Overview (No Spoilers):
After finishing book three of The Lightbringer series, I was in major withdrawal from Week’s elaborate world building and story crafting as I waited to have The Blood Mirror become available from my local library. While I was rather impatiently waiting for the next installment of The Lightbringer, I decided to pick up The Way of Shadow, Week’s first trilogy, that was published all at once as a mass market paperback in 2008. While The Black Prism came not that much later in 2010, it was apparent that Week’s writing style was continuing to evolve in this inaugural novel. The characters and story did not develop as quickly or contain the depth and details as seen throughout The Lightbringer series. The story as a whole, especially the ending was brutal, and incredibly difficult to read as any bright spot of the novel was snuffed out in one fell swoop. That being said, in some ways the read seemed more realistic than other literary worlds because Weeks created a very hard, tough world where happy endings are not likely to happen, and he followed through with that hard line instead of caving into a typical good luck upswing. This mindset though makes me hesitant to pick up the next book in the series as I can’t see anything positive in the future for my surviving favorite characters. This apathy is derived from not wanting to read characters I have come to feel a connection with proceed to endure hardship after hardship has made me not continue in a series before, e.g., Jade City. In general though, the story grew and evolved in a way that slowly lured in the reader until this interesting, yet dark literary world had piqued curiosity. Overall, The Way of Shadows was not at the same level as The Black Prism, but the last fourth of the book contained glimmers of the world building and depth that I’m familiar with by Weeks. The Way of Shadows offers such destruction at the end that perhaps the clean slate offered will pave the way for a new book feeling instead that of a sequel.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- Why did the black ka’kari reject Durzo after so much time?
- Where are the other ka’kari?
- Durzo and Gwinvere’s love story was so very hurtful and heartbreaking.
- I did not see Rat being Roth at all? How was Rat alive if Durzo saw him dead?
- Logan was my absolute favorite and one of the bright spots in this novel. How will he survive the pit of prisoners (the Maw)? Will he find out his wife is still alive? What will happen to her? What the heck was Count Drake’s daughter’s problem? She did not deserve Logan at all.
- How will Count Drake bounce back?
- How will Elene and Azoth proceed? How will adopting Uly go? Why did Uly think Azoth was her Dad? Won’t she mourn her adopted Mom?
- How will Jarl continue to climb the criminal ladder?
- So many secrets were unveiled in the end that it was hard to keep up and process everything that just took place!
- What is Dorian’s purpose? What are his goals? What will happen to the treasured sword (Curoch) they lost? What will Solon do next?
- There was so much death at the end of The Way of Shadows, how can the series even proceed. Logan’s family, the royal family, Durzo, the General, the King, among many others.
- What does it mean now that Azoth is the Night Angel?