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Beyond the Shadows by Brent WeeksBeyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks

4 stars (out of 5)

“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 Stern hears these words from the Wolf, the mysterious figure who greets him in the limbo between life and death.  Not only do these words help Kylar better understand his mentor, Durzo Blint, they also lay out the theme of Beyond the Shadows and of the entire Night Angel Trilogy.

The Night Angel Trilogy is primarily Kylar’s story and the theme of the trilogy is best reflected in his journey.  In The Way of Shadows, Kylar learns who he has the potential to be.  He can be the greatest wetboy Cenaria has ever seen­–the greatest killer the world has ever seen.  In Shadow’s Edge, Kylar learns who he is not.  His attempt to stop killing, to stop being the Night Angel, bring harm to himself and those he loves.  In Beyond the Shadows, Kylar accepts who he is and embraces that which is essential to his being.  Kylar is a killer, but not for hire, he is the Night Angel, the hand of retribution, mercy, or justice.  By accepting who he is, Kylar is able to find happiness and make the decisions necessary to save the world.

Beyond the Shadows is a satisfying conclusion to the Night Angel Trilogy.  The book moves at a whirl-wind pace, driving all of the characters to the site of an ancient battle where a new battle to decide the fate of the world will take place.  The final battle scene is suitably epic, answers are provided to some series-long questions, and some questions are left unanswered, leaving the door open for Brent Weeks to return to this world and these characters in future books.

I really enjoyed the Night Angel Trilogy.  The story is fast-paced and exciting and has the deep world-building and subtle foreshadowing that are essential to a great fantasy series.  If you are a regular fantasy reader and have not yet read the Night Angel Trilogy, do yourself a favor and do so as soon as possible.  Be sure to buy all three, you won’t want to wait between books.

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