Recommended For: Fans of Mistborn and Throne of Glass; if you're looking to start a new fantasy series that will surprise you
Way of Shadows starts off following a young street rat named Azoth, who, in an attempt to protect himself and his friends, gets himself apprenticed to Durzo Blint, the best wet boy in the city. The book follows Azoth- later called Kylar- as he learns how to be a wet boy (a wet boy is, basically, an assassin). Besides Kylar and Blint, though, there are plenty of other characters that are followed, and each will play an important role in the next era of their world.
Let me start with my two major problems with this book: the character growth and the world building. There are so many characters in this story that I had a hard time keeping track of them all. They would be thrown in at random moments and then described as being very important to either the story or the world and I was always left wondering why we either found out about them so late in the game, or why they weren't developed enough. The characters that all had narrating chapters were rather bland, and didn't have defining features in their personalities, just their pasts. So while it wasn't horrible, it felt like weak writing that made it hard for me to really connect with anyone. The world building was in the same vein- there was so much world to build, that it almost felt like the author had become lazy as he wrote and didn't feel the need to let the reader know what something was before it became central to the plot. While in some cases that can work well, it shouldn't be left to every single aspect, especially the mythology, which was never explained well and really should have been. Again, not terrible, but not the best strategy for an epic fantasy novel.
The strongest part of the writing was the dialogue. It was so good, so smart and quick, that I couldn't keep my eyes off the page during these scenes. It added to the quick pace of the story, even though several years pass over the course of it.
I liked the plot as well, though it didn't wow me. My roommate assures me that this is more of an origin story than anything else, though, and that the next two books advance things much more. I trust her opinion on the matter. The ideas behind it, and the way everything wrapped together, was well done, though, and it did tell a good story.