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!!