Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Way of the Shadows (Night Angel Trilogy: Book 1)

Mulluane | 2:30 PM | 6 Comments so far

By Brent Weeks

The perfect killer has no friends. Only targets.

For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art. And he is the city’s most accomplished artist, his talents required from alleyway to courtly boudoir.

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he’s grown up in the slums, and learned the hard way 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. *Blurb source* Orbit
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The Way of the Shadows by Brent Weeks

| ISBN-10: 0316033677
| ISBN-13: 9780316033671
| Genre: Sword and Sorcery, Epic Fantasy
| Design by Peter Cotton, Illustration by Calvin Chu
| Mass Market Paperback: 688 pages
| Publisher: Orbit (October 1, 2008)
| Source: Author/Publisher
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 5 Stars

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The Way of Shadows (Night Angel, #1)

♥ Mini Review ♥
Azoth is always afraid. As an orphan living in the Warrens, survival depends on belonging to a guild (think gang) and the guild leaders are cruel, amoral, and abusive. They think nothing of using beatings, mutilation, rape, and sodomy to maintain control. However, Azoth has a plan. After seeing Durzo Blint, the city's foremost wetboy (magic wielding assassin) in action, he decides that he must apprentice to the only fearless man he has ever seen, regardless of the cost.

Fantasy Series Book Review by Mulluane

Orbit made a brilliant marketing move when they decided to release all three books in this trilogy over a three-month period. For me it was like a dream come true. As a rule, I much prefer waiting until a series is complete before I read it. That way the immersion is complete and I enjoy it immensely. Of course, it may also backfire as readers expect the author to continue turning out series at the same rate, but only time will tell if that happens.

As a first book in a series, Brent Weeks did a great job. He created my favorite thing, interesting and flawed characters. There are two main characters, Azoth and Durzo Blint. There are also a dozen or so secondary characters that are so well written and so important to the story, it feels wrong to label them as secondary. Technically, Durzo Blint is a secondary character too, but he definitely does not come across that way to me. The world building is the weakest part of this book. The entire story takes place in one city, but the Warrens were the only place I got a true picture of. Not a big deal, at least not for me, I am all about characters anyway. The magic system is intriguing, not sure exactly what the rules are (I like magic with rules) but I got the impression that we will see more about that in later books. This is how it should be, the first book in a trilogy is all about setting the stage, introducing the characters, the world, the magic systems, and the story, if you cover everything in perfect detail, there would be no reason to read the rest of the books!

This is a fast read. There are plenty of twists, lots of intrigue and tons of character development. It is also a very harsh story. Brent Weeks does not hold back on the reality factor. Child abuse, rape, murder, mutilation, betrayal, and profanity are all portrayed with just the right amount of detail. By that I mean it is graphic, uncomfortable at times, but not to the point of being disgusting. Brent Weeks walks a very fine line with this and succeeds in not crossing it. Still, if you are sensitive to this sort of thing, be forewarned.

Another thing that Brent Weeks is not afraid to do is kill off key characters. This adds yet another level of reality and tension to the story by making the outcomes of various conflicts uncertain. The last thing that really impressed me has to do with the mental conflicts. Azoth turned Kylar Stern struggles throughout the book to become what he believes his master is, an uncaring, unemotional, cold-blooded killer, and discovers some surprising truths along the way, not only about himself, but about the people he has dealings with. Some of these revelations will not come as any surprise to the reader, but others will shock you every bit as much as they do Kylar. This shows that Brent Weeks is able to connect with the reader on an emotional level, another of my marks of a good author.

This is a standalone with just enough loose ends to make me hunger for book two. The main plotlines are tied up, some in very surprising ways, while leaving enough of the story open to make you want to keep exploring both the characters and this new world. This review does not begin to touch on the many and varied characters there are to enjoy, like Doll Girl, Kylar's one major, and possibly fatal, weakness, Momma K, leader of the city's underworld, the insane king, the seer Dorian and his companions, Kylar's heroic and noble friend Logan, the list goes on. You will just have to go out and buy the book and read about them yourself! Highly recommended for adult readers who like their fantasy to be character driven, fast paced, full of intrigue, surprising plot twists, and dark magic.

In Their Own Words: Brent Weeks on THE WAY OF SHADOWS

Series Summary
Book Two ~ Book Three

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Librarything Rating 4.08/5

Amazon Rating 4.1 out of 5 stars
(375 Customer Reviews)The Way of the Shadows

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Kindle: Way of Shadows (Night Angel)The Way of the Shadows

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Epic Fantasy Book Review of The Way of the Shadows (Night Angel Trilogy: Book 1) by Brent Weeks - Reviewed by Mulluane - on January 10, 2009 - Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Mulluane is a 56-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

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  1. Mulluane, excellent review. You hit the point. I read the book and agree.

  2. The postal service in my country lost the package with "The Way of the Shadows" and "Beyond the Shadows". And now I am having only "Shadow's Edge" so this series has to wait a little until I read it. Very nice review :)

  3. I went to my local Borders a couple days ago to buy this series, but they were missing this first volume so I didn't buy after all. How sad is that! I've been wanting to read this for a while...

  4. love these books, Weeks really revived my interest in this area of fantasy.

  5. I read this book recently and really liked it. Great Review!


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