For The Lightbringer Series:
Book 1: The Black Prism
Book 2: The Blinding Knife
Book 3: The Broken Eye
Book 4: The Blood Mirror
Book 5: The Burning White
For The Night Angel Trilogy:
Book 1: The Way of Shadows
Book 2: Shadow’s Edge
Book 3: Beyond the Shadows
The Black Prism?(Lightbringer Book 1), August 2010
Sci-Fi- London –I think I can get away with supplying the word “raves” here– raves, [The Black Prism] is epic fantasy at its best. Told through multiple viewpoints and through events in multiple locations it revels in political machinations, courtly intrigue, big battle scenes, non-stop action, secrets and lies and drama – all the best ingredients that make a story worth telling. I was hooked in from the first page and couldn’t put it down, even at the last. It is, quite frankly, superb. They note that, “There’s a tremendous energy to the way Weeks writes that carries you enthusiastically along and there’s no let up in the action even as the complexity of the plot slowly unveils itself, and the final scene, which is deftly foreshadowed, is as brilliant as it is surprising.
Total SciFi Online gives The Black Prism a 10/10, saying, “Every so often an author comes along who injects a genre with a new vitality. With his new novel The Black Prism, Brent Weeks sets himself apart from the masses and claims a worthy position among these talented individuals. Everyone has a secret; in Gavin’s case, he has a few hundred. Withheld and unveiled at perfectly timed intervals, the deceptions that dominate the pages demonstrate Weeks’s aptitude for skillfully maintaining tension while averting frustration.” They also note the “comedic flavor,” and how “the supporting characters are also well-sculpted, doing more than just filling in the narrative gaps.” They conclude, “A real ray of light, The Black Prism presents a fantastically exciting and believable world, but more impressively, an energizing and original one.”
Literary Musings says, “The Black Prism is the thrilling first volume of the Lightbringer series. Brent Weeks weaves a tale to show his remarkable aptitude as a distinguished fantasy writer, and one who shows signs to continue growing. Daniel Goodman calls it “captivating, personal, and fresh, with characters that remain engaging and amusing. It is brimming with ideas, and Weeks pulls it off brilliantly. He notes the “flourishes, bravado, and rapid-fire humor. You become so invested with these characters, [and] as you grow to understand these characters, you get a sense of control, a sense of where the novel is going to go. [Just] when you start to feel comfortable with your views of the world, Weeks grabs your expectations of the novel and beats you over the head with it. Concluding that it is “a marvelously enjoyable read,” he says, “In essence, it is some of the strongest and most engrossing storytelling in a long time.”
The Ranting Dragon says, “This is one of the most hilarious fantasy books I’ve read in years. [Kip] is amazingly well written. I must warn you, however: don’t read this book in public transport like I did, because people will get really annoyed by your laughter. The characters were like those we remember from the Night Angel trilogy: sharp, funny, unique and intriguing.” Calling it a “must-read,” they conclude, “The book has just the right amount of action, suspense, political intrigue and humor. A lot of humor.”
In an article called “Worlds Apart” for the 6/19/11 in the print periodical (yes, they do still exist!) World Magazine, John Ottinger III says, “This epic fantasy has not only clashing swords, magic, and armies on the battlefield—that means violence—but enthralling personal tales and a Cain and Abel metaphor.”
The Geeks of Doom says, “If you’re into George R.R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson, Tad Williams, and darker epic-fantasy without elves or wizards, go for this new series…. The magic system is complex and multi-layered… Description is another of Weeks’s strengths, and he integrates it well with the plot, characterization, and dialogue.”
Books and Mutterings found the physics to be a bit confusing, but says, “I’d recommend it to those who have read previous works by Brent Weeks… I would think that even regular teenagers that aren’t freaked out by a lengthy novel could manage [this book], there’s minimal swearing (I’ve found more in YA novels, so rest assured) and barely any sex (there’s more vague inclinations).
The Fantasy Book Review was “seriously impressed… This is a beautifully-crafted fantasy that held me from beginning to end, for all 600 plus of its pages. The narrative is enthralling and the twists are so stunning that I had to go back and re-read the first because I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t seen it coming, that Weeks had so skillfully misled me.”
The Book Geeks say, “Brent Weeks blew my mind and made every page that followed eminently more engaging, leaving me desperate for book two of this trilogy…. Brent Weeks’ willingness to delve in to the moral ambiguities that define his characters’ ambitions and behaviour elevates it above the pack…. Add to that a writing style which is unintrusive at worst and highly compelling at best, and strong characterisation skills, and the stage is set for the continuation of a cracking trilogy.”
The renowned military blogger Blackfive said, “Starbucks made a fortune off me while I was consumed with reading [his works]. . . My usual insane level of productivity dropped precariously low. My children wondered who that zombie was sitting at the dinner table in Dad’s chair…” concluding, “I’m sure [Brent Weeks] will be one of this generation’s greatest authors.”
A Fantastical Librarian* says, “I was swept away into the story set in the Seven Satrapies and I’m only disappointed I couldn’t spend more time there than the 627 pages of this book allowed! … As dazzling as the magic is, it was the characters who really shone for me…. With this book Weeks has taught me to trust him…. The book was a page turner and a very smooth read.”
After noting that The Night Angel Trilogy was “one of the very best fantasy trilogies I have ever read,” Fantasy Faction says, “The magic system is so unique and the different ranges in ability are so complex that you really need to pay attention [but] once I got past it and felt comfortable with the system it was a breath of fresh air… What I love about Brent Weeks’ writing is that he writes in a way that makes reading cool.” Comparing Brent’s writing style to Joss Whedon, Fantasy Faction says,” that same effortless style [that characterizes Joss Whedon’s work] is what I love about Brent Weeks. ‘fun, if you aren’t laughing you are saying ‘wow.'”
As soon as I saw Elitist Book Reviews pop up on my Google Alerts, I knew I was in trouble. They said, “If you’re familiar with his hugely popular The Night Angel Trilogy, Brent Weeks’ storytelling continues consistently, albeit with more polish.… Weeks likes mucking about with the standard fantasy tropes, and that gives PRISM a distinct flavor… The main characters have big secrets, which they don’t tell the others for good reason, but will cause readers to writhe in anticipation of when the problem will blow up in their faces…. [Although] Weeks does a good job of writing his POV women, we unfortunately don’t see as much of the them as we do the men…” When they concluded that, “THE BLACK PRISM is fun to read, witty and imaginative, and left me wanting the next installment to see what Weeks will come up with next,” I felt like I’d gotten off pretty easy! And you know what? I do like mucking about!
The Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell says, “Weeks has woven a masterful plot [and] the magic in this book is new.” The Black Prism is a “great fantasy… that I had a hard time putting down. And the shock! Oh, the shock!” And “Karris… I do have to like a woman that can kick ass.” Me too!
The Outhousers’ Reading Realms blog gives me the coveted That Idea Is So Simply Brilliant I Totally Should Have Thought Of It First complaint: “I have to admit I am a bit jealous that I didn’t think of the way he uses magic in this book first,” saying, “I always fall in love with great characters in a story first and [Weeks] had them in spades.”
Waiting for Fairies has one of the best descriptions of Kip I’ve yet seen: “Then there’s Kip, the aforementioned bastard, whose mouth moves fastest, mind moves second, and legs move last of all. He’s a smart-talking, tubby teenager with low self-esteem whose mouth frequently writes checks his body can’t cash.” They praise the “many compelling characters, of course, and even more compelling events… I read this 626 page hardcover in 2-3 days while working full-time… Ultimately, though, I think this book speaks a lot about whether one can overcome their past and make a better future. .. The Black Prism gives us layer upon layer.. it makes a truly intriguing web of events.… Once you top that with some well-rounded, three-dimensional characters, each with noble intentions and dangerously real flaws, you get a spicy recipe for a series that I will definitely be lining up to finish.”
The Lady, The Blog and the Bookstore, which has, perhaps, the best web address on the entire internet (speaknerdandenter.blogspot.com) says, “This new series opener by Weeks, is astounding…Weeks’ characters are funny and lovable, which is odd because the book has such a dark undertone. The violence is graphic and explicit, but not glorified. The parts I enjoyed most were the inner monologues of Kip, which are hysterical and accurate for a 15 year old. Every reader will love Gavin, but his secret is what will keep you reading straight to the last page. BUY IT!”
Caius in Entertainment gives Gavin Guile my favorite title yet: “Battle Pope”. “Weeks is known for fast action and short chapters. For this book, he slows it down a bit, but it still flows much faster than most fantasy novels.” He says, “I think it’s the supporting cast that makes this book stand out.” [But] Kip is one of the best representations of a 15-year-old male I’ve ever seen in literature.” Concluding that, “it is a great story that is well thought-out and a lot of fun to read.”
Ali at Fangbooks says, “The only thing to do [once you’ve finished The Black Prism] is to re-read. Yes, this book really is that good.” In addition to a “wonderful blend of humor and gore” and “plenty of plot twists and dramatic revelations,” Fangbooks says “The Black Prism is a BIG book. It’s a workout for the arms to read it, on both its physical size and the speed with which you’ll be turning pages. It’s in-depth, with a lot of plot, a lot of characters and a lot of new systems to understand. But there isn’t a wasted word to be found; there is no meandering down dead-end plots; there is no waffle. It is the embodiment of engrossing.”
NovelNaut says, “I had truly high hopes for this book, and it didn’t disappoint…. Very much a must read…. If you’ve read any of the Night Angel trilogy, by Weeks, you’ll want to read Black Prism. It’s much better.”
A Study of Reading Habits says, “At 600+ pages, The Black Prism is chock full of twisty, turny plot, a fully fleshed out world (more on this later) and intriguing and at times frustrating characters. Weeks definitely kept me guessing, which is always awesome. There were so many surprises, so many characters with hidden motivations and secrets and reasons to lie, that the book definitely keeps you compulsively turning the page….The battle scenes were exciting and evocative, and some of the horrible things that the drafters do to each other shiver-inducing.”
When you start reading a review and it says, “I wanted to love it” you think you’re in for a deeply bumpy ride. But by the end, Giant Fire Breathing Robot says, “I would recommend that you pick up The Black Prism and read it. . .twice.” Though they never came to love Kip, they said, “The characters are gritty, true to themselves, and interesting in their own rights.”
Barnes & Nobles SFF blog reviewer Paul Goat Allen details four “elite series” of new epic fantasy to fill the void as great older series are finishing up. Among these “modern day classics” he places The Black Prism, calling it “grandscale storytelling at the highest level–the kind of fully immersive, labyrinthine narrative that you just don’t want to end.”
The Hofstra Chronicle says, The Black Prism, “is home to some of the most interesting political games and magic that the realm of fiction has seen in a while.”
Grasping For The Wind notes “awesome surprises” and says, “Weeks has written an epic fantasy unlike any of its contemporaries. It is a truly visionary and original work, and has set the bar high for others.”
Fantasy Book Critic gives it an A++, and calls the world building “superlative” but says, “The Black Prism is first and foremost a novel with tremendous narrative energy…. I am still awed at how Mr. Weeks infuses the story with so much vigor, while keeping quite a few balls in the air and never slipping a bit.”
The Onion AV Club mixes digs and praise, calling the story “fundamentally generic.” But they admit: “[Weeks’s] prose rings like crystal; his dialogue is witty, chatty, and brisk; and his pacing is frictionless, even when he’s embedding convoluted exposition into action scenes.” I particularly like their correct use of the semicolon.
WordTipping has more of an analysis than purely a review, dissecting what makes my books tick. But I’m definitely quoting that bit about “flat out great storytelling” and “the best male writer of female characters I’ve ever read.”
The Bookbag (which was a little tough on the Night Angel Trilogy), says The Black Prism “is an excellent start to what promises to be a superb trilogy. Highly recommended.” “The size of ‘The Black Prism’ is only indicative of the huge imagination Weeks has.”
The Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf and Book Review says, “Weeks managed to surprise me again and again with the depth [his characters] have. His greatest strength to date has been hiding secrets in plain sight yet still making them difficult enough to decipher that you have to laugh at yourself for not realizing the truth.”
Alternative Worlds calls The Black Prism “an exhilarating thriller…. Fast-paced and character-driven.”
The Falcata Times asks, “Is [Weeks] a one world, one series author and [will] his next project expand on his creativity? What unfurls is a rich new tapestry… Great stuff.”
Got Schephs gives it a 9/10, noting “the trademark humor…great characters…The fight scenes are some of the best I’ve ever read…. Ultimately, this book takes it to another level that even the NAT [Night Angel Trilogy] didn’t reach.”
LEC Book Reviews says “It establishes a thrilling world, fascinating magic system, and satisfying engaging characters.”
The King of the Nerds praises The Black Prism for having “extraordinarily entertaining characters absolutely bubbling over with vitality.”
Civilian Reader gives it a “very highly recommended,” saying, “The dialogue is great (witty, intelligent, brisk); his characters are complex, realistic, and likeable; and the story is highly imaginative and original… Weeks has raised the bar, jumped over it, and is looking higher still… this is brilliant, epic fantasy.”
The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer Book 2), September 2012
Staffer?™s Book Reviews raves: “I’ve read all five of Brent Weeks’ published novels and it’s a certainty that he’s evolving with every book. With The Blinding Knife, I believe he’s entered a new stratosphere and one that puts him on par with anyone who’s written these kinds of stories. It isn’t only the best book he’s written; I consider it one of the best epic fantasies I’ve read. Do me a favor and read it too.”
A Dribble of Ink comments, “It’s fast, it doesn’t hold back its punches, but there’s also a sense of hope, and the humour is bright. The Blinding Knife improves on The Black Prism in every conceivable way, and places Brent Weeks on comfortable footing beside contemporaries like Brandon Sanderson and Joe Abercrombie, if not a step above. I thought it would be a fun distraction, but instead found one of the best Fantasy books of 2012.”
British Fantasy Society notes that ”Weeks has truly cemented his place among the great epic fantasy writers of our time… The mark of a good fantasy is that it can surprise you, catch you off guard, really make you feel what the characters are feeling, and this one does with a good, solid kick to the gut. Several times. And each time it feels good. The twists, shocks and heart wrenching blows keep coming and by the end you will be begging for more. The next in the series simply cannot come soon enough.
Fantasy Book Critic believes that, “As before, the major shortcoming of the novel is that it ended as I would have loved 600 pages more again… The Blinding Knife is just great stuff, an exuberant epic fantasy that I could read thousands of pages of and still want more and a top 10 novel of mine for the year.”
52 Book Reviews says that “The Blinding Knife is the best book I’ve read this year… The Blinding Knife is a masterwork of a novel (I know at least eighty percent of you get the reference) full of exquisitely drawn and believable characters, a surprisingly intricate magical system, break-neck pacing and more “no he didn’t” moments than Rush Limbaugh’s entire career… I think that in a few years readers will look back at The Blinding Knife as the point where Brent Weeks went from being an up-and-comer to an author whose name belongs next to stalwarts of the genre like Martin, Jordan, and Brooks. Run, don’t walk and get this book. You won’t regret it.”
Speculating on SpecFic argues that “The Blinding Knife is an example of epic fantasy at its very best… Everything is brilliantly paced, wild battles are beautifully choreographed and interweaved between heart-warming moments of honesty and trust between key characters.”
The Broken Eye (Lightbringer Book 3), August 2014
From Justin Landon at A Broken Binding: “There’s a lot more to [The Broken Eye] if you choose to look. With its slower pace and complex plotting, it’s quite possible The Broken Eye is the book that’s let you see it. If not, and it’s just a series of action adventures with no deeper meaning… well… that’s okay too. Because regardless I’m having a hell of time.”
Fantasy-Faction says about Lightbringer 3: “What fans of the series will most appreciate is Brent’s mastery at expanding his world. Using a number of excellent techniques such as the reappearance of the cards, visits to a secret library and flashbacks to times where other luxin colours were in use and talked about Brent makes the world feel much, much larger. Although there is a slower pace to this novel – probably because the most powerful man in the world isn’t able to go out and race around kicking arse whilst chained up on a boat – this allow the other characters in the series to really shine and for readers to get a better grasp of the world they all live.” (Authored by Overlord)
The review on Publishers Weekly: “Weeks is fond of complicated schemes, and his plot feels like an orchestrated chess match between genius grandmasters, but he also leavens the logic with humor. His characters are charming even as they are threatened with being swept off the chessboard.”
Chelsea Banks over on Whedonopolis had this to say: “As
an obsessive fangirl a devoted follower of Weeks’ work, I’m used to break-neck pacing leaving me breathless. So I was a little unsettled in the first quarter of the book when the pacing was- well- normal. In normal terms, it was moving along nicely. For a Weeks book, it was going slow and I was starting to get antsy when the story suddenly started racing! And there was sabotage and fighting and magic and pirates and then I got to the end, panting and feverish and wanting more. Curse you, Weeks, for your addictive, endorphin-inducing prose! Seriously, just thinking about the rush is making my pulse quicken.”
A Fantasy Reader comments, “Among that endearing, charming and still patterned cast, Gavin Guile was previously the “main” hero, for the bigger part of the first volume, but Kip became more prominent when you consider the three books. The boy clearly emerges as the central piece of the puzzle. With a unique voice, the conflicted teenager become aware of adulthood just around of the corner, shows more confidence but still act clumsily enough in many social aspects of his life to make me grin, more so since he clearly knows it and thinks about it all the time. Kip is Weeks best written character. That insight into his blunt and shaky psyche is a gem.”
Peter Ahlstrom wrote about The Broken Eye in his column on Brandon Sanderson’s website: “As I was reading the new book The Broken Eye a couple of weeks ago, this conscious thought crossed my mind: Books like this are why I read epic fantasy. Strong male and female characters, well-defined magic, politics, fighting, cosmology, emotional entanglements, the works. There are times like in the middle of The Way of Kings where you really don’t know where everything is going, but you’re along for a great ride, and everything pulls together eventually. Lightbringer delivers.”
Geekritique opens their review with, “Brent Weeks has finally done it! The third book of the Lightbringer saga has officially blown me away. After two excellent entries, The Broken Eye at last affirms that this series really isn’t one to be missed.”
Vanessa had this to say over on Elitist Book Reviews: “Weeks also seems to have more control of his action sequences, making it feel less showy and more like what I’d expect from these characters and what we know they can do–alone and as a team. There was tension, excitement, surprises (Weeks can’t help himself when it comes to his twists and surprises). And of course the consequences that we may not yet see the whole of for some time. As a result the conclusion, as in past books, was amazing and game-changing. I’m eagerly anticipating THE BLOOD MIRROR… 2016 can’t come fast enough.”
Rebecca writes of The Broken Eye on Powder and Page: “The Broken Eye was yet another strong installment in a top notch fantasy series. I loved that Kip has really toughened up and gained a few skills for all his hard work, though he does tend to let his mouth engage before his brain does. Gavin had some terrible set-backs, though it provided valuable insight into his earlier years as Prism and showed that he’s not quite as amazing at everything as he was initially. Character growth was impressive in this one all around.”
The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer Book 4), October 2016
The 2-Bit Geek writes: “That said, Brent continues what has (to me) become his trademark, which is plot twists that actually surprise. It’s interesting to deconstruct what such a thing demands of an author. Whether we realize it or not, storytelling is a game played with the audience. …To construct a mind-blowing twist, the author has to leave the bread crumbs so that they can be traced backward yet go unnoticed until such time. Brent manages this masterfully, and in The Blood Mirror expands upon such a surprise first laid down in The Black Prism.”
Here’s a review and a brief interview with Unbound Worlds: Fans of Weeks are rejoicing. It is another massive epic fantasy tome, one that will take longer than a night to read and which can double as a rat killer. But that is true of all the Lightbringer books, a series that is as great in imagination, characters, and storytelling as it is in words.
Powder and Page also reviewed The Blood Mirror, and said: Whereas in the previous installments Gavin Guile was the major presence, Kip Guile (aka Breaker) is now the real tour de force here. Kip has come a long way from his overweight, bullied self and is become a true Guile- cunning and charismatic, with a thin veneer of goodness.
Scottish Bookworm In Quebec wrote: The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks is the fourth in a planned series of five epic fantasy books. The series has a wonderfully imaginative magic system… If you’ve not yet started this series, I heartily recommend it. Go start with The Black Prism. I strongly suggest experiencing this series in audiobook format due to the excellence of the narrator, Simon Vance.
Vanessa over on Elitist Book Reviews loves the Lightbringer series, and wrote: I don’t know how Weeks consistently ratchets up the tension, weirdness, and worldbuilding with each novel, but here we are at book number four, THE BLOOD MIRROR, and you shouldn’t be surprised by this point that it’s yet another big book of epic fantasy goodness.
Matt wrote on MLS Weech Books: Very few series have me waiting for the next piece of info, but this one does. Weeks does a fantastic job of blending intrigue with action, and fans of his books will love this latest edition.
The Bloggin’ Hobgoblin said: This is definitely the best book of the series and in the top 3 or 4 of the year for me. Simon Vance did a Fantastic job with the audiobook. I am going to have to give The Blood Mirror 5 out of 5 stars.
Peter Ahlstrom writes on Brandon Sanderson’s blog: “Now that the fifth book is out and the series is finished, does it hold up all the way through? The answer is a resounding yes. This is a fine example of what great epic fantasy is, and the ending is every bit as epic as I had hoped.”
Novel Notions gave it 4.5/5 stars, and summed up the finale as: “Epic, engaging, well-written, and surprisingly full of theology.”
Nadine of Nad’s Book Nook gave the book 5/5 stars, saying: “It has been such an incredible journey with these characters since Weeks’ character work is second to none. He has put these characters through the ringer and deserves all the praise.”
Andrew Mather wrote on The Quill to Live, “The Burning White is a brilliant conclusion to a strong series with some minor flaws. The Lightbringer is unpolished, one of a kind, a rollercoaster with no brakes, and worth your time.”
Fantasy Book Review gave The Burning White 6.8/10 stars. The reviewer, Calvin Park, states, “The Burning White is the engaging and thrilling conclusion to the Lightbringer series. While it isn’t a perfect ending, fans will find things to love, things to dislike, and perhaps much to debate, in this tome of a novel.”
Austin Carmody wrote on Fantasy Book Fanatic, “Each interaction is specific and individualized, building on prior events in the novel perfectly. The interactions coincide seamlessly with preparing the next plot twist. […] On a positive note, I felt that for the most part that the dialogue was sensational. As with the previous novels, it was a particularly resilient mark of this novel.”
Fantasy Faction listed The Burning White as their #16 pick for Best Fantasy of 2019.
It’s also worth noting that, in the three short years between THE BLOOD MIRROR and THE BURNING WHITE, many book reviewers made the move to visual media, particularly YouTube:
Rachel said of the book on her Shades of Orange YouTube channel: “The thrills were definitely a lot of the reason why I wanted to read this book, because I wanted to know what was going to happen. I wanted to know the deeper meaning behind things and all the things we’re going to get into for this video.”
Daniel Greene said on his YouTube channel: “This is the last book in a series that I have repeatedly said is in my top ten fantasy series of all time, for multiple reasons. Lightbringer has stellar character work–one of my favorite morally gray characters of all time exists in these books with Andross Guile… The Blackguard are standouts to me that I will be pointing to until the day I die of how to do relationships right in writing.”
The Way of Shadows (Night Angel Book 1), October 2008
A Fantasy Reader calls The Way of Shadows “entertaining and compelling…If you like stories with action and some kick ass magically enhanced assassins coated with a layer of intrigue and humanity, this is for you.”
TopDragon gives praise, saying “I found this story to be completely unpredictable and yet very well constructed…It doesn’t hurt that Mr. Weeks is one of the best writers of fight scenes out there.” I hope he likes the next two books!
New book blogger Nikki at Bookizzle says, “This book has it all: grit, intensity, action, adventure, magic, violence, promiscuity, romance…and not in that order.”
Janicu compliments Brent by saying “I think this author has an evil streak.”
Rita J. Webb dissects the first scene of The Way of Shadows, examining rising tension.
The Writer’s Notebook says, “Azoth/Kylar is one of the best protagonists in new fiction I’ve read in a long time, conflicted in every way, but still striving for the best…10/10”
Warpcore SF calls The Way of Shadows “A dose of concentrated brilliance.”
Library Dad says it’s “a great book that gives the reader a great mix of action, adventure, love, treachery, twists, and turns.”
NeoLibrarium calls The Way of Shadows “one of the the most skillfully written stories I have read in a great while.”
A.L. Davroe calls The Way of Shadows “conversational and simply written but intelligent and cavalier at the same time.”
Mount Virtus, written by college friend Ben DeGrow, commends “the crisp and colorful storytelling.”
Beemsville likes it well enough to buy book two. Barely. “Plenty of action, high-school level romance, badass villains, and familiar archetypes.”
eat.sleep.geek says “I could not put it down…a resounding success.”
Plants and Books says “THE WAY OF SHADOWS is one of the best recent fantasy books I have read, if not one of the best fantasy books I have ever read. There are many strengths to this engaging book; but, one of the strongest is definitely the characters and their moral/ethical dilemmas. THE WAY OF SHADOWS is an emotional ride of vengeance, mercy, justice, terror, and humor.”
Azure Supernova understands exactly: “When you start reading you’re blind to almost everything, nothing is explained and you pretty much feel exactly how Azoth does” and concludes with “I think the only negative point I can pick out is that I knew it had to end sometime.”
Without A Doubt said, “There’s enough drama and thrills to keep those who aren’t really interested in the gore to love this book. “
Kindlelicious calls it a “fine, fun read.”
Lair of the Green Knight said, “The author does not pull any punches. However, he does it in a way that you see hope and are rooting for them the whole time.”
Fantasy Debut calls it “an exceptional debut novel…. The pace is fast, the secondary characters of which there are many, are as well written as the mains, the plot twists are delightful…”
Lowly’s Book Blog calls it, the beginning of “the best fantasy trilogy that I have read in a very long time.”
My Favourite Books calls The Way of Shadows “a deft story, skillfully delivered.”
The Beezer Review says, “It is one of those rare books that you can start reading before you go to bed and look up later and realize it is three in the morning.”
The Broad Brush says it “was too slow.”
Dragons, Heroes, and Wizards calls it “a fast read…[with] plenty of twist, lots of intrigue and tons of character development.” They also note, “There are also a dozen or so secondary characters that are so well written and so important to the story, it feels wrong to label them as secondary.”
Highlander’s Book Reviews says, “I do feel it is needlessly long… it’s a novel which requires work and commitment to get into but which will ultimately provide reward.” (See, I don’t just post the glowing reviews.)
Beholder’s Journal says, “I picked up this book on Wednesday and finished it on Saturday. A great, easy, and hard to put down read.”
RisingShadow.net says, “For those who love assassins, corrupted power figures, twisted politics, and disturbing magic, this is the book of all books.”
Sci-Fi Fan Letter says, The Way of Shadows is the kind of book “you can’t put down even though you have to eat, sleep or work.”
Un:Bound says, “Weeks really has a knack for creating complex, realistic, and very human characters… Intrigue and tension pull you through to the next page, and for the first time in years I actually flicked a few pages ahead to see if someone was really dead…. a delight…”
Sffworld.com calls it “an impressive debut…if someone were to ask me for a recommendation on a well-written, high fantasy that exemplified the expected elements of the genre, I’d pass them a copy of The Way of Shadows.”
Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review says, Brent Weeks infuses the book “with energy and intrigue while giving us plenty of opportunity to get to know both the city and the people who live there…. Anything can happen and you’ll find yourself constantly surprised when it does.”
BookspotCentral.com says, “it made me turn off television, it made me skip dessert, it even made me skip a shower once…unless something extraordinary happens in the next month or two, this is going to be my book of the year for 2008.”
Memoirs of a Rabbid Hotdog says, it “kept me glued to my chair for the duration of the book.”
Fantasy Book Critic says, “so engrossing that after I stayed up late to finish it, I stayed up late again to reread the book!” It is “a superb epic fantasy that will absorb you from start to finish…Highly, highly recommended.”
The Literary Cat says, “With liberal doses of magic, politics, and warfare, the six hundred-odd pages really will fly by.”
Fantasy Cafe says [minor SPOILERS in linked article], “The Way of Shadows is a fast-paced, entertaining read that is difficult to put down.” She also really liked the term wetboys: “It sounds like they should be the guys that fetch water for all the important people…” So picturing Adam Sandler as Durzo Blint could be problematic.
FantasyLiterature.net gave two reviews, allowing that “Weeks creates some effective drama and some interesting contrasting characters” and “a solid plot”. Hey, not everyone has to LOVE it.
Blood of the Muse says, “Overloaded with fun, The Way of Shadows is an absolute joy. Filled with a pantheon of unforgettable and epic characters and an intense, high-octane and twisting plot, the book has me eagerly anticipating the sequel Shadow’s Edge.”
The Bookbag calls it “a captivating page-turner that verges on the unputdownable.”
Fantasy Book News and Reviews says, “this book might take my label of best book of the year…”
Grasping for the Wind remarks on “a depth of character [epic fantasies] often lack….Yet it never bogs down for lack of action, or suspense.”
The Civilian Reader says, “Solid, extremely well written, and deftly plotted…”
The Fantasy and Sci-Fi Lovin?™ Book Review says, “The Way of Shadows” is a pretty big book, 688 pages, but it reads really fast… hard to put down”
Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist: “I believe that The Way of Shadows and its sequels…will sell extremely well, regardless of the fact that it will likely not be held in high esteem by the SFF fandom’s ‘in’ crowd.”
Having invoked “gritty” YA lit, and SFF fandom’s ‘in’ crowd, Pat’s review provoked a rebuttal*. And some discussion of what is and is not Young Adult fiction. I swear I don’t pay people for these.
Shadow’s Edge (Night Angel Book 2), November 2008
Beemsville complains that there are too many chapters of “Kylar brooding about his darker nature.” But likes it enough to pick up book three. Barely.
Kelly Melcher raves, “Shadow’s Edge doesn’t only take me in, it puts me in a full nelson and makes me read whether I like it or not, and I like it. A+”
Civilian Reader says, “Addictive, phenomenal, essential. Brent Weeks is clearly one of fantasy’s new masters.”
Plants and Books posted, “It has been a long time since I have read a book that has so easily charged me emotionally, which if for no other reason, is a reason to read SHADOW’S EDGE.”
Dragons, Heroes, and Wizards calls it “one of the best examples of character driven fantasy I have ever read… Brent Weeks is also a master of the ‘big surprise.’ … Some of his ‘revelations’ made me laugh out loud, not because they were funny, but because they delighted me. In addition, the ending, oh my heavens, what a bombshell!”
The Greenman Review says, “It doesn’t suffer from that middle book slump… Once I started, I couldn’t put it down, and the last book can’t come soon enough for my tastes.”
Grasping for the Wind says, “It has made me think and react, laugh and cry, and engage it so thoroughly that this review is double my usual length. Highly readable and thoroughly enjoyable…”
RisingShadow.net says, “I wait in agonizing pain for the next book. And I do not regret it.”
Un:Bound says, “Weeks has shown that the first book was not a fluke, he really is that good.”
The Beezer Review says, “Mr. Weeks is two for two… This book, and series, gives me renewed hope that the fantasy genre still has new and fresh ideas to offer its readers.”
Fantasy Book News and Reviews says, “Kylar is just a flat out great character to spend time with…. [Brent Weeks] is now in my ‘buy upon release’ category.”
Blood of the Muse says, “Fast-paced and hugely entertaining, Shadow’s Edge just may have one of the best endings ever for a middle book in a trilogy. There’s no sophomore slump here. It’s a good thing that the third book Beyond the Shadows is being released in December, because I’d probably start a riot if I had to wait a year for the next one…”
The Bookbag objects strenuously to the phrase “trying to be cute” but still says, “the magic is inventive, the evil is, occasionally, genuinely terrifying, the monsters are horrendous, obscene and tragic, the artefacts intriguing, the overarching moral dilemma and conflicts between private happiness and public duty, between piously high moral sentiments and cruel realities of the world, valid and genuine. There were also moments of epic grandeur and real pathos, moving heroism and a good final twist.”
Beyond the Shadows (Night Angel Book 3), December 2008
The Mad Hatter finally finishes the series and reports “Weeks has earned his place in the new gritty Fantasy regime with the likes of Abercrombie and Lynch.”
Dragons, Heroes, and Wizards says, “I did not believe that the series could possibly get any better. I was wrong.” “Have I gushed enough? Oh but I’m not done… Brent Weeks surpassed himself with a spectacular ending that while bittersweet, still leaves you feeling really good about how things turned out.”
Blood of the Muse calls it “poignant and emotionally fulfilling” in a well-articulated rave review. “There’s also been an inherent joy and infectious energy to the novels that’s missing from most fantasy. Weeks’ passion seemingly infuses every page and the effect is intoxicating…”
Beholder’s Journal says, “It’s really a love story in disguise — get out the tissues for an emotional ending.”
Lowly’s Book Blog calls it “a wonderful series…. The final battle scene is one of the most incredible I have read in modern fantasy literature.”
In an otherwise tepid review, Plants and Books says “THE NIGHT ANGEL TRILOGY is one of the best additions to the fantasy genre in recent times.”
The Bookbag says, “The concluding volume is the biggest, meatiest, and most epic, with all plot strands and characters coming together in a superbly entertaining grand finale. Great fun and recommended for all fans of heroic fantasy.” [SPOILERS in review]
Civilian Reader (in the second part of review books 2 & 3 together) says, “Beyond the Shadows is a tour-de-force of fantasy, a true masterpiece that brings this series to an exceptional, explosive and in some ways surprising (but completely satisfying) close.”
Un:Bound says, “I love these books, beautifully written, entertaining and leaving me with a sense of satisfaction at the conclusion, they deliver everything I could ask for…”
Fantasy Books News and Reviews confesses to being “very impressed… I honestly can’t think of one bad thing to say.”
The Beezer Review calls it “a fantastic read… one of the best trilogies I have read in a very long time. Mr. Weeks has not only made his mark on the fantasy genre, he has kicked in the doors and announced he is here to stay.”
Books Monthly* selects Beyond the Shadows as its Books Monthly Choice for December, declaring it the “Best fantasy of the year, possibly the decade.”
Greenman Review says Beyond the Shadows “is everything I’d hoped for…one of the best epic fantasies I’ve read…”
Rob at SFFWorld.com calls it, “relatively satisfying.”
Heath’s opinion of the third book is “Every little thing throughout the first two books concludes here. It’s kinda like watching a speed painting and then realizing what it is seconds before the artist finishes.”
Miscellaneous/End of Year/Series Reviews
Binary Messiah took a risk on the trilogy and found “some of the most original lore since Tolkien?™s Lord of the Rings.”
Felicia Day says “If you like George RR Martin, or Stephen Erikson or Brent Weeks…” try this other schlub. The point isn’t the other schlub, the point is FELICIA DAY KNOWS MY NAME!
I don’t usually quote reader reviews on storefront sites, but Crazy Jamie has written three reviews on ciao.co.uk that stand with the best book bloggers’ reviews. Erudite and informative (even when he doesn’t like things). The reviews are HERE, HERE, and HERE.
The Cultural Gutter says, “I see the Night Angel trilogy as the smarter, faster, younger version of Malazan.” Although they do say “asymptote of calamity” like it’s a bad thing.
Blood of the Muse put together a mammoth, well-written list of best-ofs they call The Bloodies. Best new character in a novel: Kylar Stern. “Still a bad-ass, even though his job description reads wetboy.” (Durzo Blint gets an honorable mention.) Best New Author: Brent Weeks, “the most promising young writer of 2008.” Most Surprising Novel: honorable mention for The Way of Shadows. Best Debut Novel: The Way of Shadows “breathes new life into the tired assassin fantasy genre.” Best Fantasy Novel (honorable mention). The Night Angel Trilogy. Top Reads of 2008 (the whole trilogy makes the top 10).
Bookspot Central put together their favorite reads, too. Damon says, “Assassins, forbidden love, political intrigue, it was all in there, and then to top it off Weeks adds some magic and I am sold…. If that is not a top book of the year I do not know what is.”
Fantasy Book Critic puts the Night Angel Trilogy in its Best Books of 2008, saying, “as a whole it’s the best debut trilogy since Joe Abercrombie’s the First Law.”
Dragons, Heroes, and Wizards has a series summary in which they say, “Brent Weeks has certainly put his name on the SFF map with this stunning debut trilogy.” In addition to the oft-mentioned plot elements, “This series is also about the power of love, friendship, trust and loyalty and how even those things can be found in the darkest underbelly of society. It is about impossible choices where the line between right and wrong is blurred and no choice is without painful consequences.”
The Beezer Review put up its Top 10 reads of 2008, and The Way of Shadows takes the #1 spot. “The entire trilogy is some of the best I have ever read…I have no idea what Mr. Weeks is working on right now, but I know I want to read it.”
EditorMum called the trilogy “absolutely compulsive reading.”
Alan Baxter called it “a page turner…filled with some really clever ideas and some extremely talented worldbuilding.”
Subject To Change gives the Night Angel Trilogy a 9.8/10: “Unforgettable…Bottom line. Buy it. No, forget the library. Buy it.”
hello, WORLD (spoiler alert!) says the Night Angel Trilogy “keeps you holding on to your breath and reading on to find out what happens next. You just can’t stop.”
Pets, Posts and other Medical Mysteries says that the Night Angel Trilogy has “everything you could want…truly remarkable.”
The Banana Syrup Company says “even with the small flaws…[the Night Angel Trilogy] now sits as one of my favorite trilogies.”
Regular readers liked it too! The Way of Shadows finished 2nd in Bookspot Central’s annual March Madness Tournament. Congrats to Victor Gischler and his Goo Goo Dolls, oops, I mean Go-Go Girls.