Review: The Way of Shadows (Night Angel Trilogy #1) by Brent Weeks

Genre: Fantasy
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publisher: Orbit (October 1st 2008)
How I got this book: Borrowed from a friend
Links: Amazon Goodreads

Blurb from Goodreads:

For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city's most accomplished artist.

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he's grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people
quickly – and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins' world of dangerous politics and strange magics – and cultivate a flair for death.

My rating: 4/5 Stars – A good read. I enjoyed it.

Review:

Although I don’t read epic fantasy very often, I’m glad I picked this one up.  Once you push past the extremely bleak, depressing beginning, you’ll find that The Way of Shadows is a fun, exciting, twisting tale of politics, murder, love, and redemption.  What makes this novel compelling is it’s characters.  The entire cast is made up of complex, interesting, and emotionally engaging characters that easily drew me into their story.

The plot is full of unexpected twists that kept me turning pages, eager to find out what happens next.  The most predictable part is the romance, but the characters and their relationships are so deftly crafted that the romantic elements flow smoothly and realistically into the main storyline without overwhelming it.  Eventually everything comes full circle, the last two hundred pages picking up the pace with almost non-stop action.  The ending is satisfying, but we also get the sense that this is just the start of a much greater journey.  As for the worldbuilding, I’m not sure that I completely understood everything Weeks tries to convey about magic and magic users.  This is one very important element could have been more clearly explained.  Still, my confusion on that point didn’t really hinder my enjoyment of the story.

Overall, I liked The Way of Shadows, though I feel slightly spent, emotionally and mentally, after finishing it.  I’ll probably take a break to read something less gloomy, but I definitely plan to come back to this series.  It helps to know that it’s a trilogy with a definite ending, unlike some fantasy series that seem to go on and on forever.  More than anything, though, it’s the characters that will make me want to return and find out what’s in store for them next.

Reading Order:
The Way of Shadows
Shadow's Edge
Boeyond the Shadows

Also reviewed at:
Fantasy Book Critic

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About Lesley

I love big dogs, ravioli, and all things nerdy. Books are my crack.
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