23 March, 2010

Review - Shadow's Edge by Brent Weeks

Shadow's Edge (2008) [US] [UK] by Brent Weeks is the second installment in The Night Angel trilogy and Weeks continues to impress with his debut series. Although the beginning slowed down the pace a bit, Weeks was able to keep the tempo going from The Way of Shadows (review) and finish with quite the finale.

I've attempted to eliminate as many spoilers as possible, but it's difficult to discuss sequels without giving away some from the first. Beware some spoilers if you've yet to read The Way of Shadows.

Book Blurb:
Kylar Stern has rejected the assassin's life. the Godking's successful coup has left Kylar's master, Durzo, and his best friend, Logan, dead. He is starting over: new city, new friends, and new profession.

But when he learns that Logan might actually be alive and in hiding, Kylar is faced with an agonizing choice: will he give up the way of shadows forever and live in peace with his new family, or will he risk everything by taking on the ultimate hit?

I have to say that I've really grown attached to these characters especially after two books and I thought Weeks did a great job with his sophomore novel, even improving on the first.

While The Way of Shadows dealt much with Kylar surviving the slums and making something new of himself, Shadow's Edge focuses on Kylar's struggle to find out who that person is he's become and where he belongs.

After moving to a new town, Caernarvon, to get out of the wetboy life, Kylar struggles to open a shop with Elene, selling and mixing herbs. Elene greatly wishes for Kylar to become a "good" person and stop his killing ways, but Kylar wonders if it's all that bad to stop those people who are really evil by sometimes killing.

These are some great philosophical points to ponder. Does one stoop to a murderer's level by killing them? Is there a difference between killing and murdering? These are some of the focal points of Kylar's struggle as he attempts to rise to Elene's level.

In Shadow's Edge, there are a number of new elements that are reminiscent of The Wheel of Time, such as The Chantry, where "Sisters" recruit others to teach them to use their Talent and the Lae'Knaught who hate magic and magic-users. There are more, but these similarities weren't too blaring and helped to increased the complexity of the story. See here for a lengthy and sometimes quite humorous discussion on SFFWorld (although spoilers abound).

Add to everything an awesome ending which brought many of the characters together, although not all of them knew it and you have yourself one great book. I did have a few problems that I mention here (with appropriate spoiler warnings) since I felt that an important element was glossed over.

When Should You Read Shadow's Edge?

Furthering The Way of Shadows' fast-paced, action-packed momentum, Shadow's Edge will keep you on your toes. If you're in the mood to stay up later than you normally do devouring a great tale of assassins, you'll love Shadow's Edge. Definitely recommended.

Rating and Links

4 out of 5 Stars (Loved it)

Rob Bedford reviewed Shadow's Edge as well.


ediFanoB said...

Sigh, sigh, sigh!

I'm walled by unread books. Can barely reach my keyboard.

I read THE WAY OF SHADOWS and SHADOW'S EDGE is one of my unread books.
Your great review demonstrates why I should read it.
Why can't I read two books at the same time? I have two eyes! Er, but I have only one brain :(

Bryce L. said...

Haha. I'm not gonna lie, it's a pretty good series. Great characters that really get you attached. Plus it's nice to actually finish a series. :)

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

Truth be told I skimmed the review. I have not yet read the first book, so didn't want to give to much away. This really does sound like a great trilogy. I am going to have to get to this trilogy soon. I have the first book on my shelf. I am going to have to quite buying books till I get through all the ones I have here. Thanks!

Bryce L. said...

What Melissa you skimmed my review?!?!?! How rude, I would never do such a thing. :P

This series is worth it, you won't regret it.

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

LOL! :) I have such a stack here for me. I have a few books in the stack before I get to this series. But from what I have seen in your reviews I think I definitely need to get to them soon. Good thing I have the first one here. :)