Book Review- The Way of Shadows

“Life is empty. Life is worthless. When we take a life, we aren’t taking anything of value.”- Durzo Blint

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks is a work of fantasy that is a rather dark piece of literature, based in the fictional city of Cenaria, a city almost completely dominated by a criminal organization called the “Sakage”. This organization controls all illicit operations in Cenaria, ranging from assassinations to the brothels. This organization also employs or bribes many powerful individuals in the city, including wetboys. Wetboys (pretty lame name) are magic wielding assassins, the most deadly and famous of the current generation of wetboys being Durzo Blint. Wetboys are such skilled killers they do not refer to their victims as targets, but deaders, leading to the prominent quote, “a wet boy has a deader, an assassin has a target, because assassins sometimes miss.”

The central protagonist throughout the book is an orphan named Azoth. Living in the slums of Cenaria, the Warrens, Azoth and his two friends, Jarl and Doll Girl must steal to survive. A bit later into the book Azoth has the opportunity to apprentice under Durzo Blint, the city’s top wetboy. Becoming a wetboy, Azoth must leave behind everything from his past life, and, perhaps most dangerous of all, survive Durzo’s training to become a skilled wetboy.

The magic system within the book is based off of something called the talent, and these talented individuals while also have talents in particular parts of magic. This is best exemplified by the fact of some mages having almost no talent for fire magic, but they might have a great deal of affinity for healing. The talent has three parts, all of which are necessary for a person to use their talent, the Glore Vyrden or life magic, this is basically the magical reservoir. The second component is the ability to recharge your Glore Vyrden, without this you could only use the talent once or twice in your life. A person with this ability generally recharges their Glore Vyrden by absorbing sunlight or from other light sources. The final part is called the conduit, a person with only a small conduit is only able to channel a small part of their talent at once, whereas a person with a large conduit can use large amounts of magic at once.

Overall this is a worthwhile read if you’re interested in reading a darker novel. It’s got magical assassins, so what’s not to love. With good character development, an intriguing story, and quite interesting finish, this book is definitely worth your time.

Side note: This book did not have a kindle edition on Amazon, so while I fully support authors getting paid for their work, this time I’ve included a link to a PDF instead.

The Way of Shadows