I’ve been hearing good comments for over a year about Brent Weeks’ Night Angel Trilogy (The Way of Shadows ($7.99), Shadow’s Edge ($7.99), and Beyond the Shadows ($7.99)), and I finally got around to trying it. I’m usually reading 2 books at once, a mass market paperback that goes around with me during the day and a hardcover or advance reading copy next to the bed at night, but once I started on The Way of Shadows I raced through the entire trilogy every chance I could find, day or night.
Ceneria is a small country, with an ineffective king, surrounded by powerful, hostile neighbors. The only reason it hasn’t been invaded yet is that organized crime is so powerful in Ceneria City that nobody wants to take them on.
Azoth is a young street kid in the bad part of town, brutalized by older members of his gang of thieves, but he has a dream. He wants to become the apprentice of Durzo Blint, the most dangerous “wet boy” in the country. Wet boys sneer at the word “assassin” because assassins are amateurs compared to wet boys. Among other things, assassins don’t have the magical skills of wet boys. Although Blint has never before taken on an apprentice, he eventually takes on Azoth. After years of training in poisons, blades, false identities, breaking and entering (quietly), etc., Azoth is almost ready to prove his worth when Ceneria is invaded by the mad (but magically very powerful) king of Khalidor, who has proclaimed himself a god. Then things get very interesting. Back-stabbing royalty of Ceneria with no military skill try to set up a resistance movement. Agents for other countries get involved. People are running around looking for magical objects from hundreds of years ago. And Azoth decides he wants to become the Night Angel, a legendary figure who judges and kills evildoers, instead of being a wet boy for money. By the third book, I started to be bothered by how frequently and unexpectedly the good guys suddenly developed exactly the magical ability they needed in the nick of time, but the series was still a lot of fun.