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djinn24 reviews the audiobook for The Way of Shadow, book one of The Night Angle trilogy by Brent Weeks Read by Paul Boehmer, published by Orbit books in October 2008, Finalist for the David Gemmell Legend’s award.
A mix of the shadow arts and magic makes this book a winner – The Founding Fields
The city of Cenaria Cityis the capital of Cenaria. You have a major split between the people who live here. You have the warrens. The warrens are a den for thieves, cut throats, beggars and in general people down on their luck. The poor and homeless are here. The East side is filled with the affluent, successful, and the nobility. This situation works well for the people who are on the East Side. The kingdom is lead by a single king who rules the land, but he is simply a figurehead. The real power in Cenaria city lies in the warrens with the Sa’Kage (Lords of Shadows) who truly control. The Sa’Kage are a mob-like organization that has it hands into almost everything, from blackmail, to prostitution, to assassination and run it with brutal efficiency. Part of the underworld is also the smaller street gangs, filled with kids and it is here we meet Azoth, a member of the Black Dragon guild who’s main purpose in life is to survive, find coin to feed his friends, and pay his guild dues to the Guild Fist, Rat. While out searching under a seedy bar for fallen coin he overhears Durzo Blint, the best Wetboy in the city in a confrontation with a man. The fight ends when Durzo quickly dispatches the man and his men. After the slaughter Durzo catches Azoth and warns him to never speak of what has just happened.
I first heard of Brent Weeks after becoming friends with author Myke Cole, writer of the extremely awesome Shadow Ops series of books and then it was recommended to me by another friend, who also happens to be named Brent, he pretty much told me I had to read it. So when I saw it was on the site I go to for my audio books I decided now was as good a time as any to start on the Night Angel Trilogy. Brent Weeks writes in the 3rd person, rotating to several different characters over the course of the book, which I find refreshing. While he is not as in depth as George R.R. Martin in his world building or the multitude of characters he switches between I find their style to be very similar to one another. I can honestly say that if you have enjoyed GRRM’s work then you are likely to enjoy these as well. The best part of Brent’s work is he puts a good amount of action and humor into everything he writes. There are several moments that I really and truly laughed out loud while listening to this audiobook and other times where I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to hear what happened next. The only part that I found a bit boring was the very beginning when Brent first establishes his world, but it is a necessary evil to truly understand what’s going on later in the book. The world itself is fleshed out but not to the point where it does not allow you to use your imagination to create your own visualization.
Paul Beohmer is a master of his art. The ability he has to switch from character to character, making each unique, is a pleasure to listen to. This is the first audiobook which he narrates that I have listened to but it will not be the last. He is one that I will follow to see how well he can work his magic outside of this book. He has a wide variety of tones which he maintains well with each character. This is really important with Brent Weeks rotating 3rd person point of views. Once I learned which characters voices where who’s I didn’t even have to hear the name to know who was talking with who.
The titanic combination of Brent Weeks and Paul Beohmer made this work a colossal success for me. A highly talented voice actor with a well executed book has made me a fan of both. Hands down this is a solid 5/5 on both parts. I recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy, well written books, and ninjas. If you are looking for a book to listen to or read this summer then this is it.
The Way of Shadows
Author Brent Weeks
Narrator Paul Beohmer
Series The Night Angel Trilogy
Publication date October 2008
Running Time 21:05