The Outstretched Shadow

by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

Reviewed by Coral

Kellen Tavadon has always rebelled against the ordered, boring life in the City. The City is run by a Council of Mages; the Council is run by the High Mage, Kellen's father. The Council has strict rules about what is and isn't allowed in the city and about who can and can't practice the mage's High Magic. They have also forbidden those who live in the city from ever passing beyond its walls.

One day, while shopping where he shouldn't, Kellen finds a set of books that can magically hide their true titles from others. Curious, he brings them home and learns that they are books on the forbidden practice of Wild Magic.

Kellen will have to risk everything if he wants to learn the truth of these books. But in doing so, he may learn about the world beyond the city's borders, where an ancient evil is rising again.

I didn't really enjoy this book.

The main issue for me was the lack of logic in what happened in the books. Kellen's father, Lycaelon, uses his magic to erase the ability to perform magic in a woman, because they are deemed too emotional to use magic. He also mentions that there are spells in place that will kill anyone who leaves the city without permission, transferring a disease to them that will end their life in a few months. But, then, why are people who are exiled from the city not punished in the same way? It doesn't make any sense that rogue mages are left to leave the city still knowing how to use their magic or that this disease is not passed on to them.

The book was also rather slow moving. We have chapters devoted to the demons, the ancient evil that is rising again. So we can see what they are plotting. But in Kellen's plot, things meander along as he learns about the world around him. Things happen, he reacts, but nothing that drives the plot beyond that. Near the end of the book he finally has something to do that connects to the demon plot, but it takes too long to get there.

I guess it wasn't a horrible book. I just can't overlook the logical flaws in it to want to read the next book.


Grade: D