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"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."— J.K. Rowling

Shadow's Edge (Night Angel Trilogy #2)

Shadow's Edge - Brent Weeks My ocular muscles are sore from all the eyerolling I did when I read Shadow's Edge. It is even more obsessed with virginity/chastity than an average American Sex Ed class. Because all women are either virgins or whores, right? *sigh* The terrible, atrocious portrayal of female characters annoyed me even more than in the first book. I cringed very time a female character took stage. They all lack any depth whatsoever, becoming little more than caricatures. The virgin/whore dichotomy rules this book and the entire worth of a woman is reduced to her sexuality. This may be the view of this quasi-medieval society, but we are not shown anything to disprove it at all. This is NOT.COOL. Sidenote: By the way, can somebody please explain to me why EVERY SINGLE "GOOD" CHARACTER (men included, at least no misogyny there) must be a virgin? Because CLEARLY the state of your reproductive organs is what determines who you are. *cue exasperated eyeroll*The only acceptable state of unmarried genitalia.................................-------------------------------------------------------Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to some examples of the aforementioned virgin-whore situation we've got on our hands:...........EXHIBIT A: ELENE (VIRGIN): Saintly mind-numbingly boring Elene is clearly the embodiment of goodness in this book (and the entire story arc, as the events of the sequel show). She is supposed to be sweet, kind, and innocent. She tries to help Kylar denounce his former murdering ways by turning him into a mundane law-abiding peacefully-living sorta-spouse. Well, that's good, right? Well, unless you take the only guy that can use his super-powers to save thousands of the inhabitants of his hometown from bloodthirsty invaders and force him to leave he city and start a 'regular' life with you - as long as he does not kill, even the bad guys. Let me repeat - she abhors murder and thus removes from the city the only guy WHO COULD HAVE STOPPED THOUSANDS FROM BEING MURDERED. Instead of righting the wrongs, Kylar gets to be all sickeningly cute and sugary with Elene while attempting to raise the world's most annoying child ever. Both my hand and my head hurt from the endless facepalming in addition to all the eyerolling. and EXHIBIT B: VI (WHORE): Unlike whiny Elene, Vi is a trained assassin. She is supposed to be a badass, but a deeply flawed one. Well, apparently all her badassery goes out the window the moment Kylar's sexy man-charms reach her. And ALL of her problems obviously stem from being sexually used from a young age. But hey, there's still hope for her since all those bad sexy things she's done - yeah, none of those were for pleasure, so it's gotta be okay.----------------------------------------------------------The rest of the characters remain rather flat and underdeveloped in this exclusively plot-driven story. We are quickly introduced to a slew of characters, given one or two defining characteristics, and move on. And these characteristics are told, not shown. In the whirlwind switch between POVs every few pages, we lose what little character development there could have been, since no page time is devoted to showing any of it. For instance, I know that Kylar and Logan are supposed to be best friends, to the point where Kylar is willing to risk everything for Logan's sake. I know Kylar and Jarl are supposed to be like brothers. I know Kylar is supposed to be madly in love with Elene. Unfortunately I only know that because I was told that at some point, often by the characters themselves, but I have not seen any interaction between any of them in the book to actually convince me and show me that those feelings and emotions are true. With all the telling but little showing, I just don't believe the characters' motivations; their actions just become the ways to advance the plot and not much more. --------------------------------------------------------Despite all of my issues with this book, this was still a better story than the first installment. The action scenes remain fun and well-written. The plot, after the stumbling block of Elene-Kylar tortured love, picks up and moves at a breakneck speed. The loose ends continue to be nicely tied up, even if often in a predictable way. Basically, this can be a quick, fun and mindless read, if you don't stop and think much along the way. I still think that Weeks has potential if he learns better characterization; his storytelling skills are already better than many fantasy writers. 3 stars 2 stars¹. ¹ After realizing that I have given 3 stars to quite a few books that I liked way more than this one (and its predecessor), I realized that the fair thing to do would be to knock this one down a star. For the life of me, I have no idea why I was so generous with rating it in the first place.