequential narratives following only a couple of primary characters each.More time should be spent with each character before jumping to another so as to better understand who each character is, and to become invested in the events surrounding each individually.

Have you listened to any of Nick Podehl’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is the first, though I enjoyed his performance.

Was Cephrael's Hand worth the listening time?

No.I regularly read & listen to books ranging from 10 to 60+ hours each with various pacing and styles.I listened to this one for 5 hours and simply could not bring myself to continue nor care about the characters or the world, as the narrative was jumping to drastically different characters & places with little sense of coherence and without any sort or resolution or proper introduction, this is a shame as I really tried to immerse myself in this book.I went so far as to see if this was a continuation of another series in the same world that should be read/listened to first, with no luck.

Any additional comments?

Compelling VA performance let down by authors writing which shows great descriptive potential but fails in so many ways. I could not recommend this to anyone, unfortunately. I may try picking it up again but I see this as a prime example of a good author attempting to encompass too much too quickly within one book.

40 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jason Grosch
  • 28-08-16

Average overall — good plot, subpar characters

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

No, this is a book to listen to while doing something else.

If you’ve listened to books by Melissa McPhail before, how does this one compare?

This is the first one.

What three words best describe Nick Podehl’s voice?

Not best performance.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No.

Any additional comments?

About half way through the novel and I suspect I won't be able to finish it. Here are some of the things that I enjoy about this story. The overall story is interesting and the mysteries behind the plot are compelling. The magic system is unique. This is a long book that gives the buyer a lot of value for the credit. There are a lot of unique species that gives this story a very fantastic aspect, in the most literal sense.

The worst aspect of the book is the unrealistic interactions between many of the characters. For example, every time the story follows Trell "of the tides" you know several things will happen: he will be complemented about being intelligent and wise by strangers (he does not demonstrate these qualities at any time), he will be called handsome by random strangers, and he will fantasize about having sex with attractive women whom he recently met. He also gets lauded for his military genius but you never hear about any of the details. Yes, we are told that he was instrumental in winning a major battle, but what he did and how it was better than what others could do... who knows. This makes many (most?) of his interactions unrealistic. Trell, a major character, is able to single handedly sink this novel, but there other examples that I won't include in this brief review.

I did not feel that Nick Podehl was the best narrator for this novel. I've listened to five or six different novels narrated by him and this was the worst. His desert voices are especially grating. I don't think the story is dark or epic enough to have a deep voice like Michael Kramer, maybe Tim Gerard Reynolds. The way Podehl does the voices enhances the ridiculous way that some of the characters interact.

All in all, not the best and not the worst. For me, believability of characters is more important than fantastic story. I think that if the writing style is improved the next novels will be a real treat to read, but as is this series is for those with extra credits and nothing interesting going on.

83 people found this helpful