The Way of Shadows (Book 1)
By: Brent Weeks

Quick-take: The noble assassin.

Dan's Review

Azoth is a street urchin trying to get a better life for himself and his friends. By the time he becomes a teenage, he has found a way by acquiring an alias, Kylar Stern, with a fabricated background as a minor noble. This alias has been given to him by his new master, Durzo Blint, a notorious assassin. To enjoy this new and better life, "Kylar" must leave Azoth for dead and take up his master's profession.

This book is quite complicated. There is royal bickering, family dynamics of a master/assassin/father figure and apprentice/son Kylar, and coming-of-age. There are magical artifacts, monsters, and wizards.

If you can manage to hang on to the story, as it is quite complicated, there are lot of interesting twists. What makes the story difficult is some of the names can be difficult, and new sorceror will suddenly show up and reference something that happened 5 chapters. It is nice the author can weave a tightly coupled story but I would like an explainer once in a while... I've typically seen this as 2 characters crafting a plan. During their planning, they explain the events thus far.

Instead, the book likes to deep-dive Kylar's internal conflict, and that started to get old. I'm sure it is incredibly difficult to create a "noble hero assassin". That formula works better for "thieves with honor" (only robbing people who deserve/afford it). Kylar is murder-for-hire, and yet the book tries to portay him as someone hanging on to his innonence wanting to use his powers for jsutice in the world. After Kylar's first solo assination, I don't buy it.

Score 4/5. I decided to pick up book 2.

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