Book Reviews – The Way of Shadows

The Way of Shadows (Night Angel, #1)The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

This book is fun. It’s fun to read, and fun to follow and overall a good story. I may be biased (give me a good assassin book and I’m all yours) but one of my favourite characters lives inside these pages – its only unfortunate that it’s not the main character.

The book starts out slow – and in quite stark and brutal examples of what life might have been like for orphans trying to survive on the streets where people didn’t care and life was hard all around. The wanton cruelty is believable, but in the way that I wish that it wasn’t true. If you know what I mean.

In general the characters start out quite flat, and remain that way. Often I’m frustrated by the stupid decisions they make. Not that I can’t see the justification for making them, just that they are generally all around stupid and a multifaceted person should be able to recognize that.

Brent does a good job of setting up the city/world that the characters live in, but the magical side of things does fall flat for me. There is very little explanation of “The Talent” until quite late in the book. And even then we’re just expected to accept the “people have different talents” kind of explanation for why some people can do things others can’t. There is discussion about other types of Mages in other places, but unfortunately (while we meet a few of them) we have no idea how they work.

The action is well written, immersive and engaging. Things happen fast, unexpected things happen at the best times, and while you have to suspend some disbelief that one swordsman can kill 30 people by himself … hey it could happen. I think Weeks does a good job of not going in to too much detail and let those of us who have watched too many action movies fill in the little details.

Derzo (my favorite) holds too small a part in the story and we are forced to watch Kylar (idiot) grow up and become a wetboy (don’t blame me I didn’t come up with the name, there is also a wetgirl – ha ha … ). I could do without Kylar, he has weird notions, even as a child. Who thinks learning to kill people is going to make you a better person? Why not join the army, or the guards? Oh, and by chance, begging to be a wetboy works because you’re super talented and a totally rare person that is supposed to draw forth a ka’kari so you can finally live up to your full potential. Odds of that? Well it makes a good story anyway.

Overall? OK. And, well, you can’t just stop here. It’s only part of the story. That’s why they write trilogies. This story really can’t stand on it’s own. Sure some stuff happened, but nothing was really resolved, everything is left in a crappy state, and Kylar is still a total idiot at the end. Here is hoping he finds some sense in the upcoming installments.

Favourite Quote:

King Gunder: “You’re…you’re shit! You shitting, shitting shit!”
“Your Majesty,” Durzo said gravely. “A man of your stature’s cursing vocabulary ought to extend beyond a tedious reiteration of the excreta that fills the void between his ears.


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What did you think?