Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review - The Night Angel Trilogy, by Brent Weeks

The Night Angel Trilogy, by Brent Weeks
1. The Way of Shadows 01/11/2011 * * * * *
2. Shadow's Edge 01/20/2011 * * * * *
3. Beyond the Shadows 02/02/2011 * * * * *

This story begins with a young boy named Azoth who lives in the slums of a corrupt city and is part of a gang of thieves.  One day by accident, Azoth encounters Durzo Blint, a legendary assassin, and decides that his only way out of the slums - and to protect his other friends in the guild - is to apprentice himself to Durzo and learn to be an assassin or "wetboy."

Unfortunately for Azoth, or Kylar as he comes to be known, nothing is as simple as it seems, and even growing up, becoming the best, and gaining everything you could ever want or dream of merely brings on a whole new set of problems and impossible choices.

I literally cannot say enough good things about this series.  I originally meant to review each book individually as I finished them, but as I turned the last page of each book I was in too much of a hurry to get the next one started to even think about doing anything else.  Make sure you have books two and three on hand before you start the first, or you will regret it!

The writing is simply superb.  The story flows so seamlessly and smoothly that I at times forgot I was reading, as I was so immersed in the amazing world the author has built, and the incredible characters he has created.  Incredibly human and flawed, Kylar tries to do the right things - but how does one do the right thing when every choice leads to worse situations or problems?  Do you murder someone who doesn't deserve to die in order to save thousands of others, thereby losing the one thing that makes you happy?  Do you save the one you love or let that person die to save a country?

Kylar is constantly faced with impossibly difficult choices and extremely challenging situations as his country and city are invaded by barbarians who only recognize and appreciate brutality and suffering.  As the story continues into the second and third novels, there are brief times when it seems that Kylar may finally be rewarded for making those difficult choices, although those moments don't always last long and aren't even always what they appear.  The author liberally sprinkles quite a few amazing and stunning plot twists that the reader may not always see coming (at least I didn't - several times said plot twists left me sitting, mouth agape and forgetting to breathe for several minutes at a time while I tried to wrap my brain around "what the hell just happened there?").  Your pulse will race, your blood will pound, and there will be chapters that you won't be able to stop in the middle of - no matter what!

Overall this is an amazing series - I recommend it to everyone, with the caveat that many of the themes are fairly adult-ish in nature, and that there are evil characters who will make Darth Vader seem a saint.  Step carefully to avoid the blood and gore, but also keep in mind that the blood and gore aren't the point of the story - they are merely a necessary by-product that shapes the characters -both good and bad - into what they are becoming.  Beware the plot twists that you won't see coming, and enjoy the hell out of them when they smack you up-side-da-head.  But you will come to love the characters, and you will root for them, hope for them, laugh at them and cry with them.  Mr. Weeks has an amazing imagination, and I hope that you will find his creations as thoroughly enjoyable as I did.

I avoided reading this series for a long time, because I hate trying out new authors, but I can pretty much promise that I will not be avoiding anything Brent Weeks writes in the future, and will most likely be a fan for life.


  1. I love these covers - but I only have Book 1 on my shelf to still read! Thanks for the forewarning that I should have the complete series before attempting to read :)

  2. @the epic rat Yes the covers are kinda stunning, aren't they! Definitely make sure you have easy access to book 2 & 3 before you reach the end of book 1, or you'll go insane!

    Thanks for the comment - I love to hear what y'all think!!