02 April, 2010

Review - Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks

While some people have been waiting over 20 years to finish The Wheel of Time, over 13 (and counting) for A Song of Ice and Fire, and over 10 for Malazan Book of the Fallen, it's a great feeling to finish a series and probably better for all the waiting I've been doing.

Concluding the Night Angel Trilogy, Beyond the Shadows (2008) [US] [UK] is a great ending to a great series. While not without its faults, as I'll discuss in a bit, the characters are moving and the world fully realized, so much that I was a bit sad to be reading the end. That's always a good sign.

Now comes the blurb and spoilers if you've yet to read the prior installments...

Logan Gyre is king of Cenaria, a country under siege, with a threadbare army and little hope. He has one chance - a desperate gamble, but one that could destroy his kingdom.

In the north, the new Godking has a plan. If it comes to fruition, no one will have the power to stop him.

Kylar Stern has no choice. To save his friends - and perhaps his enemies - he must accomplish the impossible: assassinate a goddess.

Beyond the Shadows is the action-packed conclusion to the Night Angel Trilogy.

Not letting up on the fast pace, Beyond the Shadows is surprisingly even more action-packed than its predecessors. This didn't hurt the story until the very end when it felt a bit rushed as I explained here (look for "seak" at the bottom of the page).

Otherwise, I couldn't get enough. With Dorian in the north, disguised as a eunuch searching for Jenine Gyre, Vi in the Chantry learning from the Sisters and starting her own faction, Neph Dada on his own nefarious mission, and Kylar learning what his new gifts really cost him, not one section leaves you wishing you were somewhere else.

One of the things I was most impressed with was the explanation of the Krul. They were mentioned in the previous volumes only cursorily, but what a great monster. In fact, the Kalidorans in general were wonderfully realized, especially with their connection to the vir (their version of the Talent), setting up yet another moral struggle for a certain main character.

Although events leading up to the ending were a bit rushed, the ending itself was amazing. From great monsters and epic fights to poignant scenes of realization, I left satisfied and a little sad to be done.

When Should You Read Beyond the Shadows?

After the first two in the series, duh... Okay, sad attempt at a joke. :D As I said with the first two installments, be ready for fast-paced-action-intense-writing-lots-of-fighting and everything you'd expect in a series involving assassins. The Night Angel Trilogy brings out the kid in you that wants to rule the world.

My Rating and Links

4 out of 5 Stars

Jeff at Genre Reader (formerly Fantasy Book News and Reviews) also enjoyed Beyond the Shadows. Great review format too.


ediFanoB said...

To be fair, it was "only" a trilogy.

Good review. So far I read only the first novel.

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Lots of action huh... I am going to have to get to this series. Thank you for the great review! I am one who likes to read a series after its all out, but lately found myself not doing that. I've been getting caught up with new series' lately. lol. Oh well, thanks for the great reviews on this series.

Bryce L. said...

@ediFanoB - Too true, but I'll take what I can get. :) Did you like the first?

@Melissa - Thansk and happy to oblige. :) It's so hard, I've limited myself to finishing at least one of the series' I've started before beginning a new one. It's a tough life.

Elfy said...

Bryce, I enjoyed the trilogy, one factor it had going for it was that it was complete and published when I started it, but overall I was left disappointed. The first book set up things nicely and was believable, but it tended to go a little over the top towards the end. Too many coincidences and lucky escapes. I got the feeling Weeks lost control a bit the further it went. Worth a read for sure, but doesn't stack up against the likes of Abercrombie. I am however looking forward to his new book The Black Prism.

Bryce L. said...

@Elfy - That's what I was alluding to when I linked to SFFWorld. I thought everyone just showed up. But the last battle was still really cool. Definitely excited for The Black Prism.