The Way of Shadows is a 688 page novel, wrote by the author named Brent Weeks. It is the first of three books in the Night Angel Trilogy.
I will have to put a disclaimer in here...this book is pretty dark and contains sexual abuse with children and extreme violence throughout the book. It is done in a pretty tasteful way, and builds the readers emotional empathy without being super graphic.
My girlfriend brought me this book from a book exchange that she goes to on occasion. she thought I would like it. I do have a fondness for assassin story's...
I guess I would have to say that this could be the story of any inner city orphan and it gives the story a bit of presence. This book started with the life of one homeless little boy named Azoth, willing to do anything to escape the brutal life of living on the streets, where survival can never be taken for granted. He grew up as a guild rat in the slums of the city. Eventually our hero meets the assassin and anti-hero of the book, Durzo Blint. But Durzo Blint is not an ordinary assassin, he is a "Wetboy". A highly trained assassin with "Talent" as well as murderous skills. This Talent makes him a super assassin. At first the Anti-hero Durzo Blint seems like a completely disconnected, emotionally void killer. The main character follows him to the main hideout of the Shinga, the underground power holders and crime lords of the city. Azoth then "sells his soul" to the assassin. As the story goes on, you start to see clips of emotion, and a the author does a good job of building on their relationship. The main character and his friends are brutalized by an older guild rat and is given the task of killing him as his price for being the apprentice of the famous assassin Durzo Blint. Blint tells him in no uncertain terms that he must turn his back on his old life to embrace his new one.
One amazing thing that starts to stand out by the middle of this book is the story has many dimensions unfolding, and that this is obviously going to be an epic trilogy.
If you are planning to read this book you should plan on reading all three of them as the story unfolds larger exponentially with each book. I was very surprised as this seemingly simple story about a peasant who wants to get out of his life of poverty, death and sorrow via assassin, turns into a worldwide epic quest to save the world.
I really enjoyed this book and I was ready for the next one in the series as soon as I finished reading this one (I think I ordered it the same day). I have recommended this book to a few of my cousins and one of them read it. He was amazed as well. I would like to point out that a lot of stories that contain magic and they sometimes forget that the story is about a person, and the magic is part of the person. they spend 50 pages talking about this and that with magic and don't spend enough time on the person. This book does it right, with the magic just being an incidental fact of the persons story. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.