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Night Angel #3

Beyond the Shadows

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A new queen has usurped the throne and is leading Cenaria into disaster. The country has become a broken realm with a threadbare army, little food and no hope. So Kylar Stern plans to reinstate his closest friend Logan as King, but can he really get away with murder?

In the north, the Godking's death has thrown Khalidor into civil war. To gain the upper hand, one faction attempts to raise the goddess Khali herself. But they are playing with volatile powers, and trigger conflict on a vast scale. Seven armies will converge to save - or destroy - an entire continent.

Kylar has finally learnt the bitter cost of immortality, and is faced with a task only he can complete. To save his friends, and perhaps his enemies, he must assassinate a goddess. Failure will doom the south. Success will cost him everything he's ever loved.

689 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published December 1, 2008

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About the author

Brent Weeks

56 books21.7k followers
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-selling novels with the Night Angel Trilogy and the Lightbringer Series, won several industry awards, and sold a few million books.

Brent and his wife Kristi live in Oregon with their two daughters. (Yeah, he married The Girl.)

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5 stars
47,487 (49%)
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3 stars
12,742 (13%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,457 reviews
Profile Image for carol..
1,575 reviews8,232 followers
March 28, 2015
Some times, I just get profoundly disappointed. When that happens, it becomes quite a challenge to keep on with second, third and fourth chances, which is what I've been doing with Week's Shadow series. I've realized, it is time for Brent and I to break up when I was pondering my review, and thought, "why bother?" You know that feeling you get at the end of the relationship when you know it's not even worth trying anymore? Or--and this might have happened to me today--those times when you might be talking with a paranoid schitzophrenic about needing to eat, and you are wondering whether it's worth talking about dinner when he's talking about aliens poisoning the tap water? It's those times when the effort of listing all the mistakes is just too much, or the reception is just too scrambled. The issues won't be understood, let alone fixed. Yes, that's about where I'm at.

Why am I disappointed? The first book was okay, if somewhat full of genre tropes. The second was a narrative mess but had some interesting ideas, except for the sexism. Well, I thought, I can get past sexism, I'm used to it, right? Except after a while, this kind of piggishness is unacceptable in anyone born after 1970. The whore with the heart of gold, the priggish virgin just dying to consummate her love, the assassin with the heart of ice who uses sexuality to trap her kills, the prison whore that uses sex to stay alive, the noble whore who uses her sexuality to win support--catching the motif yet? Oh yes, then there are the dowager sorceresses whose order is dying out because they won't let men be magic users and are kidnapping young women (hello, Jordan). Afraid of women much? Then there is the third book, running wild with more sex stereotypes, crappy narrative and lots of half-baked lectures on madness, justice and leadership.

I suspect that one of the reasons that Night Angel series scores so well is that--bear with me--readers are telling themselves the story. That's right, you five-star reviewers. You don't like Week's writing; you like the story you are telling yourself that fills in his gaping character and narrative holes. Weeks writes screenshots. He illustrates a scene, captures a 10 second or minute video and lets the reader gestalt it together. Why do you like it? Because you fill in the gaps with the stories you like to read and tell yourself, not because anything is particularly original or well done beyond the single concept of the black ka'kari.

Take, for instance, the mythic wood that is death to enter. A couple paragraphs tell us how terrible this wood is, how nothing lives or breathes, that there is only silence. In one scene, sorceress discovers a dead body at the edge from someone who fled there. In another, one group of soldiers attempt to pin the enemy so that they would be surrounded, wood at their flank. Then what happens? Fer goes into the wood, narrative jumps to someone else, then jumps back to Fer reappearing with a sword hilt, a recipe and only hints at a story. You see? What happens there is supplied by my own imagination. Those strange gaps happen at least two or three other times, and it occurs to me that whole novels could have filled in the spaces.

So Brent, I'm breaking up. I shouldn't need to read your trilogy two or three times to 'understand' it, and I shouldn't have to suffer through sexist tropes if I did. Which leads me to my final thought: it's not me--it's you.

One final star.

Cross posted at http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2013/0...
104 reviews
June 27, 2010
Oh my god this book was terrible.
The first book in the trilogy, I liked. Started off a bit dark, cracked along at a pace, lots of twists and turns and all in all a good read if slightly melodramatic with some truly terrible prose. Also I liked the idea of this "Night Angel" superhero and I loved Durzo's character.
Second book: began a bit like a teenage boys wet dream. Quite annoying really and quite strange to read as an adult. I found all the descriptions about how Elene wouldn't sleep with him really uncomfortable. However, Vi intrigued me and then Durzo reappeared. So I thought I'd give the third book a go.
The third book was awful, moralising, live as a good christian crap. "Good" people wait until they're married for sex while "evil" people sleep around and then get some kind of punishment for it. What happened to Uly? Durzo truned into a hand-clasping, worst kind of american sitcom "gee-i'm-proud-of-you" dad nightmare from being a hard nut with no feelings. Vi developed the character of a wet dishcloth (but that's OK cos she got Kylar in the end) Kylar maintained the emotional depth of a 12 year old. And then at the very end Elene saved the world with "love" and dying to redeem humanity.
Cannot remember being so angry at the end of books for a long time. Complete waste of my time and money...shame on you Mr Weeks.
Profile Image for Dana Ilie.
404 reviews351 followers
March 12, 2018
I didn't want this Trilogy to end :((
You really need to read the entire trilogy and I did read them in order, all at one time.

I feel as though I have lost friends and as though I have learned some true lessons, just by reading and becoming lost in these books. If you are a true fantasy lover, I sincerely believe that you will enjoy these immensely.

The characters, the worlds, the plot...all are terrific! However, the feelings that are evoked during the story and the consequences of actions taken will stay with me long after I've moved on to other stories.
One of the best things about this book was that the characters really stuck to what they believed.
The thing I'll remember about BEYOND THE SHADOWS a year from now is the theme of consequences for one's actions. Every major character of the story has to deal with their personal consequences on one level or another.

Weeks does a great job of wrapping up the story that he's presented here in the Night Angel Trilogy, and it's easy to see why this series has received the acclaim that it has. Weeks has been signed to another three book deal from Orbit, and it's going to be exciting to see what he does next.
Profile Image for Adina .
891 reviews3,550 followers
Shelved as 'abandoned'
March 29, 2023
So, I started the 3rd volume in the Night Angel trilogy to read something easy between the Booker longlisters. I read for a bit, I listened for a bit, when I realized that I do not give a s*** anymore about the characters or the plot. Sorry Weeks but you lost me at the 2nd volume. Oh well, there are plenty other epic series to read, some which are hopefully better.
Profile Image for Markus.
476 reviews1,564 followers
November 3, 2015
Weeks, we have a problem.

I didn't like these books anywhere near as much as I hoped I would. In fact, I was disappointed more often than not.

The writing was not to my taste at all. I hated most of the people in the story by the end of the first book. I spent much of my reading time being annoyed by everything.

And yet... you had your moments. You had your great characters (is one and a half enough to use the plural form?). And most importantly of all, you had a few fantastic ideas about the world and some of its details, concepts and inhabitants.

It wasn't enough. And I'm really disappointed enough to quit.

So why on Earth did you have to throw in a few hints at the end that were too good for me to ignore? That made me give this three stars and not two? That made the otherwise so horrible ending worth living through?

How often does one's favourite character change at the very of a trilogy?

I don't like it one bit, but I desperately want more. I suppose you have your qualities as an author after all.

So please give me the sequel series. I'll be ready with another set of three-star ratings, most likely. But at least I know where we stand now.

Revanchist's regards
Profile Image for Shari  Mulluane.
133 reviews83 followers
January 16, 2009
Every hint, every misdirection, every barely noticed event comes together in ways that make perfect sense, but surprise you nonetheless. Brent Weeks forces his characters to make impossible, painful decisions at every turn. The type of multilayered decisions where no matter what, somebody will suffer the consequences and often that somebody is the person they love most. The type of decisions where the right one is rarely the obvious choice and even self-sacrifice is not always the right path to take. Add to this mix characters you truly care about, and you have an emotional character driven story that grabs you and does not let you go right up to the last page.

Full Review Here: Dragons, Heroes and Wizards
Profile Image for Derek.
19 reviews1 follower
February 18, 2022
Thus ends another trilogy. Overall, I was disappointed with Beyond the Shadows. In Way of the Shadows Weeks spun a marvelous tale for us. He hooked me deep. In Shadow's Edge Weeks continued a great story. I felt that Beyond the Shadows was a poor ending to a great beginning.

What I felt was the biggest upset in this book was that Weeks stopped showing us the story. Instead, he told us what happened. As any good author knows, show, don't tell. We would flip between characters, sometimes months going by between when we last saw them, and he'd give us a quick rundown of what they've accomplished. A lot of times what they've done would be really hard to do, and he gives us no explanation on how they were done.

I felt that Weeks decided to surprise us with many plot twists, but in doing so he neglected to tell us just how they happened. We were joined a lot of the stories after they had had their plot twists. I also had an ending with The Wolf at the end. He just told Kylar what was going to happen to all of his friends in the future. Again, show, don't tell. Weeks could have had a small chapter for each of them where they made up their minds on what to do. I would have loved to see Momma K and Durzo reunited. Instead we're just told it's going to happen.

Also, I felt that Weeks left several of the minor plots going as the book ends. It's the end of the trilogy, but with what Weeks left us with, it'd be very easy to see Kylar again.

Overall, I thought this book was acceptable. It wasn't nearly as good as Way of the Shadows, or Shadow's Edge. The plot was quite good, but everything was way to rushed.
Profile Image for Kris43.
120 reviews51 followers
July 26, 2015
Men! Wtf was that?? i feel like i've been slapped! i really loved first two book and now i get this??
Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of good in this book, but most of it is way bellow from what i've come to expect from this series! And most of it is some of the worst moralistic crap i've heard in a long time!

Like the whole sex thing. Every character who had sex was portrayed as in some way a evil whore or dirty or seriously wrong. OMG! Are you for real?? I just hope some young innocent girl doesn't read this because she will think that is wrong to have sex and that makes you a dirty whore, its not! Its normal and natural and there is nothing wrong in doing it! She'll think that when you finally do it, you have to be married and it has to be sanctified and holy and gods know what else or you'll be evil and it will corrupt you. Yea, riggght. More like make you a frigid condescending B-word. C'mon... This is wrong on so many levels....

I hated Elaine! I hated her frigid little perfect self-righteous stupidity from the second book, here it only gets worse! And her stupidity and cowardice gets elevated to a virgin Mary heights where she actually sacrifices her self to save the world by LOVE??? OMG...And the whole overuse of Love thing, it makes me wanna puke. A lot! Believe me, you'll get trucks loads full of love here, so much love...and all of it 'Real Love' It sickens me!

Durzo Blint was awesome! I loved him, I was so upset when he dyed. Here he reappears only you have to wait until half of the book to see him. And hes not him self anymore. Ok i understand hes a changed man. But this Durzo is a sugarcoated shadow and the whole point in him reappearing is so he can become a flying dragon on moment notice and scoop down from the sky to save the day? I feel offended in his name, I think it cheapens his whole character! I liked him more when he was at his lowest point, because he was more real and more true to him self than here. Here he is supposedly happy and at peace and professes his love left and right...

There was a lot of it that was so rushed, and there was so many holes filled by illogical 'make up on the spot magic'. Here are some examples:
-whole book they keep repeating that the earring things are unbreakable and eternal and all-powerful, right? NO! In the end Vi breaks them, by willing it, on the spot and by doing so invokes some real love crap. And bam, it breaks.
-Elaine gets her virgin Mary savior status by knowing Khali needs a whiling host so she can trap her, with guess what? Real love! How does she know that? As far as i know she runs away and gets captured and offered to khali as one of the choices for her host. It was a coincidence for her to get in that position.

I much preferred first two books where the characters followed more natural, not rushed development. They where realistic there. Here they where all possessed with moralistic dogmas and ridiculously noble notions. That sounded quite wrong and not in character with their previous selves.

There are parts of the book that are really good, and this is in no way a bad book. It has a lot of stuff happening, a lot of it original. I wouldn't be so angry if didn't love the first 2books so much. Now i feel cheated. But all in all i wish i never read this one!

Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
681 reviews620 followers
December 15, 2019
Brent Weeks sure knows how to conclude a series. All the lose ends was tied, I can't think of anything that was forgotten for that I applaud the author. I still think the writing could have been better, the POV was still terrible. The world building and writing is as explicit as ever.

“Kylar, in the crucible of tragedy, explanations fail. When you stand before a tragedy and tell yourself that there is no sense to it, doesn’t your heart break? I think that must be as hard for you as it is for me when I scream at God and demand to know why—and he says nothing. We will both survive this, Kylar. The difference is, on the other side I will have hope.”

I have one problem with this book, thus the 4 stars, Elene's part in the end was uncalled for, I get that she wanted to be important but that was too much.

Dorian's part in the book was by far my favourite, it was awesome. His magic, politics, relationship with those around him and basically everything about Dorian was awesome.

Jenine wasn't too bad also, I love that she didn't play the damsel in distress role cause that would have sucked.

For a man who denies what is essential to his being is a man who drills holes in the cup of his own happiness.

Kylar was okay in this, he wasn't bad neither was he awesome. Logan was awesome as usual but his selflessness and sense of justice sucks sometimes.

Finally Viridiana was awesome in some places and other times she was annoying.

This started just where the previous book ended, Kylar is on a quest to put Logan on a throne then discovered his price for immortality. Dorian went back and things didn't turn out the way he expected. Vi is making the best out of the second chance she got.
Profile Image for seak.
434 reviews473 followers
May 18, 2012
While some people have been waiting over 20 years to finish The Wheel of Time, over 13 (and counting) for A Song of Ice and Fire, and over 10 for Malazan Book of the Fallen, it's a great feeling to finish a series and probably better for all the waiting I've been doing.

Concluding the Night Angel Trilogy, Beyond the Shadows is a great ending to a great series. While not without its faults, as I'll discuss in a bit, the characters are moving and the world fully realized, so much that I was a bit sad to be reading the end. That's always a good sign.

Now comes the blurb and spoilers if you've yet to read the prior installments...
Logan Gyre is king of Cenaria, a country under siege, with a threadbare army and little hope. He has one chance - a desperate gamble, but one that could destroy his kingdom.

In the north, the new Godking has a plan. If it comes to fruition, no one will have the power to stop him.

Kylar Stern has no choice. To save his friends - and perhaps his enemies - he must accomplish the impossible: assassinate a goddess.

Beyond the Shadows is the action-packed conclusion to the Night Angel Trilogy.

Not letting up on the fast pace, Beyond the Shadows is surprisingly even more action-packed than its predecessors. This didn't hurt the story until the very end when it felt a bit rushed as I explained here (look for "seak" at the bottom of the page).

Otherwise, I couldn't get enough. With Dorian in the north, disguised as a eunuch searching for Jenine Gyre, Vi in the Chantry learning from the Sisters and starting her own faction, Neph Dada on his own nefarious mission, and Kylar learning what his new gifts really cost him, not one section leaves you wishing you were somewhere else.

One of the things I was most impressed with was the explanation of the Krul. They were mentioned in the previous volumes only cursorily, but what a great monster. In fact, the Kalidorans in general were wonderfully realized, especially with their connection to the vir (their version of the Talent), setting up yet another moral struggle for a certain main character.

Although events leading up to the ending were a bit rushed, the ending itself was amazing. From great monsters and epic fights to poignant scenes of realization, I left satisfied and a little sad to be done.

When Should You Read Beyond the Shadows?

After the first two in the series, duh... Okay, sad attempt at a joke. :D As I said with the first two installments, be ready for fast-paced-action-intense-writing-lots-of-fighting and everything you'd expect in a series involving assassins. The Night Angel Trilogy brings out the kid in you that wants to rule the world.

4 out of 5 Stars
Profile Image for J.J..
56 reviews
July 19, 2018
What a great trilogy. I the ending of Beyond the Shadows is pretty good, I really liked it. I do recommend this trilogy to those who really like magic, god-kings, high kings, immortals with great power, great battles with magic, kings, women and soldiers. Many great characters with interesting backgrounds.

It's a worthy trilogy to start and finish. I hope you all give this trilogy a shot and read it. It might not be good for some but if you like my books I've read in the past(check profile of my books I've read or compare books) you'll like it very much as I did.
Profile Image for Nicole.
217 reviews8 followers
May 7, 2023
Check out my full review with and without spoilers here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SBPI...

4/5 stars for me. I really enjoyed this series as a whole but I do have some complaints regarding the writing and some of the story. Overall, this book wrapped up the series, the storylines and brought all the characters together, it was a satisfying conclusion to where the story could end or continue and I am glad to know that Brent Weeks has now decided to continue the story with Nemesis.
This book picks up right where the second book left off; the Godking is killed and Kylar and Vi are now bonded in a way that neither of them intended or wanted. While the goal of killing the Godking is completed, there are still threats to Cenaria. One of these threats that needs resolving is Terah Graesin who has made sure she has remained Queen of Cenaria, despite Logan’s popularity and rightful claim to rule. Kylar knows that Logan needs to be king and should be king, making it his goal to kill Terah and force Logan to then be proclaimed king.

There are multiple storylines being run throughout this book. Dorian is back in Khalidor and has found himself unintentionally being the next Godking, with Jenine as his new wife. Solon has also returned home and has earned the title of Stormrider. Feir has the task of making a duplicate of the sword Curoch for Lantano. Vi is learning at the Chantry and is the awkward third wheel between Kylar and Elene. Durzo is being Durzo. And Logan is trying to keep Cenaria whole while also trying to bring back Jenine.

The main problem in this book is Neph Dada trying to raise an army of Krul, Titans and the Goddess Khali to essentially destroy everything. There are also the Strangers who manifest by inhabiting the corpses of human sacrifices and they have an intense, murderous hatred for the living; essentially they just exist to kill and feast on suffering.

After Logan is king, Kylar and Durzo meet up (this was fun and made me love Durzo’s character so much). They are both headed to the Chantry, Kylar for Elene and Durzo for Uly. Uly is not in this book very much but you do get plenty of whiny and weird scenes with Kylar, Elene and Vi. A weird problem I noticed, with all of these books, is that the characters are always either crying, sobbing or weeping. And this happens nonstop with Vi, Kylar and Elene…

To prevent from going into major spoilers, I will say this book wraps up everything really well. All the storylines appear to be addressed, while leaving a potential for more in this world. The ending was a little chaotic and felt a little too perfect. Everyone was together and solving the problem, which in some sense was satisfying but in another is was frustrating because it felt too perfect. This series is mostly dark and to have such a perfect/around a circle holding hands moment, it felt out of place. It is not necessarily how I would have chosen to end the series but I think it still worked and it was nice to see all the characters being involved in some way.

Overall I would rate this series a 8/10. Its not the most well written series; as in I do have a lot of complaints about some of the details and some of the choices that were made, but I love the overall story and the characters. I also just love the Night Angel character so much it literally saves the series for me. I love how the Night Angel is the one who judges and dispenses justice, I love the look and ability of the Night Angel; along with the Sword and the Kakari. I would recommend this series and I hope you will have fun reading this if you do decide to pick it up.
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11.2k followers
June 25, 2010
4.0 to 4.5 stars. Outstanding conclusion to an outstanding series. Brent Weeks has created a superb world with original and well thought out magical systems and creatures. All of the loose ends begun in the first two novels, The Way of Shadows and Shadow's Edge are tied up tight as a drum and brought to a very satisfying conclusion. This series joins the ranks of one of the best fantasy series of recent years and I can not wait for the next book by this author. Highly recommended!!
Profile Image for Skylar Phelps.
239 reviews31 followers
June 18, 2020
I finally got around to reading Brent Weeks. This is my first series of his and I'm glad I jumped on board. The Night Angel trilogy is complex and very intricate and in my opinion the intricacy and complexity of the series as a whole is the best part about it. The plot continuously twists and morphs giving the reader a sense of constant emotion and concern for the characters.

However, the characters are not as good as I would like. Some of the character decisions were hard for me to understand or make any sense of and I felt some definite motivation issues for some of the main characters. But I was able to overlook most of these things because the plot is just so darn good.

In this last installment, there were some really cool twists and revelations, as well as a more epic scope which made the whole thing very enjoyable and I noticed that there were fewer filler chapters and less rambling.

There were however several details and events that I thought were poorly done and I felt had no place. Like Durzo flying? Really...? And Logan shooting a dragon out his arm because he got magical snake goop on it? Yeah some things were a bit farfetched for me to accept, even in a fantasy. Maybe if there had been more foreshadowing or additional explanation. Maybe.

But again, the weaving story and awesome moments are the trilogy's saving grace. I can't rate it lower than 4 stars because ultimately I liked it and it was a satisfying read.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,563 reviews2,938 followers
November 9, 2020
DNF @ 200pp

Just can't get back into this series after reading his new one which is so much better
Profile Image for TS Chan.
719 reviews884 followers
March 25, 2016
Overall, this is 3.5 stars which I’ll magnanimously round up because I really liked a few of the characters and some pretty awesome scenes/moments. There were definitely parts which really piqued my interest and the magic was cool. If the black ka’kari can be called a character, it’ll definitely be one of my favourites.

My wish for more arcs and significance from Dorian, Solon and Feir materialised but I was not entirely thrilled with how they were dealt with. It actually made the whole plotline a bit of a mess. So on one hand I was pleased to read more about them (especially Dorian), but on the other, it nagged at me that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped to.

This was also probably the first time where I felt practically indifferent to the main protagonist of a book, in this case, Kylar. I don't dislike him but he just doesn't make me feel invested in him. The parts of Kylar which I really loved were when he was fighting and . I really started to like Vi as a character in Shadow’s Edge but she was seriously reduced to a wetcloth, all because of Kylar, in this book – come on woman, you are awesome, get a grip on yourself!!

The way the various arcs were seemingly centred around the love of a woman was irksome and resultantly the ending was clichéd in an almost cringe-worthy manner. While the cool magic (directed by Dorian no less) did save the climax - powerful magical artifacts are awesome! - I could do with less of this whole power of love angle. Sigh... this could’ve been amazing, but with the undulating tones of great, good, mediocre and unsatisfactory, I’ll write this down as an above average read at best.
Profile Image for S.K. Inkslinger.
Author 8 books13 followers
July 28, 2018
2.5 stars. (Edited this after a year because the more I thought about it, that ending was utter #@$%. It deserves 2.5 since the book was half bad. I haven't been able to read anything by Brent Weeks since, and I don't think I'll ever touch his works again.

This book is decent in many parts, but offers an ending that is not as satisfactory as I had expected from the Night Angel trilogy. Beyond the Shadows had many great scenes, Kylar's battle with Lantano Garuwashi, and his and Logan's later friendship with the saceurai, Kylar's attempts to finish off Terah Graesin once and for all, and the final scene where everyone combined their magic to stop the horde of kruls from overwhelming the world.

It offers a conclusion to everyone's story, with some having quite a happy ending, whereas others are sad. In the end, Midcyru would continued to be protected and saved by the Night Angel again and again, forevermore into the days of the future. This entire trilogy had been an epic roller coaster ride of splendid action scenes, intricate & realistic characterization, and masterful storytelling for me, and I would surely sorely missed it, and the story of Kylar Stern, long after this.
Profile Image for Scott.
1,188 reviews106 followers
October 29, 2018
Last book in the trilogy - three stars.

It was a very epic grand huge book.
But there were oh so many issues.

Like the other two books in the series this was riddled with pacing problems. The first 500 pages of this book were so boring and painfully bad that I almost just tossed it in the garbage and really the only that saved it was that it was the last book in the trilogy and I wanted to see how it ended. Then the last 200 pages were filled with enough world shattering events and action that it should have taken 1000 pages to tell which meant it felt very rushed.

Characters - really good characters but nobody I actually connected with. They were interesting but I felt disconnected from them and didn't care all that much about any of them.

Writing - not sure where to put this so I'll lump it into the writing area but the main characters story arcs weren't that interesting to me but the secondary character story arcs were amazing.

Plot - it was fine

I'll be generous and round up to three stars but just barely (this was a solid 2.5 star book)

I'm glad I read this series as it is an important series in the genre but it's not a series I would recommend.
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,214 reviews3,215 followers
February 7, 2023
4.0 Stars
This was such a fun assassin fantasy story. 

I have previously read and enjoyed the Lightbringer series so I was interested to read the author's debut series. While I still prefer his sophomore series, this series is a surprisingly close second.

I have been previously hit or miss with assassin fantasy but this one proved that it's just a matter of finding the right series. I often struggle with action driven stories but this one had a good balance that worked well for me.

My favourite aspect of the story was easily the characters. I loved their backstories, their humour and their flaws. Like in the Lightbringer, this story addresses division in gender and the challenges of being a woman in a patriarchal world. I was impressed by the depth and complexity of the themes explored within this series.

I would highly recommend this series to readers looking for a underhyped fantasy series with a great balance between character development and an exciting plot.

Disclaimer I received a copy of this book from the publisher in preparation for the release of the new Night Angel book which I am excited to read closer to the release date in April.
Profile Image for Pearlyn Ng.
5 reviews2 followers
August 10, 2016
I don't write reviews.
I can't be bothered, half the time. Even if I love the book to pieces. I'll name my firstborn child after the protagonist and fan-stalk the author, but really, writing reviews isn't my cup of tea.

Brent Weeks deserves some solid applause. He's the first author that's made me a hate a book so much as to actually galvanize me into writing a review, can you imagine that?
The Way of Shadows was okay. I kinda liked it. Enough to try Shadow's Edge, which pretty much left me with a sneer on my face. But by that point in time I just really wanted to see most of the characters meet painful, horrible deaths. Is this some kind of new writing technique? Make the reader hate your book so much that they simply must buy the next book?
Well I guess I got suckered in.
The Night Angel trilogy reads like it was penned by a schizophrenic teenage sex-maniac, and Beyond the Shadows wins hands down for being the worst of the series.

Brent, Brent, Brent. Couldn't you decide where you wanted your novel to go? There's plotholes everywhere. Cavernous gaps and jerks in the story where things just happen without any attempt at explanation. And dues ex machina thrown around like glitter at a 9-year-old's princess party.

And don't even get me started on the sexism. The Madonna-whore dichotomy. I'll need to start stabbing someone soon. I think some of the other reviewers have covered this at length so I'll just restrain myself and move on.

Was Brent trying to be funny? The sa'ceurai obviously referred to samurai. Khali was obviously a (very messed up) reference to the Indian goddess Kali. I didn't find those nudges funny. Did you? AND SPEAKING OF FUNNY. The author was just trying too goddamn hard to inject levity everywhere. Sometimes it was appropriate, sometimes it wasn't.
Cool: Durzo and Kylar/Azoth's banter.
NOT cool: Dorian trying to be punny with the Khalidor Keeper of the Dead (or something like that). It felt forced and completely unnecessary for the scene.

The last two books should just have been titled Sex's Edge and Beyond Sex. Sex. Sex sex sex sex sex. I'm not a prude; I've devoured many a juicy romance novel across the years. But this...this was immature, distasteful and completely ridiculous. It's not even like Brent was trying to shock his readers by the dark reality or appeal of sex and sexuality. Or maybe he was trying, but he sure as hell never succeeded.
Kylar and Elene spent virtually their entire relationship in a sex-battle of "GIMME PLS ELENE I LOVE YOU DON'T YOU LOVE ME" and "NO KYLAR I WANTS BUT I'M A SHY PURE VIRGIN". I really don't know how much more juvenile you can get.

Which brings us to the best (worst?) part: the power of love.
Eww. Eww eww eww. If that isn't the biggest, most sickening cliche of them all. Done right, some writers can really make it work. Brent just took a big glob of it and pasted everything near the end of the novel. The black ka'kari is powered by love. Okay. Khali is destroyed by love. Okay. Elene dies spouting about unselfish love.
J K Rowling, now she handled the 'power of love' thing well.
This? This is a travesty.

Well congratulations Brent Weeks. I spent the last 20 minutes writing an ode to loathing about the Night Angel series.
Profile Image for Danielle.
451 reviews41 followers
April 4, 2009
Nick, see below:

This series was a good one, though I was fairly disappointed by the last quarter or so of "Beyond the Shadows." It felt a little contrived, how one of the main characters suddenly developed a heretofore never-seen ability to fly... as well as the sudden appearance of a special healing ability... (really? Was that necessary?)

In addition to that, though the author used archetype characters in a large way, I feel that the character of Elene took it too far, or perhaps I should say didn't take it far enough. Where did she get her pure, innocent, selfless love? It certainly wasn't from her childhood. The characterization to make her who she was, which turned out to be central to the resolution of the plot, simply was not there. She qualified for sainthood, and I just didn't believe it.

**NEW** And because I was asked to explain, the reason I tagged this book (series?) as "lesson-in-sexism": One, see the previous paragraph. Two, my ears always perk up when I hear a man start talking about strong women (see essay by the author, following first book in the series). Or especially, their attempt to depict one. I can clearly see the 'strength' the author was going for in the female assassin Vi, but the fact of the matter was what he depicted was an extremely abused girl who reacted to her abuse by trying to 'be a man' (divorced from her sexuality, emotional strength or empathy, 'heartless' and 'selfish'). Then, she fell in love (cliche and a half!) and started the process of ("learning her lesson, heh heh!") becoming a self-sacrificing woman who thought of her man's happiness over hers.

So. Which of these were strength, really? Were either of them supposed to be? Maybe that's my assumption, based on his essay, and really he was referring to Elene... But if he was referring to Elene, then that is even worse. Elene is a caricature, the very epitome of the selfless Madonna. Versus Vi, the whore. Of course Vi can't have Kylar's heart (which is such a prize, his heart! ;)), because she's the whore. So Elene, the selfless Madonna, holds Kylar's heart while Vi hangs in the background, waiting for possible pickings after Elene dies and Kylar deigns to allow Vi's eager, whorish heart to comfort him.

Poor thing. Really. That's not strength, it's a woman being exactly where a sexist system wants her, at the beck and call of a man who doesn't even have to love her in return. So I just wanna know; can I read a book with a female character who's strong in a real, as-yet un-represented way? Who isn't just 'being a man', or being the 'perfect woman', who is known to all by her extreme selflessness and self-sacrifices? Who can't be defined as the 'madonna', 'slut', 'whore'--who may be any of those things, but can't be DEFINED by them?

It was a little disappointing. But I enjoyed the series enough that I would recommend it to other fantasy readers I know.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Patricia Crowther.
479 reviews45 followers
October 28, 2016
Absolutely loved it! A perfect ending for the most perfect characters ;) Seriously in love with Logan <3
Profile Image for David Sven.
288 reviews449 followers
March 24, 2013
This book continues right on from book two. After Logan Gyres initial victory over the God King, Garoth Ursuul, and the Khalidorian Empire, he is left to deal with the surrounding nations closing in to stake their own claim on Cenaria. To make things worse the Vurdmeisters and remaining Ursuuls fight to reinstate themselves as the new god king. To this end some attempt to raise an army of creatures from the other side. Some are even desperate enough to try to raise the goddess Khali herself, willing to risk the enslavement of all humanity to the desire of a hateful entity from beyond.

I had a hard time connecting to the plot with this one. In the first book we saw the rise of The Night Angel. In the second book we saw The Night Angel doing it's job of dispensing justice, when the book finally got going in the second half, and then closing with the confrontation with the god king. Good. But this book the plot just seemed to be all over the place. In the third book of a trilogy I'm generally expecting all the diverging plot lines from the previous books begin to converge to a climactic resolution. Instead we get even more story arcs diverging from left field before finally coming together. For example the stories of the three mages, Dorian, Solon and Feir. While I was looking forward to learning more about them, where they end up made it seem like their whole arcs just gets started in this book, making their story very top heavy.

Worse was that Kyler's role as The Night Angel seemed to lose its way somewhat. Instead of dispensing justice and mercy he's off having confused sex with one and half women and then plays a role that is more like warrior mage than the lone wolf icon of justice and mercy. The rules of what he is supposed to be or do just seemed to be too flexible. And the ending was just a little to convenient and vague to me. The "good" love based magic won over the evil "vir" magic. Hmmm.

I still enjoyed reading the book, while I was reading it, but whenever I picked the book up I had to really think to remember what was supposed to be happening and why, which led to some continuity problems. A reread might make things clearer - but maybe not.

I enjoyed book one the most out of the three. Book two was good, even more polished than book one even though I still enjoyed book one more. This book was just too all over the place to enjoy as much.

I can't help but think back on Brent Week's Lightbringer books which I read before these. They show a vast improvement in plot structure and magic system and pacing. Weeks has definitely got better since Night Angel and if you enjoyed this series then I think his next series will be a pleasant surprise starting with The Black Prism.

But for this book it's...

3 stars (4 stars avg for the series)
Profile Image for Eduardo Remolins.
34 reviews10 followers
November 28, 2021
Leí esta trilogía hace varios años, pero aún sigue siendo una de mis favoritas, al menos en el recuerdo.
No pienso hacer una review acerca de la trama porque no la tengo fresca. Solo me limito a darles mi consejo de leer esta saga.
Profile Image for LKM.
281 reviews30 followers
January 16, 2012
Now that was just silly.

The book felt rushed and crammed of information that was spoon fed by plot devices (read: characters), and not shown by the tale itself.

The parts that weren't rushed were fight descriptions, which unless they're really well done can bore me, and angsty lovey-dovey crap, which bore me unless there's an actual point to them- save for one or two parts that could have been shorter, I didn't think there was much of a point in them.

As it were, I read it like:

"Important stuff happened, important items were recovered, and potentially cool stuff happened, but rather than show you that let me skim over it and instead I'll make long musing rants about love and sex and how sad/happy character is to be not getting it/getting it. Oh, and here's a fight scene."

What was the point of the Wolf telling Kylar how everyone's life would go? I'm fairly sure, given what he is, that he would have been able to see it by himself. Did Weeks not want to write one more chapter to show that same thing?

And what about Uly's great great Talent? Is that leading anywhere or is it for another book?

There's nothing I hate quite so much as characters that don't learn- particularly secret-keeping characters that don't learn after being screwed twenty times for keeping them, that they should not keep those secrets from their apprentices/people who help them.
Youd think after the tenth time they'd just tell them everything, no? How stupid can they be?

Despite that, the fact that there was no decent villain whatsoever, that some things were left unexplained, and that the ending was cliché and I did not really like it one bit (Khali could have been so much more, so much better! She was so lame at the end! Ugh!), I'm giving it two stars instead of one because, in a whole, the trilogy has great ideas and great plot points.
It just... wasn't executed properly to the end, at least, for my own personal taste.

In a whole, I would reread the first and second, but I would get rid of the third. It's just disappointing.
Profile Image for Rob.
853 reviews540 followers
August 1, 2016
Executive Summary: I really wanted to like this book more than I did. Most of my friends seemed to enjoy it, but I just found it a disappointment.

Audio book: Paul Boehmer again does a good, but not great job as a reader. He is clear and easy to understand. He does a few voices, but I really have trouble telling some of them apart.

Full Review
I found this book to be a letdown. I felt Shadow's Edge started going off the rails a bit and to be uneven. This book was worse.

There are things to like about it. I still found myself rooting for the main characters. The main plot was interesting. But that's about it.

This book suffers from way too many subplots. Many of which didn't add much to the story for me. What started as an action packed gritty fantasy series in The Way of Shadows has somehow been morphed into a bad soap opera.

I think the main story suffered as a result of all these subplots. It felt almost as if Mr. Weeks was considering expanding this from a trilogy into a longer series only to sort of plop all the characters together at the end.

I would have liked to see more time on Neph Dada and Khali as the main antagonists of this book, they felt more like background noise.

The most interesting character of the series to me was not the protagonist Kylar, but his master Durzo Blint. Now that I've finished the trilogy, I think I would have preferred if the first book was followed by two prequel books about Durzo previous exploits instead.

The series did at least end at a good place, wrapping up all of the main threads and many of the minor ones, but by the end I was just happy to get it over with.
Profile Image for Marielle.
271 reviews39 followers
July 18, 2016
Loved it again third time around. Just loved book 1 and 2 a little bit more. :)
Profile Image for jade.
489 reviews310 followers
October 6, 2013
The Night Angel trilogy reaches its climax with Beyond the Shadows, in which Logan Gyre desperately tries to rally people behind him in order to create an army for Cenaria, a new Godking emerges, Kylar and Elene try to make the most of their relationship, Vi gets educated at the Chantry, and an old friend finally emerges from behind the shadowy curtain of death.

Unfortunately, many problems I already had with the previous two books in this series were not avoided or rectified in any manner. Clichés and genre tropes still run abundant, culminating in Elene’s final sacrifice and the way in which Kylar’s and Vi’s rings are broken, and character development is simply not present. The aforementioned clichés and genre tropes are mostly related to sexism, providing the readers with an unhealthy idea and view of sex, purity and women in general. Women still only come in two tastes, pure saints and vile sluts, and the agency and/or power of almost every female character is defined by her sexuality and beauty or lack thereof.

A new problem fully emerged within this book as well, of which the first hints were already prevalent in book two, Shadow’s Edge: huge gaps in the storyline. From one chapter to the next, months can pass, and one riddle mentioned in the first chapter is suddenly solved by the presence of a person and/or item in the chapter directly following it. Brent Weeks does not interweave his storylines properly – even though everything connects and all loose ends are dealt with eventually, the story itself has huge gaps in it that the readers themselves will have to fill in. Previous important characters simply leave the scene, like Momma K and Uly, and due to the gaps in storytelling, the character development that Weeks does try to provide us with, feels fake. A prime example of this is Vi, who suddenly has turned into a paragon of a battle mage at the Chantry and has built up a deep love of her fellow sisters – we have not seen this happen in any way. We simply have to take it for granted, because it’s missing from the story.

Gaps and other inconsistent oddities occur frequently. Kylar suddenly learns to heal deathly wounds within mere seconds (and acquires this ability in mere seconds too, nonetheless), another character is able to sprout wings of which we had never heard of before, Elene claims to have had the plan to give herself up to evil willingly from the moment she left even though she ran into said evil coincidently, and so on and so forth. Freir retrieves a sword without knowing about it and we never know how he did it, Solon is in the right place at the right time with the right item even though in the previous chapter, he promised his love he would not go… I could go on forever.

Dorian, a character whom I found profoundly interesting in the first two books, is supposed to have this character arc in which he slowly turns evil – again, this ensures me of the fact that Weeks does not know how to develop characters.

The ending was horrifically constructed. As always, love saves us all, and Elene provides us with the ultimate self-sacrifice in order to do so. With the powerful swords our sad companionship of not-developed characters now hold, they save the world and breathe back life into the destroyed city of Black Barrow.

After all those negative points, let me return to some of the things that I did like about this last and final book of the trilogy. Vi’s powers and talents finally getting recognized, and all those women rallying behind her was awesome – finally, she gets her rightful place amongst the entire cast of characters. The magical system of the ka’karis was definitely original, and the Wolf’s role in it all was interesting; I almost wish they would have elaborated on his character (and Ezra’s) a little more. I also enjoyed how Weeks didn’t shy away from making his main protagonist all powerful, giving Kylar the strengths and talents of a godlike creature.

All in all, this series is a bit of a mess. I have to agree with what most people have been saying about Weeks’ writing – it’s almost like a video game or a film, in which he paints scenes and happenings with gaps in between that we as readers are requested to fill in for ourselves. For me personally, the sexism and lack of character development were two huge deal breakers as well.

Would I still recommend this book or this series as a whole? Only if you realize what you’re getting into. I still had some fun reading it, focusing more on the magic and enjoying the fast pace of it all, so if it’s a quick fix you’re looking for, this book can provide it.
Profile Image for Zoe Artemis Spencer Reid.
512 reviews108 followers
July 13, 2018
At least better than the second book, nothing grand of the final. Everything tied up in whatever convenience to the writer, illogical and without explanation whatsoever. But with some great characters and some amazing scenes.
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