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The Outstretched Shadow

August 13, 2008

The Outstretched Shadow is yet another of the books that Tor made available free to Kindle owners.  There’s an obvious trend here; all of the books that I’ve read so far from the set they gave away have sequels, so Tor is obviously following “the first one’s free” rule of marketing (which is really easy to do with the Kindle, since duplicating electronic content doesn’t cost Tor anything). Although side note to Tor: that ploy is more effective if the sequels are also available for the Kindle.

Anyway, the Outstretched Shadow is the first in a trilogy, although it ends at a sufficient point of closure that you’re not left hanging as to what happens to the protagonists. It’s yet another take on the young-man-with-hidden-powers-he-later-discovers genre, although the way Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory (co-authors, always a worrying sign) have structured their world is somewhat novel (different types of magic, each with a different sort of price to use). The overall plot is sufficiently engaging that I read it all the way through and a couple of times read later than I intended to find out what happens next, but the book has a major flaw that may keep me from reading any of the other books in the trilogy: it’s repetitive. Somewhere around the 20th time the main character has an angst ridden moment about whether it’s worth using magic you start wishing someone would slap him upside the head.  The book could have used a stronger editor who would’ve pushed the authors to tighten the book up more; it could easily be 1/4 shorter without affecting the plot at all.

But I must admit that it was a rather fun read.  Particularly when you got it free.

From → Books

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