Published: October 1, 2008
Pages: 645 (Mass Market)
My Rating: 4.0/5.0
From New York Times Bestselling author Brent Weeks…
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.
In one of the recent Audible 3 for 2 sales I picked up the entire Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks because I discovered that I loved his book The Black Prism. The Way of Shadows is the first book in the Night Angel trilogy and follows Kylar Stern, the apprentice to the city’s best wetboy (magically talented assassin), as he grows up and into his role.
Azoth is a child of the streets and the gangs, and certain rather traumatizing events lead him to becoming the apprentice to Durzo Blint, a talented and cold killer. Durzo takes Kylar (formerly Azoth) under his wing and teaches him the necessary skills to take lives professionally- deception, disguise, herb lore, and blade work. Kylar masquerades a landless noble, befriending Logan Gyre, the new Lord of House Gyre. What I love is that the only false part of their friendship is Kylar’s true identity- he doesn’t use Logan because he genuinely likes him. I love books with a good solid friendship.
The plot of the book is pretty intense and spans over many years. Kylar is growing up and becoming a formidable wetboy, while the other characters like Logan, Durzo, and Elene are maturing in their own ways. Not that Durzo really needs to mature much since he’s a grown man, but he’s got his own special set of circumstances. The true beginning of the events that will carry on in the rest of the trilogy doesn’t begin until the latter third of the book. This book is a great set up and gives the reader time to really get to know the characters and develop some empathetic feelings towards them.
I will say that at first I DID NOT like the audio version of the book- I didn’t think the Paul Boehmer’s voice fit the characters well or conveyed enough emotion. I recommend checking out the audio sample before you commit to the audiobook version of the series, which I did not do (Shame on me, but they were on sale!). After I got into books 2 and 3 I wasn’t as bothered by the narration. Brent Weeks’ writing still managed to wring some serious emotion out of me (mostly gasps of horror), which I applaud him for. I love those shocking moments! I definitely think Weeks’ writing has matured since this series and find that his character building seems to have improved between the Night Angel trilogy and the Lightbringer series. I’ve already begun and will probably have finished the second book, Shadow’s Edge by the time this is posted!