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The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks
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The Way of Shadows (2008)

by Brent Weeks

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Night Angel Trilogy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,102991,825 (4.03)1 / 93
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    The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (simon211175)
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    The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie (ghilbrae)
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    A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (MarcusH)
    MarcusH: A fantasy epic that while not dealing with magic still is reminiscent of the inner workings of a political structure.
  5. 42
    Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (Norwegianbear)
    Norwegianbear: if you are into "Assassin" fantasy stuff
  6. 00
    The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller (generalkala)
  7. 01
    Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling (Kaelkivial)
    Kaelkivial: Master apprentice relationship between assassins and saboteurs. Heavy political ramifications, intrigue and deception/disguises, magic is present but not all encompassing. Note: Way of Shadows much darker than Luck in the Shadows.
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English (93)  Hungarian (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  Icelandic (1)  Dutch (1)  All (98)
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
Over the last few months, I've picked up and read books by quite a few rising stars of fantasy (The Name of the Wind, The Warded Man, for example.) Brent Weeks was the one author I'd been hearing a LOT about but hadn't read a book by yet, so I was pretty excited about The Way of Shadows.

Azoth has grown up on the streets with every aspect of his life subject to the whims of people stronger than him. He dreams of escape, ideally by apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint, the greatest master assassin alive. However, Blint famously does not take apprentices, and to be accepted, Azoth must prove himself by turning his back on his old identity, his friends and possibly his humanity.

New and edgy fantasy seems to have two major things - it's more gritty and realistic and strong women characters. Weeks definitely succeeds on the "gritty" count, there's plenty of rape, child sexual abuse, deaths of characters we like, a protagonist that kills innocent people for a living and so on. However, not only are there no strong women in the story, but all female characterisation seems to be derived from a hormonal teenager's view of the world. Every woman is either oversexed and isn't afraid to flaunt and use it (in an unflattering way, not in the unabashed and empowering way of the Kushiel's Legacy series), or she's a gentle and virginal soul that's prone to giggling adorably. And regardless of their type, they are all beautiful and have big breasts that are talked about endlessly. (Momma K might seem like an exception but she's actually just a hybrid of the two - the whore with a heart of gold.) The main love story of the book is laughable - I don't want to spoil it, but let's just say that I prefer romances that develop slowly from getting to know people. I thought I was annoyed by Peter V. Brett's women in The Warded Man series, but this is way worse.

It's not like the characterisation of men is great, but it's still much better than that of the women. Azoth is a passable protagonist, but his motivations and thought process were never clear to me, so I was unable to connect with him. As a child, it was easy, he had a miserable life and Blint was the most feared man in the city and was likely to keep him safe. As he grew up, even though most of the book was from his point of view, it felt like I was watching him from a stranger's eyes. Blint seemed a bit more sympathetic, but his self-loathing is justified in the book. Logan is a Mary Sue with no real personality except perfection. The only characters I enjoyed were the three mages from Sho'cendi.

Another problem was that the book didn't flow well. We start with some scenes when Azoth was young, then there are some chapters where Azoth is portrayed at different ages with transitions like "Now he was sixteen." These sections don't seem to add anything to the plot, and were way too abrupt. There were also an innumerable amount of POV characters, often 3 or 4 in a chapter (and some characters got only one POV in the entire book.) There are some books in which this is executed well, but in this one, it was disjointed and seemed like a cheap way of letting the reader know what was going on while sacrificing characterisation and suspense.

There were some things I liked about the book, like the concept of a criminal underworld controlling the Kingdom, but not enough. I don't think I'll be bothering with Shadow's Edge. ( )
  kgodey | Apr 11, 2017 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot,, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Way of Shadows
Series: Night Angel #1
Author: Brent Weeks
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SFF
Pages: 659
Format: Digital Edition


Synopsis: Spoilers

Azoth becomes apprenticed to Durzo Blint and becomes Kyler. Magic, politics, love and death all roll into one super messy ball.

Kyler becomes the possessor of a magic ball that gives him extraordinary powers. And just as he's gaining them, he's forced to kill his master and watch his city fall to invaders. Throw in a prophet, some other magic balls, a complete godking of evil, best friend becoming king and teen love and you have this story in a nutshell.

Oh, don't forget the violence. Lots and lots and lots of violence.

My Thoughts: Spoilers

I had forgotten just how brutal this book was. It was heart wrenching to see everything falling apart for Kyler. Yes, he's successful in apprenticing under Blint, but by the end of the book, all Kyler has is his life and the life of the girl he loves. He sees, and we experience, everything else going to the pit. Friends? Dead, killed, imprisoned. Mentors? Poisoned, paupered, destroyed. It is all torn away.

The book ends on a slightly hopeful note, as the city nobles and craftsmen flee and destroy everything to deny it to the invaders. Kyler is alive, even though he died. The legend of the Night Angel has taken seed and the invaders know “something” walks the shadows. The prophet has set things in motion to stop the godking from total domination. The War has Started.

The writing definitely shows that this is Weeks' first book and is not nearly as polished as his Lightbringer series. Nothing stood out as wrong, but some things weren't just as “right” as they could have been.

To end, I thoroughly enjoyed this book again and both cheered and groaned at the triumphs and tragedies woven throughout this story. ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Mar 9, 2017 |
Meh. I really wanted to like this novel. This started out with a compelling premise and interesting characters, but devolved into cardboard soap-opera melodrama by the middle. The buildup to that point was strong, with good potential, but is then seemingly thrown away. Lost interest, didn't finish. ( )
  jeddak | Jan 27, 2017 |
A young boy becomes the apprentice to the cities top wetboy [super duper assassins] and grows up. Lots of intrigue and politics and the city falls to a northern kingdom. Turns out the Wetboy had a magical item and it ends up bonding with the apprentice, allowing him to become the next Night Angel, a creature that is a balance to 6 other magical creations.

It was a bit brutal and graphic. I'll be reading the next 2, but have no desire to own them. Really well written for a first novel though. ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
It took a little while to understand the world of this book. I had to restart a number of times, but the perserverance paid off in the end. Looking forward to more set in this world. ( )
  DeborahJ2016 | Oct 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brent Weeksprimary authorall editionscalculated
Boehmer, PaulNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Kristi, Confidante, companion, best friend, bride. They're all for you.
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Azoth squatted in the ally, cold mud squishing through his bare toes.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316033677, Mass Market Paperback)

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 to 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:34 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Determined to escape the Warrens, Azoth seeks out Durzo Blint, the city's most ruthless assassin, to persuade him to take him on as an apprentice and to teach him the deadly Way of Shadows.

» see all 6 descriptions

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Orbit Books

An edition of this book was published by Orbit Books.

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