Sunday, September 27, 2009

Review | The Way of Shadows By: Brent Weeks

The Way of Shadows

(Night Angel Trilogy)

By: Brent Weeks

"For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city's most accomplished artist.

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he's grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people quickly - and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins' world of dangerous politics and strange magics - and cultivate a flair for death."

The book started off cold and dirty. Like a guild rat on the street. Precisely who the main characters was. Short little scenes from various characters, little climaxes ending on cliffhangers and then the next scene. A set up for a world and the characters within it. Focused, and yet not.

It meandered and there was a hint to the point of were things were going, but finally I have reached a scene were Weeks has just upped the anti by 1000% and I feel like I am reading a runaway train. It was dark before and hinted at the shadows. And now I am being taken for a rollercoaster ride of a lifetime through the pits of hell. I am unsure if Weeks will be able to keep up this sort of pace or if things will drift off a little, but if the pace is kept it will be a long night ahead of reading and a mad dash to the end and the next book for me.

Near the end it’s a massacre brilliantly orchestrated were Weeks is unafraid to slaughter the good guys. The marks of an amazing author. Do what needs to be done to move the story. The good guys don’t always win, and people get murdered along the way. Brent demonstrates that fighting honorably and fair won’t win the war. The bad guy is willing to sneak in and seize power rather than engaging in even battle on a battlefield. The good guy needs to learn the same thing, that honor will not bring you victory.

It was a very strong and powerful read and well worth it. It was dirty and gruesome and if you are looking for something sugar coated this in not for you. If you don’t like assassin books this is not for you. If you like your fantasy dark though, this book is really good. A great first mark of an author to pay attention to.

Review | House of Night Series by: P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast

House of Night Series

By: P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast

The first book in this series I started doing the review in the new format I had decided upon. But I didn’t post it for some reason or other immediately after I read the first book. I waited. By the time I was done midway through the third book, I had reached a point (that I had scene coming for some time) were the review was going to turn into a general review of the whole series.

I picked up The House of Night series from my library with great hopes attached to it. I have a thing for Vampires. Further more I find teenage reading interesting and engaging. Teens are very tuned in with their emotions and I really appreciate that rawness.

Can you just sense the giant BUT coming.

I would really like to whole heartedly recommend these books but can't seam to do so. I thought their unique teenage voice was really intriguing at first, but after awhile it became tiresome.

I think what really blew it for me though was an interview I read in regards to Hunted. I really felt disgusted with the authors. Zoey only has sex once (so far) in the series. She gets used by an older male adult vampire. She is flattered by his show of affection, and succumbs to him but he is really using her for Neferets will.

What bothers me is that the writing is laced so obviously with “Mommy says don’t do that and be a nice person.” I really hate what they did with the lead character to teach teens a lesson pertaining to sex: Don’t do it, because you will be used. And the moral lessons are everywhere, and they are blunt. Absolutely no finesse in presenting them.

I really dislike the child like cuss words Zoey holds too. It is very far from the mature they are trying to portray; be honest and let her be frustrated like a real person. Stevie Ray is way too perky, and mommy like. The whole Twin thing is seriously annoying, and their lustiness towards meat (men) is appalling; they obviously lack respect for the opposite sex. Damian seams to be the only person who talks semi normal and that is because he has a vocabulary fetish that is constantly being blown way out of proportion (can we say filler). Aphrodite seams to be the only real character in that she is honestly a bitch and dealing with shit and even she is starting to turn to mush now that Zoey and her have an alliance.

The House of Night is a Matriarchal society. It is supposed to be a role model to young teen girls to be strong. But I find it demeaning to the men involved in the series. They are relegated to clichéd warriors, hunks of meat to protect the woman folk. And on top of that the head woman is corrupt. I find it to be sending a very confusing message to young women. Everyone should be respected equally, and that is not the picture that is being painted here, at least not for me.

The timelines are all messed up. Way to much goes down in only a couple of days that should take a couple of weeks. The books should stretch out over a longer period of time, and the arcs should be more natural. It shouldn’t end in a giant cliff hanger running to end the book in the next 10 pages when nothing significant happened for the previous 200. And the next book in the series shouldn’t be 1/3 recap, 1/3 info dump, 1/3 filler. With a slight race to then end of semi climatic action that ends predictably like the books before it.

I was honestly going to try and review the series with honesty and integrity but I just can’t be nice about it. There are way too many flaws in the writing for me to say nice stuff about them. Honestly, after I finish the books I have taken out from the library I don’t think I will be keeping track of this author. The only positive is that perhaps I will be able to learn from her mistakes.

P.S. Yes I know I missed a picture of Untamed. That just goes to show how much I loved the series.