All the Paths of Shadow (Paths of Shadow, #1)
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All the Paths of Shadow (Paths of Shadow #1)

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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  370 ratings  ·  64 reviews
“Walk warily, walk swiftly, walk away.”

The king’s orders were clear enough. “Move the tower’s shadow,” he bellowed. “I refuse to deliver my commencement speech from the dark.”

As the newly appointed mage to the Crown of Tirlin, Meralda Ovis has no choice but to undertake King Yvin’s ill-conceived task. Tirlin’s first female mage, and the youngest person to ever don the robe...more
Paperback, 1st Edition, 484 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Cool Well Press (first published September 13th 2011)
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Community Reviews

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Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
An ice cream sundae of fantasy reads; sweet, flavored with familiarity, a variety of pleasing textures. Tuttle has created a heroine I wish I could have found at fourteen, a more self-reliant one than Aerin in The Blue Sword--no kidnapping or aging paramour warrior kings necessary. Meralda is an eighteen-year-old mage who uses logic, math, courage and persistence when confronting an array of challenges, both human and occult.

Meralda is the youngest mage and the first woman to be appointed to the...more
Mr. Matt
Meralda Ovis is a woman with a very big problem. Mainly the fact that the king wants her to move the shadow of an extremely ancient and reputedly haunted tower. Things only get worse from there. She's assigned two guards that she doesn't need or want. The rival kingdoms are coming together to renew their fractious peace and someone appears dead set on trying to stop that renewal. The mysterious people from across the sea decide to show up as well. Oh, and Meralda is first female royal Mage and m...more
Olga Godim
An enjoyable light fantasy, this novel blends steampunk and magic, dirigibles and talking plants into a charming, seamless tale. The protagonist Meralda is the new Thaumaturge of Tirlin. Despite being only eighteen, she is the smartest mage the kingdom has known for centuries, a brilliant girl genius – a refreshingly original concept in fantasy fiction. She fights no battles; she embarks on no quests. Instead, moving between her home and her laboratory, she solves problems, using magic, mathemat...more
Hallie
I enjoyed this book so much more than I think perhaps I *should* have, given certain quibbles, that I'm going to explain how bad the reading circumstances were before saying anything about the book itself. The next paragraph entirely skippable, so!

I got this all downloaded on my phone ready to spend the day in hospital with my mother, who was having the battery on her pacemaker changed. Theoretically a lot of sitting around with her dozy or being proceded upon, after I'd done all the sitting aro...more
Nathan
Fantasy Review Barn

There is an old story that this reviewer is much too lazy to do any research that would verify or debunk. The story says that a man who went by Dr. Suess wrote Green Eggs and Ham on a dare based on only using a hundred distinct words. I bring this up only because I wonder if there was a dare behind ‘All the Paths of Shadow.’

“Mr. Tuttle,” I imagine a smug friend of the author saying (though he probably wouldn’t use the impersonal Mr., but rather a more friendly Frank). “I dare...more
Mary
This was really good. Amazon suggests this book as Young Adult Literature, but it was just a rousing good fantasy for any age. I'm looking forward to the sequel and many more in the series. I got it as a free download ebook from amazon and have now bought several of the author's other books.

UPDATE: Passed this along to my 13 year old son for a school project. The teacher thought it might be too long, as he has a learning disability and has a hard time with reading. He LOVED it, and is bugging m...more
Hannah
3.5 stars. By the end of All the Paths of Shadow, I can happily say that it was quite an enjoyable light fantasy read... which is not something that I would have said had you asked me how I felt about this book at the halfway point. There is good characterization here and the dialogue is zippy, the prose flowing and easy to read, but the world-building and plodding pace of the first half made for a rather uneven result.

A major reason for the gap in quality between the first and second halves of...more
Jennie Pratt
I want to start by saying that I think the cover very much misrepresents Meralda. The lady on the cover looks like she is perfectly coiffed... Meralda wasn't at any point in this book. She came across as a brilliant mathematician who cared more for her enchanted dandyleaf plant, science, and numbers than about her appearance. And those are the very reasons I fell in love with her story! She's incredibly headstrong and independent. Always my favorite type of heroine.

The story itself is mostly pr...more
Amy Aelleah
I can't do it any more. I just cannot keep reading books in the hope that they will get better when it's quite obvious to me that they won't. It took me ten weeks to make it halfway through this book. I can't even begin to tell you how many other books I had started and finished in that time. (Actually, after looking it up on Goodreads, I can. Ten books.)

So, what's wrong with this book? Ugh, what isn't?

Setting: The setting makes no sense. You get take-out coffee and donuts along with newspapers...more
Jamee Pritchard
This book is exceptionally well written, full of intricate detail and a polished style of writing. Author Frank Tuttle does a superb job in showing his reader the specific elements of the story instead of just telling. His world of Tirlin is quite imaginative yet reminiscent of our own society.

His story centers around Mage Meralda Ovis and her difficult task of moving the shadow from the tallest tower in the kingdom by order of the king in time for the Accords, the peaceful meeting of five nati...more
Elyse Salpeter
I have just finished reading All the Paths of Shadow and can't stop thinking about the main character, Meralda Ovis. As mage to the Crown of Tirlin, she presents exactly the type of young strong female protagonist we love and need to see more of. She's independant and strong and brilliant, using wits, skills, and hard work to solve problems. She's wise beyond her years and possesses a grace, bravery and intellect that you don't normally see in YA books today. She must rely on her own devices to...more
Mike
I enjoyed this very much, despite some flaws. In particular, I enjoyed seeing a truly competent female protagonist and characters who trusted each other.

There are a few editing issues, but only a few. Breech instead of breach, Bellringer's instead of Bellringers', passed instead of past, boogie instead of bogey, sherbert as a misspelling of sherbet, whickers instead of whiskers, millenia used as the singular, and belied used to mean betrayed were the ones I caught, plus a couple of cases where a...more
Nazia
I got "All the Paths of Shadow" for free on Amazon and I have to say I never imagined it would be this good. When I started this book, I thought I would give it a try before I threw it on my DNF pile. But the truth was I couldn't put it down at all. I devoured it in two days!

It is a very light read with the author infusing elements of steampunk and fantasy into the story. There is a strong female MC, a smart alecky houseplant, a sweet love interest and scary dark magic hiding in a tower. If the...more
Lee Cuppett
Let me start out by saying, I didnt mean to read this book. I just sorta picked it up and was gonna browse through it while the brownies baked. Took the brownies out and continued "browsing" now five hours later I have read the entire book. And thoroughly enjoyed it!!

Nice blending of magic, mystery, steampunkishness, and a little romance thrown in for fun.

While being the "youngest" or the "first woman" to be a fill in the blank is pretty old staple, I still found this book to be refreshing and n...more
Denise
An imaginative, well-written and thoroughly enjoyable fantasy tale which is filled with both magical and political intrigue, a great cast of characters and lacking neither humour nor a bit of romance. I really loved the main character, Meralda, who is strong, smart and independent and whose world I would love to return to in the future. All in all a great read!
Laura
Very unique and fun fantasy. Loved the sense of humor. Also loved the fact that not every villain turns out to be villainous. (I was getting really tired of disaster plots where "everything that could go wrong will" which I've always found to be unrealistic.)

Unintentionally funny, however, were all the references to her bathing in a water closet. Water closets where I'm from are little closet-sized rooms with a toilet. Bathrooms contains baths, and you can have both a water closet and a bathroom...more
Delia
"Walk wearily, walk swiftly, walk away" Meralda is a clever, cunning, and brilliant character who strongly shows that you should never underestimate a girl. Meralda is ordered to move the shadow of the tallest tower in Tirlin for king Yvin's speech at the Accords. No one has ever done a shadow moving spell before and definatly not under such a short time limit. To make matters worse, people say the tower is haunted. Strange lights flicker in the windows at midnight and powerful spells are hidden...more
Eero
This was a Kindle freebie by an author previously unknown to me. I chose to read it because I liked the cover and the reviews were promising.

The story takes place entirely in one city, in a world with steampunkish technology and scientific magic. It is not Earth, but retains many Earthly details or their analogs, sometimes in ways that convey either a tongue in cheek attitude or lazy worldbuilding. Meralda, the sensible protagonist is (interestingly or not) the only female character I remember....more
Kay Bolton
This Novel was one of my DSOA's from way back when .... oh okay, March this year, and I've finally found the time to read it.

For me this was a touch too boring, there seemed to very little action taking place until right towards the very, very end.

The actual plot line, it it had been snappier and with a few interesting twists worked in would have created really quite a nice piece of fiction, it just failed to perform.

On the bright side, the characterisation wasn't bad. I particularly loved Mug,...more
Sylvia


Periodically a new writer will come along, and I'll say to myself, this one is one to watch out for! Frank Tuttle is definitely a writer to watch! I have been reading his books for a while now and he just keeps getting better. I've enjoyed his fun, but edgy hard-boiled detective, Markhat, as well as his short stories, especially Wistril Compleat (We'll Dine in Shifts!), but this new book is a whole other kettle of fish. First of all, it is significantly longer than some of his other books. Ther...more
Jen
A very enjoyable read. This is well-written light, humorous fantasy. There is a slight steampunk edge - or rather, it's a Victorianesque setting with airships, and the magic system relies heavily on copper devices. The characterisation is good - no cardboard cutouts here. The pace is swift, and the plot is complex enough to be interesting - not everything is neatly tidied away at the end, so presumably there will be a sequel, to which I am looking forward.

Some reviewers have been disappointed th...more
Lonleypurplecat
Doe this book have a strong independent female character?
Yes.
Good, then that's all I need to know.
No seriously, Meralda is now one of my favourite heroines. She's super kick ass and knows complicated maths stuff and can do magic and she doesn't get moon-eyed, flirty or stupid over random good looking guys (of which there are some in this book).

This book was really good, but the magic system that Tuttle created made my head hurt a little bit, but that's probably because a lot of the magic relied...more
Dan Norton-middaugh
I thoroughly enjoyed All the Paths of Shadow. Tuttle is a skilled and -- humane -- author, by which I mean that he is both readable AND he creates characters that I'd be willing to have over for dinner. He treats his characters well, and they treat each other well. And, quite wonderfully, he writes fully realized, engaged, self-determining female characters: something I don't expect from a male author.

I look forward to more in this series.
Lyns
Excellent, if you like the Abhorsen, you will love this. This book is barely Steampunk, just has magical devices made of copper and dirigibles. The idea of a mage having to solder and build devices is great. It also reminded me of the type of magic in Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind. I loved how this book stood alone, but thought the world was worth playing in more. I am pleased to find it is the first of a series.
Deena
This was great fun, and well written. Good world building without disruption of plot development - lots of action, and a great female protagonist. And Mug.

Some of the things that were the same in this world and ours were a bit odd. Egg rolls? Really? But it was just odd, not too disruptive to get past.

The only bad thing about this is not knowing when the second one will be released!
Barbara
Aug 05, 2014 Barbara rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf
An entertaining tale with witty dialogue and well drawn characters - up to and including a pair of wizard's staffs, a tower and a pot plant. My only complaint is the build up to the problems the heroine has to solve was more elaborate than the solution, but that is a very minor quibble.

I'll definitely be buying more books by this author.
Commentary
I really wavered between two and three stars for this one. I really liked the characters and the story but the pace was VERY slow. Way too much detail. Do we really need to know about what she ate at every single meal, every time she visited the water closet and every time she nodded off at her desk? She is the most powerful wizard ever and blushes every time a man pays attention to her? Don't think so... Also the world building was totally confusing. Donuts and take out coffee mixed in with dir...more
Maria Schneider
I really enjoyed this book. It's one of those stories that stuck with me and is richer from the details that stuck. I was a little distracted when I started it and having trouble settling into it at first (I was on a plane) but before long I was rooting for the characters (especially the sidekick Mug--oh, How I need one of these great plant sidekicks!) and enjoying the plot. This book, like a lot of Tuttle's work, is strong on atmosphere--there's a couple of scenes with the ghost that are just t...more
SarahBeth
Read this on my ereader. I was a little disconcerted to see 6421 pages when I first downloaded it, but I'm guessing that must mean lines or something. The paperback version (which I will make my mother purchase and read if I have to hack her amazon account myself) says only 484 pages. Either way, it was a great story and I was sad to see it end.

Lightly steampunk YA novel set in a thinly disguised England/Europe. The characters are wonderful. Mug the dandyleaf plant is a unique and witty familiar...more
Barbara
I enjoyed this book immensely! It had a unique setting, a brilliant take on magic (it's governed by mathematics!), the lovely addition of Chinese culture, and a heroine who's motivation isn't marriage or romance. I didn't find it lacking in excitement or action as some reviews have noted, but then again I am a fan of the classics and thoroughly enjoy a thoughtful, evenly paced book that continually delights and surprises me. I very much hope a sequel is in the works, as I look forward to followi...more
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“Bed sheet, if you please. I’ll leave my dignity here.” 2 likes
“Meralda shook her head. "Pay him no attention, gentlemen," she said. "Logic fails. Reason surrenders. Silence is your only defense."

"Silence, and a whooping big crossbow," muttered Mug. Kervis grinned, and Mug winked. "That's a lad," he whispered. "There's hope for you yet.”
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