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Starting off 2008 with "Night Angel" - Rockets, Magic and Swords: Science Fiction & Fantasy book reviews

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January 13th, 2009


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mightyix
11:48 am - Starting off 2008 with "Night Angel"
Well, since nobody has posted anything yet for 2009, I thought I should contribute.

At the end of 2008 and the first few days of 2009, I read a series of books called, "Night Angel", that I'm going to review here as a single entity.

Each book is long, coming in around 700 pages each, but doesn't have much in it that isn't pertinent to the story.  While each book is fairly self-contained, this is definitely a series that NEEDS to be read as a trilogy.

It's basically the story of a street kid, Azoth, who looks for an out from his horrible life by becoming a Wetboy.  They're kind of like an assassin, but they don't miss.  He apprentices to Durzo Blint, a lengendary killer, and over the course of the first book grows and develops as both a man and as a killer in his own right.  It's got an Empire Strikes Back type ending, where the heroes succeed, but don't win, and it leaves you wanting more.

The second book has Azoth (now known as Kylar), conflicted about his profession, and trying to figure out how to do the right thing in a world gone mad.  He's missing his best friend and his mentor, and is trying to come to terms with his newfound powers.

The third book is a story that has all of the surviving characters in pursuit of redemption for lives that didn't go the way that they wanted.  It somehow manages all of this without becoming maudlin or having people regret the choices that they made in their lives that put them in need of redemption in the first place. 

All in all, these are some of the most realistic characters and relationships that I've ever come across in any series.  The setting is gritty and dark, but in a way that provides perspective.  It doesn't hide the depths of the human soul, but it revels in the lofty heights of strong character, faith, and love.

There's a bit of deus ex machina where unexpected "cavalry" arrives to save the day, but no more than in most epic fantasy.  Kylar is far from the perfect hero, and far from undefeatable.  Which makes him all the more realistic.  Lots of plot twists and turns, and things that don't make sense early on fit perfectly into the final story tapestry.

I read these books and I was humbled.  Not only is this a story that I really enjoyed reading, but it was one that I wanted to write.  But Brent Weeks craftsmanship is of such a high level, that I'm not sure that I've got the imagination and skill to pull it off.

These books are a definite read, and they're even available in the UK.

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[User Picture]
From:missingvolume
Date:January 13th, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
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I've been eyeballing these in the store for a bit but haven't picked them up. I'm glad that Orbit is putting out series books fairly fast so you don't forget about them.

And thanks for joining. The group has been rather quiet lately and we all need to add some stuff up here.

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