Shadow’s Edge by Brent Weeks is the second book in the Night Angel Trilogy. The first novel is titled The Way of Shadows (The Night Angel Trilogy) with the third being titled Beyond the Shadows (The Night Angel Trilogy). After reading the first book in this trilogy, I was both excited and nervous to read this book. Excited because the first novel was one of the best books I have read in long time, I loved ever word of it. Nervous, because I as concerned that Mr. Weeks would not be able to catch lightening in a bottle twice. Could he possibly live up to the greatness that was book one? There is also the trend in some trilogies that that the second book is merely a bridge novel to further the story without much substance behind it. Here are my thoughts on this novel.
The plot of this novel picks up where the first novel ends. Kylar Stern has done enough killing and wants to walk away from the wetboy business. He goes to extraordinary steps to get away from everything and renounce his one time profession. What, if anything, could get him to once again pick up that life he tried so desperately to put behind him? This novel is also riddled with sub plots that make this book, and world, come to life. Some of the sub plots include, Logan Gyre was left in the ultimate prison cell with societies worst criminals at the end of book one. Does he survive the battle with losing his sanity, and battling the other people in the cell? The prophet Dorian can see the future. However, seeing the possibilities of the future leave him teetering on the edge of sanity. There is also the sub plot of the Godking and what his rule means to the country. There are several other sub plots, but in the interest of space and not wanting to spoil anything I will stop there. Suffice to say that, while book one was a sprint into the realm on an assassin and occurred at break neck speed, this book has a slightly less frantic pace. However, the slight slow down does nothing to affect the plot or book. The story is a masterwork of pacing, and it is obvious that Mr. Weeks put a great deal of thought into not only each book, but how the overall plot meshes together. I can not really put into words how good the storyline is in this book. It is a story that is easy to get caught up in and one that you want to read just one more page before you go to bed. Only to realize that it is four in the morning. To me a book that can capture a reader like that is a rare thing, and so far, Mr. Weeks is two for two on that.
The characters in this book are largely the ones from the first novel. Characters such as; Kylar, Logan, Vi, Momma K, Jarl, Elene, and Garoth. This, of course, is just a small sample of the characters in this novel. There are a lot of characters in this novel. However, unlike other novels with a lot of characters, I never once felt like a character was lost or pushed to the side. In fact, I think each character was written near flawlessly. There is a great deal of character development in this novel, actually more than what I thought would be present. The thing that surprised me were the number of characters that were developed to a significant extent. In most books, significant character development is usually reserved to one or two characters. In this book, there are no less than half a dozen characters that receive significant development. This makes the book feel much more rich and vibrant, and it is very easy to connect with this wide assortment of characters. At no time did the characters feel like they were being dragged through the plot, it actually felt like they were creating the plot and influencing events. This is something I can not say about several books I have read. I really enjoyed the characters and the vibrant nature in which they were written.
I have one very minor criticism about this novel:
There are several places throughout the novel where the copy editing was off. There are missing word that snap the reader out of the experience to figure out what word is missing. It’s not a big deal, but when a book flows this smoothly, those things are easy to notice.
Some things I enjoyed about this novel:
1 – The depth of the plot and sub plots. It is rich, vibrant, and has enough twists that the reader is never allowed to get comfortable with what they think will happen. I enjoy being surprised while I am reading, and I was surprised several times in this novel.
2 – Just like the first novel, this novel doesn’t hold any punches. Some authors become too attached to their characters and never kill any of them. That is not the case with this book,…
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The Shadow’s Edge is the second book of the Night Angel Trilogy. The trilogy focuses on assassins in a fantasy realm. However, the assassins must rely mostly on martial arts, stealth, poisons, and weapons, rather than spells. This book has much more magic than the first book and some fantasy creatures are introduced. The second book takes place in Cenaria during a Khalidoran invasion. Throughout the book there’s action, political intrigue, and character development. There’s also a good bit of death. No character is safe. If I had to make a comparison, it’s fairly close to George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.
The story continues with Kylar Stern, Jarl, Logan, Elene, Vi, Hu, Momma K, and the most vile loathsome Godking ever written. This guy makes King Xerxes look like Willy Wonka. The plot deals with the invasion. The story is epic and defines the boundaries of the human spirit.
The characters in this book are excellent. The author, Brent Weeks, does a great job at making sure they read like real people with real emotions. The story is full of characters that you’ll love and despise.
The writing style is pretty accessible to just about anyone. It’s pretty simple. The action scenes are also well written and easy to visualize. The Chapters are about ten pages long, and you’ll find yourself reading five to ten Chapters per sitting. In the 600 pages, there are a few nonsensical sentences. But these are easy to overlook because the story and characters are great.
The dialogue does a great job at portraying the relationships between the characters. Brent Weeks also writes what the characters are thinking as they are speaking. It becomes clear that some characters say things to further their own selfish goals or try to dominate others. Some of the dialogue feels like modern day slang, and seemed out of place, but this is easy to overlook.
This book is for adults who like a dark element to fantasy. There is violence, gore, sex, cannibalism, murder, and rape. It’s Rated R to X and seems more horrific than fantastic.
If you want to read a brutal epic adventure, and don’t mind anachronistic dialogue, this is for you! If you’re a fan of GRRM and you’re tired of waiting for his next book, you will most likely enjoy this one. Don’t let the 600 pages deter you, the story moves fast and something interesting happens every few pages. Like the first book, it’s very good.
Warning: This book is very brutal! Avoid it if you don’t want your imagination going to very dark places. Characters get physically and mentally broken. It’s not a pretty sight!
Kyler Stern has settled down to a life of comfortable domesticity…at least he’s trying; however the synchronicities of life conspire to pull him back into his darker avatar of the Night Angel (sort of a cross between Jet Li and the Shadow) to seek justice, right wrongs and just beat up bad guys in general.
“Shadows Edge” by newcomer Brent Weeks is as much fun as the first in the Night Angel trilogy “Way of Shadows”. In the first novel Azoth/Kyler is being trained (by his teacher Durzo Blint) as a Wetboy, sort of a super assassin. In this novel Kyler has rejected the life of a professional killer but cannot fully accept the life that his fiancé wants for him, that of a budding herbalist. In a way, this is the coming of age of a young Kyler Stern. The novel does an admirable job of describing that time in most of our lives when we are forced to create of ourselves a new person; an amalgam of the person that our parents, teachers and mentors want us to be and the person that we ourselves wish to be as well the person that destiny has chosen for us. All change is difficult, especially when it requires that we may disappoint the people that we love the most, and this is the case for a young Kyler Stern. We see Kyler struggle with opposing sides of his nature in an attempt to be true to himself but keep the love and acceptance he has struggled for his whole life.
An emaciated but much wiser King Logan Gyre has escaped prison and taken his place at the head of an army to fight the Godking. This is a story of honor, war and redemption as the young characters from the first novel are all forged in the heat of despair to create the men and women that the realm needs in order to defeat tyranny.
As other reviewers have mentioned, there are a lot of story lines here but I did not find myself bogging down with them and in fact enjoyed the fleshing out of the trilogy. I highly recommend “Shadows Edge” and will be the first in line at the end of this month for my copy of “Beyond the Shadows”, the conclusion of the Night Angel trilogy.