Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

The Way of Shadows (The Night Angel Trilogy)
Title:  The Way of Shadows
Author:  Brent Weeks
Publisher:  Orbit
Publication Date:  October 2008
Format:  Paperback, 688 pages
Age Group:  adult
Series:  The Night Angel Trilogy (Book 1)

Azoth's life in the guilds of the slums is one of mere survival.  To change his fate, he must take a huge risk and approach Durzo Blint, the city's foremost assassin, and offer himself as an apprentice.  Blint transforms Azoth into Kyler Stern, bringing him into the world of high society.  As Stern, Azoth must learn all he can of bringing death while hiding his true identity.  Their fates tied together in ways neither can anticipate, Blint and Stern must navigate a dangerous world of politics and magic in order to survive.

I had a hard time getting started with this book.  I think part of it was that I'd been reading modern urban fantasy and the switch to the dirty streets of the poor in a more traditional fantasy setting was too jarring.  Azoth's world is hard and cruel and even harder to take because the main characters were children.  Not long after I started reading this, several library books and review books arrived so I put it down to catch up on those.  It was actually a couple of months before I picked it up again.

I think I was at Chapter 15 when I picked the book back up.  Getting into the world was much smoother this time as I'd read a couple of traditional fantasies in a world I was familiar with in the meantime.  While the world in The Way of Shadows was no less complicated, I was more ready for it.

The book is complex with many characters and story lines.  It was sometimes difficult to keep track of who was doing what at what time but for the most part I could follow things.  Some of the story lines seemed to be a bit random but they did come together in the end.  While some of the twists were good, others seemed to be a convenient way to wrap up loose ends.  There is one aspect of the story that I am still confused about - I truly don't know if I missed a detail along the way or if the particular event was never actually fully explained.

I do believe I will read the other two books in the trilogy but with three review books waiting and several books in other series that I truly love, I won't be returning to this world anytime soon.

The Way of Shadows is in our personal collection and no one anywhere was expecting a review.

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