The Way of Shadows is a good example of the "new" fantasy series (think The Lies of Locke Lamora, etc.). It is gritty, light on magic, focuses on rel..Show More »atively ordinary good characters who do bad things for a living, and concentrates more on politics than some coming Dark Lord. As a representative of this genre, the Way of Shadows is a decent entrant with some interesting characters, moral musings, and a few terrific action sequences.
A few things hold it back, however. First, the tone is notably uneven - there are some scenes of horrific violence, including violence against children, followed soon afterwards by scenes with witty banter. Mr. Weeks is a decent writer, but not strong enough to pull off these sorts of tonal shifts. In addition, the writing is generally fine, but an occasional metaphor or sentence comes across as incredibly awkward. (The reader, incidentally, stumbles occasionally as well, saying "prisoner" instead of "poisoner" repeatedly during one chase scene, creating a lot of confusion)
The other issue is that the plot occasionally lurches as well. Sometimes the book seems to assume certain, unexplained knowledge, or characters come to sudden realizations without any ability for the reader to understand where those came from.
Generally, however, the lapses above are rare, and the book is generally solidly entertaining and well-written. There are better "new" fantasy series out there -- The Name of the Wind and the Well of Souls come to mind -- but this is a good, fast-paced novel of assassins and beggars that is not at all a waste of your time.
If you liked the first book, as I did, you'll enjoy this one more.
I do have to agree with a reviewer of the first book who likened the ..Show More »story to that of a comic book. Toward the end of the book the characters took on the persona of super heroes able to leap tall buildings. I my mind's eye I could see the comic book 'smash' and 'crack!' verbiage hovering over fantastically drawn characters. Both the protagonists and antagonists say things to each other that could only be taken seriously in a high action book like this one.
NONETHELESS, I loved this book and cannot wait for the 3rd! I like the main character immensely and am eager to see how he handles his next adventure.
The Night Angel Trilogy grows increasingly multi-threaded, leaving the reader wondering where Weeks is ultimately going. He finally ties almost all th..Show More »reads together in a memorable conclusion that is worth the effort. Narrator Paul Boehmer improves as the book goes on and finishes with fine drama.