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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Way of the Shadows by Brent Weeks

Posted by Irish in Uncategorized1 Comment

Publisher: Orbit Books

Source: Borrowed from a friend
Publication Date: 01 Oct 2008
Series or Standalone: Night Angel Trilogy, Book 1
ISBN: 0316033677
Format: Paperback
Pages: 688
Brent Weeks – Blog
Place(s) Traveled to: Midcyru
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
First Line: Azoth squatted in the ally, cold mud squishing through his bare toes.

Those of you who don’t know me well probably don’t know that I have a thing for assassins in books and movies. I really can’t tell you what it is about them that I like. I am just drawn to the mystery and sheer power of them. So it should come as no surprise that The Way of the Shadows is a book that I’ve been drawn to for a long time. I was just instantly drawn to the cover and the tag line “The perfect killer has no friends – only targets”….I mean how awesome is that? I would find myself picking up this book on most trips I took through the fantasy section of the bookstore. I would pet it and sometimes even add it to my pile. 
But then I would look at the number of pages….all 688 of them….and I would get all anxious and put the book down. Which is kinda funny in a way because I used to DEVOUR books of this size like they were nothing back before college. College totally killed my reading and for years I read next to nothing. And even now that I am reading a lot more I don’t ever think I’ll return to the way my reading was back before college. Which makes me sad. And it also makes me afraid of books like The Way of the Shadows even though I was so clearly wanting to read it. But think about it…this one book is roughly the size of THREE other average sized books. I know….I know….that’s no real excuse but I was daunted by the page count and so put it down.
Then one day on twitter I was talking to a friend who also loves assassins and arguing a bit over one assassin in particular, Valek from Maria Snyder’s Study Series (who belongs to me just so y’all know). And in this conversation she mentioned Kyler Stern of the Night Angel Trilogy and how he was right up there with Valek in her eyes. Well this made me all the more intrigued….but then I remember 688 pages…so imagine my surprise when not too much longer later I received a package in the mail from my friend which contained The Way of the Shadows to borrow. I was elated. Really I was. Then I proceeded to put it on my night stand where it mocked me with its 688 pages for way longer then I should have let it. Until that is, I read Stolen by Lucy Christopher (my review) which was a book most extraordinary and one that I knew would make the book that I read next pale in comparison.
I was worried about how the next book may not live up and that I wouldn’t be giving it the honest attention that it deserved. When someone on Twitter suggested that I read a book so completely different from Stolen that it would be impossible for one book to taint the other. My eyes were then drawn to The Way of the Shadows. Here was a book that was different. Here was a book that I had to read before my friend sent out the ninjas to retrieve. Here was a book that I couldn’t let page count intimidate me anymore. So I put on my big girl pants and began to read. 
It wasn’t long before I became so lost in Kyler’s world that I forget everything else. I flew through the pages and couldn’t believe that I ever let the page count intimidate me. The Way of the Shadows is such a rich and complex story that’s filled with so many amazing layers. Just when you think you have something figured out new plots and secrets are reveled that set your mind spinning. Kyler is such a wonderful character who grows before your eyes. He begins as a boy who makes tough choices for those he loves. He accepts his fate but doesn’t succumb to it. Throughout the story he remains strong and true to himself. He stumbles on his journey and makes some poor choices. But he picks himself up, dusts himself off and moves on. Which just makes him all the more real.
The Way of the Shadows is filled with so many wonderful and rich characters. Ones that you both love and hate at the same time. No one is perfect. Everyone has flaws. And most importantly everyone keeps you interested in their story. For while the bulk of the story is told through Kyler’s eyes the point of view does bounce into several other characters to help give the reader a more complete picture of all that is going on. I am such a total fan girl for this book and before I even finished I downloaded the second and third books onto my ereader. (They each top the 600+ page mark and its my hope that being electronic the size won’t intimidate me as much.) The Way of the Shadows has something in it for everyone. There is magic, mystery, political intrigue, romance…and have I mentioned that there are assassins?? Bottom line is I think that this is a book that will appeal to fantasy and non-fantasy readers alike. Its just filled of awesome and I can’t wait to see what happens in the rest of the series.

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