I enjoyed The Black Prism so I went back and tried to read the Night Angel Trilogy. I say “tried to read” because I gave up about halfway through Shadow’s Edge. I think this is partially because Weeks has definitely matured as a writer since these books–there were phrases in them that set my teeth on edge. In a vaguely medieval world of assassins and thieves and high kings, seeing a phrase like “Durzo Blint was the best wetboy ever” just seemed out of place. Little things like that–phrases that were somehow a little off popped out at me constantly throughout the one and a half books that I read. The world building was not as developed as in The Black Prism; there were hints here and there, but with everything that was going on in the plot (and the plot was CONSTANTLY going) and the scattered nature of those hints, it was sometimes hard to build a coherent picture of the world of The Way of Shadows.
A brief plot summary for anyone who hasn’t heard of this trilogy (though I’m fairly sure most fantasy readers have). Azoth is a young “guild rat” (i.e. a street thief involved in the organized crime of the city of Cenaria), trapped in a hard, violent life. His ticket out is to apprentice himself to the legendary wetboy (a magical assassin) Durzo Blint, the best of the best. In the background of all of this is political intrigue of the most violent and deadly variety, a looming invasion by the villainous (almost cartoonishly so) Khalidor, and the threat, of course, that Azoth, now known as Kylar Stern, will lose everything he has come to hold dear.
I eventually just gave up because of the plot, though. It was certainly exciting, and with a lot of twists and turns, but the crushing misery and constant deaths of everyone involved in the book just turned me off. (Also, the love scenes were cringeworthy.) For all that there was talk of hope, it was hard to see any. And while I do enjoy “dark” plotting and depressing literature, by the middle of Shadow’s Edge, it almost just felt pointless to me. It’s frustrating because there were a lot of things about the trilogy that interested me, a lot of things that were a little cliche but well done anyway or with a little twist, but it just wasn’t enough to keep me reading. I’m looking forward to the next book in The Black Prism series, but I can’t say that I’ll be revisiting The Night Angel again.