Author: Brent Weeks
Pages: 636 (paperback)
Selected By: Lady Esbe
Lady Esbe’s Score:
“Kylar Stern has rejected the assassin’s life. The Godking’s successful coup has left Kylar’s master, Durzo, and his best friend, Logan, dead. He is starting over: new city, new friends, and new profession.
“But when he learns that Logan might actually be alive and in hiding, Kylar is faced with an agonizing choice: will he give up the way of shadows forever and live in peace with his new family, or will he risk everything by taking on the ultimate hit?”
Lady Esbe’s Review
Alright, so installment two was good, but not as good as installment one, in my opinion. We get to see the evolution of various characters, get more in depth understanding of some characters and introduced to new characters.
I teeter back and forth between enjoying Kylar Stern and wanting to throttle him. I have to remind myself that he is only eighteen and relatively young to have the weight he is shouldering. ****SPOILER ALERT**** → In the first novel he evolved from a street urchin to a wet boy, which culminated in him becoming the Night Angel, once he killed his mentor, Durzo Blint. Kylar has always taken the burden of providing and protecting those he loves squarely on his shoulders. However, what does he get for his trouble? Grief and more trouble. ←*****END SPOILER*****
Kylar continues to attempt to do what he feels is best for Elene and Durzo’s daughter, Ully. He moves them away from Cenaria, away from the occupation of the Khalidorans. Kylar is a people pleaser, of sorts. However, Elene has wanted him to shed his ways of a wet boy to her whim. It’s rather annoying. All she does is whine about him being a better person, and not using his talent as a wet boy. Why wouldn’t Kylar be reluctant to explain the full extent of his talent? While Kylar commits to Elene and Ully, he laments losing himself to a life of monotony. Despite his good intentions, Kylar’s fate is chosen for him otherwise. Even while he fights to become the person that Elene believes he should be, Kylar can’t help but step into the shoes of the Night Angel on occasion. Keeping his talents honed and helping those who need to be helped.
At the end of the first novel we are left with the knowledge that Jarl is now the Shinga (head of the underworld) and he has knowledge of things that Kylar could not fathom. For instance, the fate of Logan Gyre. Jarl delivers the news that sets Kylar back onto his path and to become the shadowy figure that assists the displaced king in his liberation from the Maw and back into the fray of being the king of Cenaria.
While Kylar still struggles with his identity. Logan has the biggest transformation. He was the gregarious, athletic, untested warrior. Upon his imprisonment, his kindness, strategy and survival instincts allows him to befriend his fellow prisoners, but also to eek out a loyalty among those who were considered the worst of the worst of the kingdom’s criminals. He began to understand who they were and see them as not the unwashed masses, but people who deserved to live as humans and not as animals that were cast off. This cultivated loyalty allows Logan to survive in the desolate environment and become that much stronger, mentally, if not physically, when it came time to fight Khalidor.
There are many nuances pulled out into this storyline. We learn more about Ully, Elene and Vi. They are especially talented women, in the since of magic. The question is how will the story end for each. Ully I’m interested to see how her powers develop. Elene, eh, if she died, that wouldn’t hurt my feelings. As for Vi, she is a talented wet “boy” herself. We find out that her talents as a wet boy are because of her upbringing and the level of torture (psychological and physical) that she endured to become the strong, vicious and downright lethal wet boy that she is. I feel sorry for her in certain respects considering her rough upbringing, but she is making the best of the situation and her talents. We also find that she has feelings that are new to her in relation to Kylar and men in general. How that plays out will come to bear doing the course of the novel and appears to be continued in the next.
As I said, the thing that stands out to me most about this installment is the amount of evolutions in this novel that would require you to obtain the prior rendition of the trilogy. Vi, Kylar’s would be executioner and fellow wet “boy” (girl) is a woman of talent. We find out more about her childhood and her compulsion throughout her career and finally her dealings with Kylar. She doesn’t understand much about what is going on around her. Vi’s primary motivation is freedom, autonomy and not to be subjugated by anyone, especially men. Her ill will toward Kylar turns to respect and she changes her attention toward him for the better, or the worse depending how you see the final scenes of the novel.
Honestly, there are several stories that diverge but are interconnected here. It’s a complicated tale and to try to explain more would not do it very much justice. Overall, I’m pleased that I continued on in the series. I’ve started the third installment, which so far, is shaping up to be the best or at least a tie with the first installment.
The same narrator was used in this recording. I like his style, inflection, and voice. He is a good choice, even if his “feminine” portrayal is a bit annoying. However, the way he says certain things makes me actually picture a whiny annoying woman. Good show, Mr. Boehmer.
Lady Esbe listened to the Tantor Audio CD version (narrated by Paul Boehmer) of this selection.