For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city’s most accomplished artist.
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.
It really pains me rate this two stars since Weeks’ other fantasy series, Lightbringer, is incredible and one of my absolute favourites. But, The Way of Shadows is awful in comparison. Had I read this first, I would never have picked up The Black Prism.
The Way of Shadows follows Azoth as he’s accepted into a killing for hire guild that is a step above regular assassins called Wetboys. Despite the incredibly cringe inducing name and terminology they use, Wetboys have the ability to wield magic. Thus begins Azoth’s journey through a world rife with political landmines, betrayals, and murder.
The biggest issue I had with The Way of Shadows was its over reliance on fantasy tropes. Every single character is a caricature of a basic fantasy character: the whore with a soul, the ruthless killer with a devastating backstory, the main character that will change everything, and a bland female love interest. Using these tropes isn’t what made me dislike The Way of Shadows since tropes are tropes for a reason. However, I felt no connection or pull to any of the characters. Outside of the main characters, there are many characters that receive a chapter here or there with their primary purpose to communicate important world building information. It reads as sloppy making the world building shaky at best.
The reason I rated The Way of Shadows two stars instead of one is because there is a good story here buried under the mediocre character development and cringe worthy terminology. Azoth is an interesting character with an exciting arc, but it’s hidden under storylines that should have been cut.
Despite all the twists and turns, The Way of Shadows reads as if there’s no direction. There’s too much happening so that all the characters and storylines read as unfinished.
Like I said, The Way of Shadows is incredible disappointing after having read the masterpiece that is the Lightbringer series. I would absolutely not recommend this to anyone.