The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks is a book that only came on my radar by accident, but one that I am quite grateful for. If I had the time to talk to an author, describe what I liked most in a book and then said, “Spin me a tale that you know will be something I would like,” it would be realized here in this book. It was an interesting decision for Orbit to release the three books of the trilogy in three consecutive months, but one that works for the reader as there is such a small amount of time before the next volume is published.
From a high level view, the story involves some of my favorite elements in fantasy: assassins, politics, intrigue, battles, magic users, and magic items. So far so good, Mr. Weeks, but now let us talk about world-building, writing style, characters, and storyline all without giving away any spoilers to ruin it for the rest of the readers. This behemoth of a book weighs in at over 640 pages and what I found interesting at times is that it may have been underwritten from the standpoint of fleshing it out. Some things go by a little too quickly for my preference. This is where publishers come in, I am sure Weeks could not have handed in a book over 1000 pages, but yet I think if he had I would have enjoyed it a little more. Weird I know. I actually paused and said to myself, “Wow he is really packing it in there” as I cleared page 300-and-something. Weeks’s writing style is fluid and furious as the story is pushed along rather quickly. While I have stated that I feel some of the story itself could have been filled out, the scenes that Weeks brings to us are a perfect blend of description, action, and character introspection.