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.
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.
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.
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.
Bachelor Chef and Mathematician. I don't bother with books shorter than 20 hours, not worth the effort.
This series is much better than I had expected and actually one of the better series available on Audible. Though it takes a bit to accept the plot and characters, the authors do give a good idea some meat and blood so that in the last you are hoping for more though you know it is ending.
Very well written and well narrated. Much better investment than the Song of Ice and Fire.
This book would have been a decent one if they had cut out about half the words used. Over and over again the same material is gone over. The characters monologue themselves over actions that should take a few lines to get done. I also understand the desire to make the villains abhorrent but I wanted to skip each section they appeared in. The cannibalism, incest, and other things done are very off putting and not needed to make a bad group loathed by the reader.
If it was in young adult section, then i would have given it 3.5 to 4 stars. However, this book compared with "Blade Itself" (which i read just before this one) does not measure up. It listen like someone telling a story to a child, and little bit of a blame can be put on the narrator as well. Anyway, it is a not as bad of a listen that you can not finish it, though i maintain that is in wrong section.