Posted: July 3, 2014 in Book Reviews


The Way Of Shadows: Brent Weeks

645 pages

The Way of Shadows by Brent weeks the first book in the Night Angels Trilogy.

“life is empty, when we take a life we take nothing of value” 

The story is set in the city of cenaria and our main character, Azoth lives in the warrens an area of the city ruled by guilds or street gangs. Azoth is a member of one of these guilds and is forced to pay his guild fees to Rat. With Azoth is a young girl named “doll girl”. He is only 11 years old and she is about half his age at this point in there lives.

Life is not easy in the warrens. Living on the street fighting for your very survival. It is a hard life scavenging for food and money. Often Azoth will share his food with doll girl as that is the only way she will survive as she is not old enough to get food and money for herself. The demands of the guild are strictly enforced for those that are members. Failure to comply with the guilds demands and you will end up dead.

Rat has been terrorizing Azoth and doll girl for years. He is terrified of him and wants to get out but does not know what he needs to do or how to do it. After he witnesses the famed “wetboy” Durzo Blint make a kill of several men at one time he approaches him and takes the opportunity to convince him to apprentice to him and teach him how to kill so that no one can be a threat to him again.

It is not as easy as it seems. Durzo tells him he will not allow him to apprentice unless he first kills rat on his own.  Azoth hesitates, not sure if he can really do it given he is terrified of Rat. When he finds Doll girl mutilated by Rat he is motivated to make the kill. He wins his apprenticeship with Durzo. However he must forfeit his Identity and the life that he has known. He must become someone new with a new identity as Kylar Stern

The city is controlled by a secret organization called the Sa Kage who controls the guilds and pretty much everything that goes on in this city. Everyone answers to them in some fashion. The Sa kage is controlled by the “nine” or the heads of this secret organization.

Durzo. I loved durzo he is mysterious and strong-willed. He has a clear code that he lives by even when that code requires him to make choices that he does not want to make. He has spent his life trying to Convince himself that he has not committed any wrong. He is a killer hired by others to do their dirty work. He hates himself but accepts the cursed life that he lives.

Kylar our other main character. Love him. Essentially raised by Durzo he has turned his back on everything morale that he has come to know as part of himself. He is torn between his 2 conflicting ideals, that which durzo has taught him and those ideals that were his own natural inclinations. What will become of him and will he be able to accept what he has become?

The Characters in this book are extremely well-developed. I love that Azoth and Doll Girl are children. The children in this book have some awesome development. As they grow and develop you feel a connection with them that you cannot help but have sympathy and compassion for what they are dealing with.

Orson Scott Card, who Brent weeks has mentioned as one of his influences, is clearly an influence in the writing of this book. Like Orson Scott Cards children in his books the children in this book have a deep character and emotional level that in many ways is beyond their years. The Characters development over the many years this book takes place creates loveable characters that draw you into the book. Every page and chapter is filled with a child you can really relate to. You almost grow with the character. From a scared street brat into an expert killer struggling with the morality of what he is doing. Similar in a sense to Ender from Enders Game.

What I have loved about this book is that while the influence of Orson Scott Card comes through very strongly it does not detract from the story in any way. The story is still original in its creation and draws on Cards children as a model for Azoth within this story.

Criticism for this book however is that there was not much in the way of world building for a first novel in a new series. We have names of towns and places, characters and things that are included within the story but those things in and of themselves, I found that it was not very effective in really creating an image of the world this story takes place in. I did not really get a good picture of what this world looks like, something that I really like to have as part of a book or new book series.

This book however I do believe was a fantastic first book in a series. It opened up the story incredibly well and did an excellent job of setting up the story and characters. By the end of the book you knew that there was more to come but also let you down well enough that you were not feeling as if you have missed out and essentially wrapped up the first part of this story quite well. Not a cliff hanger but let you know that there is more to come.

Would I recommend this book. ABSOLUTLEY!!! I must admit that I LOVED this book. It is an excellent addition to any Sci-fi fantasy book collection

I give this book 8/10 book worms

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