Beyond the Shadows (Night Angel #3), by Brent Weeks
What is it with Brent Weeks and story endings? He himself says at the end of this final book from the Night Angel trilogy that the biggest challenge is the middle of the story. I don't see it that way. His stories have deep and rich middle parts, with new threads constantly being created, new characters and revelations added. It's the ending where, so far, I've felt disappointed.
Don't get me wrong, this trilogy was great and Beyond the Shadows was a very well written book. It's just that with every chapter in the Night Angel story, the magical world and the characters get wider and the expectations grow with them. The finale, regardless of how epic, should feel like it closes all avenues, it resolves all conflict and explains everything and it just can't! Worse, by using unexpected external forces, abilities, premonitions, prophecies, characters, nations, unknown historical facts - and Weeks uses them all in his endings - everything you've read so far gets invalidated. Glaring examples in Beyond the Shadows are Jenine Gyre and Elene, both some of the most prominent female characters in the story, which fulfil their prophesied purpose almost like tools. And when you look behind, at their personal storyline, you realize that most of it was superfluous, pointless and nonsensical. The character in the end has almost no resemblance to the one at the beginning (or middle) and some of the decisions taken contradict some of the previous ones.
And then there are all the nations and magic flavors and the geopolitical and historical context. What happens to those?! At the end, every character is awesome, fully grown and with amazing abilities. At the end! When they can't do anything anymore. All their strength and experience is used for a quick bow and a speedy exit stage left.
Bottom line: Brent Weeks writes epic fantasy stories like Brandon Sanderson and ends them like Peter F. Hamilton, in a rushed mess. Night Angel is no exception. Considering both people I compared him with are in my list of favorite authors, he will probably be on it, too.
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