The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

The Way of the Shadows

By: Brent Weeks

Synopsis: 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 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.

Format: The Way of Shadows is the first book in the Night Angel series. It introduces us to Azoth, and Durzo Blint, and the story of Cenaria’s independance. My copy is 645 pages long, and was published in 2008 by Orbit.

My Thoughts: If you have never read anything by Brent Weeks, this is one of the best places to start! This book gives you amazing characters, fantastic magic, impressive world creation, and a very intriguing plot.

The characters feel so real. They always react with a full range of human emotions. This makes them react naturally to the events around them. It is awesome to see even minor characters react in this way. Instead of the characters being words on a page it makes them feel human, as if you could meet them anywhere.

His magic system is based off of inborn ability mostly, and is an interesting take on the ruling class’s view on what magic should do. This is shown in the different ways that the magic users can be treated in different kingdoms. Even down to what is acceptable for those people to aspire to.

 Everything about this book keeps you on the edge of your seat, and feels realistics despite being a fantasy world. The world invites you in with appealing geographic and political boundaries, and historical intrigue on how those boundaries can be changing. The people in each kingdom have characteristics dependant on their environment, which affects trading, diplomatic, and martial relationships.

Finally, the plot is full of intrigue, and the twisting relationship between what the main characters want and what is good for the kingdoms involved. You will begin this book and fall in love with the characters and setting, but the plot will pull you through this world and inspire in you the need to know everything that happens.

So go get this book, prepare yourself for the series, and then prepare yourself for further work by Brent Weeks! Let me know what you think in the comments!!

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A Darkness Forged In Fire by Chris Evans

A Darkness Forged In Fire

By: Chris Evans

Synopsis: Even in this world, Konowa Swift Dragon, former commander of the Empire’s elite Iron Elves, is anything but ordinary. He’s murdered a Viceroy, been court-martialed, seen his beloved regiment disbanded, and been banished in disgrace to the one place he despises the most – the forest. All he wants is to be left alone, but then an unexpected royal decree orders him to resume his commission as an officer in Her Majesty’s Imperial Army, effective immediately. For in the east, a falling Red Star heralds the return of a long-vanished magic, and rebellion is growing within the Empire as a frantic race to reach the Star unfolds. It is a chance for Konowa to redeem himself – but the entire enterprise appears to be a suicide mission… and the soldiers recruited for the task are not quite what he expects. Worst of all, his key adversary to obtain the Star is none other than the dreaded Shadow Monarch, whose machinations for absolute domination spread deeper than Konowa could ever imagine.

Format: A Darkness Forged In Fire is the first book in the Iron Elves series. It introduces us to Konowa Swift Dragon, and his struggle for redemption in the eyes of his peers as well as himself. My copy is 620 pages long and was published in 2009 by First Pocket Books.

My Thoughts: This book takes you on quite the adventure. It is one of those books that never truly mentions the overall villain, yet leaves you without a doubt of their evil. The Shadow Monarch is a threat on the horizon, hard to believe in yet undoubtedly real. You can easily sympathize with the characters that have trouble believing in that evil, as you yourself find it hard to believe. Fantastic writing for the “bad guys” overall in this book!

Not only that, but this book shows the true flaws in the good versus evil dimensionality. The main characters, who are on the good side, are working for goals that can be competing and leaving everyone in doubt with what is truly good. The plot highlights that good and evil are a matter of perspective. Right and Wrong are based on who is in control of the story, and are almost a matter of luck. Yet despite all odds, the main characters can make decisions that show the world they are trying to be morally right.

I can go over, in detail, how amazing this book’s plot is, how the world and politics are clearly painstakingly created, how the characters move you to be a better person. I could go over how the book will keep you awake at night, and if you aren’t reading it you will be wishing you were. I can even say it will change how you view the world. But these are all things you should experience. Go out there and get this book!

Then let me know what you think about it of course 🙂