Read The Outstretched Shadow: The Obsidian Trilogy: Book One by Mercedes Lackey James Mallory Online


The Outstretched Shadow, the first book in The Obsidian Trilogy from Mercedes Lackey and James MalloryKellen 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 unfitThe Outstretched Shadow, the first book in The Obsidian Trilogy from Mercedes Lackey and James MalloryKellen 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 he found the forbidden Books of Wild Magic--or did they find him? The three slim volumes woke Kellen to the wide world outside the City's isolating walls. Their Magic was not dead, strangled by rules and regulations. It 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.Kellen's life changes almost faster than he can understand or accept. 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 where the magical beings he has learned about as abstract concepts are flesh and blood creatures-Kellen both revels in and fears his new freedom.Especially once he learns about Demons. He'd always thought they were another abstract concept-a stand-in for ultimate evil. But if centaurs and dryads are real, then Demons surely are as well. And 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 all the world will belong to the Endarkened.At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied....

Title : The Outstretched Shadow: The Obsidian Trilogy: Book One
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781429913027
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 608 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Outstretched Shadow: The Obsidian Trilogy: Book One Reviews

  • Johanna
    2019-02-24 16:34

    I couldn't even finish this book. I am a big fan of Mercedes Lackey, I am an avid reader of all things fantasy, and high fantasy is some of my favorite reading, but holy hell. This book dragged on like nothing I've ever read. When you've hit the 500th page of a book and nothing of note has happened, we've got a problem. I know it's part of a series, but the first book has to hook me into the story, otherwise I'm not going to waste my time with later books. Also, what's with the nonstop use of the word destrier? Please please please, at least consult a thesaurus.Overall, extremely disappointing.

  • Metaphorosis
    2019-03-22 15:33

    I seem to differ from other reviewers in that I found the first part of this book to be the most interesting. The authors display the City and its culture for us, rebellious hero Kellen learns about Wild Magic, etc. After a while, the discovery slows, and the story becomes formulaic. Sadly, that only continues as the book progresses. I found The Outstretched Shadow to be a readable YA fantasy, but it didn't go beyond that. The characters were pleasant, but not intriguing - they pretty much all fell into familiar categories. The story was more problematic, suffering from two key weaknesses. First, it was not original. That need not be a fatal flaw, but it's not helpful. Everything we see in this book, we've pretty much seen before, and the authors didn't even seem to try very hard to do anything new. Second, and more important, the story and plotting are a little too free and easy. Everything happens as it must to suit the plot, and there are virtually no impediments to progress. The descriptions are good (if they run long), but the events are entirely unsurprising. You know where this book is going halfway through, and then it's just a long, mildly diverting plod to get there.(view spoiler)[Sloppiness didn't help - Idalia the Wild Mage uses keystones that seem usually to be rounded river stones easily held in one hand. I remember that when they were introduced, I thought they should be strung on a necklace. The entire second half of the book centers on a keystone wrapped in thin cloth that must be carried through danger and difficulty. The hero is constantly concerned about its fragility. Yet when he unwraps it, lo and behold, it's the size of a small melon, and it's a complicated, pointed cylinder. Yet somehow we and the hero never noticed the difference. (hide spoiler)]Finally, the ending - climactic as it is - makes virtually no sense. (view spoiler)[The Endarkened have set up this spell that at first seems an afterthought, then is seen as very complex. It's intensely guarded, but only by creatures that wait until everyone's in position before attacking. And of course, despite the Endarkened's vast power, they don't do much to avoid a teenaged boy ruining their centuries-long plans. Why his actions should have that effect is unclear - nor why the Endarkened saw a drought of elven-land as the linch-pin to their plot to begin with. But I came away with the feeling that the Endarkened are not so much evil as stupid. (hide spoiler)]I intended to give this 3 stars (meaning 2.5), but as I've thought about it, I realize I come down on the other side - 2 stars (for 2.5).Overall, harmless YA epic fantasy, but it's hard to suspend your disbelief long enough to really enjoy it. I can't recommend this when there are many better stories out there.

  • Mike (the Paladin)
    2019-03-09 17:14

    This is a good spite of the fact that it just sort of "ends". Yes plan to get the next volume as this is indisputably the first in a series. I'm not really a dyed in the wool Lackey fan. I've found her books very much a mixed bag. Some of her books I've loved others I've not been able to get through. Many people seem to snap up and love anything and everything she writes (and I'm happy for you). I've often wished I felt that way. In this book (if you're familiar with her work) you'll see a couple of themes she's used before. That isn't a problem. If the themes are handled well and book tells a good story why would I mind? How many truly original and never before written about themes are there?James Mallory with whom Ms. Lackey shares credit here is a fairly well know writer/ghost writer. I'm not sure who contributed what to this volume, but I enjoyed it and have already sent for the next volume. One of Lackey's strongest points (at least in the books I've liked) are her characters. The same is true here. While I found the book a bit long I was still involved with the main character and then when we pick up a second protagonist I didn't find her story distracting (though I did burn out a bit on our villainous point of view).So, yes I can recommend this novel and I hope (hope, hope, hope) that the story holds up in the next 2 books. I will say that the climatic scene here did seem to me to run on beyond the "interest" factor. It's supposed to be building suspense and tension, but by the time we actually did reach "said climax" I was ready for it to be done. Still, not a huge problem and I greatly enjoyed the novel as a whole.Enjoy.

  • J.V. Seem
    2019-03-17 16:10

    I adore high fantasy. Sadly, very few books match up to my wishes. The last significant one I read was the Green Rider series, and I absolutely loved the first book, but then the rest of them plummeted thereafter in terms of quality. And I'm always looking for replacements, and so far, this rather fits the bill.In this story, we meet Kellen, son of an archmage, who starts feeling the consequences of his restricted city life, the pressures put on him, and the strict rules and codes the town's inhabitants live under. Not to mention the questionable magic he has to study. He starts to question the rigid laws, the careful control and the ethics of the ruling mages. So, when he finds some very illegal books on a very different type of magic in the market, he starts studying them. The magic of the three books will seal his fate however, bringing him to people who, like him, question the absolute authority of the mages, making him delve deeper into the secrets of the mages, until finally, he is banished from his home and hunted down. ...and that's only the beginning. From there comes a marvelous adventure of finding one's lost past, finding one's talents, and deciding what's really important in life.This is a very full fantasy world, rich in detail, and with no shortcuts, like I like. The society and environment are both believable.There is one thing that's a bit jarring, however. As Kellen leaves his city for the unknown outer world, he suddenly encounters a lot (a lot) of magical creatures in a very short span of time, and they, only being background characters, are not as well crafted as the rest of the world. True, they're not a big part of the whole, but you notice the, for lack of a better word, sloppiness. Makes me wonder if one of the writers did the world construction and the other the creatures. Also, all of the bestiary entering the story at the same time is a bit overwhelming, with so many new things to take in all at once.The story itself, however, makes up for small things like this. It's always engaging and moves at a quick pace, through many well-crafted environments, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and will be reading the next installment.

  • Lisa (Harmonybites)
    2019-03-05 21:32

    I'm a fan of Mercedes Lackey's books by and large, especially her early Valdemar books, and despite her being prolific I've managed to read most of them--this is the weakest book I've read by her, and I'm not sure how much to blame her co-writer, James Mallory. Some of the book's weaknesses are ones I've seen in other books of hers: mainly that she's very black and white, with little nuance in her villains and their motivations. This story actually had a lot of original elements which makes me wish this could have been a stronger book. I liked the idea behind magic in this book, and it, and the culture of the city, raises some interesting questions. A lot of the problem, I think, is the protagonist, Kellen, whom I found whiny and hard to care about. Another part was just pacing, I think. Too much of the story made me want to skim, just didn't hold my interest. Nor is this a very interesting treatment of elves among those I've read. Feist, Moon, and, of course, Tolkien are better bets if you're looking for a good read in High Fantasy, and Arrows of the Queen or Joust would make better introductions to Lackey.

  • Amber
    2019-02-27 16:10

    This book wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't groundbreaking either. Everything about it was pretty much cliche: the plot, the protagonist, the magic system, the villans. The story starts out painfully slow; things don't begin to pick up until about 150 pages into it. Half of that time was spent describing silly little things that don't pertain to the story in any way. Whole pages would be devoted to the description of buildings or how the plumbing system worked. I don't mind learning how your world functions, but it isn't necessary for me to know the exact layout of the floor tiles or how many vases were in the room. The other half of the beginning was spent making sure we know the protagonist was really our cliche hero (Just in case we hadn't read the back). He goes around saving kittens (not an exageration) and cleaning out wells (also not an exageration).The plot is much the same: Kellen is the typical adolescent pariah who thinks life is unfair. But things change, he gains power, gets a quest (and an elven sidekick/mentor), saves the day, Hurray! Now, there's nothing wrong with this formula; it works as long as you add your own perspective and ideas to it. But in this case, I didn't see much that was new. The other cast of characters were just as unorigional. You can tell who is good or evil based on what race they are. Elves are good, Demons are bad, High Mages are bad, Wildmages are good. And to illustrate their point they make sure they have the High Mages oppress someone or the Demons torture someone every time it's their turn for a chapter. And in case we hadn't figured out who was good, they make sure they have the Wildmages saving baby deer or making some great self sacrifice every few pages (slight exageration). And towards the end of the story we find out that one of the High Mages was actually working for the Demons, but I wasn't quite sure why that was a big deal because High Mages were evil anyway. That's like discovering Sauron also kicked puppies. It's bad, but we already knew that he was evil, right? It's an okay read, it's a long way from bad, but it makes a great effort not to be original in any way. It's been a while, but I remember liking Joust by Mercedes Lackey. So I won't be giving up on this author, but I will probably be giving up on this particular series.

  • Susan
    2019-03-17 21:12

    I liked the story and the characters very much; and I loved the concept of wild magic in this book. But so much of the book was taken up by the mental anguish of its main character, Kellen Tavadon, that it began to feel like filler -- something added to make the book thicker.Granted Kellen has been torn from his insular urban existence and thrown into the wide world of wild magic, and his struggles to find the truth between these conflicting worlds are important to the story. But I have enough of a problem dealing with my own monkey mind without the additional trauma of being told in excruciating detail every doubt, thought, and emotion in the mind of a seventeen year old boy whenever something new happens to him. Not to mention that floating in timelessness feeling I get when authors stop in the middle of a life and death struggle to give me a 15 minute description of what must have passed through the character's mind in a instant.Happily the next two books in this series are unavailable in audio so I don't have to decide whether or not to continue on to book #2.

  • Cheryl
    2019-03-06 21:10

    This was a beautiful story of the maturation of a naive, misfit boy, Kellen, discovering the world that has been hidden from him his entire life. I really liked the way this book included so many fantastical creatures you don't typically see included in fantasy novels such as unicorns, centaurs, fauns, sprites, etc... I really appreciated how they were also given personalities and an important place in the world other than just beautiful creatures the heros encounter. I also like the way all magic has a price meant to keep nature's balance. The main downside to this book was the overabundant descriptions of the black and white, sterile landscape of the city. The ending of the book was very exciting and I love the introduction of Vestakia's character although the unicorn, Shalkan, is still my favorite.

  • Anne Hromalik
    2019-03-15 13:11

    I haven't read something considered 'high fantasy' in quite awhile, so perhaps my dissatisfactions are related to aspects of the genre and being unfamiliar again of them.First off, the positive. I think there were several interesting ideas presented within the book, particularly in the construction of Wild Magic. The price-paying, though disconcerting, felt like the most interesting 'unknown'-- the aspect of the book where I never could quite guess what was coming next, and I appreciated that. There is a lot of good imagery throughout, and the settings feel very clear. I get the impression that a fair amount of research went into presenting an accurate description of things such as weaponry, fighting styles, and woodland living. The characters are 'likeable', and I did want to find out more of their interactions.In terms of negatives, I found that unfortunately, beyond the Wild Magic, much of the rest of the book felt very stereotypically displayed, and thus easily predictable. For example, demons are obviously evil. Elves are obviously long-lived, artistic, perfectionist, and pointy-eared. I don't detect great flaws in most of the 'good' characters, and I don't detect much redeeming in the 'bad' characters. Something to perhaps wait on as there are two more books to go. Every new turn of the book seemed very easy to predict; only the price of the next Wild Magic spell was unknown. Moreover, characters, for all their 'likeability', don't feel fully three-dimensional, but that is in part because of how, in comparison to the word-count time spent describing things or reviewing worries in Kellen's head, character interaction and dialogue aren't as plentiful. Yes, the descriptions are in-depth and really establish the world, but they have a tendency go on in Dickens-like style, repeating themselves often. There is nothing wrong with this in itself, but I feel so much story-telling potential was lost in this imbalance. I mean, I can describe Kellen's Mage-family home, or the council chamber of Armethalieh, or the Elven city of Sentarshadeen better than I can describe the character growth Idalia, or Jermayan, or even Kellen himself goes through. As for Kellen's internal dialogue, I see why in other reviews he is characterized as 'whiny'. Though I'm not sure I would use that word, his internal fretting repeats itself to the point of utter readerly irritation. I don't necessarily think that the attempt to express him in terms of perfectly normal human worry, fear and self-doubt was a bad one; in fact, I can see the author's hard work at trying to make him relatable and the situations properly grave as he wrestles with them. What bothered me about Kellen's internal monologue was that I felt like it was falsely building up tension-- he worried and fretted over things that he had numerous opportunities to ask about, and he never did-- the connection between Wildmages and Demons, for example. His thoughts go on and on about what he doesn't know, and yet he doesn't ask... and when he does (and is promised answers if he would just ask later) he gives up his quest for knowledge and goes back to internally fretting. I would MUCH rather have read more dialogue between characters discussing the issues than read Kellen rehash them for the umpteenth time in his head. Again, I could see this indispellable worrying construed as fairly normal human behavior. But the effect is made worse by the character point-of-view jumping about, giving the audience in classic dramatic irony the answers but withholding them from Kellen. The information that is fed to the audience feels throttled back, deliberately controlled and then its slow trickle covered up in many a pretty-worded description (or Kellen anxiety-thought-deluge) so that the reader does not notice how very little overall understanding of the world they have. Again, like many other aspects, the throttling in itself is not bad; one cannot after all plop the whole of the world in front of the reader in an instant. But the book was over 700 pages long. For the amount of world-building, magic philosophy, and plot points that I got, I feel cheapened that it took that many pages. I mean, I can even keep myself from pointing a finger at the descriptions too much, because they ARE pretty and contribute to a concrete sense of world. But really, at least half of Kellen's internal monologue could have been cut, and the author would still have achieved every characterization goal concerning him they needed.Ultimately, with all of this taken into account, I felt a bit claustrophobic, often trapped in Kellen's head and still feeling isolated even while he was interacting with the world. Also, in terms of Kellen characterization, though he is likeable and *extremely* prone to worry, I still walked away not quite feeling really in touch with him. He squirms under the constriction of the city, and then apparently has felt very inadequate over how he hasn't been really good at much until he becomes a Knight-Mage, but I didn't get much of a sense of that until his internal dialogue pointed it out after the fact. He comes off as a hard-working, helpful, and without depression... which is really strange, considering so very much of his thoughts are steeped in anxiety. In a really strange way, I felt I knew his thoughts very well, but not so much his emotions. I wanted to see more character interaction, more dialogue, and hear more about the way magic worked. This last thing especially-- I feel like what I know so far of High and Wild Magic is just enough to wonder whether it all logically makes sense. I feel somewhat like there is a sleight-of-hand being performed with the explanations of how the magical systems work, and if I look too carefully I'll find smoke-and-mirror flaws in the concepts. However, being only the first of three, it might be too early to say on that front. Still, I wish I knew more, and not in a hungry-for-the-next-book way; more like this book starved me a little. Here's hoping the next book is a feast of world-building/plot-pointing/character-interaction, instead of a famine.

  • Melissa
    2019-03-03 13:17

    Would I call this the best fantasy written? Of course not, it borrows many elements from all over, but what Mallory and Lackey have done with this book, is make it entertaining and captivating, and for that reason I like it very much. This book is the first in what is known as the Obsidian Trilogy and it does make a very good beginning.Kellen is almost your average boy. Except that he's not. He's mageborn and not to just any mage, he is the son of the Arch-Mage Tavadon, leader of all the mages in the city of Armethalieh. He isn't like his father at all however. He longs for freedom and new things (market wares and the people of Armethalieh for that matter are closely controlled by the mage rulers to discourage dissent). He also isn't very good at the High Magic practiced here. That's why, when three strange books find him, he is very susceptible to what they hold. These are outlawed books in his city, books that contain the Wild Magic. He snoops into them and eventually is caught out and banished from the city. With the help of Shalkan, a unicorn sent by the wild magic to protect and guide him, he makes it out of the city's boundaries alive.Fortune smiles on his and he is able to reunite with a sister he never knew about. But nothing stays peaceful forever, His father cannot rest with him having escaped and widens the city's borders to come after him, driving him into Elven lands. Here to are problems. An unnatural drought has taken hold of the Elven lands and they are in danger because of it. With Idalia his sister, the elves are relying on Kellen to help them and defeat whatever is behind this strange drought. With Idalia working magic from home, Kellen takes off with Shalkan and a Knight elf named Jermayan to fulfill his quest despite the dangers along the way.It is easy to like the characters in this book. With the exception of a few, they are well written and you come to truly care for them and what happens to them. There are a few that are written very heavy handed though. Kellen's father, for example, is the biggest misogynist you'll ever read and it definitely makes him unlikeable, which is what the authors wanted.For having been written by two writers, the writing is smooth and flows easily. The very beginning is slow to start but the book soon finds it's pace and the description is well done. There really isn't anything offensive in this book and pre-teens on up could probably read it easily. There are a few instances of adult humour, but the more innocent wouldn't get the joke.I really like this series and eagerly look forward to reading the next in the trilogy. It may be the same old fantasy as a lot of novels, but at least it is interesting.The Outstretched ShadowCopyright 2003711 pagesReview by M. Reynard 2011

  • Matt
    2019-03-10 18:37

    "The Outstretched Shadow" is a mixture of excellent plot and mind-numbing exposition that is makes for a maddening read for anyone making it through the book. Authors Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory collaborated in creating interesting and worth-reading characters as well as burying them with pages of padding.The book revolves around Kellen, the disgruntled son of the Arch-Mage ruler of his home city. Finding life in the city stifling and the rule of Mages like himself based on a lie, Kellen yearns to do something else and finds the Three Books of Wild Magic, outlawed by the Mage practitioners of High Magick. After his father finds the Books, Kellen welcomes banishment but almost loses his life without the help of the unicorn Shalkan. Once free of the city, Kellen starts his study in earnest of Wild Magic with the help from his previously unknown sister, but his father's greed results in both of them running for their lives into Elven country only to find themselves in the middle of a drought, which is the opening move in a new war launched by the Great Enemy, the Endarkened.The overall plot and the characters were very interesting, however Lackey & Mallory buried it under unnecessary padding that blogged down the pace of the book. Kellen's worry and philosophical thoughts about Wild Magic was where the padding was most visible. While this inner struggle was necessary, the amount of time and the repetition of the same paragraphs was a discredit to the authors and undermined the trust of the reader. If Lackey & Mallory had been given a descent editor, the book would have been 100-150 pages shorter and much better for it."The Outstretched Shadow" is overall an okay book that unfortunately could have been really good, the protagonists and antagonists are well written creating the basis for a enjoyable series. However, the unnecessary padding of the book could result in discouraging readers from even finishing the book.

  • Rosemary
    2019-02-23 13:12

    It had been a very long time since I'd read any Mercedes Lackey books. I loved her heralds books (especially the first set), but over time I got tired of talking animals, and what seemed to be the same characters repeated over and over, whether wearing heralds' whites, skins and feathers, or court robes. And then there is the sometimes interminable detail of scenery, domestic decoration, and attire.But, for some reason, I picked this up.Wow. Talking "animals." And a heroine most comfortable in tanned deerhide. And an annoying, talented adolescent on his way to saving the world (another Lackey trope). And interminable description. And then there are the Tolkeinesque ripoffs--like a race bred by the bad guys that take the noblest race and corrupt it both to horrify and destroy. And the sense that this could be the last age of a world filled with elves and "Other Folk."But repeated elements in fiction don't have to doom a book to a mechanical rearrangement of tropes and stock characters. This book also reminds me of all the reasons I read the Heralds of Valdemar. It is a rich, varied world she and James Mallory have created. The characters are round and complex enough to keep our interest. The bad guys are thoroughly evil, but fascinating to watch as they exercise a certain brilliance to achieve the worst possible goals. And the plot, while not wholly original, is presented deftly.At the end of this semester, my best student asked for a list of recommended reading over the summer. I knew her taste ran to Fantasy and Science Fiction. I recommended that she read this book, particularly since she was not familiar with Lackey's work. It may not be perfect--but it's good.

  • Neda Stojkovic
    2019-03-04 21:09

    I've read a lot of Mercedes Lackey's books, and though I can't say she doesn't have very many shortcomings as an author, I've only highest praise for her imagination. Though not very original, her stories are very enjoyable, her characters likable, her world-building fun. That is true for this story too, so I would recommend it to fantasy-lovers, but not the ones too picky about language or simplifying characters or situations. For instance, for half a book I was really bothered by childish behavior of some of the characters: Kellan and his father, mostly. Then I said to myself, well, ok, Kellen is, in fact, a child, so his behavior, whining and redundant monologues, though irritating are passable. His father too is in some ways a child - sheltered adult made king of the sand castle with nobody to offer the least resistance to his will. But I honestly don't think that kind of analysis went into the story, it may be just the sin of oversimplifying the story.But, that said, I found a lot to like so far: world is promising, characters rather sweet, lot of magical creatures and races we have yet to explore, and overall story that is bound to be very interesting.EDIT: I decided to mark this book with 4 stars. Not because of quality of the writing. I still don't like black and white view of good and evil. But to give it any less would imply that I didn't enjoy the story, despite the many faults, and that is not true.

  • Melissa
    2019-03-14 19:31

    Yep. I agree with other readers, the first part of this book moves so slowly that you keep putting it down. I'm not sure why it seemed slow to me, I can usually read a lot of detail and still enjoy the story, but this one was tedious at first. The story is typical good and evil, young adult finds magic powers, takes off on journey, meets lots of cool creatures, doubts himself, doubts everyone else, and fights the demons. I think the first 1/4 of the book demonstrates by example how dull and repetitive Kellen's life is, who the bad guys are, and {yawn} keeps going over this and over it. But eventually, at about page 225, the story starts to really move. I was enthralled with the development of the villages and the Elven city. The characters seem to be developing some depth and identity. I'm hoping that will develop more in the coming volumes. I am completely annoyed by the whole "demon" thing with cloven hooves, barbed tail, red skin, reptilian eyes, and horns. Oh puh-lease. The unicorns are creatively developed, why can't the demons be something other than classic little devils.So, I'm going to go on the book 2, based on the last part of book 1 being good enough, and also having faith in other reviews I've read. If it doesn't work for me, I'll put it down. Yup. I sit on the fence at this point.

  • Branwen Sedai *of the White Ajah*
    2019-03-21 18:37

    This book was surprisingly good! I shouldn't be so surprised, because I generally adore Mercedes Lackey's work, espescially her Valdemar series. But this was a different type of story, so I wasn't sure what to expect. It was long, and it took a little while to get started, so you need to go into it with some patience. In fact, it felt like 65% of the book was exposition. Personally, I enjoyed its slower pace because the world building in this book was nothing short of amazing. The details in this fantasy world were described so painstakingly, they felt so vivid and real. And this book really does have a little bit of everything; magic, elves, unicorns, fighting, romance, etc... I highly recommend this book if you love well-crafted fantasy stories.

  • Jeffrey
    2019-03-06 13:29

    Like a number of the other free ebooks I’ve received through Tor lately, this one has some decent plot elements, but was very poorly executed. The major flaws are: • Two authors can successfully write a single book together, but in this case, it led to each chapter reading as though it was supposed to stand alone. Character details are mentioned over and over again as though neither author was sure if it had already been mentioned. • The characters are flat. The only growth is “gee, I have new powers!” • There was no wrap-up at the end. After the climax, the main character starts home, the end.

  • Blake
    2019-03-09 15:37

    To describe with one word.....Solid.This book is a really fun read. The story of kellen is one of the better traditional "heroes' journey's" I have read in casual fantasy. The world building is done effectively enough, but about as Tolkien influenced as you get. Nothing revolutionary here, But if you are looking for something to read that is fun, simple, and mostly well written, then this is a good choice.

  • Miranda-Hermione
    2019-03-12 16:21

    This is not one of Lackey's better books. The Outstretched Shadow is much longer than it should be, mostly due to over-description, and the hero's unending, repetitive, and unnecessary inner turmoil about whether or not he's going to the dark side (when it's perfectly clear that he hasn't an evil bone in his body).

  • Lynda
    2019-03-23 20:26

    I really enjoyed this series. However, I did skip the chapters that dealt with demons and details of torture, etc. These chapters were easy to skip and the content wasn't that important to the overall story.

  • Lynnette
    2019-02-28 15:21

    I really enjoyed this trilogy of books, and actually am sad it is finished. I would have loved to find out more about how Kellan and Vestokia progressed and about the changes the high mages made in their city etc.

  • Shala
    2019-03-10 19:24

    This was a solid fantasy novel! I enjoyed Kellen, and the relationships he builds in his adventure. The magic system is wonderful, and I really enjoy the world! I plan on continuing on with the series!

  • Kathy Davie
    2019-03-12 15:18

    And yet another Lackey-created world! I'd love to chat with this woman...she must be incredibly fascinating. Amazing tale of how fear can repress a society.

  • Dmw0325
    2019-03-11 20:15

    This book had a REALLY slow start, but I absolutely loved it!!!

  • B.P.
    2019-03-05 16:39

    After finishing a previous series I wasn't sure what I wanted to read next. Then, I came across this and since I had read Mercedes Lackey novels before I thought I'd give it a try. It was pretty good, at first I wanted to give this book 4 stars because I really did enjoy it. Then, after thinking about it for a bit I think some of my enjoyment came from the fact that I haven't read a high fantasy book in a while and it was a nice change of pace to my usual reading. After sitting back and thinking about the story I say this book is a solid three stars. I liked Kellen and the world he inhabits, the Golden City was interesting and I enjoyed his journey. After he leaves the city the story started to get a bit forced. I mean, in all the world Kellen finds his unknown long lost sister as soon as he leaves the city? I know it's explained away by magic, but still really? Kellen also spends quite a bit of time brooding about things after the fact. I understand a lot has changed for him and he's adjusting, but sometimes I just want to say get over it, you've made your choice no going back now. This book really comes across as young adult high fantasy with how much Kellen worries about his choices and the unfairness of some of those choices.The differences between the High magic and Wild magic was also a bit confusing because to me they sound about the same, but the High magic mages in the city just use keystones charged with the power of the citizens to do everything. So I'm not exactly clear on why the High mages hate wild magic so much. I know they try to explain it by saying it corrupts and leads to deals with demons, but any power can corrupt. Then, when Kellen is being trained by the elf he just magically is a good swordsman? I know he trains muscle memory, but I think he should have struggled a bit more and maybe encountered a few more bandits and a few more obstacles. Like when he faces the Queen herself there was no real fight. I liked how she tried to seduce him to the dark, but when the guise fell I was a bit disappointed she vanished and didn't fight him. The half demon girl was interesting and I look forward to see how the rest of the elves will feel about her. Another thing about this book the more I think about it, is that it's so long , but Kellen's journey is really short and the whole climax and finale seem rushed and left hanging. I think some of the filler in the beginning could have been left out. I also think the confrontation with the demons could have been better. He should have come face to face with a lesser demon and had a bit of a battle and realize there are stronger foes just waiting instead it was a bit anticlimactic with the demon queen herself revealed, then her just leaving. While I did like the book there was room for improvement, but it was a good read and I will read the next.

  • Mark Cameron
    2019-03-20 19:32

    Competent and familiar, at least for the most part. The setting is very much a typical Tolkien/Dungeons and Dragons type of fantasy setting in terms of creatures, society, magic, etc. The circumstances and dilemmas faced by the characters pretty stock. The magic system is also not very original. The book shows hints of being really original and interesting at times, but rarely explores those possibilities. Now in terms of the competency, my main complaint is pacing. Part one is fairly well paced and compelling, part two slightly less so, but part three really drags. Its kind of like the authors ran out of story but kept writing anyway in order to hit a minimum page number. This review hasn't been very positive and it sounds like I didn't like the book, but I did. I think that it's worth reading, it's just not a top of the list go read it right now kind of book. Anyway, there is plenty potential for future books.

  • Brad McKenna
    2019-03-13 15:38

    This is a book of mages with very little magic. It's a character-driven story and doesn't bother itself with getting into the weeds of explanation of how magic works. Aside fro Kellen, the characters are too deep but that's ok, because Kellen's character is good enough to carry more than his fair share of the weight. I liked the unique take on Unicorns but felt that the Demons weren't featured enough. The elven dislike of direct speech and thinking it rude to flat out ask a quest was a creative twist as well, though towards the end, a certain elf asks for and gets permission to do away with this. I found that to be a writing device to make that quest be read more easily. It was a solid story by a solid author.

  • Diana
    2019-03-23 17:11

    Good! But not a favorite. There's some deep worldbuilding, which made descriptions of places and travel vivid - the scenery leaped off the page - but I didn't feel much of a connection with any of the main characters. As soon as I felt we were getting somewhere character and/or conversation-wise, dialogue dried up. I still liked them, but that was about it. The ending was what really set this down to 3 stars for me. I knew not everything would get wrapped up - there are two more books in the series! But I never got any of the character resolution that makes even cliffhangers mildly satisfying. The worldbuilding was so dense that I'm a little hesitant to jump into the second book just yet, though I'm sure I'll get around to it.

  • Liana
    2019-03-16 16:34

    This seems like a really great and exciting story... But I got bored with it 50 pages in. D: There was a little too much telling and not showing for my liking. Fancy pants words mean nothing to me if I can't connect to the plot or characters. I know a lot of people say that this book gets better later on, but I honestly can't be bothered to chug through it when there are thousands of other fantasy books waiting for me to read. :'(...But that premise is so good though! Maybe this book should be made into a movie, hehehe.

  • Stacey
    2019-03-15 19:33

    Very goodI saw many many horrible reviews but I really liked this book. I didn't passionately love it.....more a comforting strong like! A lot of people complained about the bland good vs evil. Very black and white. I thought it was done with a perfect balance. Here I am reading the beautiful creatures, fanatical landscapes, Kellens innocence and then they switch to The Demons and I gotta say they were grotesque just enough to throw me out of my happy mood. Well done. Onto book 2!

  • Justin Domnitz
    2019-02-23 21:33

    This is a terrible fantasy novel. It has a talking unicorn in it. The characters are drab and unlikable. Humans flirt with an elves and centaurs. I guess they are compatible in this universe. There’s no build up or foreshadowing. There’s no overarching story that lends one to looking forward to the next chapter. The plot is a sort of ‘here you go’. And the reader just has to say, ‘ok, I guess.’ The whole effort is derivative and poorly written.