Brent Weeks – Way of Shadows – Review

I love this book.

Okay, so we got that out the way. Let’s try break it down. Now I’m no expert when it comes to book reviewing or anything, this is my first go at it, but I enjoyed the book and felt like talking about it. Hopefully we can make this a regular things.

From a structure point of view, the book is rather simple as it has the usual rags-to-hero style of writing we’ve all become rather accustomed to with fantasy books. However, I found Brent Weeks writing and rather raw, you could easily tell it’s his first book, but I don’t think that’s really a bad thing. I found it rather refreshing. The characters are all vibrant and have rough edges to them, with rather glaring flaws. Many many glaring flaws, which will frustrate you to no end… but in a good way.

The book follows the protagonist, an orphan child by the name of Azoth, who lives in the Warrens (aka the slums) of a city called Ceneria. Azoth and his two friends, Jarl and Doll Girl, are part of the Black Dragon Guild, which is a sort of thieves guild. The beginning of the book follows their daily struggle to survive and dreams of making out of the Warrens and having a better life.

Without giving too much of the story away, Azoth apprentices to a Wet Boy (aka assassin with magic skills) named Durzo Blint. You’ll have to read the book to get more details, it’s really worth the read and you’ll be hooked from the beginning.

As I already stated, Brent Weeks writing is rather raw. The book is very graphic and it doesn’t really hold back, he’ll hit you with the hard and gritty details of things from the get go. Child abuse? Check. Prostitution? Check. Sadistic plots? Check. Mass murders with graphics details? Check. This book has it all and you’ll love it, all of it because the main characters are so good. For all their flaws, you really do root for them and hope they all make it out alright.

My only gripe about this book is that there are too many characters that he introduces, without much back story and then you don’t hear from again at what seem like random stages throughout the book. Some of these moments seem entirely random and could probably have been scrapped from the book entirely.

Having said that, it doesn’t really do much to dissuade you from reading the book. It really is a great book and I ploughed through it the first time I read it and I wager you will too.

I highly encourage you to go out and purchase this book if you have not done so already. You won’t regret it.