• The Way of Shadows

  • Night Angel Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Brent Weeks
  • Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
  • Length: 21 hrs and 4 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (11,942 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 listeners say about The Way of Shadows

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7,399
  • 4 Stars
    3,067
  • 3 Stars
    983
  • 2 Stars
    302
  • 1 Stars
    191
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6,138
  • 4 Stars
    2,676
  • 3 Stars
    988
  • 2 Stars
    279
  • 1 Stars
    188
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6,704
  • 4 Stars
    2,352
  • 3 Stars
    829
  • 2 Stars
    258
  • 1 Stars
    141

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

146 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

89 people found this helpful

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

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

58 people found this helpful

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

Narrator sucks

Every book I get is one I have read. This is one of my favorite series. That being said the narrator for this one is almost unbearable.

I spoke with customer support and the so called guaranty was not even offered.

I will be canceling my subscription because of it.

56 people found this helpful

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

Paul Boehmer is terrible

I gave up after an hour. I am just going to read this book. The narration was so distracting that I could barely understand what was going on. Paul Boehmer has the cadence of an 80's computer. It seems like there might be a decent book in here somewhere though. Hence the 3 stars for overall and story. If I could rate less than a 1 for the performance, I would.

51 people found this helpful

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

Narrator almost ruined the whole thing.

Seriously, I think English is this narrators 2nd language. Between the sing-songy delivery, the often mispronounced words (it’s ‘fore-head’, 2 syllables, not ‘fawred’ or whatever this guy was mumbling), and the sheer lack of effort in trying to distinguish the voices (I know, let’s just give these 2 guys indistinguishable bad English accents!), this narrator seriously made an ok story almost unlistenable. I should get a free audible credit for slogging through.

48 people found this helpful

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

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.

47 people found this helpful

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

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.

38 people found this helpful

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

Oh, and also, he's called Azoth.

I don't even want to know what books you've read if you place this freak show among the best; WHO is responsible for that rating!? Let me show just a few ways, in which, this book made me die inside just a little.

1. Utter lack of any sort of writing skill, awful plot, and terrible descriptions, as well as painful lines, such as "about as smart as a box of air." You majored in English, you can do better..can't you?

2. The names! Oh the NAMES! Each one is worse than the last. Azoth isn't terrible, though I would be embarrassed to have come up with it, but Durzo Blint? Ja'laliel? Rat? Doll Girl?! Even with a good plot and writing style, the names would severely hinder my enjoyment of the book. However, as we've discussed, the style is something no sane person would aspire to, and after reading the plot outline, I almost cried; it was that bad. What's worse, I found a list of names at the end of the Wikipedia article for this book, and I have to say that the worst is 'King Aleine "Niner" Gunder IX'. There's nothing I can say about that, if you don't find something wrong with a name that bad, you should spare the world and not write reviews.

3. It's hard to get over the fact that the "wetboys" are assassins. Really, if you're going to pick a different name for your assassins, don't call them something that sounds like you're talking about a male prostitute.

4. End of minute 25. "..it was Spartan, like all Ceoran (sp?) houses." Do you see nothing wrong with that? Come on! You can't use a real world civilization to describe something in a fantasy realm; unless you're Terry Pratchett. How would Durzo Blint know what "Spartan" meant?!

As you may have realized, I only listened to the first half hour, but I was so utterly repulsed in that time, that I will not, cannot, continue. As terrible books go, this ranks with Hickman's Bronze Canticles.

I am begging you, do NOT buy this book.

31 people found this helpful

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

This generations Terry Brooks

This is either a first novel or this is this generations' Terry Brooks. It is not a Brandon Sanderson (This generations' Orson Scott Card) or is it the best Assassin apprentice story I have ever read (The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb). BW tries to act tough, but usually comes out sissy like. In this book the bad guy says what he might do, such as cut a person's hand off. In George R.R. Martin he would actually cut the hand off and then threaten to cut the other hand off. Four times a character is killed off and then is brought back to life, this gets old. Yet there were times when the story captured my attention. There is a pit scene which is pretty cool. I have never liked Terry Brooks too well, but he sells lots of books and I would say if you are a TB fan then you will love this. TB, BW and Kevin Anderson are guys with great story ideas. When they write they tell you this character felt this or looked like this etc. Card, Sanderson, Hobb and Martin all make you feel like you are the character and so you don 't have to be told that so and so is taciturn or sad or angry, you know because you are the character. You feel what they feel. If you like this type of story then listen to Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy.

26 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-17-17

Brent Weeks does it again

A bit brutal at the start, but an amazing tale!

As a fan of Brent's later works, while less refined, the Way of Shadows, drew me in to it's exciting conclusion!

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