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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.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
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.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
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
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.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
good and bad mages, high magic, wild magic and truly evil magic demons and of course unicorns. loving it! no swearing blasphemy or sex. Plenty of fantasy. the only criticism is that sometimes its repetitive and slow moving. but 30 hours of words might explain that.
I didn't mind the narration though I don't think it's Susan Erickson's best work. But the plot is under developed and the book drags on massively. I'm a big fan of Mercedes Lackey but I couldn't stick with this. I was thoroughly bored.