25 Reads: The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks

Assassinations, political drama, conspiracies, magic, history, and the most badass wetboys ever? It’s only a wonder I only just finished the trilogy now and not last year, when I managed to procure all three books together. But no matter.


by Brent Weeks
Orbit Books, 2008
Epic fantasy
Rated: cookieratingcookieratingcookieratingcookieratingcookierating/ 5 cookies

wayofshadowsThe Way of Shadows: 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.

Jumbly Thoughts

I went through my old review of the first book and realized how much having played the Assassin’s Creed games impacted my take on Brent Weeks’ novel. That being said, years later I re-read The Way of Shadows again in order to re-familiarize myself with the world and finish the trilogy, because yes, it is a trilogy.

And I found that I still thoroughly enjoyed the book.

shadowsedgeThe next two sequels, Shadow’s Edge and Beyond the Shadows were almost equally enjoyable, and continue the story of Kylar Stern in true, epic fantasy fashion. Where The Way of Shadows gave a small taste of the life in Cenaria, Shadow’s Edge and Beyond the Shadows move outside the boundaries of Cenaria, bringing with them a whole slew of nations and characters working towards different goals, but all reaching a similar point. Admittedly, I did find Shadow’s Edge and Beyond the Shadows more draggy because of the several character POVs happening (some of which I really didn’t care about). Unlike the ease with which George R. R. Martin separates his numerous POVs (which helped me skip through a few of the less likable ones), Weeks keeps his mixed within each chapter. 

In any case, I was actually glad that a few of the POVs in the second and third books went to women like Vi and Elene. I know some people grated on the whore-virgin complex that are these two females (juxtaposed, it’s not hard to see), but each in her own right come out with a particular strength that made me admire them. Vi was pretty much my wish come true where female wetboys were concerned, and I was only sorry her past was what it was. (On a similar note, I was never a big fan of the Kylar-Elene pairing and was leaning more toward Vi getting the dude…but things turn out okay in the end, so I’m not complaining.)

“A few months ago you assassinated a man who called himself a god; now you’re going after a goddess in truth. Unless you can figure out a way to kill continents, after this you’re going to have to retire.” – Beyond the Shadows

beyondshadowsThe best part of the trilogy, though, was the character of Durzo Blint, hands down. The Durzo-Kylar interactions were perhaps my favorite scenes in the entire trilogy (with the Logan-Kylar and Kylar-ka’kari exchanges being my second favorites), but I’m pretty sure I perked up whenever Durzo was ever brought into a scene, so yeah, anything Durzo-related I read and smiled over. My friend could probably attest to the fact that I messaged her late into the night just to tell her how much I frelling loved the pock-marked wetboy and how often I laughed when he bantered with his apprentice.

The only other things I wished I’d seen in the last book was more of Logan Gyre and less of the other random characters. The climax at Beyond the Shadows kind of tried to tie all the character knots together, but to be honest, I wasn’t too thrilled about a few of the characters taking such a huge chunk of story (Dorian, for example, was just annoying to read about, and he pretty much plays a huge part in the story). In fact, while I appreciated the large amounts of magic being used in the later books, I could have dealt with having less of it at play, particularly the Chantry’s involvement, because I really didn’t see much point to the whole Chantry plotline, other than Vi getting some much-needed training (which she could have done some other way I’m sure).

Still, overall I thought the trilogy was well done and often fast-paced. It was drenched in thousands of years of history, and even when I’ve finished the trilogy, I still want to delve into the past. Thank goodness for a Durzo-centric novella!

As a whole, the entire trilogy totally gets 5 out of 5 cookies!

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