Sunday, June 12, 2011

Review - Beyond the Shadows (Night Angel, Book 3) by Brent Weeks (4/5 stars)

Beyond the Shadows (The Night Angel Trilogy)Reading level: Adult
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Size: 720 pages
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: December 1, 2008
ISBN-13: 978-0316033664
Stand Alone or Series: 3rd (and final) book in the Night Angel Trilogy
Source: Audio book from
Rating: 4/5 stars

This is the third and final book in the Night Angel trilogy.  It wraps up the series nicely and the multitude of plots are mostly wrapped up neatly.  It ended happier than I thought it would given what all of our characters are put through.  I listened to this on audio book and it was very well done (please forgive any name/place mis-spellings).

The God King has been defeated but now there are other dangers to Cenaria's kingdom.  Kylar wants Logan to accept the Kingship of Cenaria, but Logan wants to uphold his vow to the current Queen.  Vi is off to the Chantry to begin her mage training with the Sisters.  Elene is on her way to the Chantry to visit Vi and Uly.  Basically all of the various kingdoms are perched to attack each other and all of our favorite characters have positions of power throughout the various kingdoms.  If I tried to list where everyone was and what they were doing here...this review would turn into a novella.

As in previous novels Weeks does an excellent job keeping the reader engaged with the characters.  The characters are life-like and really pull you into the story; they make mistakes, they try their best, sometimes they do good, sometimes they (especially Kylar) make a mess of it all. 

The plot was twisted and convoluted and came from a billion different perspectives.  It was kind of fun to watch the characters making decisions about their kingdoms without knowing what was happening in other kingdoms.  All the secrets come out in the end, but throughout the story so many major decisions are made without characters knowing what is really going on in other parts of the kingdom that it is very ironic.  At times this can be a bit annoying because it seems like the characters go off on tangents they don't really need to go down to make the story progress.  As with the other books the story is engaging but progresses slowly because of all the different perspectives.

The threesome of Solon, Dorian, and Feir gets a lot more page space in this book.  It was good to read about them more.  We didn't get to read about Uly much at all; she was talked about in the background but not really present in the story.  I missed her.

Weeks has a great writing style to read; very readable with some humor throughout.  As with previous books, this is a book for adults.  There is a lot of talking about sex, swearing, and many gruesome scenes.

My only big problem with the plot is that the evil that the characters are fighting against is less apparent than it was when they were fighting the God King in the last book.  The evil in this book is more sprawling and less concentrated.  In fact most of the characters are just trying to hold their kingdoms together and don't even realize that they are dealing with the Goddess Kali until the end of the book.  It just makes the end battle a bit less profound.

The book wrapped everything up nicely; although there are some things that point at future stories being set in this world.

Overall this was an excellent conclusion to this series.  Weeks weaves a complicated and intriguing story with realistic characters that are very engaging.  My only complaints are that the multitude of perspectives the story is told from slows down the progress of the story, the battle the characters were fighting was less about destroying a great evil and more about protecting their individual kingdoms.  I did enjoy the way everything was wrapped up.  I enjoyed this series enough that I will probably pick up The Black Prism by Brent Weeks at some point.  I recommend also reading The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson or The Codex Alera by Jim Butcher if you enjoyed this series.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

Beyond the Shadows (The Night Angel Trilogy)  

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