Review of Cephrael’s Hand by Melissa McPhail

January 3, 2013

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 liked
I found the point of view characters to be engaging and enjoyable. Although the major protagonists started out separately, and indeed in separate parts of the world, the way in which their paths all began to weave together was very well done. It was also enjoyable that the reader and other characters have a strong idea of Trell’s identity before he himself does. I look forward to seeing how the characters develop and evolve in coming books.

Personally, I always appreciate when non PoV characters are ambiguous, as is the case here. It was fun to speculate what Phaedor the zanthyr’s motivations might be, and there are many other characters whose motives are similarly unclear.

The world building was extensive and well done with many different creatures and peoples. The magic system was likewise detailed and consistent to its own rules.

What I didn’t like
My only gripe with the book was that sometimes the whole world was presented rather quickly, so at times I felt confused about which strand of elae went with which role, and what the various non human creatures were. All the protagonists are familiar to a greater or lesser degree with the world in which they find themselves. Sometimes it can be useful to have a less knowledgeable character to act as an audience surrogate and introduction to the world of the novel.

In summary
I found Cephrael’s Hand a fun, well written and engaging read and have no problems recommending it. Indeed, I have already purchased the sequel, The Dagger of Adendigaeth, and am looking forward to reading it.

I have Cephrael’s Hand four stars out of five.

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