Every once in a while we feel the need to exercise our inner geek. Whether this is by frantically satisfying coding fetishes late at night, or rewatching Lord of the Rings for the twelfth time, sometimes we all just feel the need to be nerdy. Fantasy books have always been a part of the modern nerd. Reading, as adverse to it as most adolescents and young people are, has become a taboo. If you spend your spare time reading, “You nerd!”

As unfortunate as this is, it puts a black marker on the fantasy and sci-fi genre. People are afraid they’ll commit social suicide if they read this book. First of all – who’s going to know? But that’s beside the point…

Recently, I had one of those cravings, and settled down with a copy of Brent Week’s newest fantasy book, The Way of Shadows. I had read my fair share of sci-fi and fantasy to know what to expect. During a trip to a book store, I saw the book. It looked interesting, so I bought it.

Night one I stayed up easily until 1 AM reading. The book was absolutely amazing. Brent Weeks is a master of diction and dialogue. The series is alternately dark and lighthearted. But surrounding it all is one simple fact: this book is an epic.

The entire trilogy follows the escapades of a man named Azoth, starting from when he is eleven until he is nearly thirty, in a fantastic world. Taking place majorially in the city of Cenaria, Azoth is a destitute orphan living on the streets as part of a brutal “guild” run by Rat, a sadistic rapist who wants nothing more to kill him. Azoth is surrounded by two friends, Jarl and Doll Girl, the latter of which goes on become his prime love interest.

Desperate to redeem himself and his friends, and to escape the horror of peasent life, Azoth apprentices himself to Durzo Blint, a “wetboy”, or contract killer of huge renown. As the plot progresses, it grapples with heavy philosophical themes and symbols. Azoth is forced to become Kylar Stern, where he discovers he is potentially the bearer of one of the seven mystical ka’kari.

The entire trilogy was released in the ending months of 2008. Its characters are unforgettable, the story is culminating and nearly brought me to tears several times. Although it never strays too far from a linnear narrative – there are no plot twists that you can’t see coming – it is definetly not a book for kids.

Most characters liberally drop f-bombs, disturbing images about war, and a pervading theme of sexual abuse towards children stays throughout the novels. Weeks, however, is a master of building the plot and of creating worlds. If he and Tolkein sat down to lunch and devised their own land, in the space of one meal, it would quite easily be the greatest fantasy world ever, any nerd’s wet dream.

Bottom line. Buy it. No, forget the library. Buy it. Do it.

Rating: 9.8 Incredible!

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