Monday, May 9, 2011

Epic Review - Shadow's Edge (Night Angel Trilogy, Book 2) by Brent Weeks (4.5/5 stars)

Shadow's Edge (Night Angel Trilogy, Book 2)Reading level: Adult
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Size: 656 pages
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: November 1, 2008
ISBN-13: 978-0316033657
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Night Angel Trilogy
Source: Bought
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

This is the second book in the Night Angel Trilogy.  The first book left the reader in quite a tangle and this book picks up right where that one left off.  It was a good installment in this series, the plot and characters are well woven and engaging.  I listened to this on audio book and it was very well done (please excuse any name mispellings, as I listened to this).

Kylar has fled the city with Elene and Uli and they are trying to make a life for themselves in a city neighboring Cernaria.   Of course that is not mean to be.  As the God King destroys Cernaria, Jarl who now rules the Sa'kage, is trying to figure out a way to save a city doomed by the God King's rule.  Eventually Jarl finds out that Logan is alive and in the hole and travels to tell Kylar; Kylar is again forced to choose between a peaceful live with Elene or possible saving the city he loves.  There are billion other things going on at the same time; but that is the core of the story.

Weeks does an excellent job of weaving a story from numerous viewpoints.  The detail and description he puts into the story is fantastic; he can really write.  The scenes are engaging and really carry the reader from one section of the book to the next.  The characters are realistic and people you really care about; they are human and make mistakes but they also have moments of glory.  It was fun to see all the minor players from the first book finally coming into their power.

You absolutely must read the first book before this one or you will be completely lost.  I had also forgotten how Weeks doesn't shy away from describing extremely uncomfortable and gory situations in great detail; definitely not for those with a week stomach.  Our poor characters never get a break and Weeks absolutely breaks your heart with some of the things he puts these characters through.

I do have a couple of complaints.  The first is the incredibly vast number of viewpoints the story is told from; while generally well done, at times it was confusing as to how much time had passed (or not passed) when viewpoints were switched.  The other complaint is that Weeks has a tendency to over-explain.  When a character does something complicated or clever, he always feels the need to spell out the reasons behind it for the reader.  I personally think the reader deserves more credit; if a character does something clever let the reader think "Ah, that was clever"...don't spend two sentences explaining exactly why the character did it when it could be easily deduced by the reader.

The story ends at a good point and I am curious to see what things are dealt with in the final book.  To be honest I cringe a little bit when I think what else our poor characters will have to go through in the next book.  I would like to think things end well for them all, but I am going to guess that they don't.  We will see.  

Overall the book is incredibly complex and very well written.  Weeks does an excellent job of making complex characters that you really care about and an excellent job of really engaging the reader.  The world building is spectacular.  Readers should be ware though that he is very detailed in gory and disgusting description so those with week stomachs may want to check out Jim Butcher's Codex Alera of any of Brandon Sanderson's works instead.  The only other things I had trouble with were the vast multitude of viewpoints and the constant over-explanation of character actions.  I enjoyed the book and am excited to see how everything turns out in Beyond the Shadows.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 100+ Reading Challenge
- Fantasy Reading Challenge
- Audio Book Challenge List

Shadow's Edge (Night Angel Trilogy, Book 2) 

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