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.
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.
More believable consistent world where things are placed because it makes sense. More character depth. Leaving the reader to come to his own moral conclusions. Less handholding and assuming the reader is an idiot that needs to have key facts repeated 27 times before he understands them. Less annoying overemotional narrator.
Placed in a world that lacks sense and seems like someone dumped a monster handbook and a few character cliches upon it.
Rather not, she sounds constantly surprised in a very annoying way.
= Please take a lemon and cut out all the sour parts.
This was the first book in a veeery long time that I gave up on. I was waiting and waiting for things to get better, but after 14 hours I realized it's not gonna happen (it went worse) and I simply gave up. Bad book with annoying narration. I really wonder how this thing got such good reviews.
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.
yes, because the story is great
Jermayan, because he is strong and noble
I love the sound of her voice, she brings each charactor to life.
I loved it when Kellen stood up to his father and decided that he would rather be banished then to live a lie.
this is a very good book and i would listen to it over and over
I enjoyed this whole series, well thought out and consistent magic system, different races all have their own customs and histories. There are some things that bothered me, but not enough to really take away from the story line, the relative power and magics of the good and evil races seemed unbalanced. As underpowered as the good races seemed to be, it seems as if the evil races could have easily overrun the good races, and the people that could have balanced that feeling did not seem to have relevant roles in order to actually prevent that from happening; but it all works out ok somehow any way. There are way too many evil minion races that seem way overpowered to also have such great numbers to not have just overrun the good forces they came up against, and yet somehow even though they seem to constantly overwhelm; they are not as devastating as they should have been for the numbers and relative power they did have. The dragon was not as powerful as I would have hoped -I liked how the bond and magic worked for the dragon and its bonded mage- but I would have expected it to be fierce and dangerous even when it did lose its ability to use magic. The dragon should have dominated the lessor creatures it came up against easily, it should have taken bigger and tougher foes to keep it occupied and effectively neutralize it during battles.
All the things that bothered me were very minor compared to the richness of the story and the great character development, so this is still a definite must read for any one that likes fantasy.
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.
When I first began listening to this series I wasn't sure I liked it .... It's a good story line that is well thought out and overall I was entertained ... but it's not a story that will task or engage the reader / listener much. Doesn't compete with other top notch series.
I ended up purchasing / listening to all 3 books in the series, however I don't believe I'll ever call this one of my favorites.
1- Overall few surprises or ah ha! moments ... somewhat predictable
2- Character development seems rushed pretty much across the board
3- Narration took some getting used do ... I couldn't decide if it is the way the book is written or the narrators style but I often felt as if I was sitting in a 2nd grade class
This story focuses on a 17 year old boy with the mind of a 12 year old. I have never before caught myself rolling my eyes so often from a book. A minimum of the first 20 hours of this novel focuses on the main character complaining about how bad his life is as the son of the arch-marge of his city: it's too confining, he has too many comforts, he has to be served dinner in silver platters full of scrumptious foods and eat alone while his father is still at work and he has to go to school and learn high magic while other kids get to toil in the fields. I wanted somebody to slap some sense and maturity into him - or at least just make him stop whining. The beginning is slow and irritating. The book improves some during the last 10 hours through new scenery, new magic and some standard action - but not by much.
The characters lack any depth - they are either purely good or purely evil. There are no unexpected twists or surprises. It is juvenile and standard.
Unlike other reviewers, I like the author - one of the first female authors I've come across who is good. She is good at varying her voice and adding intonation.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, I love fantasy series and have read several dozen. I'll finish this series off because I hate ending short series part-way through. I'm just crossing my fingers the authors and the book's characters improve with time.
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.