A typical coming of age fantasy set in an interesting world, but unfortunately marred by repetitive expressions of angst from the main character that have no basis and are extremely tedious.
This book started out okay. The narrator does alright- not amazing, but alright. The story itself starts out super interesting, but gradually loses its worth.
The book takes such a long time to get to where it's going, that by the time it finally gets there you don't care anymore. I managed to make myself finish this whole thing, hoping it would pay off. I'm still not sure if it did or not. It set up some potentially cool things, so maybe the sequels pay off, but I'm so worn out by the endless repetitiveness of this book that I don't think I can handle any more.
I really enjoyed listening to this book and look forward to the next book (s) in this series. Always a fan of Mercedes Lackey I expected no less than the entertaining book that I got.
This first book has a dense and satisfying story. Well written so you know that the stories are relevant, each has its own people, tempo and purpose. And as you reach the last "act" all the stories become interwoven as you understand that without the beginnings the end would not have been possible.
I'm starting the next book now!
It's not likely to be possible. The plot outline is basically sound in theory, but it is fleshed out in a way that I found impossible to enjoy. The only thing that could work would be a complete rewrite of the text. I couldn't decide what age group and audience the book was intended for. Much of the narrative is simplistic, even cliché, and is in a tone one might expect in a young-adult novel. Other sections are graphically violent or describe torture in a way that seem only appropriate for a book written for mature adults. In addition, the story is padded with a lot of irrelevant and uninteresting information. The magic is also disappointing. Most fantasy novels involving supernatural powers have either a rational quasi-science to them, or an appeal to the mysterious and arcane. In this book, magic is frequently like an inscrutable and annoying genie- the characters just want something done, and it is magically accomplished without any explanation, and the characters are given a cost frequently nonsensical. Just one example I found especially irritating is the morality in the story. For saving his life, the magic demands a character be celibate for a year. Even if we gloss over the annoying lack of exploration into how this is accomplished, or how the characters receive the information about the cost to be paid, there are problems. This exchange (celibacy for being saved) is portrayed as self-evidently guided by some ineffable moral force, the “Wild Magic,” which is always shown to demand things like cleaning a cistern, escorting an old woman to the market, and other cloying helpful acts. The implication is that sex is immoral. This strange reflection of rudimentary Victorian sensibilities in the structure of the fantasy appears is obnoxious. That is merely one problem among many.
Possibly, but only if reviews indicated that it was written well and for adults by reviewers.
I'm not familiar enough with available narrators, but someone experienced in reading books for adults and mature readers. Ericksen reads as though to a child, which would have been appropriate in other circumstances.
Acts of torture are described with a little too much grim enthusiasm. Other than that, no simple scene editing could have done much.
I stopped listening 90% of the way through- an exceptional event for me. I just couldn't take any more. Save yourself the trouble.
I tried to like this book. I swear, I really did try. It's just... well, Kellen Tavadon is awful. And I don't mean awful in an intriguing anti-hero sort of way. I mean awful in a dear god why oh why is he still having this same inner monologue, please make the bad man stop... sort of why. I mean, by halfway through the sentence "but they couldn't, cooould they?" became the equivalent to me of fingernails on a chalkboard.
For all the conceptual strengths of the world crafted by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, they really couldn't have fumbled any more on a central character. Kellen is daft, dull, redundant, repetitive, and sucks the life out of every moment he puts his hands to. He is essentially the anti-Midas Touch of literature.
Often times an abundance of action or fast moving plot can cover up a frail main character, but Outstretched Shadow tries to center everything around Kellen. As such it spends a lot of time with him having inner-monologues, wondering about aimlessly, and being drawn out on rather minor tasks with a forced feeling of eventually mattering injected in.
That's the shame though. As world building go, the book isn't half bad. It's not redefining the genre, but there's enough depth, creativity, and layers to create an effective fantasy tale. Susan Ericksen definitely puts a strong foot forward in trying to carry the book in spite of its lead, but at points I felt her reading gave Kellen an even more childlike persona than he already had. Seeing how well Ericksen handled the other characters though, I really must attest that too Kellen just being an unsalvageable character.
With all of that said. Would I recommend the book? No. Would I recommend against the book? No either. If you're going to give it a go, just prepare yourself for what you're getting into and I wish you the best of luck.
I love to read and since 2011 I have been mostly listening to audiobooks because oftentimes there is nothing like a good narrator.
Yes. The authors have put together a well thought out world and many of the characters are above par.
Yes. I was a little worried at the start and getting into the middle of this 1st book but it did pick up a little. The Narrator was noticeably too slow but thank the heavens that the Audible App on my Android phone has a setting to play it at 1.25x speed. This is one thing I wish my Kindle did and I'd have to warn someone who had a Kindle.
I am listening to the 2nd book in this series by her.
To casual fantasy readers you might not like the 1st book much. Kellen does a lot of, well....whining regarding his self doubt, inability to do this or that, and almost anything he can doubt himself about. Its mostly inner-monologue but that doesn't make it any better or any easier to listen to. His self-confidence is horrible.
The World in general that the authors have created has awesome potential. Already in the 2nd half of this book you start to see it and it gets better in the 2nd book. I hope the authors keep on this tangent but I've only listened to this 1st book in the series and now am in the middle of the 2nd.
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.