Friday, January 4, 2013

Vouched Book & Giveaway! The Dagger of Adendigaeth by Melissa McPhail

The Dagger of Adendigaeth
Melissa McPhail
Series: A Pattern of Shadow & Light, Book Two | Book One review
Publication: October 2012, Independently Published | Outskirts Press
Genre: Epic Fantasy

Amazon B & N Book Depository Goodreads
At long last, the reason for the blessed Adept race’s decline has been discovered: powerful beings known as Malorin’athgul are 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 unmake the universe itself?

In T'khendar...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 insight into the tragedies that plagued his Return. Now he must confront the man he's long thought of as 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.

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

The time has come for each player to claim his role in the First Lord's masterful game. All will be tested, but only time will tell how many can survive the dagger of Adendigaeth.

Here’s one bit of truth never to be revealed again by me: Writing reviews makes me nervous. I hyperventilate, just a little, at the thought and during the process. A ball of insecurity works its way up my throat, making it hard to breathe as my muscles tense. My fingers hesitate to type, and I can’t think or pinpoint where to start or what to focus on. (Okay, maybe the to-review tension isn't so little.)

Either way, I don’t want to dishearten an author or build up a book so much that others question my opinion. I also don’t want to half-ass it with “Loved it!” or “Hated it.” Despite my nerves, I write reviews for the same reasons most people do: I want to share a story I enjoyed or be helpful to potential readers and the book’s author.

I read and reviewed the first book of A Pattern of Shadow & Light for a blog tour and immediately picked up book two, The Dagger of Adendigaeth, because I was stunned by the author's talent and had to continue living in the world she created. It's that enrapturing. As usual, I started a book with high expectations and anticipated disappointment.

The Dagger of Adendigaeth wasn’t as good as the first book. To be honest, it was BETTER. That fact does not make it easier to review, but harder. When I sat down to write my thoughts, the review turned out to be ... different, more with only the author in mind, revealing what a nerd I am of the series (and that I might regret once published and will probably never do again due to embarrassment).

Melissa McPhail,

I treasure books like I do photographs. Like the best snapshots, books capture meaningful memories, hint at secrets, and hold a world known only in that span of space and time and by the people in it. The greatest are adventures never able to be repeated, looked upon with fondness, nostalgia, or sometimes envy. They hold meaning. They have a life of their own. They're kept in special places and should be handled with care.

The first two books of your series are among the best snapshots. You captured a panoramic picture of a breathtaking world and everyone in it. Scratch that. It wasn't just a world; it was a universe. I saw both Alorin and T'khendar, one planet dying, the other flourishing. Your gentle movement of vivid, lyrical prose caught my eye; your well-timed action shutter, the pacing of the plot threading each frame together without losing the overall picture, kept it. I was never impatient for the next scene or view of another character like I usually am with Epic Fantasy. Excited? Definitely, but never impatient.

And when you zoomed in on the people, they were so magnified I felt each of them. Although I first questioned why the opening focus was Kjieran, it wasn't before I finished the thought that I ached for and because of him. His warring emotions to be good against the evil literally eating him inside out was apparent and so palpable. He was easily my favorite. Pelas and Isak, too. In complete contrast to Kjieran, Pelas—innately evil—had redeeming qualities that are hard to associate or execute well with villains. But I couldn't not like him and his child-like curiosity. Isak ... well, he was a mass of knots, in the best sort of way. I can't wait to see where his choices and the truth take him.

You reminded me with these characters that the most lovable and hopeful can be the enemy, and it isn't with a sob story. I appreciated who they were, what they represented, and the philosophy that made and bound each of them. How you analyzed those philosophies and weaved them throughout the overall storyline is astounding and awe-inspiring. Once again, you created something discussion-worthy—showed the shades between good and evil, making us question morals and actions, the right and wrong and the choice behind each, whether they depended on time, how we assess and justify them—all with balanced characters in a world focused on, and needing, balance.

It wasn't just with the "villains," either. Raine's reconciliation with himself and the truth was well done. Tanis's story was suspenseful as well as heart-breaking and -warming all at once. Trell and Alyneri joining paths was a wonderful respite in the epic world-dooming tension.

I would've liked a better zoom on Bjorn, though—a little deeper, more well-rounded view. The great man behind such a great plan felt a little generic. I understand he couldn't hesitate because of what was at stake, but I needed a strong contrast, some uncertainty and remorse, to that unyielding conviction to find it believable.

Likewise, I needed more depth to Ean and Isabel's relationship to grasp how their love transcended time and death. The story behind them is fascinating, but the love at first sight stole the falling-in-love-with-them-as-a-couple from me. I would've adored them more as a pair if I knew they were in love before they did, watch them discover one another, grow together. Maybe the lack thereof was because their threads were intertwined from the start? I'm not sure.

But that's just me nitpicking.

Overall I'm astounded by your talent, such a broad-scope but with a finely honing eye on the profound and endearingly mundane. How you spun all the characters together, joining both worlds and books with the old and new, showing rebirth and the patterns of life, is nothing short of magnificent. You've exceeded my expectations once again. I’ve never been able to say that with a book two, and I’m absolutely giddy I can say it now.

You blew me away. You made me laugh, cry, grip my Kindle to the point of breaking it, and surpassed the highest bar I set for story-telling. (I've never highlighted so many passages before!) When I get my hands on the hardcovers, Cephrael's Hand and The Dagger of Abendigaeth will have a permanent spot on my timeless-reads mantle, treasured like the best photographs and looked upon and read again with fondness, nostalgia, and yes, even a little envy. Your books are an adventure and they hold meaning. They're a world and life unto their own. Unforgettable. Thank you for sharing.
More action-packed and purpose-driven, The Dagger of Adendigaeth continues A Pattern of Shadow & Light series with stabbing emotion, a deeper cutting plot, and sharp new pawns and players in the elemental, spiritual, and physical war for Alorin—all while intricately threading the characters’ lives from the first book with the new and creating another world that expands upon the first's possibilities. An escaping, drop-everything-now read!

Check out two giveaways for the series!


Here's your chance to win Cephrael's Hand and The Dagger of Abendigaeth, book one & two
of A Pattern of Shadow & Light series!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Join us in supporting an independently published author! Buy Cephrael's Hand, book 1 of a Pattern of Shadow and Light series, for only 99 cents* on Amazon and enter to win book 2, The Dagger of Abendengaith, plus a $15 Amazon gift card.
Another winner will receive a Kindle copy of book 2.

What's more, if you purchase Cephrael's Hand before Jan. 5th, you also have a chance to win
a Kindle Fire, $150 in Amazon gifts cards, and an autographed copy RIGHT HERE!

Have you already bought Cephrael's Hand? Awesome! You're entitled to a free entry with your Amazon order number found under your Amazon account > Your Orders.
Novel Publicity's Cephrael's Hand tour hosts are entitled to a free entry by entering a link to his/her tour post.
* Price subject to change without notice. Book purchase of 99 cents for Cephrael's Hand not guaranteed after January 5th, 2013.a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I am actually without words.

    Thank you - a thousand times, thank you.

    I have never read a review of my novel (either of them) that revealed such a deep understanding of the world of Alorin and the unique characters who populate it. Both of your reviews actually made me cry (and I wasn't the only one, as I've shared them with many friends and confidants to similar end).

    Your reviews stunned me with their insight, startled me with their associations, and delighted me with their praise. I have never read a more comprehensive review of either of my novels. I am so deeply touched by your level of understanding of my world and your willingness to explore these many philosophies and ideas along with my characters.

    It's always a high complement when a reader offers a glowing recommendation of a book to others, but THE most rewarding moment is when someone truly understands the work, when they take it within themselves and contribute back to the work with their own ideas, viewpoints, disagreements and speculations. And when they care enough about the story and personalities within it to offer these thoughts to others.

    I am so honored to have you for a reader. Certainly now, your expectations have set the bar very high for book 3.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    1. You're so, so welcome. Like I said in my review of book one, rarely do I come across a series that fills me with such zeal and I'm convinced the whole world needs to read it. I couldn't not share. Your words are inspiring. YOU are inspiring.

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by and leave such a thoughtful reply. You've made my day, as a reviewer and a fan. You made ME want to cry—wobbly smile and all while I tried to hold it in. When the series catches fire, which I have no doubt it will, I can titter a little and say you were HERE. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

      The very best well wishes during your debut.

  2. Excellent review babe! I am definitely putting on my TBR list! I love when an author creates a world and is so descriptive, you can see yourself in it! Def my favorite type of writing!

    1. Thanks, hon! I definitely recommend the series (obviously). I can't wait to hear your thoughts after you do read it. As always, I love hearing from you. We can flail and fan-girl together. *hugs*

  3. Such a deep, thoughtful review! I've seen lots of buzz about this series and can't wait to try it myself.

    1. Thank you. It's an amazing series.

      Karielle from Books à la Mode, right? Thanks for stopping by!

  4. This is how a book review should be written--I am in awe of your words and the words that have inspired them!! I'm looking forward to reading both books and your blog posts. Thanks for a chance to win :)

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words. ♥♥♥ Enjoy perusing the site, and good luck with the giveaway!

  5. I loved how she wove the personalities and their shortcomings into the story.
    Keep it up!
    More, More, MORE!