Growing up in the nastiest alleys and streets of Cenaria dreaming every minute of better life is how Azoth lives. Day by day wishing for the “wetboy” Durzo Blint to apprentice him so Azoth can escape this dreadful life of fear of being beat up everyday if you don’t pay your share of the dues and also to take care of his best friends Jarl and Doll Girl.
It’s a dark journey for this young boy to have the weight of so much on his shoulders, watching after Doll Girl whom he feels responsible for and leading a group of rag tag homeless kids against people in his own guild let alone all the others trying to take over their territory. Azoth must destroy his enemy, provide a better life for Doll Girl and somehow get the lands deadliest assassin Durzo Blint to notice him and be willing to apprentice him. And that’s all before he reaches his teen years.
“The Way of Shadows” is a rich full book of the life of Azoth later to be named Kylar and his journey to becoming a “wetboy” so he can escape reality. The plot twists are many and the character development is really strong. The relationship between Azoth and Durzo is a special one fraught with love, appreciation, jealousy and master/apprentice dynamics. Durzo becomes like a father to Azoth and trains him to become the best “wetboy” around. Azoth struggles with the solitary life of an assassin and his love for Doll Girl whom he must abandon to keep her from danger but also provides for her in secret. Sacrificing his life to make sure she has one. It’s a love story.
The characters in Azoth/Kylar’s life are very well defined and you develop feelings for them. From his best friend Jarl from the life he left behind to Logan the Prince and soon to be King whom Kylar at this point befriends out of necessity. The double life Kylar must live between lower noble to assassin provides plenty of intrigue and a cast of characters that add a lot of flavor to the book especially Momma K.
You have all the great things that go in a good fantasy book in “The Way of Shadows” and very little of anything negative. I don’t want to give anything away in this review but suffice it to say it’s a must read fantasy book. For Brent Weeks first novel this is a very strong effort and I can’t wait to get to the other two books in the series.
Find out more about Brent Weeks at www.brentweeks.com