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The Way of Shadows

Night Angel Trilogy, Book 1
Written by: Brent Weeks
Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
Length: 21 hrs and 4 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (117 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art---and he is the city's most accomplished artist, his talents required from alleyway to courtly boudoir. For Azoth, survival is precarious, something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he's grown up in the slums and learned to judge people quickly---and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint. But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins' world of dangerous politics and strange magics---and cultivate a flair for death.
©2008 Brent Weeks (P)2009 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    85
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    21
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    8
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    2
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    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    65
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    30
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    13
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    4
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    3

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    79
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Literally the worst narrator I have come across

The narrator is aweful. The story seemed pretty good up until I gave up because of this aweful voice acting... I kept waiting hoping he would get into his groove but that moment never came. If you can put up with the narrator giver a read it's pretty good.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great story terrible story teller

do your self a favor and find this from another company. this one did this book terribly but I once heard one that was amazing

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Pretty good story, narrator gets better

narrator at the start felt a bit rough but by the end I didn't notice. could have been because I got used to his style or the story was compelling. either way I enjoyed this audio book!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it

Love the twists and turns. Always kept me on my toes. Mature themes but they contributed to the story, not just for the shock value.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

captivating

I really liked the narrator and his ability to change voices so fluidly. well done

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Killin & Chillin

So f'n good! Bold, badas*, and beautiful. Truly a must listen. Come get some son!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great Story but hard to fallow all the characters

The book was very good. Im glad i listened to it but it was a struggle trying to keep up with who is who and what names belonged to what people. You need a flow chart for this book.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Terrible writing

90% of the events of the book are told rather than shown and described. Character development is sudden and unrealistic. The worst part is that the narrator sounds like he's reading a news article. No emphasis on words, no added personality to the characters.

The plot and world building are decent but I'm struggling to finish this book.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

One of my favorite books

Absolutely amazing book by a tremendous author, can't recommend it enough. Often offered up as a young adult novel, in my personal opinion it easily stands up to just about any fantasy series.
Only complaint is that the narrator does not do the material justice.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Novel

Phenomenal story and plot, not a single word wasted in intertwining depth, making and foreshadowing in this thoroughly enjoyable novel.

The voice acting was by no means perfect but it was still effective and pleasant enough.

Certainly worth purchase.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jake
  • 2009-08-25

Shockingly good.

First, the only negative of this book is the very beginning, which seems slightly awkward at times. This fades quickly and is barely noticeable as is.

Second, the author makes astounding use of inference as a story telling device, better than any I've ever seen. He doesnt tell you things, instead letting the actions of the characters imply what must have happened, how it happened, and even when it happened. The unimportant (to the plot) elements are typically left unconfirmed, just evident, but if your perceptive you'll be able to see the truth behind a great many things before they are actually revealed as characters imply them with their words and deeds. Despite that this is the story of a young assassin learning his trade, there is actually only one "training" scene in the entire book - the rest is almost entirely left to your imagination with brief recollections by the main character to confirm suspicions and give details on pertinent aspects of his skill-set. The effect of this is allowing the author to write a book that spans a decade, has the content of about 3 regular books, and never has a slow moment. This also makes for a lot of transitions, temporal and spacial, and if your not a fan of multiple plot lines you may not like it. However, I'm not kidding when I say this book has the content of 3 normal novels - you will occasionally be shocked when you realize its not even close to over yet, so if you want more for your money you cant go wrong with this one.

Third, the story itself is fascinating, while listening to this I nearly had 3 traffic accidents I became so absorbed. Mr. Weeks is nearly as hard on his characters as George R. R. Martin - but only nearly. This is not a sad story, and its not a happy story, its a good story. If you like darkish fantasy with an undercurrent of redemption, political and personal intrigue, and magic which is both common and powerful (but not all-powerful) - then this is a book for you.

128 of 146 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Daniel
  • 2017-05-06

ok

didn't really captivate me. a bit hard to follow at times. interesting enough for me to read the next book. hopefully it gets better

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Carrie
  • 2016-02-23

Bloody Long

Lots of blood and violence. Female characters are one dimensional through most of the story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • A reader
  • 2009-10-21

A good grim fantasy series, with caveats

The Way of Shadows is a good example of the "new" fantasy series (think The Lies of Locke Lamora, etc.). It is gritty, light on magic, focuses on relatively ordinary good characters who do bad things for a living, and concentrates more on politics than some coming Dark Lord. As a representative of this genre, the Way of Shadows is a decent entrant with some interesting characters, moral musings, and a few terrific action sequences.

A few things hold it back, however. First, the tone is notably uneven - there are some scenes of horrific violence, including violence against children, followed soon afterwards by scenes with witty banter. Mr. Weeks is a decent writer, but not strong enough to pull off these sorts of tonal shifts. In addition, the writing is generally fine, but an occasional metaphor or sentence comes across as incredibly awkward. (The reader, incidentally, stumbles occasionally as well, saying "prisoner" instead of "poisoner" repeatedly during one chase scene, creating a lot of confusion)

The other issue is that the plot occasionally lurches as well. Sometimes the book seems to assume certain, unexplained knowledge, or characters come to sudden realizations without any ability for the reader to understand where those came from.

Generally, however, the lapses above are rare, and the book is generally solidly entertaining and well-written. There are better "new" fantasy series out there -- The Name of the Wind and the Well of Souls come to mind -- but this is a good, fast-paced novel of assassins and beggars that is not at all a waste of your time.

82 of 104 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Delton
  • 2010-12-20

A Beautiful Tragedy

I give this three stars because the story itself is excellent, but the recording is miserable. They balance out, mostly. I might go a bit lower. Maybe 2.5 stars, instead.
Paul Boehmer never has been a particularly moving speaker, and this audio recording is no exception. The timing is off, the voices are all similar, and the dramatic pauses are in all the wrong places. I found that throughout this recording, I was constantly distracted by Boehmer's mistakes and poor choices of intonation. Yet despite all of this, I listened to it from beginning to end. Brent Weeks does a wonderful job making his characters both infallible and flawed. Everything they do makes sense, even though the reader, and sometimes even the character, knows it's wrong. They are multi-faceted, there are some superb plot twists, and he throws in some dark and come crude humor in there for effect, but tactfully, so it never distracts the reader (or listener) from the story itself. His literary voice is very strong, but I wish there was somebody who could convey that in an audio recording. It certainly isn't Paul Boehmer.

17 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Douglas L Campbell
  • 2009-10-25

I can see why some people might be put off

I can see why some people give this very low ratings. I think it may be a taste issue, and there are definately some bumps in the road. The story can be hard to follow and there are some very confusing scenes. However, I really appreciate that the author tried for some plot twists and revelations, and I really enjoyed the story, regardless of some confusion and yes it can be difficult to hear some of the dark side of humanity that is featured in the story.

37 of 47 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • pj
  • 2010-10-28

Why I enjoyed this story, hope it helps....

First, what for me, detracted from the story..

1.) A couple of instances between Azoth/Kylar and Master Blint where our story-teller re-hashed the underlying motives of both characters as to why each was feeling or reacting as they did.

2.) Maybe a little more cultural history, and flat out geography, (maybe I wasn't paying attention - for those of us who actually are ADD ;-), as to the layout of this kingdom would of fixed this world a little better in my mind.

Other than that ... I was dropped into this wonderful, terrifying world and loved it.

Why I liked it ...

1.) With the mix of cultures, the story-teller's use of names hinted at and/or delineated the characters and made them real for me.

2.) His weaving and mixing of the Old World, Yakuza, and maybe even a nod at the Tongs to create a world where a "Durzo Blint" and a "Kylar Stern" could exist. (Before rabid perfectionist jump on the word Tong, it isn't PinYin, Wade-Giles or Yale.)

3.) As an ex-Grunt, there wasn't an MOS that didn't have it's own special vocabulary e.g. 05H, ditty-chasers, 98G, dingy-lingy, so it wasn't so hard for me to jump from "wet-work" to "wet-boy" without any difficulty or sexual insecurities on my part....


What made it funny ....


"Humping the bridge"....

Hope this helps, Q

21 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • 2017-05-13

Narration was horrible

Ok guys... I love audio books but this is a perfect example of what happens when you take a slightly above average story and butcher it with a piss poor narrator. I can't believe this performance passed quality control. The only way I could even finish this book was to put the speed setting on 1.25X. Even then it was only bearable

39 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lore
  • 2012-04-13

Start of an entertaining trilogy

Although this series does not rank among my favorites of all time, I did enjoy it. This first book starts with main characters for the trilogy in their adolescence in a world where they find themselves unknowingly interacting with figures of legend. Durzo Blint in his world of shadows and assassins is even more than he seems to be and Azoth's entrance into that world certainly keeps you interested.

Almost everything is more than it seems to be and I like the way Weeks is able to shed more light on the events we have already witnessed as the trilogy goes on. I often found myself thinking back on prior events as I learned something new about the characters or the reasons behind what had already occurred.

Paul Boehmer does a decent job on the narration and overall I found the trilogy entertaining.

17 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • crazybatcow
  • 2012-04-01

Yay! It wasn't a young adult novel after all!

I've had this book for nearly a year but never got around to reading it because, well, to be honest, I had some idea that it was young adult and I just wasn't in the mood for some adolescent reading. Turns out I was pleasantly incorrect. This book is not meant for young adult readers even though many of the main characters are young adult (at least in this first book).

It's not particularly gory, and doesn't have particularly foul language (though there is some)... but there are lots of violent scenes, and life in this world does not mean anything to most of the characters. It's a hard, violent and angry setting... which makes the story gritty and dark.

It's an interesting world (reminiscent of the Medieval era) with an interesting magic system (which is blended easily into the story - men with swords fighting mages with fireballs does not come across as strained or odd).

There is quite a bit of character development, and some scenes seem to be present only to develop the characters, not to move the story forward... fortunately it does not occur all that often so it does not become annoying. The immediate story is sort of wrapped up in this book but... the main characters are not "resolved" nor is the over-arching scenario concluded so you will probably want to pick up the next book in the series or you might feel that you were left hanging.

The narration was good. I have to say that there were moments I wished the story moved a bit faster, but as soon as I was done, I started the next book in the series because I really want to know what happens with the characters, and in this world.

45 of 61 people found this review helpful