The Way of Shadows - Brent Weeks

Book: The Way of Shadows (Book 1 of The Night Angel Trilogy)
Author: Brent Weeks
Publisher: Orbit Books (Imprint of Hachette Book Group)
My Rating: 3/5 stars

I have been wanting to read The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks for months now, so when my Shelfari Fantasy/Science Fiction Book of the Month group recently chose to read The Way of Shadows (Book 1 of The Night Angel Trilogy), I was excited.

Azoth is a young boy who is for all intents and purposes, is a street rat. He has to fight for what little food he gets, is bullied by a stronger boy, and is a champion for a few that are even weaker than he is. He runs around with a group of children that are living under the same conditions, and he is desperate to get out of this situation. He dreams of becoming a wetboy (an assassin of sorts) after he encounters the most infamous wetboy, Durzo Blint. He begs Durzo to take him on as an apprentice and after a series of events, Durzo agrees.

Azoth's training includes weapons, poisons, and learning how to blend in with upper class society. He becomes friends with Logan, a prince who may one day become king. As with any story about kings, princes, and assassins, a power struggles ensues between kingdoms and a powerful antagonist is revealed.

I wanted to love this book, but I ended up just liking it. I thought Brent Weeks built the wetboy/apprentice relationship between Durzo and Azoth quite well. I enjoyed reading every moment of Azoth's schooling. I thought the character conflict about what it means to be an assassin was executed very well. About two-thirds of the way through the book, I became less impressed. Weeks continued to introduce characters and bring back characters from earlier in the book that I couldn't remember much about. It also seemed like he decided that because he was writing a fantasy book, he needed to throw a lot of magic in and all at once. There were inklings of magic early on in the book, but toward the end it just felt like he poured a whole gravy boat of magic into the story. It felt forced and really diminished what he had done early on in the book.

Overall, I did enjoy the story and I thought Weeks' first effort was a good one but not a great one. I have been told that all the characters he introduces in the first book begin to make more sense in the next two books in the series so I am definitely willing to give the second book a try. Azoth's story was compelling enough that I do want to find out what happens to him. I think Weeks has good storytelling capability overall, but I do hope the next book is less rushed and has more complete character development with the supporting characters.


Anonymous said...

Good review! It sounds like the sort of book my 13yo son might like. Would you agree it's more a boys' book?

Carin B. said...

Hmmm...I wouldn't say it was because I enjoy a lot of "boy books", but I guess it does play to the guy audience. I don't know if you care, but there is some cursing in it (use of the F-word and some other words I can't really remember), prostitution, and of course...violence. I feel like if a parent is more conservative, I wouldn't recommend it for a 13 year old, but if a parent thinks their kid has good judgment I probably wouldn't have a problem with it. I'm not a parent so I can't say definitively how I feel.

Allison said...

I wish you'd liked it more! I had some problems with it, but I think I definitely liked it a lot better than you did overall :)

Carin B. said...

@Allison - I know! I was really hopeful. I'm still going to read the next one. Let me know when your review is up and also let me know when you plan to read the second. I liked talking to you about it! :)

Rachel said...

I really enjoyed this book! But I don't normally read books like this so maybe that's why I enjoyed it more than you did!

Here is my review if you are interested! :) The Way of the Shadows

Carin B. said...

@Rachel - I went and posted a reply on your review. You wrote a good review of it! People should check it out because I think most people really did like it. I am going to read the next two at some point because it was compelling enough to continue. I'll let you know how it goes when I do read them!

Flavy said...

I finish to read this book a hour ago and i liked it. The violence and sexuality make me a little bit unconfortable but is fit very good in the subject of this book. Now i start to read the second book-Shadow's age and i hope to love it- like the first one. I think is a very good debut for B. Weeks. I am sure that after i finish this trilogy i will start to read The black prism.

Carin said...

@Flavy - Oh's been almost a year since you posted your comment! I'm so sorry I didn't reply to you! I'm glad you liked the book. I'm not sure why I didn't quite connect with it. Books 2 and 3 are still sitting on my shelf two years after I read the first one. How did you like books 2 and 3? Is it something I should rush to read?

Flavy said...

I read the last book from this trilogy six months ago and I liked it very much. I can say it catch me very well, but that things depend of anyone taste- to say so. So is hard, i guess, to love that trilogy after you read the first book and don't have a good impression. To be honest, I will say that the end wasn't so bright but still was a good one. I think that I will re-read this trilogy sometime in the near future. Now I hope that somebody will consider this trilogy apt for a movie, because I like to see the caracters in flesh and blood. :P

Carin said...

Interesting! I may have to pick up the second book in the series sooner than I thought I would. I eyed them the other day and was like, "I'll never read the second and third book," but you make me want to give them another try. I will move them up in the queue!

Flavy said...

I suggest you to give a try to this trilogy. Then, please, tell me how did you like it. I hope that you will not be disappointed!

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