So I started to read. I didn’t read anything about the trilogy online, because I often accidentally find out bits of information which spoil minor (or major) plot points and mar my enjoyment of the books. So I went into The Way of Shadows, the first book, totally blind, only knowing that if I had enjoyed Canavan, I would enjoy this.
As it turns out, this trilogy is about assassins (well, wetboys – they’re like assassins in that kittens are like tigers) in a medieval-style world which is populated by a variety of different kind of magicians.
Had I heard the word assassin, I probably would have gone in with my eyes a little wider open, but as I said, I didn’t want to spoil anything.
I really enjoyed this trilogy – I thought the middle book was probably the strongest. I loved the magic in it, the different cultures, the styles of magic, the investigation of human relationships, the huge variety of characters (although I didn’t appreciate that all the women fell into the virgin/whore [with a heart of gold] dichotomy) and really, I did enjoy this trilogy.
But my GOD, it was so bloody. It really was. As I was reading, Dave was sent a variety of texts which all went along the lines of
“so… much… blood”.
I know, I know. Assassins. There’s bound to be blood. And a few wars. More blood. But there were wars and assassins in Kyralia, and the descriptions weren’t half as graphic. I have a very vivid imagination, so images of cannibalism and men’s heads popping like pimples… well, they lingered in my mind. That was my main complaint.
Other than that – the women weren’t characterised very strongly. Certain characters kind of… vanished… midway through (Uly???). Lots of loose ends left, although I suspect that means a follow-up series.
There was a massive emphasis on love and the power of love and redemption and all that kind of wussy rubbish that was, well, a bit preachy.
But overall, I did enjoy it. And I would recommend it. But beware of the blood.
It gets three stars from me because I was taken aback, but if you go in expecting it, maybe you could give it four!
The Night Angel Trilogy: Brent Weeks
(The Way of Shadows, Shadow’s Edge, Beyond the Shadows)