Sunday, May 24, 2009

Review: Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks

Title: Beyond the Shadows
Author: Brent Weeks
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: Orbit Books
ISBN: 0316033669

Notes: Final book in the Night Angel Trilogy


A Satisfying Conclusion to a Refreshing Fantasy Series - 4 stars - a book review

Brent Weeks certainly made a grand entrance into the fantasy world with his NIGHT ANGEL TRILOGY. The entire trilogy is refreshing to read, real and emotional, and completely believable. I absolutely loved THE WAY OF SHADOWS and it was one of the best fantasy books I have read in a long time. The stage was set for a grand tale (and it was); but I was slightly disappointed with the execution, at least by comparison to the previous two installments.

After killing the Godking, Kylar Stern takes more of a journey and adventure of self discovery, learning about the Ka'kari and his role as the Night Angel. Old friendships are rekindled and rediscovered, to great success in terms of character development. One area that Weeks has always succeeded with is his character development and personal interactions. This book explores the bond of brotherhood and friendship to great depths, and the sacrifices necessary to save people. In the previous installments, Kylar's love interest, Elene, was a very one dimensional character. In BEYOND THE SHADOWS, she grows so much, and becomes a character that I was now interested in. Furthermore, many characters from the previous two books are featured in a much more prominent light, setting the stage across multiple countries building to a epic battle.

My one disappointment with BEYOND THE SHADOWS was how the format of the book was drastically different from the other two. BEYOND THE SHADOWS has so many more characters and there is so much more going on in their stories that it almost detracted from my favorite aspects of the series: that being Kylar and his growth as a Wetboy and his struggles balancing the life and his destiny. Because of this, there is so much worldbuilding that would have been better introduced previously because there are times of great exposition through dialogues between characters about the history of the realm. BEYOND THE SHADOWS further explores the entire realm, but almost too much for my comfort. I would have liked to have had more of this worldbuilding in the first two books.

Regardless, BEYOND THE SHADOWS is a solid book. THE NIGHT ANGEL TRILOGY is one of the best additions to the fantasy genre in recent times. Weeks excels is painting the tragic lives and choices of the characters and their actions are nothing short of believable.

If you like fantasy, you certainly do not want to miss this one.

Good reading,

Plants and Books

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