Hey you all!
Hope your all having an amazing week! Today Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks is up for a review. As I realize I haven’t reviewed the previous two books in this series, I will make this some sort of overall review of the whole Night Angel Trilogy. And I tell you, it’s going to rock! It has been long since I was this enthusiastic about any fantasy series. Something you might recognize about reading high fantasy, once you’ve read the really good ones, most of the others suck. Good fantasy grasps you from the beginning till the end, creating a new world complete with hundreds of characters, new lands, law and lore. And though many attempt to write books in this genre, only a select handful succeed. Among my most favorite authors are Robin Hobb and Raymond E. Feist, of whom you will definitely been reading more in the future (I cannot wait to read Hobb’s latest creation: Fool’s Assassin!).
I remember one sunny afternoon a couple of years ago, in which I was scouring through the fantasy books in my favorite bookstore in Wageningen (where I was living at that point). This particular books shop was blessed with shelves and shelves full of fantasy books, most written in English due to the large number of international students in that town. My eye fell on the books by Brent Weeks. The covers of the Night Angel Trilogy books reminded me slightly of the Assassin’s Creed video game. Not that I have ever been much of a gamer (except for the Sims 😉 ), but my brother definitely was and somehow the cover of that game got stuck in my head. Anyway, despite my reservations about reading a book that reminded me of a video game, it was time to give myself a present. Yes really, I had managed to stick with my ‘don’t eat anything unhealthy’ diet for a month and therefore it was time for a positive reward that did not contain any calories.
I bought the book and didn’t look at it again for a couple of months.. Anti-climax, I know! But as soon as I decided to pick up the book, I was hooked. The story is about a boy called Azoth. Azoth lives in Cenaria City, which is divided in two parts, the rich East Side and the crime-infested Warrens. Being an orphan in the Warrens and member of the Black Dragon guild, he makes a living stealing everything he can get his hands on. His dream, however, is to become the apprentice of the infamous wetboy Durzo Blint. A wetboy is some kind of upgraded assassin, using a sort of magic called the Talent to complete every job successfully. Over the course of the three books, we follow Azoth (or Kylar as he is later known) in his struggle to escape hard life in the Warrens and later to survive in the politically unstable country of Cenaria. I cannot really say too much about the third book without spoiling minor (or major) parts of the previous books, except that it is an action-packed superb ending of the trilogy.
Brent Weeks manages to let us live in a completely invented world, one in which magic is as normal as water and we feel utter compassion with characters who kill for money. That on itself is already a remarkable feat and illustrates the true artist Weeks is. Character development seems something so natural in these books, which makes you wonder why it can be so hard for other authors. Together with the story having impressive bends and twists along the way (beginning of book three, hallelujah!), which do feel instinctive all the time and still keep their surprise until the very last, these books are definitely in my ‘most favorite ever’ list!
And the best part: Brent Weeks wrote more books, I’ll be adding the Lightbringer Series and Perfect Shadow (a prequel to the Night Angel trilogy) to my to-read (and soon!) list.
Final rating: ★★★★★
Have you read any books by Brent Weeks? What did you think of them?