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The Outstretched Shadow Audiobook

The Outstretched Shadow: The Obsidian Trilogy, Book 1

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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 Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (691 )
5 star
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Story
4.2 (456 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    John Tupelo, MS, United States 08-29-11
    John Tupelo, MS, United States 08-29-11 Member Since 2011

    Mostly use audio books in planes these days. Know I really like a book when I find myself with earphones still on from home to hotel

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "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.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helen Foster-Turner Harrow, Greater London, UK 01-27-11
    Helen Foster-Turner Harrow, Greater London, UK 01-27-11 Member Since 2012

    I've been into epic fantasy, sci-fi and everything in between since I first read The Lord of the Rings. I also love detective novels.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
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    "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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jarred Evergreen, CO 06-02-10
    Jarred Evergreen, CO 06-02-10 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "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.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    F.Jensen 02-21-11
    F.Jensen 02-21-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AvidReader91 WA, United States 07-13-15
    AvidReader91 WA, United States 07-13-15 Member Since 2010

    Renee D

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Holly ALEXANDRIA, VA, United States 10-23-10
    Holly ALEXANDRIA, VA, United States 10-23-10

    I adore British literature from the Victorian Age through World war II, primarily, and fantasy, but also enjoy mysteries once in a while.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Absorbing drama"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book...the reader is excellent...the plot is intriguing. It was so excellent I bought the second one (hint: even better). This is a very clever storyline, with well articulated characters that you care about. Warmly recommended series.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ariel 05-25-10
    Ariel 05-25-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Australia 04-04-10
    Gary Australia 04-04-10 Member Since 2016
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    "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.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Travis Wulff 04-21-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Series But Not The Best"
    What made the experience of listening to The Outstretched Shadow the most enjoyable?

    The narrator has great inflections when she speaks. I really enjoy the sound of her voice and the attention to detail she gives each sentence.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story had a nice plot but my favorite part of the book was the descriptions of how magic worked in the world


    Have you listened to any of Susan Ericksen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    The book is great, though sometimes it feels as though the authors tried a little hard to make the lexicon larger. Overall this book was great. Nevertheless the prose isn't top tier if that is important to you.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    EdgeWalkerZero 04-11-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mediocre and Ponderous"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    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.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory again?

    Possibly, but only if reviews indicated that it was written well and for adults by reviewers.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Susan Ericksen?

    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.


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

    Acts of torture are described with a little too much grim enthusiasm. Other than that, no simple scene editing could have done much.


    Any additional comments?

    I stopped listening 90% of the way through- an exceptional event for me. I just couldn't take any more. Save yourself the trouble.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Gareth
    oxford, oxfordshire, United Kingdom
    7/8/10
    Overall
    "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 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Benny
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "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 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ooshga
    5/21/10
    Overall
    "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 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Joanne
    Bedford, United Kingdom
    11/14/12
    Overall
    "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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Kim
    3/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    1/21/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    11/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shotgunchewy
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    6/18/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Nice"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    A nice easy to follow story


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The Unicorn, he had a depth to him that I enjoyed.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • matt
    ramsgate, United Kingdom
    7/8/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "very good classic fantasy (its got it all!!)"
    What made the experience of listening to The Outstretched Shadow the most enjoyable?

    The story is great elves,unicorns,mage's and demons(ahhh). Really enjoyable story nicely read! 😊


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Outstretched Shadow?

    I enjoyed the story best just takes you away to another world!!!


    Which character – as performed by Susan Ericksen – was your favourite?

    Has to be the lead character!!!!😁


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    An adventure in another world when demons come back!


    Any additional comments?

    If you like fantasy books your love this honest!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ian
    12/11/12
    Overall
    "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 of 2 people found this review helpful

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