Oh shit. I both really enjoyed this story, and routinely had to ask myself what in the ever loving fuck was going on repeatedly. Warning: Spoilers abound. Azoth is a street rat who becomes an assassin, but not any assassin because he’s on a mission to become a wetboy, a magic assassin. He can’t seem to take the final step to become a wetboy because he’s in love, or can’t make the connection with magic, or both. Then he gets hired to kill his mentor, who also gets hired to kill him, and they both realize it but decide to carry out their respective contracts anyway. Meanwhile the city they’re in is on the verge of civil war, but is also being invaded by it’s empire religious zealot neighbors, but the empire has magic related to their religion, and has their own insurrection with plans to kill the king, but the king names a new heir who also becomes a target, also everyone has an affair with everyone else, and there’s a bunch of other magic systems at play that are hinted at but not given explanation to.
Brent Weeks crafts an amazing story with tons of plot twists and an interesting setting. It definitely breaks Sanderson’s First Law, with the author’s ability to solve conflict with magic being directly proportional to how well the reader understands said magic. I did not understand the magic, cool as it was. It broke Sanderson’s Second Law, regarding the limitations of the magic system, as the magic system was never explained. In this, Sanderson’s Third Law was also broken, as the book (and the series as a whole) failed to expand on what it already had and then added a multitude of new things. Sanderson’s Zeroth Law saves the story, as it is just awesome enough to keep me engaged and interested in continuing to read, but barely.
You can check out The Way of Shadows here. It is worth a read, especially if you’re trapped in the house because of the ‘rona.