Lindsey's Reviews > Beyond the Shadows

Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks
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's review
Nov 25, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, night-angel, series
Recommended to Lindsey by: Graham
Recommended for: Anyone who enjoys political fantasy or assassins
Read from January 21 to 27, 2011

This book had several strengths going for it, including the complex and really tragic relationship between Logan and Kylar, the friendship of the magical trio (there was one reunion that I really really enjoyed), Kylar and his mentors including the ka'kari and Vi and Ariel. The world-building was also at its best with so many different lands explored at once, and the ancient back-story was actually intriguing.

But the same world-building that added a new depth to Night Angel also damaged it greatly. Night Angel feels out of place as some Tolkien-esque battle between so many forces and the end clearly showed this strain. While certain pieces came together nicely, it also came across as a series of conveniences, with characters gaining abilities or insights they had never before shown themselves to have. Kylar and Elene suffered from this especially. The convenience wore on me and made the last chunk of the book difficult to believe and get through.

Also hurting this book was the romance. The compelling relationship between Vi and Kylar established in the second book is reduced to more mooning and triangle angst in this one. I am relieved that Vi was still given a chance to stand on her own and find her own place, but I could have done without this rather warped version of love. I have said before I don't like the way this series portrays women and I will say it again. It manages to both show them as strong but at the same time pathetically subservient to their man. How a woman manages to be subservient while holding a compulsion spell over her man you may ask? And I will say when that woman has to give up everything for the man's happiness... Yeah. Not to mention, the horrific treatment of women in Dorian's arc. I refuse to believe that a place cannot be shown to be really wicked and twisted without resorting to rape and other forms of women torture. Even in a story where a man gets tortured to death and only dies when his limbs are shattered, women still get the short end of the stick. It's at a point where I don't even think Weeks realizes the way it comes across. I am sure he intends to portray strong but emotional women, and it's just not working.

I give the book a 3 because I really enjoyed the first half, with the political intrigue, but once the story became more about the final battle, it became a real bore. Another problem is the lack of focus, with the series trying to cover the plots of so many characters at once. I honestly would have preferred to just focus on Logan, Kylar and Vi. They had the best plots. While the others were interesting, they were not essential and they often cut into the action with the other three. Also, while I get where the book was going with Dorian's plot, I thought it was entirely too forced and done for the sake of being dramatic, a flaw shared by the final section of the book. I contend the book is best when it is focused on Kylar's struggle to make Logan king. The darkness and emotional assault the book goes into in this part definitely makes it one of my favorite sections in any book. The part alone deserves a total five.

Overall, I am glad I read this series. I enjoyed the characters, but I am also grateful that I will no longer have to sit through passages of heinous treatment toward women. I also wish Night Angel had given me more Logan in this final book. I felt terribly deprived.

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Reading Progress

01/21/2011 page 30
4.0% "I forgot how mind-taxing all these stupid fantasy terms in this series can be. I'm suddenly wishing for the mass recapping style of Warriors."
01/21/2011 page 54
8.0% "Well, this much into Shadows and I'm already annoyed. I wish Weeks would just write about the boys fighting. Whenever he even mentions girls, I cringe. I can already tell I'm going to hate every minute of Dorian's stupid plot in trying to find his destined wife. I hate the way Shadows treats women. Seriously, for 600+ pages of this, Logan and Kylar had better have sex. (I am aware this isn't a m/m novel.)" 2 comments
01/22/2011 page 150
22.0% "Better now, probably because I'm getting more of my boys and Vi. Mm, I do love when the king and assassin are slashy. The coerced romance though makes me gag. Disappointing too since Dorian's overall plot could be interesting if he wasn't so cliched. This book follows too many characters."
01/23/2011 page 210
30.0% "Wow, Dorian and his girl are dumb? And I wish my boys wouldn't fight. Also, I forgot to mention that I love Kylar and his sentient weapon. The second book should have had more of them."
01/24/2011 page 306
44.0% "Still hating Dorian. His logic is so coerced. My boys, though, have me on the edge of my seat, and I do so enjoy Momma K and Vi's subplots."
01/24/2011 page 356
52.0% "Oh my poor boys."
01/25/2011 page 400
58.0% "Ngl, as shallow as it is, depriving me of my Logan/Kylar interaction makes me really not want to finish this book. But I guess I got this far..."
01/25/2011 page 470
68.0% "Man, I really hate perfect girls. So boring."
01/26/2011 page 554
80.0% "Well, it looks like Shadows has passed the point of plausibility. Kylar is suddenly insightful and the plot twists are becoming far too convenient. Meh, aside from the ancient backstory, this thing has been subpar since Logan stopped being important."
01/27/2011 page 688
100.0% "Too many Deus ex machina spoil the climxas."
01/27/2011 page 688
100.0% "Too many Deus ex machina spoil the climax."
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