Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Way of Shadows (Night Angel, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Way of Shadows (Night Angel, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Way of Shadows

(Night Angel #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  158,577 ratings  ·  5,474 reviews
From New York Times Bestselling author 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 ac
Mass Market Paperback, 645 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by Orbit
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Way of Shadows, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Brittany There is also a novella on kindle called The perfect Shadow, about the origins of Durzo Blint. I read it after the trilogy however as it was intended …moreThere is also a novella on kindle called The perfect Shadow, about the origins of Durzo Blint. I read it after the trilogy however as it was intended to be :)(less)
Ashley Plaisance Oh my gosh I was wondering about this. First half of the first book it wasn't so obvious because it was focused on mainly male characters. But goodnes…moreOh my gosh I was wondering about this. First half of the first book it wasn't so obvious because it was focused on mainly male characters. But goodness every woman introduced is written painfully poorly. Weak and overly emotional. Slut shamed. Objectified. Unintelligent. Even the ones that are supposed to be "tough and powerful" are totally undone by a breath of effort from a man....sometimes literally a breath. An insult that hurts her feelings. It's been a while since I've read something that so poorly portrays women.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  158,577 ratings  ·  5,474 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Way of Shadows (Night Angel, #1)
Mark Lawrence
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'd read a couple of sniffy reviews about this book and a friend was very meh about it ... even Weeks himself seemed a touch apologetic about his debut when he saw my tweet about starting it ... though I could be over-reading 140 characters there. In any event, my expectations were not sky high.

It turns out that I tend to like what people tend to like ... who knew? I don't enjoy every popular book but I do generally find out that there's a good reason why they're popular.

Brent Weeks is a great
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Fans of videogame-style fantasy
Recommended to Nataliya by: GR positive reviews
Shelves: 2012-reads
A plucky street urchin Azoth wants to be a wetboy (*). Which is basically an assassin on steroids . Minus the unfortunate side effects of acne, neck hump, obesity, testicular atrophy, and man-boobs.
Also, call me immature, but when you call your magical artifact ka'kari, despite the mandatory fantasy apostrophe, the "kaka" part inevitably elicits immature giggles from me. Dear writers, please be careful in your word choices.
Anyway, as I said above, our plucky street urchin (hello, fantasy t
Aug 21, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: utter-shite, fantasy
The Way of Shadows is so laughably bad, I thought it was satire. Let me give you an example. So, near the end of the book, the protagonist is about to express his love to this girl after like 20 years of lusting, and at this point in the story, there's been a little cursing, the violence is PG-13 and badly written, all very YA. So, our protagonist approaches his lady and says to her (this is a direct quote):

"I think you're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. And the purest. I'm not asking y
Luna. ✨
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was ok

“Do you know what punishments I've endured for my crimes, my sins?" <- I read The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks, I think that's punishment enough for my sins.

This novel had a promising start, I really enjoyed the start and was excited to fangirl over this novel for eternity, as everyone already knows I am Brent Weeks trash & I'm not ashamed to admit it. So I expected to absolutely adore this book, to be submerged in feels and just want to cuddle it for long hours and cry tears of adora
Apr 05, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2015
3.5 stars

”I don’t ask you to like reality. I only ask you to be strong enough to face it.”

Durzo Blint is Cenaria’s most feared killer. Azoth is a frightened little boy living on the streets. Through a series of coincidences, the two come together in the dark underworld of the capital, and the guild rat becomes the assassin’s apprentice.

The only thing you know about the plot is that you’re following Azoth’s journey from the streets to becoming a top-notch killer. That can make things a bit confus
Apr 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I liked this book, although it didn't tread the newest ground ever, the characters were interesting and the plot held my attention. I think the only thing lacking was the world building, it was confusing and I found it hard to really get a grasp on everything that was happening politically. BUT I recommend it highly, especially to people who like Robert Jordan, Joe Abercrombie, Stephen Erikson Robin Hobb or Terry Brooks. Very accessable, but with the new era "grit" we've come to know and love in ...more
Petros Triantafyllou
Sep 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
*New individual reviews are on the way. Until then, make your self comfortable with this sorry excuse of a review"

This review is for the whole series (spoiler free).
This is, by far, my favorite fantasy story of all times. It begins as a personal story of a kid apprenticed to an Assassin, and ends as an EPIC fantasy story, including amazing magic, mystical artifacts, Immortals, Godkings, and of course politics.

Both character & world building are impressive (Its architecture is delicate and refi
May 27, 2014 rated it liked it
If Charles Dickens was born in 1977 and grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons and then World of Warcraft and reading sword and sorcery mags and playing online games and who liked wearing a cowled hoody all the time – he may have come up with a book much like Brent Weeks’ The Way of Shadows.

This is a good book.

I was prepared to dislike it, thinking that it would be a pulpy X Box serialization or a campy Assassin’s Creed type fantasy – and both descriptions are fairly accurate – but it is also muc
Jun 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
Likeable, really, but something made this a hard book to delve into and get lost in the story. Could be the gritty scrabble of life in the mud of the Warrens. Could be that while character building was excellent, the world outside the Warrens lacks details, even as we meet the characters living there. Could be I've read too many stories lately with heroes of questionable ethics, and I need to cleanse my palate with light and fluffy (taking applications for light and fluffy~).

Halfway through. Fou
Andrew Obrigewitsch
I found this series to have the kind of "well" written and "witty" dialogue that every 12 year old pervert will love, due to its "well" thought out and "intellectual" nature. However, I beseech one to read this series as one will not be surprised in the least by the plot twists. In fact from page one, a discernible reader will know the basic ending of the story, and thus can praise it for being a well written work of fantasy.

The author's characterization of women as being either virgins or whor
Feb 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
There are a few authors, Joe Abercrombie included, whose books I've read in large part because everything they've said outside of their novels (on blogs, etc.) has been hilarious and witty and they don't take themselves too seriously. Brent Weeks (or Sussex Months...yes I still think it's funny) is one of those authors.

One of the reasons it's taken me this long to get to this book is because I think the cover is awful. I know cover art doesn't really effect anything and probably shouldn't anyway
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Way of Shadows (Night Angel #1), Brent Weeks

The Way of Shadows is the debut novel of American fantasy writer 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
May 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Since this book is full of tropes and stereotypes I'm going to do this review Disney style!

Our main character Azoth is a street urchin. Don't you love street urchins? Of course you do! You have been conditioned by Disney to do so. (Remember Lady and the Tramp? Aristocats? Aladdin?!)

Azoth meets Durzo, a master assassin, sorry, master Wetboy. And here comes my first problem with this book. I HATE the word 'wetboy'. I always thought it was silly how some people hate the word 'moist'… until I read t
So this book was a pleasant surprise! I left for New York and had only packed one book, thinking I wouldn't be able to read the entire book on my trip...oops. So I had to run to the bookstore to pick out another book to read. The bookstore closed in five minuets and I quickly grabbed the book because of it's interesting looking cover. Read the back, didn't sound too interesting, but noticed a quote from Terry Brooks which made me consider it. I picked it up and put it back down a couple of times ...more
Dana Ilie
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Brent Weeks has done a great job of tying it all together. While Azoth is the main character, several other plot strands with different characters are introduced and expertly tied together further down the line.

This was one of those books that once I started I couldn’t put down – well written and with a strong story to boot, I’m looking forward to checking out the rest of the trilogy.
May 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Assassination is an art, milord. And I am the city's most accomplished artist.”
― Brent Weeks, The Way of Shadows


The story starts out with a bang, and the author has built just enough mystery around the main characters and their motives to keep me turning the pages. The book is busy, it's fast moving, but I found it sometimes to be more complex than it needs be. I just hope it gets better in the following books.
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing

5/5 stars

“Killing was no longer an activity, it was a state of being. Kylar became killing.”

The Skinny:

This story follows Azoth as he becomes the wetboy, Kylar Stern. Under the tutelage of Durzo Blint, Kylar slowly transforms into one of the most formidable wetboys in the city. Kylar’s is put to the test, both physically and mentally, when a force larger than he could have anticipated threatens his city.

My Review:

As far as Fantasy goes, this is not the best out there. The politics were so-so, a
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

Durzo gazed into the frothy brown ale as if it held answers. It didn't, and he had a choice to make. The usual forced gaiety of the brothel swirled around him, but nobody male or female bothered him. Perhaps it was Retribution unsheathed on the table in front of him. Perhaps it was merely the look on his face.

I enjoyed the book and liked some of the characters. I didn't love it and I didn't hate it. Azoth/Kyler was a nothing, a low-life that was in a bad situa
Jan 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
A somewhat awful page-turner:

A page-turner I'm embarrassed to have finished. The plot in this exciting thriller rolls along, almost too swiftly, but ultimately left me unfulfilled. The author never fleshes out his world or the characters inhabiting it. They often lack motivation for their actions and are little more than mere vehicles for the plot, whose elements fit *too well* together. The central love story is so trite its laugh-out-loud funny, and while I realize Mr. Weeks met his wife at a
Nimrod Daniel
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The way of Shadows had been waiting for me to read for a very long time, and I’m glad I finally got around it. It’s a gritty coming of age story that has a great cast of characters and an intricate plot. While it has a few minor flaws it’s a fantastic debut by Brent Weeks.

The characters are really well-drawn and most of them are very compelling. I liked the two main characters Durzo and Kyler, who are actually anti-heroes. Momma K, Solom, Dorian are really great charcters as well and I liked the
Kitty G Books
Jan 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-sff-faves
You know what, I have NO IDEA why I waited so long to read a Brent Weeks book. i have been told by various people that he's like marmite and you either love or hate his writing and for me that was a little intimidating I suppose and I wasn't sure which way it was going to go. However, after James convinced me to start with the first book in this series I am thoroughly happy and elated that I did follow his advice, and I can say with certainty that Weeks is a new favourite author for me.

This book
May 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
I mostly enjoyed Brent Weeks' Lightbringer series so I thought I would be on a winner with Night Angel. Not so however. I persevered through some 600 pages of this, the first book, but never actually became enthused about it.

I should have enjoyed it and I can see from reviews that a lot of people did. Somehow it missed the point for me. I struggled with the author's endless efforts to absolve his two main characters from the guilt of killing people. They are assassins - what else are they suppos
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I actually read this book long but never added it to my shelf or wrote a review, I'll have to rectify that in the near future. ...more
Kevin Xu
This book is really slow in the beginning until about 200 pages into the book. Then the speed of the book really picked up with full of action that included killing in painful ways. This book would do really well if it is made into a movie or especially if it is made into a video game. Overall, this is what an assassin should be.
Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
GET OUTTA HERE BRENT WEEKS. Let me tell you folks this is a winner. AHH oh man. There are so many twists and so many incredible intertwining plot lines. I LOVED the character Azoth and his passion and unwavering ideals. I was shaking reading this , especially the last 3/4. I honestly cannot say enough about it. Maybe it's because it's been awhile since I've read fantasy like this, maybe it's just because this book is unreal. I had heard Weeks was good but get OUT man. Wow. Well done. Seriously i ...more
David Sven
May 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dark-fantasy, fantasy
In the city of Cenaria, the Sa’kage rule the streets. A shadowy and incestuous underworld that exerts and enforces its influence through fear using assassination and intimidation. The most feared of the Sa’kage assassins are the Wetboys. What’s the difference between an Assassin and a Wetboy? Durzo Blink explains
”Assassins have targets. Wetboys have deaders. Why do we call them deaders? Because when we take a contract, the rest of their short lives is a formality.”

Through the eyes of our main ch
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 Stars!!

“What happens when you strip away all the masks a man wears and you find not a face beneath them but nothing at all?”

Going to be honest and say I wasn't sure how much I would like this one- This is my first Weeks Novel. I did not read any reviews for it and went in blind. I'm so glad I did that! I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. This first book of the series did not concentrate much on world building but more on character development, which usually would bother me.. but
Deborah Obida
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, fantasy
My father once told me that delayed obedience is really disobedience.

3.5 stars, just rounded up, I made it 4 stars cause its more than a 3 star rating for me, its times like this that I hate that GR don't have a half rating.

The main reason why I rated this book like this is because the writing is terrible, its been a while I read a fantasy this badly written, its like it wasn't edited at all. The POV shift is the worst, you don't even know when its done until the character name is written.
TS Chan
Ok, I have no idea what happened but the review I wrote earlier just kind of disappeared!! So I have to start all over again. Pffttt!

3.5 stars.

This is my first taste of Brent Weeks' books and I am liking it so far. I noticed a few readers ranting on the whole virgin/whore categorisation of women in this book, which is true, but I wasn't terribly bothered by it. At the very least, it did not aggravate me as much as a certain group of skirt-smoothing, sniffing, magic-wielding females. Ok, I'm digr
Francesca Stubbs
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: favorites
First, let me begin by saying that there are books that aren't necessarily works of art, but they are entertaining. THE WAY OF SHADOWS by Brent Weeks is one of these books, and I think I know why.

Lemme explain.

When you first crack this bad boy open and begin reading you are immediately hit with the sense that you have stumbled upon something really, really epic. And then that feeling slowly starts to dissipate and I honestly think it has a lot to do with the sloppy character dialogue, or maybe
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Fantasy Buddy Reads: The Way of Shadows [May 10, 2018] 61 53 Jun 07, 2018 11:53AM  
All About Fantasy!: The way of shadows 2 11 Nov 10, 2017 08:25AM  
Fantasy Buddy Reads: The Way of Shadows 57 58 Mar 27, 2017 01:10AM  
All About Fantasy!: The Way of Shadows 1 9 May 01, 2016 02:03PM  
All About Fantasy!: The Way of Shadows 9 15 Sep 23, 2015 08:19AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1)
  • The Warded Man (The Demon Cycle, #1)
  • Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)
  • Blood Song (Raven's Shadow, #1)
  • The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)
  • The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1)
  • Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, #1)
  • The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)
  • The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)
  • The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2)
  • Wizard's First Rule (Sword of Truth, #1)
  • Magician: Apprentice (The Riftwar Saga, #1)
  • The Desert Spear (Demon Cycle, #2)
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1)
  • Promise of Blood (Powder Mage, #1)
  • King of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #2)
  • Elantris (Elantris, #1)
  • Royal Assassin (Farseer Trilogy, #2)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
In a small-town Montana school at age 12, Brent Weeks met the two great loves of his life. Edgar Allan Poe introduced him to the power of literature to transcend time and death and loneliness. Fate introduced him to The Girl, Kristi Barnes. He began his pursuit of each immediately.

The novel was a failure. The Girl shot him down.

Since then–skipping the boring parts–Brent has written eight best-sell

Other books in the series

Night Angel (4 books)
  • Shadow's Edge (Night Angel, #2)
  • Beyond the Shadows (Night Angel, #3)
  • Night Angel Nemesis (Night Angel #4)

Articles featuring this book

Dragons, demons, kings, queens, and the occasional farm boy (with a special destiny, of course): Fantasy literature has it all! To celebrate...
520 likes · 292 comments
“Do you know what punishments I've endured for my crimes, my sins? None. I am proof of the absurdity of men's most treasured abstractions. A just universe wouldn't tolerate my existence.” 402 likes
“..because the only kind of love I have to offer is stupid and blind and so deep and powerful that I feel like I'm cracking just to hold it in.” 172 likes
More quotes…