Hi! I'm Jo, a college student reading my way through various books. I particularly enjoy YA, fantasy, and horror, but I'm also beginning to delve into sci-fi, paranormal, and other genres.
The Way of Shadows is one of those novels that could leave you giddy from turning page after page. It certainly did for me. Azoth/ Kylar was an interesting character who developed nicely over the course of the book, and some of the plot twists were wonderful. I loved watching the characters grow up and fight each other and fall in love. There was something really appealing about Azoth's vulnerability in the beginning of the novel and the shocking events that followed. I also enjoyed Logan's side story especially where he manages to be brave and snappy while trapped and gloriously naked .
However, there were several important aspects of The Way of Shadows that made me less enamoured with the novel, particularly to do with the ending. Although I enjoyed some of the revelations, the ending is an enormous info-dump of 'plot twists'. Momma K, Durzo Blint, and Kylar - pretty much everyone except Roth/Rat - are redeemed for whatever misdeeds they've carried out. Nobody is really a villain apart from the obvious Roth. Part of me would have liked to see a little more flaw in the characters, since all of their apparent faults are revealed at the end as misinterpretations for attempts at doing good. Furthermore, Durzo Blint and Momma K are in sweet, tragic love with a child between them - something that made the ending sickly sweet.
The other problem I had with the novel was that the world is so large and confusing that although I got some of the details correct, I didn't care about certain people, or understand their motivations. There was a whole subplot that just blew straight past me because of all of the unfamiliar jargon. And while a lot of the writing was strong, there are some clumsy moments during exposition that pulled me out of the story.
One last issue that I had was Elene, or Doll Girl - beautiful, pure, and kind of dull. As a character, she doesn't develop particularly, and doesn't seem to be anything more for the story than a carrot to dangle on a stick in front of Kylar to propel him forward during times of crisis. I would have liked to see her take more initiative, and to have more a personality.
Overall, however, I did enjoy the book. Although sometimes I wanted to put the book down, most of the time it was a fun read that kept me going into the early hours of the night. I would still recommend this book as a 3.5, rather than a solid 3. If you can get past the stock female damsel character and occasionally cliched plot, the story gives you a pretty good run for its money. I consider it worth the buy, but if you're hesitant, it's definitely worth a borrow from the library.