Overview (No Spoilers):
Beyond the Shadows is the final installment of Week’s Night Angel trilogy. As significant time has elapsed since I’d finished, Shadow’s Edge, it was great to get back into this dark world, especially with the intense sequence of events that concluded this second novel. These events at the end of Shadows Edge are tumultuous enough to warrant the end of the series instead of being the bridging book of a trilogy. Interestingly, Beyond the Shadows now has to pick up the pieces and resolve the power struggle that arises in the presence of a power vacuum. As various parties jockey for positions of power, the heightened desperation for some endangers the world at large as magic is drawn upon that is not fully understood. Needless to say, Weeks has many twists and turns in store for the reader.
While I genuinely enjoyed the story as a whole, there were quite a few spots where key events were skipped or glossing over that left me flipping back through pages to see if I’d somehow skipped a chapter. This leap in the narrative kicked me out of the story momentarily, shattering the building suspense that Weeks had been carefully cultivating throughout this last book. Eventually, I would acclimate back into the story but these gaps in the story seemed to become more frequent leading up the last dramatic battle. This effect culminating in a devastating death not having nearly the impact it should have. Sure it was terrible sad, but it didn’t leave me physically crying as I would have expected.
While the battles and plot twists were well choreographed, I found I was missing the emotional, personal reactions from these characters, especially, regarding key events surrounding Elene or Jenine. Both of these women were instrumental to the story and had terrible things or secrets happen to them, but their immediate reactions were not captured or referenced in hindsight. Almost every character experienced these emotional lapses but this gap stood out starkly for these two women.
I found Dorian’s path to be one of the most fascinating of Beyond the Shadows. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers here but he had been trying for much of this series to distance himself from his father and who he was in the past. Despite trying to make the best of a terrible situation and making decisions that seemed the best option at the time, we saw him slowly slide, step by well-intentioned step, closer to the path he’s avoided. His reunion with Solon was one of my favorite moments of Beyond the Shadow as it not only was a meeting of close friends but also the many loose ends it tied together.
This ending as a whole was fantastic, and felt relatively feel-good, especially considering how dark much of this series was. I can’t say the ending was necessarily happy, but that many of the complex pieces fell together in a most satisfying, and often unexpected way. There were very few holes not patched up though Weeks lays the groundwork to expand this literary world if he wished.
Overall, Beyond the Shadows was a fitting ending to a dark trilogy that despite all of the many cringe inducing scenes, somehow manages to pull off a hopeful, good-triumphing-evil ending, all the while staying true to the overall feel of the story as a whole.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- What happened to the white ka’kari after Kylar killed Elene? Where are the other ka’karis that Durzo scattered all over the world?
- Kylar killing Elene was devastating, however so much was skipped within the story. How was she captured? Why was she selected? What would have happened had she stayed? What was it like being ‘taken over’ by Khali?
- Poor Dorian. I feel like his story was a prime example of good intentions paving the path to hell. Everything he did was the ‘best’ answer, but it incrementally led him veer far from the path he wanted to forge.
- When will Kylar learn that Jenine was carrying his son? When was his son taken from Elene?
- Will Kylar be able to eventually transform as quickly as Durzo?
- What was Durzo’s reunion with Momma K like? What was his time with Uly like?
- Ok. I positively loved that Elene became best friends with Vi!
- Why was the city built from magic at the end? How was that part of the destroying evil part?
- I want, no need to know more about Sister Ariel!
- Jenine showed flashes of strength but mostly just went with the flow right up until the end when she was ultimately subservient to Logan. And she thought he was dead! She had to reason to wait around for him.
- Garuwashi and Feir surprised me by becoming one of my favorite parts of the story. I loved how Solon tied into their drama. Now that Feir knows the secrets of how to make Caur’caelestus could he make more magical weapons?
- To have Retribution stolen so blatantly from him seems to hurt Kylar’s street cred.