Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Review: Shadow's Edge by Brent Weeks

Following the death of his master and in the wake of the Godking’s violent coup Kylar Stern takes his adopted daughter Uly and his love interest Elene to a new city. There he hopes to forge a new life for himself, a normal one far removed from his time as a highly skilled wetboy and the constant killing. Kylar however finds it difficult to walk away from something he has been molded all his life to do. Once he learns that his best friend and the now rightful king Logan maybe alive he is forced to give up the fledging life he was building with Elene and Uly in order to save Logan and consequently his country. Logan meanwhile is trapped in the hole among the very worst criminals where he has to do whatever is necessary to stay alive while keeping his identify a secret. Logan has always considered himself a good man but will the depths he is forced to sink to destroy him or make him stronger? Vi finds herself in a rather compromising position when she draws the Godking’s attention onto herself and is forced to try and assassinate Jarl the new Shinga and possibly the only friend she has ever had and Kylar a wetboy who just might be better than her.

That synopsis really doesn’t do this book justice and there is a huge cast of characters and a plethora of events taking place, which is also this novel’s greatest weakness. The first book was anchored nicely in being very focused on Kylar, yes there were much larger events in play but it really was Kylar’s story. Not so in this one where while Kylar does play an important role he is just one of many, I’d say too many, perspectives. I really feel Weeks was attempting too much here and there is simply too much going on and not enough about the world being explained to fully understand the side stories. The characters are really well realized and I especially liked Logan’s development and how his experiences in the hole effected him. However there were a few characters introduced who seemed rather stereotypical fantasy fare which was disappointing, for example Sister Ariel, the scholarly member of an all women magical society, was far too similar to someone like a Verin Seadi from the Wheel of Time books for me to be entirely comfortable with her.

All in all Shadow’s Edge is a good book but it really could have been great if it didn’t feel like things were so rushed and Weeks wasn’t trying to cram two books worth of material into it. 7.25/10

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