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Publisher's Summary

Kellen Tavadon, son of the Arch-Mage Lycaelon, thought he knew the way the world worked. His father, leading the wise and benevolent Council of Mages, protected and guided the citizens of the Golden City of the Bells. Young Mages in training---all men, for women were unfit to practice magic---memorized the intricate details of High Magic and aspired to seats on the council.

Then Kellen found the forbidden Books of Wild Magic---or did they find him? Their Magic felt like a living thing, guided by the hearts and minds of those who practiced it and benefited from it. Questioning everything he has known, Kellen discovers too many of the City's dark secrets. Banished, with the Outlaw Hunt on his heels, Kellen invokes Wild Magic---and finds himself running for his life with a unicorn at his side.

Rescued by a unicorn, healed by a female Wild Mage who knows more about Kellen than anyone outside the City should, meeting Elven royalty and Elven warriors, and plunged into a world full of magical beings, Kellen both revels in and fears his new freedom. The one thing all the Mages of the City agreed on was that practicing Wild Magic corrupted a Mage---turned him into a Demon. Would that be Kellen's fate?

Deep in Obsidian Mountain, the Demons are waiting. Since their defeat in the last great War, they've been biding their time, sowing the seeds of distrust and discontent between their human and Elven enemies. Very soon now, when the Demons rise to make war, there will be no alliance between High and Wild Magic to stand against them. And then all the world will belong to the Endarkened.

©2003 Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory (P)2010 Tantor

What listeners say about The Outstretched Shadow

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Long, but enjoyable

I have read this book (and the rest of the series) several times since buying them in paperback a few years ago. The audio version highlighted a few flaws, such as the overly-long descriptions (especially of the various antagonists) and the very slow first half of the book. Susan Ericksen, however, is a fantastic narrator, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening. Kellen is presented as a youth who is dissatisfied with his life. Although he could easily have grown up as a spoiled brat, he thinks about the people around him and is indignant on their behalf as he learns about various ways in which the high mages take advantage of them.

One reviewer claims that Kellen acts like a 10-13 year old. I have two teenage boys, and I can only wish they showed the kind of concern for others I see in this character. Yes, he has doubts, but I don't see any evidence of the whining some others complain of. In fact, being handed one shock after another, being uprooted and having to make major adjustments in his life, he deals with it quite well for the most part.

The biggest problem with this book is the amount of repetition. Especially when Kellen is musing over a problem, injustice, or puzzle, the same questions and observations are repeated way too many times. It's almost like the authors are concerned the reader will forget something important, which is unfortunate.

I fully intend to get the next two books on audio. To avoid spoilers, I will only say that some of the story arcs resolve very interesting and surprising ways, and there are enough plot twists to keep the reader (or listener) guessing. Even with the occasionally too-wordy descriptions, the trilogy is carefully woven together, rich in detail, with characters that have motivations most of us can relate to.

28 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Like 2 Different Books

I can only guess that Mercedes Lackey wrote the initial story line up through the point the main character is banished and meets his sister. After that, I honestly can say I never read (listened) to anything in more need of an editor in my life. The main character suddenly thinks incessantly about everything and does nothing. If he can mentally whine about or have thoughts of any topic, that mental topic will be repeated and repeated and repeated to the point you're yelling at the narrator. A simple passage of putting on armor drones on for 5-10 minutes like it's some sort of how-to guide. Mental comments on how a unicorn doesn't really look like a horse are stated EVERY time the main character sees his unicorn.

Besides the extremely poor writing, there are MAJOR plot and/or editing issues that pop up about that point also. Kellen escapes the city and ends up in the Western Hills. Once they're under attack by the same city, people head east to escape (wouldn't that be back toward the city). The demon queen is strolling through her crystal garden on second and the next sentence has her getting off a bed. Kellen is sent off to Shadow Mountain on a big important mission even though he has no idea what that is... each time the topic comes up and he's about to ask what/who/where, he gets distracted by something and forgets to ask the question for days about where he's really being sent and who's there. REALLY?

I'm probably about 4 hours from the end and just decided who cares - won't finish this book and certainly won't waste credits on the next two. I'm really disappointed in ML - till now, I've liked about she's everything.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

One Star

I found the story itself to be brilliant my only problem was with how it was told. This is a book where you wish someone in ten years time would take it up and do a remake of it. I know I may seem harsh but it annoyed me to see a great idea mangled by detailed descriptions on things that basically irrelevant, like what elven cloth looked like in the sun, to mere skimming over important parts of the storyline, like Kellen discovering where his talent is in Wild Magic.

The Authors were lazy and sloppy with their character description and it seems to me they tried to hide that by repeating Kellen’s inner dialog to a point where you wanted the gods in the book to strike him down because someone with potentially so much power and who was SO STUPID was a danger to all around him.

As for the Narrator I can only say: There is only so much even the greatest Chef can do with a rotten egg.

The One Star is to honor a Great Idea that never made it.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

inconsistent

I listened to the whole book and liked the story overall. It was fairly predictable however and seemed more like entry level fantasy. After reading Jordan, Martin and Sanderson this was a little disappointing.
Lackey and Mallory had some good ideas woven into the plot and there was lots of action but I found the inconsistency annoying. For example, in the beginning they say Kellen would get into fights with street kids. Then later when someone grabs his arm he's shocked because he's never been manhandled in his life and it hurt.
I will probably listen to the rest of the series because I don't like leaving a story in the middle. I hope the next two will improve.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Wow, this is awful

I may have enjoyed this book when I was 13. The characters are described in hackneyed terms and resemble a child's conception of a "bad guy" or a "bored child with talent." Also, this narrator would make me dislike even the finest book -- she reads far more slowly than this material deserves, and her style is that of a condescending teacher reading to a kindergarten class. Maybe it gets better after the first few hours, but I will (thankfully) never know.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Book

This was an excellent book, full of detail and action. Great story and well read by the narrator. A total joy to listen to. The story has a good ending that does not leave you hanging. Only leaves you wanting to listen to the next book.

Come on audible, where is it.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Yes and no.

On the whole an enjoyable enough read but one thing bugged me no end, the never ending self doubt of the lead character. I get it, I do, but the teenage angst thing went on and on and got annoyingly repetitive. I felt it interfered with the pace of the book. The narrator is good but she has a slow delivery which fails to pick up speed and energy when the action gets going.

It is classic genre material and good enough in its class.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating World

This book dragged me in to its strange and wonderful world. I enjoyed the contrast of the two lifes Kellen lived and really the two worlds that existed in the book, that of Amathalia and the one outside it's gates. I like how the authors keep you guessing about Lycelons intentions, if he's innately evil and selfish. Or if his concerns actually have merit. I cant wait to listen to the next book in the series, so please Audible put out the last two books in this series.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable

I greatly enjoyed this book. I was a little iffy about the narrator, as I'd gotten used to the one in the Enduring Flame series, but despite some of the different pronunciations, I liked her as well for the narrator. The story line was intriguing, and I'm more than ready for the next book. I want to hear more about Idalia and Jermayan, and more about Kellen and his newly found powers.

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good Story but gory / violent at Times

Love Mercedes Lackey, but when she teams up with Mallory, there is more emphasis on torture and graphic violence. The scenes become bloody, even horrific. So don’t mistake this for fiction appropriate for young adults. Yet the story line IS young adult. The main characters are teenagers at the start of the novels, the world building is very fantastical. It’s kids fighting great evil.

The writing is good, you get pulled into the story, and interesting enough to pull you along to the next book. Just wish the horror were toned down.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • G. English
  • 07-08-10

Good book, slow reading

This is an enjoyable fantasy novel. It has some fairly traditional characters, but there are some new twists placed on fantasy regulars. In addition the investigations of the corrupting possibilities of power and choice make for some deeper thinking.

However do be sure to listen to the sample first. I found this so slow that I had to play it at fast speed on my ipod (and some words ran together), but that may just be my taste: try before you buy. If the narration had suited me better this would be 4 stars.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Benny
  • 04-07-13

The Obsidian Trilogy (3 Books)

I am including all 3 books in my review. The Outstretched Shadow, To Light a Candle, and When Darkness Falls. I cannot imagine anybody just reading one without absoliutely having to read the others.

The characters are so well drawn that they become live, and the plot is so intriguing, it is difficult to switch off.

This is one of those epics that you cannot leave alone until you have read it all, and yet you never want it to come to an end.



Val S.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ooshga
  • 05-21-10

Thourghly enjoyable

I found this book to be a very intriguing first installment, it has all the usual character introductions and progresses nicely, there are some stereotypical characters that dont seem very original but is totaly forgivable considering the story just absorbs you in and makes you want to listen.
I found the narration more then acceptable, though the constant 'questioning' tone of voice did get a little frustrating sometimes. Overall though i did enjoy it, and i would certainly recommend it to any fans of this genre.
Give it a go!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Ian
  • 12-11-12

Disappointed

Was looking forward to an epic fantasy, but finally gave up just under halfway through first book. Coming off the back of 'the name of the wind' i found the writing style lacking, almost immature. Perhaps it was aimed at a younder audience.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • JEN
  • 11-14-12

Very slow reading and missing pace in many places

I held high hopes for this book however found myself (as another reviewer mentioned) putting my iPod on top speed. The narrator, whilst clear is ponderous which coupled with long, detailed reflection by the main character drove to days of switching off and looking for other books to enjoy. I have finally finished the book and would only recommend if you enjoy a very slow pace. I have no inclination to find out what happened next.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Fordy136
  • 09-19-19

I just couldn't handle to rambling

I read the summary before buying and thought that the plot sounded good. I listened to it originally about 2 years ago and couldn't finish it. Making ot about half way through. This time I couldn't even complete an hour. I prefer faster pace stories. Where you slowly discover the new world for yourself. Not have it narrated continuously for an hour.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • CeNedra Red
  • 12-11-16

Idiot Main Character!

Would you try another book written by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory or narrated by Susan Ericksen?

I am in the middle of another of Mercedes Lackey's books, (a different series) so the answer is, Yes to that question. Not having read anything, (that I can remember) written by James Mallory, I don't know. As for listening to another book narrated by Susan Ericksen, most definitely. She was the best part of the experience, as far as I'm concerned.

Has The Outstretched Shadow put you off other books in this genre?

NO! I have read hundreds of books in this genre, and have come across many that were much worse than this one. I love this genre too much to be put off by the occasional pebble among the diamonds.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Most of the scenes with Shalkan.

Do you think The Outstretched Shadow needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

I know this is the first book in a trilogy, so I can honestly answer Yes. As to why/why not? I have to hope the main character, Kellen grows up and stops being such an idiot. That would make the books which follow this one much more enjoyable.

Any additional comments?

Because I like character based stories, I get very irritated when the main character is an idiot. Kellen spends way too much time second guessing himself, and agonizing over things he can't change and blaming himself for things over which he had no control. This constant angst constantly stalled the story, which would have been good otherwise. Even with evidence to the contrary, he continued in his silly belief in the words of people who had repeatedly proved themselves manipulative liars. Some of the other characters made up for the silly main character, but not enough to make this more than bearable to listen to. Susan Ericksen did a very commendable job of narrating what was, in my opinion a less than satisfactory book. I'll certainly be looking out for other books read by Ms Ericksen.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kim
  • 03-28-15

Well read

gripping in some parts. overall a very enjoyable experience. can be a bit repetitive but in some ways it added to the description of the characters feeling

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul
  • 01-21-15

a bit repetitive

The story is ok, a bit obvious though. The main gripe is the repetition, it's like listening to a politician making the same point over and over, but in different sentences. I found myself saying, "oh just get on with it!" I know the main character is young, but I did want to slap him at times and make him man up.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-07-14

Why wont it let me download part 4

Would you try another book written by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory or narrated by Susan Ericksen?

not if audible only lets me have 3 parts out of 4

What could Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

make audible release the full book

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Outstretched Shadow?

the ending of part 3 where it tells me to download the next part

Any additional comments?

i'll get something else and hope its the whole book

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Katy
  • 06-27-17

different magics

good and bad mages, high magic, wild magic and truly evil magic demons and of course unicorns. loving it! no swearing blasphemy or sex. Plenty of fantasy. the only criticism is that sometimes its repetitive and slow moving. but 30 hours of words might explain that.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Shae
  • 12-30-16

The narration is ok but the story drags

I didn't mind the narration though I don't think it's Susan Erickson's best work. But the plot is under developed and the book drags on massively. I'm a big fan of Mercedes Lackey but I couldn't stick with this. I was thoroughly bored.

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