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Publisher's Summary

For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art---and he is the city's most accomplished artist, his talents required from alleyway to courtly boudoir. 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.
©2008 Brent Weeks (P)2009 Tantor

What listeners say about The Way of Shadows

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6,545
  • 4 Stars
    2,845
  • 3 Stars
    916
  • 2 Stars
    277
  • 1 Stars
    173
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5,458
  • 4 Stars
    2,475
  • 3 Stars
    895
  • 2 Stars
    251
  • 1 Stars
    167
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5,942
  • 4 Stars
    2,175
  • 3 Stars
    783
  • 2 Stars
    238
  • 1 Stars
    126

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Paul Boehmer is terrible

I gave up after an hour. I am just going to read this book. The narration was so distracting that I could barely understand what was going on. Paul Boehmer has the cadence of an 80's computer. It seems like there might be a decent book in here somewhere though. Hence the 3 stars for overall and story. If I could rate less than a 1 for the performance, I would.

33 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator almost ruined the whole thing.

Seriously, I think English is this narrators 2nd language. Between the sing-songy delivery, the often mispronounced words (it’s ‘fore-head’, 2 syllables, not ‘fawred’ or whatever this guy was mumbling), and the sheer lack of effort in trying to distinguish the voices (I know, let’s just give these 2 guys indistinguishable bad English accents!), this narrator seriously made an ok story almost unlistenable. I should get a free audible credit for slogging through.

29 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Narrator sucks

Every book I get is one I have read. This is one of my favorite series. That being said the narrator for this one is almost unbearable.

I spoke with customer support and the so called guaranty was not even offered.

I will be canceling my subscription because of it.

40 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Shockingly good.

First, the only negative of this book is the very beginning, which seems slightly awkward at times. This fades quickly and is barely noticeable as is.

Second, the author makes astounding use of inference as a story telling device, better than any I've ever seen. He doesnt tell you things, instead letting the actions of the characters imply what must have happened, how it happened, and even when it happened. The unimportant (to the plot) elements are typically left unconfirmed, just evident, but if your perceptive you'll be able to see the truth behind a great many things before they are actually revealed as characters imply them with their words and deeds. Despite that this is the story of a young assassin learning his trade, there is actually only one "training" scene in the entire book - the rest is almost entirely left to your imagination with brief recollections by the main character to confirm suspicions and give details on pertinent aspects of his skill-set. The effect of this is allowing the author to write a book that spans a decade, has the content of about 3 regular books, and never has a slow moment. This also makes for a lot of transitions, temporal and spacial, and if your not a fan of multiple plot lines you may not like it. However, I'm not kidding when I say this book has the content of 3 normal novels - you will occasionally be shocked when you realize its not even close to over yet, so if you want more for your money you cant go wrong with this one.

Third, the story itself is fascinating, while listening to this I nearly had 3 traffic accidents I became so absorbed. Mr. Weeks is nearly as hard on his characters as George R. R. Martin - but only nearly. This is not a sad story, and its not a happy story, its a good story. If you like darkish fantasy with an undercurrent of redemption, political and personal intrigue, and magic which is both common and powerful (but not all-powerful) - then this is a book for you.

143 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Meh.

Book review: Plot twists are fine, but author tried to use it at every possible scenario, especially at the end. There wasn't a lot of character development to really understand the different characters' personalities. A lot of scenes had fortunate, or unfortunate, coinciding events that author didn't really build up to...it just happened. Makes no sense.

Narrator review: There were a lot of occurrences where I think the narrator switched microphones mid-scene and the voice changes slightly, making it confusing...did the scene change, or is there a new character speaking? Also, a lot emphasis on some words, making it seem important, but it really wasn't. Not bad overall, but not great.

Won't be ordering the rest of the series.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Beware the plot holes

Some rules that shouldn't be broken without losing readers ;

If a character has shown the ability to use a certain skill or power, you must show that character using that power any time he is capable of doing so to further his ends unless there is a viable reason for not doing so. Broken.

If you show a gun on the mantle piece in the first act, you better use it by the third. If you introduce a character of importance in the first, you better show that character doing something other than flailing about useless and then just dying, or worse if you make a lot of important suggestions that they will be of some importance later and then you forget to use them in any way. Broken.

If the POV character knows what's happening and the reader is in no way clued into that fact by merit of riding along in his head, and the events aren't foreshadowed in any way, and then later is revealed that that character knew all along, it feels like ineptitude, and retrofitting the plot afterward. It feels contrived. Broken.

All these and more happened multiple times. Showing deep structural errors in the plot that a good editor would have pointed out. Needed to be fixed. It's too bad, because otherwise a good tale. These things ruined it.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Beautiful Tragedy

I give this three stars because the story itself is excellent, but the recording is miserable. They balance out, mostly. I might go a bit lower. Maybe 2.5 stars, instead.
Paul Boehmer never has been a particularly moving speaker, and this audio recording is no exception. The timing is off, the voices are all similar, and the dramatic pauses are in all the wrong places. I found that throughout this recording, I was constantly distracted by Boehmer's mistakes and poor choices of intonation. Yet despite all of this, I listened to it from beginning to end. Brent Weeks does a wonderful job making his characters both infallible and flawed. Everything they do makes sense, even though the reader, and sometimes even the character, knows it's wrong. They are multi-faceted, there are some superb plot twists, and he throws in some dark and come crude humor in there for effect, but tactfully, so it never distracts the reader (or listener) from the story itself. His literary voice is very strong, but I wish there was somebody who could convey that in an audio recording. It certainly isn't Paul Boehmer.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Narration was horrible

Ok guys... I love audio books but this is a perfect example of what happens when you take a slightly above average story and butcher it with a piss poor narrator. I can't believe this performance passed quality control. The only way I could even finish this book was to put the speed setting on 1.25X. Even then it was only bearable

54 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Tedious

This was a very tedious book. The plot in hindsight has so much potential. I think the author wanted to make this as realistic as possible (in that he wanted reactions, characters to be realistic and to keep us guessing), but he did it at the cost of a view into the characters and it lost loyalty and connection with the reader. A few big things came out of nowhere. Many plot twists just weren't supported enough to be rewards. The human experience, the ending, etc. was very stereotypical.
This plot could have used a different writer.
Also, on the whole women and LGBTQ argument, I think this author wasn't really thinking and let this writing take on the opinions and voices of the past. It's just stereotypical. Nothing special. No malicious intent but no innovative thoughts as well.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A good grim fantasy series, with caveats

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 relatively 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.

87 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-17-17

Brent Weeks does it again

A bit brutal at the start, but an amazing tale!

As a fan of Brent's later works, while less refined, the Way of Shadows, drew me in to it's exciting conclusion!