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

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  998 Ratings  ·  112 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
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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Sep 14, 2013 Carol. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of light fantasy
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
All the Paths of Shadow is kind of a whimsical fantasy that stands well on its own even though it's part of a series. I've seen it referred to as Steampunk, and there are some very slight Steampunk elements - dirigibles in the sky, and a more scientific approach to magical gadgets. But, it was just a slight Steampunkish flavor.

I think what I enjoyed most about this was actually the non-human characters. Meralda is a court mage, and has the most unique familiar I've ever heard of - a plant! He wa
Mr. Matt
May 27, 2014 Mr. Matt rated it liked it
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
Amy Aelleah
May 02, 2014 Amy Aelleah rated it did not like it
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 newspaper
Olga Godim
Jun 15, 2013 Olga Godim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
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
♥ Ashleigh ♥  contrary to popular belief i'm not actually mad!
Ugh i hate writing a review when its been a while. I'll give it a go and hope for the best.

So All the Paths Of Shadow is an interesting book. Its set in a different world to what we live in but not by much, there are quite a few similarities, For one its kind of set in a relaxed Victorian era, you also have the Alon's who sound Scottish in dress and attitude. The Hang who sound Asian, possibly China or Japan. then there's the Tirlin, Eryans and the Vonats. Now I'm thinking Tirlin is more like En
Jun 30, 2015 Hannah rated it liked it
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
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
Pauline Ross
Fantasy Review Barn

This is one of those books that ticks all the right boxes for me. Spunky female lead – check. Detailed world building – check. Interesting magic system – check. Humour – check. A bit of a romance – check. Talking plant – check. Wait, what? A talking plant? OK, whatever. And yet, somehow... it doesn't quite work.

The premise is a good one. The kingdom's first female royal sorcerer (called a thaumaturge here) is given an unusual challenge by the king: ensure that his speech to th
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
Dec 03, 2013 Mary rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 13, 2014 Jennie rated it really liked it
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
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
Elyse Salpeter
Apr 03, 2012 Elyse Salpeter rated it it was amazing
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
Doe this book have a strong independent female character?
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
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
Verity Brown
Jul 16, 2016 Verity Brown rated it really liked it
Despite the airships, trolleys, and newspapers, this book feels far more like traditional humorous fantasy than steampunk. The magic system, which relies heavily on math, is one of the few I've ever seen that actually sounds difficult to master, rather than being something the reader could easily manage if only they had the power. The heroine is exceedingly likeable, the hero is pretty nearly perfect (despite not being alpha in the slightest), the plant familiar is hilarious, and the guard twins ...more
Mary B. Grove
Feb 24, 2015 Mary B. Grove rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slow start, rollicking finish

It took me a while to get into the book, mostly because I didn't think much of Meralda at first. She seemed arrogant and patronising about other people's belief in the ghost in the tower, and even after her own experience that something strange was happening, she still kept insisting everyone else was wrong. That type of pride and willful blindness is not an attractive quality in a main character, and she was very much the central character for the first several chap
Jun 25, 2015 Samantha rated it really liked it
Recommended to Samantha by: sjlang
I enjoyed this book, obviously. It never took itself too seriously, it had enjoyable characters, the magic system having such a heavy mathematics component was refreshing, and overall the book left me wishing I had a talking plant.

That said, the plot does skip around a lot, and Vonats are never really given any depth. The characters talk about them as if they are all villainous spies, and all the Vonats we meet are either depicted as unpleasant or shown to be stock villains. It makes one questi
Lee Cuppett
Feb 02, 2014 Lee Cuppett rated it really liked it
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
Jul 23, 2016 Raquel rated it it was amazing
This was quite different than I expected. And most excellent.

The setting is reminiscent of early industrial England plus magic but avoids steampunk or the annoying "society rules" and reputation issues that bog down many books in similar settings. It is still a story about a very intelligent, accomplished young woman in a difficult job for which being young and female make it more challenging. I appreciated the way that element was dealt but not dwelt upon.

The characters are amazing. I enjoyed
Feb 01, 2016 Rachel rated it liked it
This book has me torn. On the one hand, I really like the main character. She's driven and quippy and altogether very real. All the characters are great and the dialogue is well done.

On the other hand, the setting and the story arc seemed a little half baked. I could tell the author had it well mapped out in his mind, but he didn't always let on as to what was happening. There's a magical system in place that's very interesting, but he only hints at how it works. Possibly this is explored in th
Kim Power
Feb 18, 2015 Kim Power rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Meralda the Marvelous

Meralda, the first woman Mage to become Thaumaturge to the King, encounters one problem after the other when he King assigns her a frivolous task to launch an international treaty meeting. Tuttle has built a future world without technology but with a steampunk sensibility and a touch of magic. Meralda is an original, as is her familiar, Mug. Other central characters are a bit more stereotypical, the grumpy old Mage, the mysterious, handsome stranger, yet they are delightful
Brittny McKelvey
Jan 15, 2016 Brittny McKelvey rated it liked it
This book gave me emotions. The first 40% drug on and on and on. I found that certain elements of the story were lacking in explanation, but for the most part I managed to work out a lot of details on my own.
If you want complete honesty, the first chunk of this book is insanely boring. It is only due to the fact that I commit to finishing a book that I pushed through. I'm glad I did though, because once the story picked up, I blazed through. I love the magical elements, Mug is adorable, and hon
Dru Pagliassotti
Dec 18, 2014 Dru Pagliassotti rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I found this a very pleasant and enjoyable gaslight-fantasy novel. It's not complex or high-concept, but it offers entertaining, inoffensive, amusing escapism, which is really all I ask for most of the time. All The Paths of Shadow has a strong and sympathetic female protagonist, dodges some potential racial-stereotyping pitfalls while presenting a culturally diverse cast, presents an interesting set of human and inhuman support characters, and was suprisingly engaging given its simple initial p ...more
Mar 18, 2015 Brooke rated it it was ok
This book kept being recommended to me and it was cheap so I decided to try it out.

The story was okay, a little slow at first, but it got better. The world building needed a hand. It seemed like the author had a good idea but then couldn't get it off the ground so he borrowed a lot from the present (i.e. newspaper names, cultures, accents, food, history). It was set on Earth, but not Earth.

Meralda is okay, but her relationship with the king is odd. She works for him, but has no respect for him e
Dec 24, 2014 Angela marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
20 November 2014: $0.00 FREE on Kindle
Apr 28, 2015 Tathar added it
I've had this for a while, and started it twice before finishing it finally. It was interesting but not gripping, at least, not for me. My feeling is that it was somewhat overwritten, and slow to get started. I enjoyed the world and the characters, and as things went on, it got more involving.

The main character - a woman who has become the King's Mage when all the other important mages are men - is asked to move the shadow of a tower. Along the way, she discovers that there is a reason no one m
Apr 19, 2016 Riayl rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, steampunk
A fun, and often funny, read.
Feb 10, 2016 Cassie rated it liked it
I genuinely enjoyed this book. It has all the elements of the type of book I love—strong female protagonist not solely motivated by romance, alternate world, magic, steampunk (in theory). The talking plant, Mug, was absolutely delightful, and was easily one of the best parts of the storyline.

Although the world building was solid in the beginning, it would have been wonderful to explore it more in depth throughout the book. The different nationalities and relationships between them could have bee
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Feb 11, 2015 03:11PM  
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Other Books in the Series

Paths of Shadow (3 books)
  • All the Turns of Light (Paths of Shadow, #2)
  • Saving the Sammi

Share This Book

“The king sent word, at odd intervals, inquiring as to Meralda's progress. She would scrawl hasty replies in return, often suppressing the impulse to add notes such as "Abandoning spellwork to continue this fascinating correspondence," or "Slept late, long breakfast, taking the day off for a stroll in the park.” 3 likes
“Bed sheet, if you please. I’ll leave my dignity here.” 2 likes
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