The Way of Shadows (Night Angel Trilogy #1)

( 478 )

Overview

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 ...

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The Way of Shadows (Night Angel Trilogy #1)

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"What a terrific story! I was mesmerized from start to finish. Unforgettable characters, a plot that kept me guessing, non-stop action and the kind of in-depth storytelling that makes me admire a writer's work." —- Terry Brooks

"Kylar is a wonderful character - sympathetic and despicable, cowardly and courageous, honorable and unscrupulous...a breathtaking debut!" —- Dave Duncan

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316033671
  • Publisher: Orbit
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Series: Night Angel Trilogy Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 688
  • Sales rank: 85,955
  • Product dimensions: 6.86 (w) x 4.38 (h) x 1.46 (d)

Meet the Author

Brent Weeks

Brent Weeks was born and raised in Montana. He wrote on bar napkins and lesson plans before landing his dream job years and thousands of pages later. Brent lives in Oregon with his wife, Kristi, and their daughter. Find out more about the author at www.brentweeks.com or on twitter @brentweeks.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 478 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(339)

4 Star

(93)

3 Star

(33)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 479 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 16, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Literary junk food

    I chose this book on the suggestions of other readers after having read Scott Lynch's Lies of Locke Lamora which, by the way, is a fantastic read. Of the hundreds of science fiction and fantasy novels I have read, I have only put down a handful of them before finishing. This was one of them.
    I consider this book literary junk food. Like actual junk food, it is cheap, synthetic and lacking any of the healthy qualities that comprise any good work of fiction. Here are my specific complaints:
    1. Characters - The characters were not only cliché, but poorly developed. Typically characters are shaped and molded throughout the story by how they react to events. The author seems to have foregone this careful construction and has instead allowed undeveloped characters to play pivotal roles in the story which left me not only divested of interest but confused as to why said characters were even involved.
    2. Plot - Every now and then I find myself asking "Did I miss a page" while reading a novel. I found myself asking that question frequently in this book and even checked the cover to make sure that this was in fact the first book of the series. Perhaps the author was waiting until the very end, I only read about 3/4 of the book, to have a huge reveal on the use of magic, the dynamics of government and its relationship to foreign nations, etc but by the time I was 3/4 of the way through the book I felt that I knew less about what was going on than when I started. Several times the author skipped ahead by 3 or 4 years and attempted to state the changes in each character during that time period instead of developing them. Sure, you can do that, but don't expect me to care about what happens to a character that you claim I should like without showing me why.
    3. Content - A wise man once said that swearing was an attempt of a small mind to express itself forcibly. I would extend that observation to the use not only of expletives but of sex and violence as well. There is enough of all three of these to shock anyone but they add nothing to the plot and provide only superficial shock value that fades quickly leaving the reader feeling cheated and abused. Perhaps the author is taking a page from Hollywood's playbook where they add enough sex and violence to make even a poorly acted and poorly conceived plot lucrative. Don't misunderstand, I am not opposed to these elements as a matter of moral directive as they can, in the right author's hands, prove extremely useful in punctuating a point or developing a character; I only object when they are so obviously laced throughout a story for nothing more than cheap shock value.
    In short, you would be better served by spending your money on a Big Mac or two.

    26 out of 78 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Dark, Dynamic, and Brilliant!

    "Way of Shadows" has to be one of the most well written fantasy books I have ever read. It transports you into a 'shadowed' world with some extremely dynamic and interesting characters. Although a good portion of this book was difficult for me to stomach, I feel that Weeks was trying to emphasize that you can't fully appreciate the light unless you have experienced darkeness. I was extremely impressed by this novel, and I can't wait to read what Weeks comes out with next.

    I think fans of Salvatore's Artemis Entreri will enjoy the characters, and fans of Stephen King will enjoy the writing style.

    21 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic Book =D

    This series is one of the few sets of books I can read over and over again and not get tired of it. It lacks the usual five paragraphs explaining some random lady's coat nor does it linger on a single detail. Its fast paced and it almost feels as if you're there, watching it like a movie rather than simply reading it. It introduced different ideas, wraps up nicely, and leaves space for future stories. Some of it was predictable and it included some cliches' but not necessarily in an irritating way. It was more believable than the norm. All and all these are the best books I have read in a while and compared to what I usually read the change in pace is a relief. It is not a story for the light of heart.

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2010

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    The Epitome of Bad-Assness

    Way of Shadows is heartfelt without being corny, and philosophical without being preachy. The way Brent Weeks switches plot streams keeps the reader constantly engaged and on edge. The book reads like a gritty and modern R- rated superhero legend. The devil is in the way Weeks details the arts of war and assassination. Way of Shadows does not lack for action or an intelligent story that forces the reader to rock back on his/her heels with each new twist. Totally addicting and satisfying.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2009

    The life of an assassin is a hard one...

    The story starts out with the character Azoth, a kid living on the streets-if you call his life "living"-- and he dreams to be something more. After an incident where his "guild" of street kids attacks the most renowned wetboy-an assassin that has a variation of magic called Talent-a man named Durzo Blint, Azoth decides he will do anything to become Durzo's apprentice and a wetboy himself no matter what the cost.

    Azoth is told later by Durzo that if he is serious about becoming a wetboy apprentice, he must kill the bully-leader of his guild in a set amount of days. Azoth stalls, worrying about it: the if's how's and when's of what he has to do, and that stalling costs him his best friend's life. After that, Azoth promises to never hesitate again.

    As Azoth-now newly named Kylar Stern-begins his training under Blint, other, larger plots are stirring. The ruler of another kingdom is plotting a takeover, but not an open one. It's taken years of planning and careful maneuvering to get all the right people in the right places, and as Kylar is just discovering some of the wetboy's darker secrets along with some of Durzo Blint's, the takeover begins.

    Will Durzo and Kylar use their infamous talents to aid the kingdom? Or will Master be pitted against Apprentice?
    ************
    Mr. Weeks did an amazing job in this first book. The characters were very life-like and believable. The plot lines started in this book promise to be a great series! The twist he puts on rules of magic and other magical items are unique. His characters are both loveable, with humor on the right occasions; and hated, with motivations and actions that only they have reasons for. This trilogy has some content that isn't appropriate for children.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Sigh...

    At first, I was really enjoying The Way of Shadows. It offered a world that was simultaneously alien and familiar, dark and foreboding atmosphere and characters that showed the potential to become very interesting. The action was thrilling and engrossing, I will at least maintain that assertion. Sadly, those characters that seemed so promising to begin with (i.e. Durzo and Azoth) don't really change at all. Durzo may be the best "wetboy" (humorous term for really good assassin) in the land, but he is also an immature little whiner. You'd think that after roughly a decade in the story he would have matured a little or at least changed in one tiny little bit...nope. This problem indicates one of Weeks weaknesses (no pun intended); the inability to make the passage of time seem tangible in the story. Ten years passes and the only thing that has changed is Azoth...ugh, Azoth. Azoth is essentially the "prophetic" hero to-be of the story. That's great, except he's so annoying that I found myself not caring if the whole world did end, just so long as he would get over his incessant whining and crying. Ya' know that part in Spiderman 3 that everyone hates (hmm that may not be specific enough; that was an awful movie), when Peter Parker goes around feeling sorry for himself? Well imagine a character whose entire personality was based around a similar kind of self indulgent pity partying. Obviously, I can't recommend this book, at least there weren't any typos.

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful!

    I've had this book sitting in my closet for two years now, hidden away because of moving several times and lack of enthusiasm to unpack. I finally cleaned out the closet and thought, hey this sounds interesting! Wow, not a disappointment! The only disappointment is that it got stashed away in the moving boxes for so long! The plot was fabulous, the characters were real, and unlike many books that jump around from being told in one character's point of view to another characters point of view the story actually flows together and the parts overlap with a brilliance I've never seen before. The intrigue, battles, magic, and romance all weave a fantastic story that I'd recommend to anyone who likes gritty fantasy filled with assassins, mages, and the darker side of life. I read the book in three days (which is actually a really long time for me) and could hardly stand to put it down when I had to attend to other things (like sleeping, and college...haha). Anyways, this is a book that you don't want to miss out on. I'm going to find time to go get the next one today.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Night Angel Delivers Vengeance and A Smidgen of Mercy

    Similar in style to The Lies of Locke Lamora or The Blade Itself - gritty fantasy, bloody coups, relentless pace, morally challenged characters. The fantasy elements played second fiddle to the fighting, poisoning and similar training of the first half of the story. As the story unfolds, many characters names change, but not to protect any innocents.

    Weeks surprised me with a handful of precious tender moments between the characters, some of which brought tears to my eyes, often occurring in the vilest of surroundings or events. I smiled at some of the clever dialogue, but never laughed out loud.

    Good character development with some twists and turns that managed to stay believable. Stands alone well, but leaves many questions unanswered.

    For my complete review, please visit this page: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/75132870

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2011

    Good Potential, but some major flaws

    After a friend recommended this book to me, I was looking forward to reading it. Frankly, I was torn. It took me almost 3 weeks to finish this book. The first couple hundred pages drag¿and drag¿and drag. The story moves so slowly then you are thrown into the book full force with a huge cast of characters and places that are often times hard to keep track of. As for the assassin's journey, it's more than exceptional. The real drama of the story isn't in the actual killing at all, but in dealing with the very morality of the situation. Watching Kylar hesitate and choke as he attempted to take his first life was heart-stopping in itself. The only real gripe I had with the book, and it is, unfortunately, a rather large one, is the story structure itself. As the book progresses, it seems that every named character gets their own perspective. I found myself getting absolutely absorbed into Kylar's story, and then, all of a sudden, I'm reading about someone else. This happens so many times, and while I understand the author's reasons, as he wanted all the cards to be out on the table, eventually these constant cutaways to (in some instances) throw-away characters becomes very annoying, and actually persuaded me to put the book down for the night a couple times. These cutaways not only put a damper on the flow, but made the whole story much more complicated. As if to solve this at times, the characters also drift into page-length monologues to explain...everything. If some of these cutaways and monologues had been removed, there would be a much tighter novel in its place. Instead, they sit there and make the 600 or so pages much more intimidating as time goes by. So, overall it has great potential, and the main reason it warrants praise is the likeability of characters like Azoth and Doll girl, or Blint, but it lacks the refinement and tightness that would have made it a flowing story.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 28, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    fantastic read with 1 gripe

    brent weeks did a great job with this series,will eagerly wait for more books by him. the characters were brought to life with so much feeling. weeks also has a way with humor at just the right time, I love that in an author.I was also fond of the way he used sensuality in the books as well very sexual at times (not a bad thing) my only gripe was the ending, I feel it didnt wrap the story up very well, left me with alot of questions about the many plotlines he developed so brilliantly.but overall was a very easy read I would recomend it

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    A refreshing fiction story that leaves you wanting more!

    It was a wonderful read with lots of connectable characters! The book was well rounded with dark, light, romantic, funny, serious, and heart warming turns. The plot was very original. One in many that have sucked me in and kept me wanting more and more. If your looking for a good read that will keep you on the edge this is one that will please. The twist it gives to magic and the fantasy world is refreshing and liberating! The characters are easy to love and easy to hate. (you'll understand when you read). The author really helps you feel who they are or were meant to be and even the bad guys are just so bad you love to hate them! Wonderfully written and fun to read!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 24, 2010

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    A Great Read if You Have a Love for the Sinister

    This first book of the Night Angel Trilogy is a tour de force of winding storylines, and heart wrenching drama. A set similarly to Dicken's class Oliver Twist also has the subtle twists of science fiction. While this book is classified as Science Fiction/Fantasy it lacks the outlandish nature that most books classified as such that have. Durzo Blint is a fore to be reckoned with and as a character is really the reason to read the book in its entirety. Azoth, while a sweet character, is missing much of what it takes to be the hero of such a spinning tale. His naive nature doesn't allow a person to really think of him as a full fledges wetboy. Maybe as the trilogy progresses I will be more interested in the happenings of the now Kylar Stern.

    Bas Assed.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great book

    I gave The Way of Shadows five stars because it was a very compelling and enjoyable story for me. However, I know some would not like this book for the author's straight forward and plain-spoken writing style. He holds nothing back, and I like it because it shows he isn't pretentious and writes in a way he's comfortable with. The story is like nothing I read before. In the way Weeks describes different cultures in the book, it's like he mixes different real-world cultures to make those in this book. Ceurans are like Scottish, red-headed samurai, the Khalidorans are like big dark haired, handlebar mustached, brutish vikings, and the Sethi are like Mediterranean-style pacific islanders.
    Along with a great setting, this book is a page-turner. It's a story about an orphan that doesn't want to live like an animal or be afraid anymore. Azoth (the protagonist) wants to leave the dirty, third-world Warrens and live a happy life with his friends. And he believes becoming a Wetboy (professional killer) will help him obtain that. He wants to apprentice with the best in Cenaria, Durzo Blint. But this path is definitely not as easy as Azoth thinks. This book is his beginning in the way of shadows. Weeks does many unexpected things with his characters and it's always turns out different than you think. It's a definite buy in my opinion (just for adults though, there's graphic violence, profanity, and "adult situations").

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    HEY MIKEY! I Think He Likes IT!!

    Didn't expect much when I bought this title based on the other reviews on the B&N site, but the cover and premise looked interesting. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. :) A bit graphic in nature towards cruelty to children (really, it's the only emotional part of the book that gets me), but I cared about these characters and wanted to read the next one and the next one.
    Writing style is a bit funky, but it's what makes it unique and plays out like the character's actual thoughts. Not a seemless transition, but I tend to like writers to write out of the ordinary vernacular of proper English.
    Setting is believable, and since this is a set up or an introduction story to the trilogy, a lot more character develeopment than actual action. But I loved it, and would recommend it. ^_^

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Terrific Fantasy Adventure

    This is the kind of tale that enlivens, resonates and satisfies. The primary characters are well developed and engaging. As a bullied 'guild rat' who apprentices himself to a legendary 'wet boy' assassin, the protagonist, Azoth aka Kylar, is sympathetic, complex and convincingly humanized. The pace alternates between fast and faster. The action is exemplary ranging from individual contests/assassinations to battles for a kingdom. And, the multi-threaded story is utterly compelling. I simply can't understand why the critics haven't raved about this book. I'm glad I paid attention to another reviewer's recommended list. This book is an excellent fantasy read for anyone between the ages 12 to 100. I've already purchased the next two books in this trilogy because this book was just so d_m good.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 22, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    About time

    This is by far the greatest book in fantasy i have ever read. I couldnt find anything that compared to George r.r Martin until now. The book never slows down, from begaining to end you just cant put it down. The author never acts like hes taking you somewhere else. I felt like i was dancing with this book. everything was beautiful and the steps just perfect. If your reading this review, 'LISTEN TO ME' you must buy this book. you will not be dissapointed. I could go on and on about this book, the characters, the plot, the late nights reading because i couldnt put it down. Trust this review. AND GET THIS BOOK....Weeks has risen to the very top of my favorite authors. I love the world he created....And I am begging for me....Brent Weeks has said after a year he is going to revisit the night angel and continue on..That I am very excited about..Please Weeks hurry and revisit..PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE...

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2008

    Scintillating Thrill of a Ride...Pure Genius

    I was astonished and mesmerized by the heart-gripping power of this novel. Now that I'm captivated, I am passionately, and impatiently, waiting for the next two books in Brent's trilogy. I started the first page just to check it out, couldn't set it down, and finished all 688 pages in a mere couple days 'and well-spent late nights'. Having previously only read some J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, this was my first foray into modern fantasy. Wow, what an astonishing journey! The characters are complex, raw, real, and multi-faceted. In only a few moments, you are able to feel and grasp who they are, but just when you think you know them, you realize how ephemeral are the masks they wear. It is then you discover something profound that leads you to look deeper. The plot is subtle yet strong, and filled with twists that make you gasp or shriek or cheer. The action is never gratuitous or forced, but quite often intense and robust, keeping you on the edge of every page. Filled with adventure, magic, evil, love, heroism, risk, pain, and a dramatic grittiness that leaves you needing to catch your breath but not wanting it to stop, this is a masterpiece you'll never forget. Brent brilliantly depicts the shades of shadows found in evil, suffering, and shame, while pointing toward the hope that where there is a shadow, there must somewhere be a light. I think many will find that what started as a fun read, soon becomes a life-changing experience.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2013

    Highly Recommended for the mature reader

    I loved the dark and gritty feel of the book. Too many authors try to write a hero who is so consumed by "righteousness" that it becomes boring. Brent Weeks characters had depth and a healthy dose of humanity... It made the series great.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2013

    I love this book

    It is a great book and very sad but exicting at the same time

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2012

    A hands down MUST read!!!  the plot, the characters, the setting

    A hands down MUST read!!!  the plot, the characters, the settings are all so well developed.  This trilogy is definitely a rags to hero tale, but Weeks does it with style.   

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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