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The Outstretched Shadow

(Obsidian Mountain #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  10,672 ratings  ·  376 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.
Hardcover, 604 pages
Published November 8th 2003 by Tor Books
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  10,672 ratings  ·  376 reviews

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Bookteafull (Danny)
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, classics
If you enjoy Tolkien, The Wheel of Time series, and classical fantasy - then do yourself a favor and PICK 👏🏽 THIS 👏🏽 UP 👏🏽.

That is all.

Feb 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
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
Mike (the Paladin)
Dec 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is a good 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
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
J.V. Seem
Mar 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I adore high fantasy. Sadly, very few books match up to my wishes. The last significant one I read was the Green Rider series, and I absolutely loved the first book, but then the rest of them plummeted thereafter in terms of quality. And I'm always looking for replacements, and so far, this rather fits the bill.

In this story, we meet Kellen, son of an archmage, who starts feeling the consequences of his restricted city life, the pressures put on him, and the strict rules and codes the town's inh
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Sep 26, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Dec 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 01, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: box-of-shame
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
musa b-n
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book! There are some weird bits, and a lot of violence! But the world-building is really really neat, and I very much like the development and writing of Kellen, the main-(ish) character.
Branwen Sedai *of the Brown Ajah*
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very fun, retro 80's-style Fantasy with a nice 21st-century polish. Comfort-food reading. It is not the most original storyline but it is very well realized. A fascinating well-structured and meticulous world-building; likable characters centered on a young mage's coming of age. This is full-throated Fantasy with talking unicorns, cheerful dryads, silly fauns, mighty centaurs, and other magical beings.

I'd read this before. Or at least some of it, about 14 years ago. Didn't remember anything o
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Mar 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
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). ...more
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a solid fantasy novel! I enjoyed Kellen, and the relationships he builds in his adventure. The magic system is wonderful, and I really enjoy the world! I plan on continuing on with the series!
Kathy Davie
Sep 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
And yet another Lackey-created world! I'd love to chat with this woman...she must be incredibly fascinating.

Amazing tale of how fear can repress a society.
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book had a REALLY slow start, but I absolutely loved it!!!
Scott Marlowe (Out of this World Reviews)


*** This review originally appeared on Out of this World Reviews. ***

The Outstretched Shadow by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory is book one of The Obsidian Trilogy. It is followed by To Light a Candle and When Darkness Falls.

This first book in the trilogy starts out very promising. Unfortunately, the initial plot which I found quite riveting begins to slow and finally fall flat for me as I gave up reading about halfway through.

Kellen Tavadon, son of the most powerful mage in the Go
Anne Hromalik
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
My short review is that this book was long, and it *felt* long.

This wasn't bad, but it was bland. The setting was reminiscent of dozens of other Tolkein-influence fantasy novels, as was the main character. I mean, the kid had to go on a journey to a mountain with an item to destroy another item, which is not that different from destroying the Ring. The main character is also a privileged git who wasn't necessarily unlikeable, and he eventually realizes this, but his woe-is-me son of the most po
This took me forever to read. I picked it up and set it down and reread it a couple times and eventually pushed myself to finish via audiobook. I love epic fantasies but this one just seemed to drag on and on. I did like some things. I liked learning about the world and the creatures and learning about wild magic. But I found the main character so annoying to follow since all he seemed to do was have this inner turmoil about every single thing he came across. The author also would spent too much ...more
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a Long book, especially as an audio book. Thirty plus hours of listening. I got lots of laundry folded and needlework done while I listened.

It's an epic fantasy that follows the classic pattern of a young man (in this instance) who is dissatisfied with his current life and discovers that he is special and meant for something more. Then he plunges into adventure. Kellen's discovery begins with the purchase of three magically disguised books that introduce him to wild magic. The story be
"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
Jan 02, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Kellen, is in school to become a high mage. But he just isn't happy doing this. He goes to a book store and purchases three books of magic. Little does he know that these are the books of Wild Magic forbidden to all. He becomes and outlaw but escapes the hunt sent after him - stone dogs that will kill him if he is caught.

He escapes only to find his sister that was outlawed when Kellen was 5. Memories wiped out by his father the high mage so he wouldn't ask disturbing questions.

This is the stor
Mark Cameron
Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: high-fantasy, fantasy
Competent and familiar, at least for the most part. The setting is very much a typical Tolkien/Dungeons and Dragons type of fantasy setting in terms of creatures, society, magic, etc. The circumstances and dilemmas faced by the characters pretty stock. The magic system is also not very original. The book shows hints of being really original and interesting at times, but rarely explores those possibilities. Now in terms of the competency, my main complaint is pacing. Part one is fairly well paced ...more
Mar 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
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
• 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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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 & M ...more

Other books in the series

Obsidian Mountain (3 books)
  • To Light a Candle (Obsidian Mountain, #2)
  • When Darkness Falls (Obsidian Mountain, #3)

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