Beyond the Shadows (Night Angel Trilogy) by Brent Weeks

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Beyond the Shadows (Night Angel Trilogy) by Brent Weeks

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Magda Healey
Reviewed by Magda Healey
Summary: The concluding volume of The Night Angel trilogy is the biggest, meatiest and most epic, with all plot strands and characters coming together in a superbly entertaining grand finale. Great fun and recommended for all fans of heroic fantasy.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 736 Date: December 2008
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 978-1841497426

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Beyond The Shadows is the last volume of The Night Angel trilogy, unusually published at monthly rather than annual (or bigger) intervals. I liked that! I often find that the wait for the next instalment somehow dampens my enthusiasm for even the best sagas, at least initially, while having all three parts appear in the same pre-Christmas season (but not strictly all at once) kept my interest active.

There isn't much point in reading ''Beyond The Shadows as a stand-alone: it's really a one long, epic novel which clearly reaches its climax in the last sequences of the last book, and all three should be read, and in sequence.

This volume is the biggest of the three (at over 700 pages, even of the small-format mass-market paperback, it will provide a few days of reading to all but the most avid fans) and the most epic, with all of the characters we met in the previous books attaining pivotal positions in the Greater Scheme of Things in the world of Midcyru.

Beyond The Shadows first develops and then resolves all the sub-plots and strands of storytelling that interweaved through the whole trilogy. All major characters (and quite a few of the surviving minor ones) even actually come physically together in the last, very impressive and truly epic encounter, full of battle action, political scheming, magic and heroism.

Kylar the Night Angel, after learning the true and horrific cost of immortality; still magically bonded by compulsion-inducing marriage earrings to Vi, joins her and his beloved Elene at the Chantry, where Vi is training a new generation of majas in the arts of defensive war.

Dorian has given up on his gift of prophecy, taken up the vir and is consolidating his power as a new Godking of Khalidor, committing increasingly horrific atrocities in the name of final destruction of the culture of death and suffering that has been marring Khalidor for hundreds of years.

Solon is back in Seth, confronting his long-lost love, the Empress Kaede who is about to marry a competitor. Logan Gyre becomes a king of Cenaria, but the price of that is the death of his best friend. Renegade Kahlidorian prince and a Vurdmeister Neph Dada are congregating at the Black Barrow, where they are planning to raise the gigantic demon-like Titan, million of zombie-like Krul and give body to Khali itself.

Can all the conflicting interests of Midcyru act together to stop the abomination? And do they have enough military and magical powers to actually do so?

Kylar (and readers with him) learns more about his existence (and his essence) as a Night Angel, the magic behind it all and the real costs of immortality – but the more interesting, at least for me, was the moral dilemma of Dorian, who, motivated by the desire to bring peace and stop cruelty and fear from ruling Khalidor, commits countless (and escalating) acts of abomination himself, all in the service of the Final Good.

The compulsively psychobabbling topics of healing Vi's sexual trauma and the virginal passions of Elene and Kylar raise their corny heads, but mercifully not for long, and in the climactic final scenes the idea of true, deep, spiritual love that transcends all selfish desires finds expression that goes beyond the adolescent mawkishness.

Beyond The Shadows reads easily, entertains with engageing characters, amuses with great monsters and magical feats. The world building is confident but without unnecessary exposition and the whole thing does a very good job of providing a solid chunk of epic escapism.

If you like this kind of thing in general, you'd love this one. Recommended for all fans of the genre.

The review copy was sent to the Bookbag by the publisher - thank you!

Before reading this book you really should read The Way of Shadows and Shadow's Edge first.

It would be nice to see Brent Weeks return to Midcyru one day, and considering that Kylar is immortal, some interesting creatures of evil appeared briefly (or were just mentioned) and there is this conundrum of mysterious twins, I am hoping he will.

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