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The Outstretched Shadow (Obsidian Mountain #1)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  7,708 ratings  ·  247 reviews
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.

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Hardcover, 608 pages
Published November 8th 2003 by Tor Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Metaphorosis
I seem to differ from other reviewers in that I found the first part of this book to be the most interesting. The authors display the City and its culture for us, rebellious hero Kellen learns about Wild Magic, etc. After a while, the discovery slows, and the story becomes formulaic. Sadly, that only continues as the book progresses.

I found The Outstretched Shadow to be a readable YA fantasy, but it didn't go beyond that. The characters were pleasant, but not intriguing - they pretty much all f
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Johanna
I couldn't even finish this book. I am a big fan of Mercedes Lackey, I am an avid reader of all things fantasy, and high fantasy is some of my favorite reading, but holy hell. This book dragged on like nothing I've ever read. When you've hit the 500th page of a book and nothing of note has happened, we've got a problem. I know it's part of a series, but the first book has to hook me into the story, otherwise I'm not going to waste my time with later books. Also, what's with the nonstop use of th ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Sep 26, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No One
Shelves: fantasy, fiction, novels
I'm a fan of Mercedes Lackey's books by and large, especially her early Valdemar books, and despite her being prolific I've managed to read most of them--this is the weakest book I've read by her, and I'm not sure how much to blame her co-writer, James Mallory. Some of the book's weaknesses are ones I've seen in other books of hers: mainly that she's very black and white, with little nuance in her villains and their motivations.

This story actually had a lot of original elements which makes me w
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Mike (the Paladin)
This is a good book...in spite of the fact that it just sort of "ends". Yes plan to get the next volume as this is indisputably the first in a series.

I'm not really a dyed in the wool Lackey fan. I've found her books very much a mixed bag. Some of her books I've loved others I've not been able to get through. Many people seem to snap up and love anything and everything she writes (and I'm happy for you). I've often wished I felt that way. In this book (if you're familiar with her work) you'll s
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Amber
This book wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't groundbreaking either. Everything about it was pretty much cliche: the plot, the protagonist, the magic system, the villans.

The story starts out painfully slow; things don't begin to pick up until about 150 pages into it. Half of that time was spent describing silly little things that don't pertain to the story in any way. Whole pages would be devoted to the description of buildings or how the plumbing system worked. I don't mind learning how your w
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Susan
I liked the story and the characters very much; and I loved the concept of wild magic in this book. But so much of the book was taken up by the mental anguish of its main character, Kellen Tavadon, that it began to feel like filler -- something added to make the book thicker.

Granted Kellen has been torn from his insular urban existence and thrown into the wide world of wild magic, and his struggles to find the truth between these conflicting worlds are important to the story. But I have enough o
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Cheryl
This was a beautiful story of the maturation of a naive, misfit boy, Kellen, discovering the world that has been hidden from him his entire life. I really liked the way this book included so many fantastical creatures you don't typically see included in fantasy novels such as unicorns, centaurs, fauns, sprites, etc... I really appreciated how they were also given personalities and an important place in the world other than just beautiful creatures the heros encounter. I also like the way all mag ...more
Branwen *Blaidd Drwg*
Feb 07, 2013 Branwen *Blaidd Drwg* rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves epic fantasy
This book was surprisingly good! I shouldn't be so surprised, because I generally adore Mercedes Lackey's work, espescially her Valdemar series. But this was a different type of story, so I wasn't sure what to expect. It was long, and it took a little while to get started, so you need to go into it with some patience. In fact, it felt like 65% of the book was exposition. Personally, I enjoyed its slower pace because the world building in this book was nothing short of amazing. The details in thi ...more
Matt
"The Outstretched Shadow" is a mixture of excellent plot and mind-numbing exposition that is makes for a maddening read for anyone making it through the book. Authors Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory collaborated in creating interesting and worth-reading characters as well as burying them with pages of padding.

The book revolves around Kellen, the disgruntled son of the Arch-Mage ruler of his home city. Finding life in the city stifling and the rule of Mages like himself based on a lie, Kellen y
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Rosemary
It had been a very long time since I'd read any Mercedes Lackey books. I loved her heralds books (especially the first set), but over time I got tired of talking animals, and what seemed to be the same characters repeated over and over, whether wearing heralds' whites, skins and feathers, or court robes. And then there is the sometimes interminable detail of scenery, domestic decoration, and attire.

But, for some reason, I picked this up.

Wow. Talking "animals." And a heroine most comfortable in t
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Neda Stojkovic
I've read a lot of Mercedes Lackey's books, and though I can't say she doesn't have very many shortcomings as an author, I've only highest praise for her imagination. Though not very original, her stories are very enjoyable, her characters likable, her world-building fun. That is true for this story too, so I would recommend it to fantasy-lovers, but not the ones too picky about language or simplifying characters or situations. For instance, for half a book I was really bothered by childish beha ...more
Anne Hromalik
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa
Would I call this the best fantasy written? Of course not, it borrows many elements from all over, but what Mallory and Lackey have done with this book, is make it entertaining and captivating, and for that reason I like it very much. This book is the first in what is known as the Obsidian Trilogy and it does make a very good beginning.

Kellen is almost your average boy. Except that he's not. He's mageborn and not to just any mage, he is the son of the Arch-Mage Tavadon, leader of all the mages i
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Melissa
Jan 17, 2010 Melissa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: readers of Lackey
Shelves: fantasy
Yep. I agree with other readers, the first part of this book moves so slowly that you keep putting it down. I'm not sure why it seemed slow to me, I can usually read a lot of detail and still enjoy the story, but this one was tedious at first.

The story is typical good and evil, young adult finds magic powers, takes off on journey, meets lots of cool creatures, doubts himself, doubts everyone else, and fights the demons.

I think the first 1/4 of the book demonstrates by example how dull and repe
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Jeffrey
Like a number of the other free ebooks I’ve received through Tor lately, this one
has some decent plot elements, but was very poorly executed. The major flaws
are:
• Two authors can successfully write a single book together, but in this case,
it led to each chapter reading as though it was supposed to stand alone.
Character details are mentioned over and over again as though neither
author was sure if it had already been mentioned.
• The characters are flat. The only growth is “gee, I have new pow
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Ella
Oh god where to begin.

What I liked:
The description.I hate books that give only very vague impressions and descriptions it makes me feel like the authors themselves don't have a clear idea about the world they are writing,so all the description was refreshing but unfortunately went into the other extreme and there was just waay too much.
Also the way wildmagic worked was pretty interesting...kinda...whatwith the unpredictable bargains and prices to be paid etc...

What I didn't like....pretty much
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Michael
This books seems to have gotten some very mixed ratings. I've read a number of the more critical review of the book and while I can understand and even agree with many of the points they raise, I still give this book a 4-star rating, because I really enjoyed it.

Most of my fantasy reading the last couple of years has been in the "urban" or "contemporary" fantasy catagory. While there are some good and even great authors an books in this group, I've lately had an urge for a more classic, "epic" fa
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Kelsey Hanson
Actual rating: 3.5
I originally read this series back in high school and I discovered it in a way that was incredibly similar to how Kellen discovers his magic book. I found them at a book sale and the three books just popped out at me. Recently, I found out that there is a spin-off series to this one. I wanted to read it but I couldn't remember much from this series so I reread it. Admittedly, it's not as good as I remembered. While my enthusiasm for this series as dimmed it hasn't been snuffed
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Renee
I was determined to finish what I started, though once again it was difficult due to just how awful the book was. Are there any good writers left?

This was a good story. I mean, I know that it's a good story because when JRR Tolkien wrote it it was good. And when George Lucas turned the general idea into my beloved Star Wars trilogy, it was excellent. So, having been done very well before, I know it is a good story.

But this time it was not done well. Not even close. The writing was amateurish (on
...more
Blake
To describe with one word.....Solid.
This book is a really fun read. The story of kellen is one of the better traditional "heroes' journey's" I have read in casual fantasy. The world building is done effectively enough, but about as Tolkien influenced as you get. Nothing revolutionary here, But if you are looking for something to read that is fun, simple, and mostly well written, then this is a good choice.
Rosemarie  TheCosyDragon
This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon . Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me, which appear on a timely schedule.

Kellen has been sent 3 strange books. For his knowledge, he shall be cast out of his city in discrase. Little does he know that other family members are willing to look out for him.

Kellen is endearing, frustrating and awesome all at once. Once again, a strong male character who I actually enjoy reading about. The unicorn he meets provides a bit o
...more
Miranda-Hermione
This is not one of Lackey's better books. The Outstretched Shadow is much longer than it should be, mostly due to over-description, and the hero's unending, repetitive, and unnecessary inner turmoil about whether or not he's going to the dark side (when it's perfectly clear that he hasn't an evil bone in his body).
Storm
Ooooh Gods, If a story was ever deserving of the title 'epic'...

Let's start at the beginning! The first one we meet is Kellen Tavadon, Son of the highest ranking Mage in the city of Armethalieh. We also meet his Father, his Mage-Tutor, and a host of other, just as important characters that our young Kellen never would have dream-pt of meeting before his adventures!

So, the basics, Danger is coming to the Golden City, none of them knows it, and NO ONE knows just how close the danger really is!

Kell
...more
Lynnette
I really enjoyed this trilogy of books, and actually am sad it is finished. I would have loved to find out more about how Kellan and Vestokia progressed and about the changes the high mages made in their city etc.
Lynda
I really enjoyed this series. However, I did skip the chapters that dealt with demons and details of torture, etc. These chapters were easy to skip and the content wasn't that important to the overall story.
Jimmy
Jan 05, 2014 Jimmy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jimmy by: Science Fiction Book Club
Kellen Tavadon begins as a seventeen year old student of High Magic, (the only accepted form of magic practiced), that rebels against his father, (the Arch-mage of the High Council of Mages, and the Arch-mage of the ruling Council of Armathelieh), and his teachings and principles. (Along with the reader,) Kellen will make many shocking discoveries as he grows up and matures.
The mages of Armathelieh feed on the citizen’s talismans, (that store power), in order to continue their practice of High M
...more
Ethan
May 13, 2014 Ethan added it
The Outstretched Shadow by Mercedes Lackey is the first fantasy novel in a trilogy that depicts a strange and arcane world. The main problem with the novel is that the plot is quite prosaic compared to other fantasy novels. It is a common theme for there to be a “great evil” in a novel of this genre and this book is no exception. The main protagonist starts out as a well-to-do heir to an Arch Mage in a grand city of spiraling gold towers and marble walls. The protagonist does something he should ...more
Dmw0325
This book had a REALLY slow start, but I absolutely loved it!!!
David Wickham
I think about 200 pages could be cut from this book. I get it that Kellan is unsure about his place in the world. I get it that the Endarkened are evil. I get it that Kellan has daddy issues.

Why rehash these things over and over and over? I also get that the Sentarshshadeen is a beautiful city. Once again, why bring that up time and time again?

It's a great story but it really needs to edited down. Maybe the problem is having two authors. Generally I find a book with multiple authors aren't as g
...more
Elizabeth
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I have not read any of James Mallory's other books so I wasn't sure what to expect. It got to the action very quickly so I didn't feel like it lingered on at all. I will say the only thing I don't like are the names of the elves and some of the cities. It feels like they just randomly clicked letters on a keyboard. They are very cumbersome to read and don't flow at all. But if that is my only complaint, then I'd have to say it isn't too bad of a book. On ...more
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8685
Mercedes entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70's she worked as an artist's model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts &a ...more
More about Mercedes Lackey...

Other Books in the Series

Obsidian Mountain (4 books)
  • To Light a Candle (Obsidian Mountain, #2)
  • When Darkness Falls (Obsidian Mountain, #3)
  • The Obsidian Mountain Trilogy
Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar, #1) Magic's Pawn (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #1) By the Sword (Valdemar: Kerowyn's Tale, #1) Magic's Price (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #3) Arrow's Fall (Heralds of Valdemar, #3)

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