The Way of ShadowsMarch 12, 2013
An excellent start for the Night Angel trilogy. The first book of this trilogy, begins with the life of an apprentice assassin, Azoth. He grew up in a slum area, infested with thieves, whores, and all the filth of the society. His regular life as a petty thief and pick pocket changed when he met the real deal, a professional assassin, who later accepted him as an apprentice. Without the knowledge, that his apprenticeship would change his life forever, and made him into the pivotal point of the destiny of his kingdom.
I read this book after I read The Black Prism. The creation of the world and magic system is not as good and as complex as the world in The Black Prism, remembering that he wrote this series before he wrote The Black Prism (Light Bringer series). The magic system does not depart too far from the mainstream fantasy, even though I admit that Weeks added some original concepts in it, such as the “conduit”. But I guarantee you, the magic is not a bore.
The character, which is an assassin (or more precise, a wetboy), is also nothing new in the fantasy world. But again, Weeks is original in creating the psyche of the underworld, the world of beggars and petty criminals. It is eerily realistic. You would imagine the underworld of our today society like the one described by Weeks in this novel.
Even though Weeks did not really create a whole new system, I think Weeks can be very original. He used a lot of “big words”. He even made a pun out of it in the novel (hey, what do you expect, he is an English teacher). He also borrows a lot of foreign culture in our world in creating this fantasy world, including the vocabulary. He borrows heavily from Japanese Ninja culture in forming the world of the assassin, which I think is very realistic. The assassin is indeed a ninja, without using the word in this novel.
Final verdict, a strong 4 stars, not yet to be a fiver. Will definitely finish the entire series. And by this book, I am convince that Brent Weeks is my new favorite fantasy writer.