So, I’ve decided to start a new series of posts that I’m calling, “Books Off the Shelf”. These will be some short book reviews on books quite literally off my book shelves. (OK, some of them will be off my iPod. I just love audio books, but I think you get the idea.) There is a world of books out there. More than anyone could get to in a lifetime. As my favorite mug states, “So Many Books, So Little Time”. I will attempt to give you an idea on some books you might enjoy or not enjoy quite as much without ruining it with too many spoilers.
I’m going to try and give the books a one to ten rating with ten being amazingly the best (or let’s be honest one of the best) books I have ever read and you need to go home sick to buy and read this book without delay and a one being please don’t bother even looking at the cover of this drivel.
If you have suggestions of books to review, please let me know. If it is Science Fiction or especially Fantasy, there is a good chance it is on my shelf.
The Way of Shadows
by Brent Weeks
Rating: 9 out of 10
The perfect killer has no friends. Only targets.
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 the hard way 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.
Alright, so let me start by saying that I absolutely love Brent Weeks and his books. If you haven’t read him, you need to.
As The Way of Shadows opens, we find ourselves in the world of Midcyru seeing through the eyes’ of a street urchin named Azoth. Azoth has almost nothing, no money or possessions to his name, but he has never lost his spirit. After being beaten one too many times, Azoth decides never to be beaten again, and takes the giant risk of approaching Durzo Blint, the famed wetboy, for apprenticeship. Wetboys are as far above regular assassins as a king is above a popper, and Blint never takes apprentices. He takes Azoth, though, and at great cost to the boy.
Claiming a new identity Azoth, now Kylar, is whirled into events of the nobles and royalty, while learning the art of killing and death.
Throughout the story, Azoth/Kylar is forced to make incredibly difficult decisions in his search for justice forcing the reader to think about how he/she might confront such situations. Weeks does an incredible job of character building, offering us new “real” friends that we can’t help but fall in love with, flaws and all. There is also an evolving magic system that is revealed as the book progresses. This reveal only continues to blossom as the series continues in books 2 and 3, Shadow’s Edge and Beyond the Shadows, respectively.
I can’t help but recommend this whole series to anyone who enjoys action packed Fantasy. Weeks’s ability to offer a story of sacrifice and hope in a world of potential darkness is fantastically stirring. Check it out.
If you would like to be the first to hear about other great books, feel free to sign up on the right. I’m also giving away the first two chapters of my debut novel, MIST FALCON. I would love to send them your way, so do me a favor and sign up.
Ryan J. Doughan