Book Reviews

Perfect Shadow: A Night Angel Novella by Brent Weeks Book Review

its ok Review

  • Perfect Shadow.
  • Brent Weeks.
  • 144 pages.
  • Fantasy / Epic Fantasy / Fiction / Short Story / Novella.
  • My Rating: It’s OK Book Review.

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Book Blurb:

For the first time in print as a special hardcover edition, Brent Weeks’s blockbuster novella Perfect Shadow tells the origin story of the Night Angel trilogy’s most enigmatic character: Durzo Blint. Also includes the short story, I, Nightangel.

Gaelan Starfire is a farmer, happy to be a husband and a father; a careful, quiet, simple man. He’s also an immortal, peerless in the arts of war. Over the centuries, he’s worn many faces to hide his gift, but he is a man ill-fit for obscurity, and all too often he’s become a hero, his very names passing into legend: Acaelus Thorne, Yric the Black, Hrothan Steelbender, Tal Drakkan, Rebus Nimble.

But when Gaelan must take a job hunting down the world’s finest assassins for the beautiful courtesan-and-crimelord Gwinvere Kirena, what he finds may destroy everything he’s ever believed in.


Book Review:

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


I’ve never read a book by Brent Weeks before! I know, I know, I fully expect some haughty derision from all you fantasy fans out there! He’s an author I’ve heard many good things about but have never managed to get around to reading until now.

Perfect Shadow also includes the short story: I, Night Angel which I’ll mention first.

There’s not much to write about I, Night Angel, it is an interesting short 20-page read focusing on torture and the prelude to the actual starting of the torture. It’s well written and showcases Weeks ability at setting up and building the scene. The story finishes just as the actual torture is about to begin and I found it to be a nifty, atmospheric and entertaining little read (the type of torture alluded to will make you cringe) but it does, however, read more like a chapter in a book rather than a complete novella.

Perfect Shadow is the origin story for Durzo Blint, the wet boy (assassin) and a character from Weeks Night Angel trilogy. The book itself works well as a story offering you the reader a snippet and taste of the characters and world that Weeks has created. For myself, as someone new to the work of Weeks it left me wanting to find out more, served to whet the appetite and has gotten me interested in reading the Night Angel trilogy (now to find more hours in the day to be able to fit ALL the books in) but I was also left feeling like I wanted more from the novella too. Sure, it did its job and made me interested in the Night Angel trilogy but my overall impression was one of being indifferent towards the novella.

Perfect Shadow isn’t told in chronological order and the narrative flits around. Confusing for some? Maybe, but the same could be said for any book that alternates timelines and doesn’t include the prefixes ‘then‘ and ‘now‘ or the subsequent similar equivalent. For me, as a fantasy fan, I’m used to it and I was easily able to follow the story and the jumps in time.

I enjoyed the beginning of the book, it’s outstanding and on the whole, the story does have a lot to offer but I did feel that the beginning itself was the pinnacle of the book before the story tapered off. Don’t get me wrong, it still had some decent moments but the beginning was definitely, for me, at least, the high point. Blint is a 700 year old immortal and as such, has a long history, the glimpses of that history are great and add some additional depth to his character. When dealing with a shorter page count you need to parcel out what you include in the story and for me, there are a few scenes of copulation that take place and that didn’t add much overall to the story. I feel that Perfect Shadow would have been better served by these being removed and other scenes included. I’d have personally replaced them with scenes that showed Blint training to be a wet boy as for a story that is the origin tale of an assassin the actual training which should have been a big part of the story is only briefly glossed over and I think it would have been interesting to read. The assassin on assassin action is really cool though and when they occur Weeks knows how to write exciting fight scenes.

Weeks writing works well with this novella. His style is straight to the point but engaging. Whether it’s in the past or the present he moves the story forward and as I said, the action is good though, more fighting action and less between the sheets action would invariably have been better!👌

For fantasy fans, Perfect Shadow is a brief, somewhat exciting but ultimately underwhelming snapshot of the work of Weeks and his Night Angel world.


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15 thoughts on “Perfect Shadow: A Night Angel Novella by Brent Weeks Book Review

  1. My favourite trilogy up to now; just superb. The novella sounds ‘meh’ but I’ll still read it. Some interesting points as well man, great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks.😀 I’ve read some other reviews that did say it was better to have read the trilogy first or at least the first book to know more about the characters, relationships, etc. It was OK, I’d have just liked more from it and less bedroom action taking up the small number of pages!😂

      That’s high praise saying it’s your favourite trilogy. It definitely made me interested in reading the trilogy now to try and find the time!

      Like

  2. I read the book where Durzo mentored a young boy. Can’t remember the name but the character of Durzo was fun. Will check later and tell you. It was a good book, first in the series, but the later ones were meh for me and I moved on to Rothfuss. Wanted to know how Durzo became who he was. Might try this one just for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yep, I haven’t read any Brent Weeks either – I do feel bashful – but you can’t have read everything after all. I know I bought the Black Prism – just haven’t had enough time to fit it in but I will do eventually. I would also eventually like to read this trilogy though so perhaps I should hold off with the novella until I’ve done so – although sometimes it’s good to read a novella first to see how you like the author’s style and world building before you dive in.
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah, that is the thing with novellas. It is hard to find that balance of leaving them wanting “just enough”. It sounds like this is a pretty strong intro to the series though if it managed to pique your interest in the trilogy. I may pick this up, as I have been looking at Weeks and the trilogy but not sure. This will be a great way to test his writing on myself 😉 Great review Drew!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s very true about novellas. After I’d written mine I did read a fair few reviews that all said the same, you need to have read at least the first book in the trilogy to get more out of the characters and this novella. But, it did its job and made me keen to read the actual Night Angel trilogy – well, I’ve wanted to read it for a few years anyway but still haven’t gotten around to and the novella made me think that I should try to find the time.😂📚

      I do feel though that even without that issue of the previous knowledge that there was too much bedroom stuff going on especially for the short page count. I did enjoy Weeks writing though and do think that in a longer format it’d be a very enjoyable read.

      Like

      1. Well at lwast his writing was promising! I keep contemplating them, but they are fairly hefty from what I remember and I have so many series to finish 😂 He is on the list for sure though. As soon as time presents itself.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. “I’ve never read a book by Brent Weeks before!” That’s a wonderful way to shock me… Hahahah I could’ve sworn that you would’ve had read something by the guy with all the series you’ve already completed so far! I here you about the book losing heat as you progress. Sounds like something that could easily lose a reader’s attention. Do you plan on picking up a certain series by Weeks soon or not in any particular rush?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha!😂 Unfortunately I’m a slow reader and can’t read all of the fantasy series out there!😂😞

      I’m not sure, it’s a trilogy that’s always interested me and I’d definitely like to but with so many other fantastic series out there I really don’t know when I’m likely to get around to reading it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, that’s the one I saw the cover for on Goodreads and though it was quite eye-catching… I haven’t read Weeks either… in fact, unfortunatey, hadn’t even heard of the author before… nice to discover someone and something new, though! 🙂 I must explore more!

    Liked by 1 person

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