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The Perfect Shadow by Brent Weeks

The Perfect Shadow by Brent Weeks
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Book Name: The Perfect Shadow
Author: Brent Weeks
Publisher(s): Orbit / Subterranean Press
Formatt: LTD Edition Paperback / Audio Book / eBook
Genre(s): Fantasy / Short Story
Release Date: June 1, 2011

Brent Weeks is author of what I consider the best fantasy trilogy of all time. The Night Angel Trilogy really seemed to have it all. You had a complex plot, multiple subplots, hot women, incredible and vivid action, intense relationships and all was contained within an enjoyable style of writing.

Mr. Weeks earlier this year took a break from his current Lightbringer series in order to bring to fans a short story about stand-out character from The Night Angel Trilogy: Durzo Blint. Obviously, fans of the original trilogy were excited, but a little skeptical about how Weeks’ writing style would hold up in short-story format.

Well, the good news is that he pulled it off. Although there is only about an hour to two hours reading contained in the book – there is a whole lot of story and action to be enjoyed within The Perfect Shadow. The story itself jumps about a bit, but basically tells the becoming of Durzo Blint as a Wetboy. Having already lived a vast number of lives he is given the chance to help Momma K get from her lowly position as a prostitute into a position of great power…all he needs to do is kill the Shinga’s Wetboys.

Now, we know enough about Wetboys to know that this isn’t going to be easy. Durzo begins training with the fifth Wetboy (there are only five remember?) and through his training he will need to kill the other four. I won’t spoil anything else for you, but I will tell you that the Durzo vs Wetboy scenes are absolutely fantastic and I will also say that should you be able to pick up the graphic audio version of this novel (basically an audio book with really cool sound effects/music added) they are taken to a whole other level.

I’ve read the ebook and listened to the graphic audio book and I have to say that the second reading was as good as the first. If you think that because the story is short it is not going to have any kind of substance, then you are completely wrong. Not only do we learn a huge amount about Durzo and his motivations for becoming as formidable as he is by the time we meet him in Night Angel, we also learn more lore in regards to the Ka’karis and perhaps more importantly Jorsin Alkestes.

As Brent has said on his site:

“When I wrote Perfect Shadow, I was afraid it was going to fall into a publishing no-man’s land: too short to be distributed as a novel, too long to be sold as a short story. Orbit’s digital publishing has given me a way to get this story out. More than that, it’s given me the artistic freedom to write a story exactly as long as it needs to be.”

I certainly agree with him. Although the conventional thoughts on the fantasy genre are the longer the novel the better – there are certainly writers (Brett and Weeks especially) who really seem to have an ability to tell a lot of story in a tiny amount of words. I also think that with so many fans disappointed that we aren’t going to see another Night Angel novel for at least 4/5 years the short stories are a good way to keep the lore and characters fresh in our minds.

This review was originally posted on October 14, 2011.

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Rating: 8.3/10 (12 votes cast)
The Perfect Shadow by Brent Weeks, 8.3 out of 10 based on 12 ratings
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13 Comments

  1. My only criticism of the Night Angel trilogy is that the final book really should have been two books. I think the final book was edited heavily to get the series into the holy grail format of a trilogy versus a quartet or some such. Otherwise, yes, the Night Angel Trilogy is one of the best fantasy stories.

    I haven’t read Perfect Shadow yet, I am waiting for my hardcopy…but I cannot wait to spend more time with Durzo.

  2. Jezrien says:

    I look forward to reading this and to listening to the Graphic Audio version. I can imagine that the fights with the Wetboys will be great scenes in that type of format. I’m just glad its been released in paperback form and not just for e-book.

    I hope in the not to far distant future we will see Patrick Rothfuss with his third book alongside Week’s next Night Angel segment. Fingers crossed.

  3. Khaldun says:

    I couldn’t agree less about the Night Angel trilogy. I read the first one and was so disappointed that I haven’t read anything by Brent Weeks since. I don’t think that his first novel in the series comes anywhere close to the first novels by Patrick Rothfuss (Name of the Wind), GRRM (Game of Thrones), Joe Abercrombie (The Blade Itself), or Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn). I don’t think any three fantasy novels will come close to what Martin did with Game of Thrones, Clash of Kings, and Storm of Swords, though my opinion on this site is well known.

    I will check this one, though I doubt I will enjoy it as much as you, Overlord. Thanks for the review =)

    • Christopher Keene says:

      I agree.

      • Overlord says:

        Brent must be doing something right… he’s still taking home awards; most recently The David Gemmell Legend Award, one of the industry’s most sought-after.

        Khaldun, it’s funny you mention all those authors – the winners of The David Gemmell Legend Awards are: Brendson Sanderson (2011), Patrick Rothfuss (2012) and Brent Weeks (2013) 🙂 Joe Abercrombie hasn’t won, but he has been nominated 2/3 times now (being beaten by Sanderson and Rothfuss) and Martin got nominated last year too (Rothfuss beat him). I’m sure he’ll get it one day (would be well deserved!).

        Next year Joe isn’t releasing a book, so my guess would be Scott Lynch taking it home for Republic of Thieves though…

        • Woolfa says:

          The David Gemmell Legend award is judged by by the book not by the author (or series). The Blinding Knife was a really good book. He has come a looong way in quality since The Night Angel trilogy.

          • Overlord says:

            True, but my point is that the author is obviously worth reading 😉 I do agree that his latest book outdoes any of The Night Angel series though 🙂

            • Jack Warburton says:

              I concede that Brent Week is a good author now that I’ve read The Lightbringer series but thanks to Night Angel I almost didn’t read them. Slapdash is the best word I would use to describe it, like a OTT action anime. Like with many authors some of their books just aren’t as good as others.

              Though I appreciate your work here on this site, I also agree with Khaldun’s preferences, sorry Overlord.

          • Overlord says:

            Well, in that case it is worth noting that The Way of the Shadows has over 10,000 5* reviews on Goodreads, but, more importantly in this debate, a higher percentage of 5* reviews than other highly ranked genre-novelists such as Joe Abercrombie with The Blade Itself, for example.

            • Christopher Keene says:

              I was about to write the LOTR stats to show the pointlessness of this note when I realized the pointlessness of this entire “Debate”.

              We’re not debating on what the best fantasy trilogy is, we’re debating what Overlord thinks the best fantasy is and I doubt any amount of 5* reviews will change his mind from his own personal preferences on either of these trilogies.

              On a positive note, thanks to this debate he now knows that a few people out there don’t share his preference for best trilogy. From this he can either ask himself why and ponder the good and bad reasons or simply shrug and say ‘I just like what I like.’

            • Overlord says:

              People are allowed to disagree with me… I was just pointing out that there are also people that agree with me. Good point about the shrugging – that’s exactly what I’ll do 😉

    • Overlord says:

      I forgive you 😉

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