‘Shadows Edge’ picks up immediately after the events in ‘The Way Of Shadows’.
The Country of Cenaria lies in ruins. The Godking of Khalidor’s army has invaded and now oppresses the surviving population. Kylar Stern has escaped with Elene, his childhood love and Uly, the daughter of his former master, Durzo Blint. Elene has made Kylar promise not to continue his former life as a magically enhanced assassin known as a Wetboy. Kylar is straining at the leash, he knows that he should be fighting to free his troubled land and his skills would make him a pivotal player.
Unknown to Kylar, his best friend and rightful King of Cenaria is still alive but trapped in the nightmare prison called the hole. The prisoners here live by in-fighting and cannibalism. Logan’s future looks as bleak as his country’s.
Around Cenaria, the armies of numerous surrounding countries are gathering to pick over what remains of the beleaguered land. Kylar is faced with the hardest decision of his life. Should he take this last contract to kill the Godking and save his country?
Increasingly, in this book, the stories of the secondary characters begin to flesh out. It becomes clear that the fate of all Cenaria’s neighbouring countries will be affected by the decisions made by Kylar and his contemporaries.
Brent Weeks pulls off a difficult feat with this second book as he builds upon his achievements in the first book and exceeds them. This book continues the dramatic story and the fantastic characters from the first story and adds extra.
Kylar is a credible and likeable anti-hero. His growing magical abilities and fighting prowess are described masterfully. At the same time, his relationship issues and inner conflict help us identify with him.
This is a fantastic second book of a trilogy. The drama and pace of the first book ramps up a notch or two for this one. Weeks’ writing style remains clear and readable. The extra character development adds to the story and no way dilutes the dramatic flow of the story.
Events in the first novel which seemed minor or inconsequential begin to resonate and reverberate. No major conclusions are made to the overall story but the stage is set for an almighty final act.
Weeks’ is rapidly becoming a favourite writer of mine. The storytelling is mighty, possibly only equalled by the quality of the characters. I have no problem recommending this and the previous book to any fans of good quality writing. Following ‘The Game Of Thrones TV’ and ‘The Hobbit’ cinema success, it seems that fantasy fiction is enjoying a period of huge popularity. This series of books more than holds its own in such lofty company.
(pub: Orbit. 636 page paperback. Price: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84149-741-9)