Aug 9, 2016

Thoughts on The Way of Shadows

I finished up reading The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks yesterday. In case you couldn't tell, I've been on a bit of a reading kick recently. Specifically, a fantasy reading kick (to the extent that Harry Potter classifies). I realized I'm well behind my annual target of 30 books, largely due to my multi-month struggle with Gardens of the Moon, so I've been pulling double shifts to catch up.

The Way of Shadows was a fun read: it just took me a few days despite being a full-length novel (90k words?). I'm not sure how much more to say beyond that. It's certainly not a book I would come back to read again. There are two more books in the trilogy and I'm not sure which way I lean on finishing them out. Solid read, just not a lot of substance. If I'm behind on reading generally, then I've been woefully negligent on actual enriching reading. But maybe that's okay?

One thing I will say about The Way of Shadows is that it ventured further into some dark subjects than most fantasy books are willing to: torture, rape, murder. Not surprising--I guess--given that it's a book about an assassin. Despite its boldness in exploration, I'm not sure the book really gave those topics a thorough treatment. The full psychological and sociological impacts were hardly mentioned. You could, perhaps, make some inferences about their impacts on the main characters, but it just didn't feel all that well thought through. And I'm not sure that's a bad thing. If they had been, then it wouldn't have been nearly as effortless a read.